Category Archives: TripReport2008

11/16/2008 – Cripple Creek Trail – 703

Date of Hike: 11/16/2008
Location of Hike: Cripple Creek Trail
Trail Number: 703
Weather during Hike: Mostly Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 8:45 AM  End Time: 12:45 PM
Hike Distance: 8  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
I thought I had made my last high elevation hike of 2008, but so far, the snow has held off from removing access to the higher elevations. With the beautiful fall weather on Sunday, even though I had an extremely busy weekend, I managed to sneak in a quick hike on Sunday morning to the Cripple Creek trail. My daughter and I had hiked the lower portion of this trail almost 3 years ago (December 2005), but only got part way though due to the snow. It was also REALLY COLD that day, so we decided to turn around. Anyway, I had wanted to complete this trail to see what the higher elevation part was like.

The lower part of the trail is very well maintained, with a nice, even uphill grade. The trail is all uphill, but the grade makes it a pretty easy hike. Not too far after starting, there is a very pretty trailside spring/waterfall.

After about a mile, you come to a very interesting hillside meadow.

I’ve never seen anything like it before, but it looks like it might have been a rockslide that got covered with duff and eventually sprouted grass. The trail continues on, through some very pretty mixed age forest. Although I was not able to see the Cripple Creek, I certainly did hear it, and it sounded like it was running pretty high and fast.

After going through the first mixed age (virgin?) forest, you come to the first clearcut area. The dividing line was very noticeable, and one of the large trees looked like it had been used as a spar pole or something, as it had very definite cable gouges in it. you pass through this area, which goes between relatively young timber (20 years or less, I’d guess), and relatively open areas until you get to the 4635 road, which you cross and then continue to head up the hill.

This part of the trail gets a little rougher, with a some areas that would be tougher to navigate in the spring and summer due to the undergrowth. This time of year most of that had died, so it was easier to follow. There are also a few spots where the grade gets rather steep, however those areas are typically short.

One interesting note: After crossing the 4635 road, there was a couple of what looked like alder or vine maple sprouts that were hanging across the trail. I thought I’d trim them back – Well, I did, but they weren’t alder or vine maple sprouts. I’m not sure what they were, but they were very soft and lightweight. At first I thought it might be bamboo, but on closer inspection, it almost looked like balsa wood! Very light and easy to cut. I don’t know if balsa grows in these forests or not, or if there is a similar wood that grows here.

The trail crosses several roads, some still in use, and some that are old cat roads. For the most part, the trail is very easy to follow, however there are a couple of spots where you need to pay close attention. I had no trouble following the trail on the way up, however on the way back down, after crossing one of the roads, and passing a small camp (firepit), the trail went down a hill and I lost it. After a few minutes of looking around, I finally found the trail again. It did go down the hill, however it veered sharply left and a tree somewhat obscured the view of the trail, making it easy to miss. After that, I had no problems on the way back down.

All in all, a very nice trail that is well maintained. My favorite part of the trail was the lower section, since I enjoy the big trees and more mature forest. There were some nice old growth spots on the upper section of the trail as well, but they were smaller and fewer than down below.

The only negative of this trail is that this is quite a hill climb – About 2500′ vertical from west to east. The good part of that is the majority of the climb is well graded so it isn’t too difficult.

10/25/2008 – Cottonwood Meadows, Buck Lake

Date of Hike: 10/25/2008
Location of Hike: Cottonwood Meadows Trail, Rimrock Trail, Buck Lake Trail
Trail Number: 705, 704, 728
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Just me, Bodie had a hurt foot
Start Time: 10:15 AM  End Time: 4:30 PM
Hike Distance: 11 miles or so  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
After my experience a couple weeks ago on the Cottonwood Trail, I decided to go back and try the cross country route again. Last time, I went about halfway through the clearcut, and things didn’t “feel” right, so I turned around. When I got home and checked the GPS track, I was exactly where I should have been. This time, I was successful. I didn’t even need the GPS coordinates that were given to me to help navigate through the clearcut. I was very happy about being able to successfully navigate cross country. This was my first real test.

Once through the clearcut, picking up the trail on the other end wasn’t too difficult. I had to venture down the hill a bit before I saw the flagging, but once I saw it, it was easy to get the trail. I have to say, the southern part of that trail is an EXCELLENT trail. It has a fair amount of elevation change on it, but except for the very end, it is VERY well graded.

The trip through that part of the forest is absolutely beautiful! No really big trees, but some beautiful forest.

There were a couple of spots that had vine maple up and down the hill all blazed out in yellow with the sun shining through the trees. Other spots had moss covering the trail, and yet others had oregon grape growing about.

Once down at the southern end of the trail, I decided to hike down the 4635-120 spur to the “Collapsed bridge over Cot Creek” just to see what it looked like. Based on the construction of the bridge, it looks like that is a pretty old road. The bridge looks to have been collapsed for quite a few years, too. I had lunch there since it was a little after noon and it was a nice spot.

On the way home, I decided to check out the short Buck Lake trail. It is about a half mile into the lake, up a hill, but it was a rather interesting place.

There were a couple of cars at the trailhead, but I didn’t see the people when I was up at the lake, just their stuff. I was running late, so I didn’t hike around the lake, I just snapped some pictures. I may have to go back there any explore sometime.

All in all, a GREAT day. My only disappointment was when I hiked up the east end of the Rimrock trail, hoping to go up the viewpoint trail on Mt Mitchell. I had forgotten where the viewpoint trail junction was, and didn’t have time to go all the way up the trail, so I had to turn around and go back. That viewpoint would have been awesome on Saturday. The weather was pretty clear.

I can highly recommend the Cottowood Meadows trail. I’d love to get in there early in the season before the bugs. I would think that once the huckleberries and other ground cover start leafing up, and the meadows being very wet, it would be a little tougher to navigate the meadows, but I’m sure the diversity and color would be absolutely amazing.|}

10/12/2008 – Pyramid Lake, Cottonwood Meadows, Hideaway Lake Falls

Date of Hike: 10/12/2008
Location of Hike: Pyramid Lake, Cottonwood Meadows and Hideaway Lake Falls
Trail Number: 727,
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 11:00 AM  End Time: 2:30 PM
Hike Distance: 6  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
I decided this might be my last opportunity to get to the higher elevation trails, so I decided to get out and explore some new areas. My plan was to attempt the Cottonwood Meadows trail, all the way through (including the cross country section in the middle). Since I was near, I thought I’d also explore the very short Pyramid Lake trail. And, due to some discussions I’ve seen on, I decided to take a look at the Hideaway Lake Waterfall. I had also thought about taking the Rimrock trail up the viewpoint, but I ended up running out of time.

First, I have to say that the work done on roads 58 and part of 5830 (I wish they had gone further than Hideaway Lake) makes those roads MUCH better to drive on. Both roads have been brush trimmed on both sides. It makes the roads seem much wider, and they are much safer, since you can see down the road a lot further. It is too bad that they didn’t continue on 5830 past Hideaway Lake. It REALLY needs it. If they would brush these roads, and grade them (to get rid of the washboards), I wouldn’t care if they converted all of them to gravel!
I was surprised to see a 2-4 inches of snow, both on the trails and also on the roads, starting at about 3800′. It won’t be too long before these trails will be gone for the winter.

Anyway, I went up to Pyramid Lake. I mistakenly trudged up the “trail” at the first yellow sign I saw. When I was doing it, there was really no trail evident, and I didn’t go far before I realized I wasn’t in the right place. The yellow sign was a replacement for an old brown sign that just had an arrow on it (which was in the ditch) pointing further up the road. The real trailhead was about another half mile up the road. That road does get rather narrow and rough, but it wasn’t too bad in my truck.
The trail up to the lake is actually quite pleasant and in good condition, and it has a couple of very nice campsites, and even an outhouse!. A very short trail (.2 miles), with a little elevation gain. The trail was in great shape. Interesting little place….

Next was the trip to Cottonwood Meadows.

I found the trailhead with little difficulty and proceeded through the meadows. Between the flagging and the description here, it was easy to follow the trail through all the meadows. Although it wasn’t much to look at, mostly because all of the plants were buried under snow, I can see how that place would explode with color in the spring.
I’d love to get in there early, after the snow but before the bugs come out. I’m sure there would be TONS of bugs with all the wet areas. I got to the first road where the clearcut begins and attempted to follow the directions. I thought I was going in the right direction, but I started to get a little worried, and ended up backtracking.
When I got home and examined my GPS track, it appears as though I was just about exactly on track, so if I had kept going, I should have made it to the lower trail section. Oh well, that can wait until another day, maybe when there isn’t snow on the ground! I guess I just need to trust my gut a little more, but better safe than sorry. I’d hate to spend an un-scheduled night on the trail.
Lastly, I took a very short side trip down to the Hideaway Lake Falls. It is tough to get down to a spot where you can actually see the falls, but it is very pretty.

All in all, a beautiful late fall day in the woods with lots of fall colors….

9/29/2008 – Cache Meadow, Grouse Point and Trail X

Date of Hike: 9/28/2008
Location of Hike: Cache Meadow, Grouse Point and Trail "X"
Trail Number: 702, 517
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 10:15 AM  End Time: 4:00 PM
Hike Distance: 13  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
A fabulous day of fall hiking! After my successful “epic” trip last weekend (~19 miles and 5200+’ of elevation gain), I decided to do a little more aggressive day hike than I have done in the past. I decided to hike the other end of one of the trails we did last week (Grouse Point) and also explore a new trail (Cache Meadow). I had done parts of the Grouse Point trail about 4 years ago during a backpacking trip to Serene Lake, but I hadn’t explored the Cache Meadow trail at all. We went to Cache Meadow, but then went back to the lake.

It started out in the morning rather chilly, but it was clear. I missed the trailhead the first time I drove down road 4635, but found it on the way back. Bodie was very eager to get going (as usual). We started down the Cache Meadow trail about 10:15 or so, a beautiful trail through some nice forest, and relatively level going. It goes uphill just a bit before you get to Cache Meadow. Once there, there is a somewhat confusing bunch of trail junctions. I took the 517 junction, which essentially bypassed Cache Meadow “proper”.

From there we wound our way up to the ridge that the Grouse Point Trail follows. The trail is another very nice, very scenic trail that is mostly flat, with a little up and down along the ridge. There are a couple spots where you can look North and see the view across the Roaring River valley.

When getting close to Grouse Point, the trail veers away in some very thick rhodies. Although there is supposed to be a side trail to Grouse Point, no one appears to be able to find it. I was determined to get to Grouse Point, but the rhodies just seemed to get thicker as you get closer to the point, and I finally decided to forget it. I looked at several possibilities for side trails, but all of them quickly disappeared in the thick rhodies. I didn’t have any loppers with me, otherwise I probably would have cut my own path to Grouse Point. I’m sure the view from there is probably spectacular.
I hiked down Grouse Point to the junction with the Dry Ridge Trail, the point at which we hiked last weekend. I had lunch there, and then turned around and came back. The forest once you come down off Grouse Point is much different. Very little undergrowth, just blowdown and dirt/duff mostly. One interesting note: Most of the way, it was rather breezy. So much so that the trees were creaking and groaning. But, when we got on the west side of Grouse Point, the wind disappeared and the forest was very quiet.
Once back to Cache Meadow, we took a different route home. The forest service maps show a Trail “X” on the south side of the meadow cut, so we came back that way. The trail was easy to follow, once we found the junction at the burned out shelter at Cache Meadow. We hiked past a nice rather large, shallow, un-named lake with a couple of campsites.

There is supposed to be a trail going north towards the end of the trail, but we missed it, and hiked out to the 4635 road and back to our starting point.
The only thing that could have made the day better was a little less haze in the air. The overlooks where a little hazy, but not too bad. The temperature was just perfect-not too hot, not too cold, and most of the day we had a nice breeze. The hike was great-Not too much elevation gain/loss, and some beautiful scenery. By the end of the day, I was tired, but still feeling pretty good. My feet held up well and so did my legs. I was very happy that I felt so good after a pretty long day of hiking.

9/21/2008 – Sounds, Huxley Lake, Grouse Point, Dry Ridge (epic)

Date of Hike: 9/21/2008
Location of Hike: Big Loop - Sounds, Huxley Lake, Grouse Point, Dry Ridge
Trail Number: 521, 517, 518
Weather during Hike: Cool and overcast - Occasional rain
Hiking Buddies: Paul
Start Time: 9:00 AM  End Time: 6:00 PM
Hike Distance: 19  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was what I called an “epic” hike, since it is the longest and toughest day hike I have ever done. It covered somewhere between 18 and 20 miles, and had over a mile (5200 feet) of elevation gain.
The hike started at an old, abandoned trailhead on highway 224 near Roaring River. We ascended out of the canyon up to the old Winslow gravel pit, took another abandoned trail segment up to Huxley Lake.

We ate lunch there, and then came back to the 4611 road, and made our way down to the end where the Grouse Point trail takes off down the hill. It drops down the hill to the Roaring River, where we had to ford. This was my first ever fast/high ford of a water crossing. The water was about two feet deep in the middle, and was running fast. We both made it across with no problems, and then wrung out our boots and socks on the other side.

We then started the very steep, very long ascent back up the other side. We gained about 2400 feet on the climb out from Roaring River, and that was TOUGH. The view part way up:

The trail is faint, and very steep in spots. Once up on top, we got to the Dry Ridge trail junction, and followed that trail back down to the Roaring River campground, and then back a short ways down 224 to our cars. It was quite a day, and by the end, my feet and knees were really feeling it. I was very proud that I was able to make the trip as well as I did.
Some highlights: The trip up the hill had some magnificent old growth doug firs scattered here and there. Huxley Lake is a beautiful small lake with lily pads. There were a couple of ducks there when we ate lunch. It is too bad the ATVs have ripped up the trail around the lake, but it is still very pretty. Finding the old trail from Winslow Pit up to Huxley Lake was an interesting exercise. It took a few minutes, and a little searching, but we found it. The crossing of Roaring River was a first for me, and it went very well. I learned a lot from Paul, and will make use of some of those skills in my future hikes.

8/28/2008 – Table Rock

Date of Hike: 8/29/2008
Location of Hike: Table Rock
Weather during Hike: A Little overcast, but warm
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 10:30 AM  End Time: 3:00 PM
Hike Distance: 8.5  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was a day trip to the Table Rock Wilderness area, to hike to the top of Table Rock. I haven’t gone in this area before, and it sounded interesting. It was a relatively tough trip for me, especially the traversal over the talus slope on the north side of Table Rock. The trail there isn’t too good, and goes up and down and has poor footing.

The trail starts out on an old road closed by two landslides. You walk up the old road a little over a mile to the original trailhead and enter the forest. It is a nice trail that is well maintained and goes through some pretty forest. Even though you are gaining altitude, the grade is pretty easy . After about another mile or so, it exits the forest and you do the traversal across the north face of Table Rock.

After that, you re-enter the forest for another half mile gently going uphill most of the way. A small clearing and a junction takes you the last half mile or so to the top of Table Rock.

It is a rather windy path, but it does eventually take you to the top, where you see wonderful views. To the north there is a fair amount of clear-cutting visible, but to the east and south it looks very nice. This day, only Jefferson was clearly visible. Mt Hood was in the clouds, and 3 Sisters, 3 Finger Jack and Mt Washington are visible, but a little hazy. On the way back down, we passed a couple groups of hikers, and Bodie decided to get too excited and pulled me down the trail after they had passed, which made me fall and get a big raspberry on my arm…..No harm done, but he does get a bit excited about going hiking!

On the way home, I wanted to try and see the Pechuck Lookout, but my directions to it were not very good, and I later found out that it still requires a pretty long hike to see. I’ll go back and do that hike another time, possibly from the Rooster Rock trail.

7/29-7/31/2008 – Twin and Silver King Lakes – 546, 544, 573, 558

Date of Hike: 7/29-7/31/2008
Location of Hike: Bull of the Woods Wilderness - Twin Lakes and Silver King Lake
Trail Number: 546, 544, 573, 558
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Carly
Hike Distance: Approximately 30 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was our “annual” 3 day backpacking trip with my daughter. The plan:

Day 1:
Trail 546 (Whetstone) to Trail 573 (Twin Lakes) to Twin Lakes – Camp
It time available, Take 573 to end and explore up and down 558 – Motherlode
At junction of 558 and 559, remains of Elk Lake shelter
Off 558, trail down to porcupine mine
North on 558, proceed near Mother Lode mountain

Day 2:
Back 573 to 546 and camp at Silver King Lake
If 573 trip not done, do that before leaving Twin Lakes
After setting camp at Silver King Lake, explore up Bagby Trail 544

Day 3:
Back to Whetstone trailhead

We started out on Tuesday, 7/29 about 10:30am at the trailhead for the Whetstone trail. The weather forecast called for rain, and it was getting increasingly cloudy, so I was worried about getting setup in the rain. We talked about it, and thought about camping at Silver King Lake on Tuesday night, but decided to press on and make it to Twin Lakes.

We got a little drizzled on, but made it to the lake before the rain got too bad. After dinner, we made a short trip down to the Lower Twin Lake to see what it was like. It had a fire late last summer and it had destroyed part of the trail and possibly the campsites there. The lake is smaller than Upper Twin Lake, but was still very pretty.

It drizzled most of the night and it was pretty wet when we got up on Wednesday, but the sun was starting to come out. We then hiked down the Twin Lakes trail to the junction with the Mother Lode trail (558), looking for the porcupine mine.

We didn’t end up finding it, but did find an old campsite. We also got VERY wet due to the brushy trail and everything being so wet from the rain. Since we had a long day of hiking ahead, we turned around, went back to camp, had lunch and packed up. We then went back up the Twin Lakes trail, up a section of the Bagby trail to the Silver King Lake cutoff. Silver King Lake is a little unique in that we had to hike UP to it. Typically, lakes are at the bottom of a hill, but this lake was set up on a high “ledge”. We had to hike about 200′ up from the Bagby trail, on a rather tough section of trail. We got camp setup and started hanging up wet stuff when 3 other hikers showed up.

Since there really was only one campsite there, we offered to share with them. We talked a bit and they started a nice fire. Carly instructed me on how to solve a rubics cube after dinner (freeze dried lasagna-yum!), and then we had chocolate pudding for desert. We played a little 5 card rummy and then turned in after hiking about 12 miles that day. We were pretty tired.
The third day, we got up early, made breakfast and broke camp. We were on the trail by about 8:00, wanting to hike in the cooler weather of the morning. The hike back up the trail up to the junction with the Whetstone trail is pretty grueling. It is a narrow, steep and brushy trail that gains about 700′ in a mile. That first mile took up about 45 minutes, and we were huffing pretty good when we finally got to the top. After that, the trail was a little more forgiving, doing gentler up and downs. We hiked to the junction that goes to the top of Whetstone Mountain, dropped our packs in the woods, and hiked up to the top of Whetstone Mountain. The view from the top is absolutely spectacular, having an unobstructed 270 degree view.

The top of the mountain is a large rock outcropping, so there are no trees up there to block the view. You earn the view, however. The trail is pretty steep, and gains something like 900′ in a mile. It was also pretty tough due to the many downed trees over the trail. I have to say it was worth the hike, however. The view is one of the best in the area, I think. Looking out over the uncut sections of the forest is simply beautiful. After enjoying the view for a few minutes and taking some pictures, we descended back down, got our packs, ate a little lunch, and then finished the hike at the truck about 12:30. Since it was still pretty early, we decided to take a detour on the way home, looking for the “bridge to nowhere” that I had recently heard about. Apparently, the story is that the USFS wanted to log the trees in one area, and they were trying to get the roads into it before the area could be designated a wilderness. The built the bridge, but before they could build any roads, the area was designated wilderness and no logging could be done. So, the bridge sits and goes straight into a hillside.

It is a very odd sight! Due to the road closure (road 63 washout), we had to take the long way around and it took about 1 1/2 hours to get to it. It was worth the drive, though!

All in all a great 3 days through some absolutely gorgeous country. Most of the area we hiked in was old growth and/or virgin forest.

7/18-7/20/2008 – Fish Creek Backpacking

Date of Hike: 7/18-7/20/2008
Location of Hike: Fish Creek Basin
Weather during Hike: Sunny and warm during the day, cool at night
Hiking Buddies: Larry, Andrew, Alex, Gabe
Hike Distance: ~25 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was a hike that I planned for quite some time, and it demonstrated the need to be able to adapt to current conditions. I have hiked up Fish Creek on the old 54 road several times, especially during the winter, since it is a relatively low elevation hike. I have only been able to hike up the road about 5 miles, getting to the second bridge. After some discussion and investigation on the website, and hearing others talk of exploring the southern part of the Fish Creek basin, I decided to do a backpacking trip to do some real exploration.
The plan was to head up road 45, and make our way down to the point where the road was closed, and make that the starting point for the trip. I guess it was not to be, since we didn’t get more than 1/2 mile off road 45 (close to the Memaloose Lake turnoff), and there was a HUGE boulder blocking the ENTIRE road. I wish I had gotten a picture of it, since it couldn’t have been more perfectly placed to close the road. Well, this is where the adaptation comes in…..We talked about it, and decided to hike in from the North (the same way I have hiked before), and we hoped that we could get in far enough to see some of the southern areas. We ended up hiking in a little over 6 miles, and camped on the 3rd bridge that crosses Fish Creek. It was about the only place we could find that was reasonably flat. It actually worked out really well, and it was a very pretty area with plenty of water close by.

We ended up making that our base camp, and did a couple day hikes to explore the area a little more. We hiked about another couple miles up the road, and found a beautiful waterfall. It was difficult to see due to the heavy undergrowth, but we did get a pretty good glimpse of it. We went up a little further and decided to turn around.

On Saturday afternoon, I tried to explore the old road that went down Wash Creek. WOW was that a tough hike! The old road has been quickly reclaimed, and lots of it is VERY overgrown and tough to navigate. I only hiked a couple of miles, but I was BEAT. Sometimes I wonder if not being able to get to the southern “trailhead” was a good thing. Maybe it would have been a very difficult bushwhack up from that side. The reports I have seen from people that have been that way say that it isn’t too bad, and that the Wash Creek road is the worst of it. Someday I’d love to see for myself.
On Sunday morning, we decided to hike up the creek from our base camp, trying to get to the falls. It was an interesting trip, with some gorgeous views that you can’t see from anywhere else, but we didn’t make it to the falls. The creek kind of falls into a canyon, and continuing hiking would have been very dangerous, so we turned around and then headed for home.

It was 3 days of hiking in a beautiful area that looks very close to wilderness now. The only reason that the hike up old road 54 is still passable is that ATVs use it, and there is a narrow path they have created. Normally, I don’t like ATVs, but in this case, it is the only thing that is keeping that road open, and I can’t say that is a bad thing.

7/7/2008 – Memaloose Lake and South Fork Mountain

Date of Hike: 7/7/2008
Location of Hike: Memaloose Lake and South Fork Mountain
Trail Number: 515
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 10:00 AM  End Time: 2:00 PM
Hike Distance: 5 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
I wanted to do a little recon for my Fish Creek backpacking trip in a couple of weeks, so I thought I would go and see how much snow had melted out. I was pleasantly surprised based on how much snow has fallen this year. There was not much snow. The lake at about 4100′ had a few patches here and there, but it was basically clear. The trail up to South Fork Mountain was basically clear with a few patches of snow-enough to make it tough to follow the trail in a few spots.

I had forgotten how beautiful of a hike this is. It is pretty short, but goes through some wonderful old growth and a very pretty creek and waterfall on your way up to the lake. The creek was running pretty fast due to all the snowmelt.

The hike up to South Fork Mountain was interesting, mostly due to the trail being unclear at points, and snow covering some areas where it was unclear. All in all a great day of exploring! The weather was beautiful, with warm temperatures and very few bugs.

6/14/2008 – Fanton Trail – 505

Date of Hike: 2008-06-14
Location of Hike: Fanton Trail
Trail Number: 505
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 10:15 AM  End Time: 2:30 PM
Hike Distance: 7  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
I got out yesterday and went and hiked most of the Fanton Trail. The 4614 road (Squaw Mountain rd) is impassible a little ways past the 4613 turnoff due to snow, but 4613 was clear to the trailhead. The snow is really odd this year. It seems to be deepest in a pretty specific elevation. Either higher or lower it is clear, but from about 3400-3600′, it can still be 18-24″ deep or more. The weird thing is how quickly the snow comes on. The trail is basically clear, and then all of a sudden it goes from nothing to over a foot deep. This was the first time I hiked the lower section of the trail, so I wasn’t quite sure where it went, but it was pretty easy to follow, until the snow came.

Fortunately, at the lower elevation, someone had gone before me, so I followed the old footprints through the snow. After that stretch, the trail cleared for a while, and it was easy going. Then the snow returned, however there were not any footprints to follow, and I couldn’t find the trail. Couldn’t see any obvious paths, and couldn’t see any blazes. I probably could have keep going in the general direction, but I decided to turn around. I made it probably 3.5 miles up the trail.

The lower section of the trail has been cleared, however there are still a couple of downed trees over the upper section I hiked. None of them are difficult to traverse, and the trail is in very good shape. I did some trimming of vegetation and threw some branches off the trail to help a little bit. I was hoping to make it up to Squaw Mountain, but that will have to wait for another day. Someday that snow will melt! The trip was pretty uneventful, except for the “locals” who were shooting near the trailhead. I was worried that my truck was going to get broken into, but when I returned to my truck, all was well. All in all, a nice hike through some interesting, although well harvested areas. Some of the clearcuts are not recovering too well, and some are recovering VERY well. Lots of viewpoints to see some beautiful areas, though. The trail had a reasonably good uphill at the beginning, but the middle section is very flat. I’d love to be able to take the trail all the way up to Squaw Mountain. I’ve taken this trail from the last road crossing up to Squaw Mountain (a few years ago), which was a very interesting hike. Maybe later this year!

5/31/2008 – Milepost 3 Trail

Date of Hike: 5/31/2008
Location of Hike: Milepost 3 Trail
Weather during Hike: Partly Cloudy and in the upper 60s to low 70s
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 11:30 AM  End Time: 3:30 PM
Hike Distance: 5 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
I woke up this morning, the weather was cloudy, and the forecast was for probable rain. Since I wimped out the weekend before, I decided that I was going hiking no matter what. Then I was half way to Estacada, and it dawned on me that I forgot my rain gear! That didn’t deter me, however….I decided I would make do with what I had and was determined to hike today. Anyway, I found the trailhead for the infamous “Milepost 3 Trail” after a bunch of looking. I was a little farther up the road than I should have been. Everywhere I looked, the hill went almost straight up! Anyway, after a bit of searching, I finally found the trail. WHAT A BEAUTIFUL TRAIL! I wonder why it got abandoned? It is a bit steep in places, but it has a lot of beautiful points on it.

What looks to be genuine first growth old growth, some wonderful views from the talus slopes, and a very calming feel to it.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a whole lot of pictures since the battery in my camera died part way through the trip. I missed getting pictures in my favorite part of the hike where it meanders through the beautiful old growth. There are a couple of pretty rough spots in the trail, but overall it was easy to hike. Most of the tread is easy to spot, however there is a lower section where it gets a little sketchy, and an upper section that is pretty nasty due to downed trees/branches and a bunch of overgrowth. I hadn’t planned on spending a lot of time tending trail, so I just brought my clippers and no gloves, and I clipped until I got blisters on the way up. On the way down, I tried to throw branches off the trail. It could still use a lot of TLC, but the hike is most definitely worth it, and pretty easy to follow as long as you pay attention to where you are going. Since I didn’t see flagging or a rock cairn at the trailhead, I stacked several rocks at the trailhead hopefully to make it a little more apparent for people to find. My GPS differed from the posted coordinates by a little bit. I was up the road a few hundred feet too far. It is just before the 3 mile point on 4635, probably no more than a tenth of a mile. My GPS recorded about 5.1 miles roundtrip, but it also recorded a bunch of searching in the beginning, so I think it would have recorded 2.4 miles up to the intersection of Rimrock. I couldn’t find Rimrock due to the snow, (it was a couple feet deep on the top of the hill). Anyway, a very enjoyable day up in the hills….. The trail is on Road #4635… The UTM coordinates at the trailhead are 10T 577761mE 4994293mN The trail starts out at 2742′ and tops out at 4256′ in 2.7ish miles where it T-bones the Rim Rock trail.

4/3/2008 – Clackamas River Trail

Date of Hike: 4/3/2008
Location of Hike: Clackamas River Trail
Trail Number: 715
Weather during Hike: Partly sunny to cloudy
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 10:30 AM  End Time: 2:30 PM
Hike Distance: 8.5 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
A very nice day for a spring hike. I finally got out to go hiking, and ended up deciding on the Clackamas River Trail, since I figured that there wouldn’t be any other trail free of snow, or free of snow very far. I thought about Cripple Creek, but didn’t think I’d get too far before snow. Anyway, I ended up going from the fish creek end, and it was a very nice day. I ended up doing 8 or 9 miles, going to Pup Creek Falls.

The trail was clear of snow, with only a couple VERY small patches in the trees. The trail was in GREAT shape, with only a couple of down trees and a couple of slide areas that weren’t very bad. A good hiking day. I saw two other groups of hikers on my way out, but no one on the way in, except for some kayakers at the parking lot. I then went up to Ripplebrook and beyond to see how much snow had melted. The good news was that a LOT of snow has melted since January. Road 46 past Ripplebrook is clear now, with only some snow on the sides as you get up farther. The Riverside trail is accessible once again. The bad news is that there was still a LOT of snow in places. I think you can get to Bagby now, although I didn’t go that far, I only went to where road 63 meets 70, where they closed it. At that junction, there is still over a foot of snow on the road. My GPS said the elevation there was about 1700′, so we still have a ways to go before we can get to the higher trails. I hope we get some warmer weather to start melting off some of this snow! The other thing I noticed was there there are a LOT of downed trees and slides this winter. It was a tough winter for the roads…..

2/18/2008 – Riverside Trail – 723

Date of Hike: 2/18/2008
Location of Hike: Riverside Trail
Trail Number: 723
Weather during Hike: Sunny but cold
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Hike Distance: 5?  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was a wintertime hike up the Clackamas River on the Riverside trail. I didn’t record it immediately, so I don’t have too many details on it. I remember it was a cold, clear day and there was a foot of snow on parts of the trail. It was beautiful, though!

1/13/2008 – Fish Creek – Old FS Road 54

Date of Hike: 1/13/2008
Location of Hike: Fish Creek - Old FS Road 54
Weather during Hike: Sunny and cool
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 10:30 AM  End Time: 2:00 PM
Hike Distance: 6 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
What a beautiful January day for a hike. The weather was cool (high 30’s, low 40’s), but it was sunny with very few clouds. The plan was to go up fish creek, on what used to be FS road 54 and hopefully get to the second bridge (about 5 miles in). I wanted to be able to test out my new hiking boots (Salomon) and GPS (Garmin 60csx) that I got for Christmas. Well, I didn’t even get to the first bridge, which is about 3-3.5 miles from the start. There was LOTS of snow! anywhere from 4-10″ of pretty soft snow, and I didn’t have snowshoes, so it was pretty tough going. Couple that with the water flow in some of the creeks you have to cross, and it was a difficult day for me and my dog. We ended up turning back at the second creek (the name of the creek-it is actually the 3rd creek you have to cross) crossing. It was running pretty fast and deep. Normally, I take a large tree over the creek, which works great. This time, it was covered it about 6″ of snow, and I didn’t want to slip off of it in the middle. It is about 8′ or so down to the creek. I was getting tired, I had Bodie with me, and my better judgement told me it was time to turn around. So, we ended up doing about 6 miles. It was still a VERY nice trip, and it was wonderful getting out in the woods again. I have to say my boots performed very well (although they were a little stiff), and the GPS did very well, too. You can see the two maps with the overlaid track on them in the pictures. After the hike, I thought I would see if I could get up to see the damage on road 63 where it is closed. Short story – I couldn’t. There is a LOT of snow up there! I don’t think I’ve ever seen this much snow this low. Highway 224 was plowed to Ripplebrook, and road 46 was semi plowed for about a mile or so. After that, it was kind of plowed. There was one lane, with two tire tracks, with about 2 feet of snow on either side and about 6″ of snow between the tire tracks. I drove up this until just about the Riverside trailhead, and had to turn around. There were 5 or 6 cars and trucks, and it looked like there was either an accident or someone was stuck. I honestly don’t know why someone in a car would go on a road like that. I’m guessing they were trying to get up to Bagby Hot Springs. All in all a very enjoyable day.