Category Archives: Vol3

11/12/2011 – Plaza Creek – 506

Date of Hike: 11/12/2011
Location of Hike: Plaza Creek Trail
Trail Number: 506
Weather during Hike: Foggy, cold and snowy
Hiking Buddies: Kirk
Start Time: 10:30 AM  End Time: 2:15 PM
Hike Distance: 4.4 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was to be a last ditch effort at trying to get to one of the higher elevation trails before the snow closes them for the year. Since the weather has cooled and we have had rain, I wasn’t sure if we would be able to make it to the trailhead at 4200′. I knew it was supposed to be a wet day, but since this is the last chance, I wanted to try anyway. Well, I wanted an adventure, and that is what I got. The trip to the trailhead was almost as much of an adventure as the hike itself! Started seeing snow at a little over 3000′ and it kept getting deeper and deeper. When it got to about 5″ and there were no tire tracks, I decided to put on my chains. Once the chains were on, it was pretty easy going, although the road got VERY brushed in in places, especially where the alders were drooping due to the new snow. Finally made it to the trailhead at the old Twin Springs campground.

Started down the road in the old campground (it has been bermed and ditched so that no vehicles can go in there anymore), and found an old sign for the trail. According to that sign, it also went down to Hambone Springs. It said 2 miles to the Roaring River and 8 miles to Hambone Springs. Interesting little bit of forest history.

Wasn’t sure how well we could follow the trail in the snow, but it was easily apparent where the trail was, at least for the first 3/4 mile or so. After that, there was good flagging to guide the way. All the way down to the second crossing of Plaza Creek (or where it meets the creek). At that point, the flags disappeared and we were unable to find any sign of the trail after that. With the trees dripping heavily, we decided to eat a quick lunch and start the long ascent back to the top.

Some neat things to watch for on the trail – – a couple of nice creek crossings, a really neat rockslide, and an interesting rock formation – from the bottom end it looks like a fieldstone chimney!

This was the second to the last trail in my quest to hike all the trails in the Clackamas district. One more to go! (Corral Springs). Even though it was really beautiful today with all the snow, I would like to see this trail in the summertime without it. I think it would have a completely different feel to it.

All in all, a good way to end up the high elevation hiking season.

10/29/2011 – Wash Creek Exploration

Date of Hike: 10/29/2011
Location of Hike: Wash Creek Basin
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Kirk
Start Time: 10:15 AM  End Time: 6:00 PM
Hike Distance: 13.4 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
A truly epic hike. The weather was absolutely fantastic, although we did get very wet due to the brushiness of the “trail” (an old road that was decommissioned after the ’96 floods). It was one of the most grueling hikes I’ve ever done, probably only topped by one back in 2009 where I did more mileage on normal trails with more elevation gain.
Looking at our task ahead of us:

The first 7 miles was pretty much tough bushwhacking through young alders most of the way. The old roads are REALLY getting overgrown – and most of the places you couldn’t even see the gravel anymore. The duff is starting to build up and ferns, etc are starting to grow in the old road. The alders were the biggest problem, though. The road started out with sort of a track, but that quickly disappeared. The good news is that since we decided to do a shuttle hike, we were going downhill all the way, starting at about 4100′ and finishing at about 1200′ . One of the questions for this hike was whether or not we would have to do an out and back hike of if we could do a thru hike (which was shorter). By about the 5 mile mark, we decided we were going to get across the creek no matter what – we weren’t going to to and out and back! Fortunately, there was a really big log over the river which made a perfect bridge.

That turned over bridge was an absolutely amazing sight. One end of the bridge was actually twisted upside down! The bridge broke at one end and twisted. Absolutely incredible.

We had a late lunch there, dried out our feet and changed socks and then continued on. The next mile to the next bridge was probably the toughest since there were lots of downed trees over the road, some of them really tough to get around. By the time we got to the bridge at the confluence of Fish and Wash creeks, we were pretty tired. We had taken a lot longer than we planned, but from then on, the track was pretty good – it was like a 4 lane superhighway compared to what we had done before! We made great time back to the vehicle at the north end, but it was almost 6:00 – two hours later than we had planned – and we still had 2 1/2 hours of driving ahead of us. We got to my truck just after dark and turned around – driving on forest service roads in the dark isn’t fun! We missed a turn and had to figure out where we missed it. We finally figured it out and got on the road back. It was about 22 miles up narrow, winding gravel roads, with several turns along the way. Interestingly enough, most of those roads are in pretty good shape – there was even a section of a mile or so that is still paved! I ended up getting home about 9pm – a 13 hour day. I was exhausted but we had a good time, and seeing that turned over bridge was worth all the effort. I’ll be paying the price for the next few days, though.

10/15/2011 – Russ Lake – Olallie, Monon, Mon-Olallie Trails – 716,729,731,732

Date of Hike: 10/15/2011
Location of Hike: Russ Lake Trail, Olallie, Mon-Olallie and Monon Lake trails
Trail Number: 716, 729, 731, 732
Weather during Hike: Overcast and foggy most of the day
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 10:00 AM  End Time: 3:00 PM
Hike Distance: 9.5 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
Trying to get in some last hikes before snow closes the higher elevation trails, and also trying to add to my goal of hiking all the trails in the Clackamas district, I decided to hike 4 trails this day – Russ Lake, Olallie Lake, Monon Lake and Mon-Olallie Lake trails.

What I thought was going to be a great day weather wise turned out to be rather foggy and overcast. It wasn’t too hot and wasn’t too cool, probably in the low 60’s I’d guess. Not a bad day to do hikes out in the open.

These trails are all very flat, probably no more than 75 feet elevation gain/loss, so the hikes went pretty quickly. Started the hikes doing the short Russ Lake trail, and took the side trip to Jude lake. Interesting area with some nice campsites. Both lakes are on tribal land.

Next, moved to the Olallie area and did the 3 trails around and between Olallie and Monon lake(s). It was interesting to see the burned areas, although it did quite a bit of damage to the forest. Seeing the non-burned areas, I would have loved to have seen the area before the fires. The area is starting to recover, but it is going to take quite some time.

The south side of Olallie and the east side of Monon lake really took the brunt of the fire damage. Once you get to the southern part of Monon lake, you get out of the fire damaged area and into the woods again. You cross over several sections of marshy area where there have been raised sections of trail built. Walking around Monon lake is very nice. The trail doesn’t go completely around the lake since the road (4220 road) follows the western part of the lake – you walk up the road to the “start” of the trail just south of where 4220 meets the lake. We continued around monon, coming back into the burn zone and then back up the Mon-Olallie lake trail to Olallie. Continued around Olallie lake clockwise. Got to the spot where the trail stops (where it hits 4220) and hiked back up the road a ways. Stopped for bit to pick huckleberries along the way. It looks like portions of the trail continue along the lake shore (it was flagged in places), but the trail doesn’t really continue all the way around. Ended up walking back up the road to where we started (at the junction to the resort which had been blocked by boulders for the winter). Walked back up past the resort to pick more huckleberries and then came home.

I was a little disappointed that the weather didn’t burn off, but it was still a good day in the woods and I’m glad I got a chance to see this area in more detail. I would really like to explore the southern part of Monon lake some more some day.

10/8/2011 – PCT to Pyramid Butte – Ruddy Hill

Date of Hike: 10/8/2011
Location of Hike: Horseshoe Lake, PCT, Pyramid Butte, Ruddy Hill Trails
Trail Number: 712, 2000, 714
Weather during Hike: Sunny but cool
Hiking Buddies: Kirk and Bandit
Start Time: 10:40 AM  End Time: 4:45 PM
Hike Distance: 9 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was a trip to explore the southern most part of the Clackamas District, and to try and get in some last minute hiking before the winter snows close the higher elevation trails. The Pyramid Butte trail is an abandoned trail that is still in REALLY good shape. I also wanted to explore the PCT farther south in the district. I actually thought this was past the border of the district, as it goes into the northern part of the Jefferson Wilderness, but the district boundary is actually a couple miles farther down the PCT. So, next year I have a trip from Breitenbush south to the border on my list of “to-do” hikes.

The road to Horseshoe Lake campground is pretty rough, and beyond to Breitenbush is even worse. It was quite a wild ride down that rough road.

The Horseshoe lake trail was in great shape, although it was a little cool – we found frost on parts of the trail, and the parts that weren’t icy were very wet. Fortunately, we wore our rain pants to keep the water off our pant legs. After the junction with the PCT, we headed south towards the junction with the Pyramid Butte trail. There were several nice viewpoints, and the trail was in great shape – not too surprising since it was the PCT. Once we got to the wilderness boundary, we knew the trail junction was pretty close. We thought we found the correct trail junction, but we later realized that we took the wrong junction. I think we ended up taking a game trail, even though it looked like a trail, it quickly ran out. We eventually found the real trail, and on the way back found where we made the wrong turn. At the bottom of Pyramid Butte is a junction that goes south on what used to be the Skyline trail. Sometime later, when the PCT came through, it was rerouted a little farther east, bypassing this junction. There was still an old sign at the base of the butte, right where the trails joined. It was very cool to see such an old sign that was in great shape, but you could see how weathered it was. The sign must have been at least 50 years old.

Taking the trail up to the top of the butte was steep, but reasonably easy (since it was pretty short). We saw some old phone line cable and insulators on the way up, and found the old lookout foundation. Interestingly enough, the lookout wasn’t on the highest point of the butte. It was on the northern end which is a little lower than the southern end. There isn’t much left of the lookout, just some piers and metal ties, and some broken and melted glass. The really big draw to Pyramid Butte is the view. The views in almost all directions are stellar, some of the best in the area. To the south, you can just seen Mt Jefferson peeking over the hill – it looks so close you could touch it. To the east, on a clear day, you can actually see central Oregon. To the north, you can see Ruddy Hill and Olallie Butte. The butte is almost completely burned, but the very top was spared.

Hiking back down, we found where we found the wrong turn we took. We found the spring referenced on the map and walked through the burned area – the Pyramid Butte fire of 2010. Parts of it burned REALLY hot, and other spots weren’t too badly hit.

We were still feeling pretty good, and had enough time left, so we decided to hike up to Ruddy Hill. That trail is in good shape, but I forget how steep it is. You essentially walk straight up the hill (a little cross hill, but mostly up). Once on top, the view is great (but not as good as on Pyramid Butte). We got a great view of the butte, and saw the old telephone box at the summit. Met a nice group at the summit and talked for a few minutes. Interestingly enough, there was still wildflowers – Kirk had been up there just a few weeks ago, and there was till a big snowbank there, so the flowers didn’t have much of a season.

On the way to our next stop, we stopped at the Breitenbush campground, which is now on Indian reservation land. We looked at an old stone building, which was interesting. The campground was originally built by the forest service, but when the reservation line was moved, the campground reverted to tribal ownership.

A quick trip back down the hill and back to the campground and we went on to our last destination for the day: The weird, unique springs in the bottom of the Breitenbush valley. The floor of the valley is essentially a bog, but these springs are really weird. They have a “brim” around them that makes the water level a foot or two above the rest of the meadow. One of them looked a lot like the hot springs in Yellowstone park (although these are not hot springs). You could see trees and roots way down in the spring, probably 10 feet deep. Really weird, but cool.

Lastly, we had one more surprise on the way home. After enduring the seeming never ending rough road that is forest service road 4220 (it is hard to call it a road in places), we were stopped about 10 miles from Ripplebrook – someone had run their car into the river and flipped it. There were two tow trucks that were trying to get the car out of the river but were not having much luck. After about a half hour of attempts to get it back up the hill, they moved and let people pass while they were going to re-think their approach. We were told by others who were tehre thatn the driver was OK and was taken from the scene a little before we got there. It was amazing that they weren’t more seriously hurt.

It was one of my best days hiking, and a great way to do what will be one of the last high elevation hikes this year.

10/2/2011 – Thunder Mountain and Skookum Lake Trails – 542/543

Date of Hike: 10/2/2011
Location of Hike: Thunder Mountain and Skookum lake Trails
Trail Number: 542/543
Weather during Hike: Cool and foggy - a little drizzle here and there
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 12:40 PM  End Time: 4:15 PM
Hike Distance: 6.4 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
The 2011 higher elevation hiking season is fading very quickly. We had a very late start to summer and LOTS of late season snow, so it was mid-late July before some of the higher elevation trails were accessible. Here is it the beginning of October and fall and its rain (and soon snow) is quickly arriving. Snow at 4500 feet is supposed to be coming this week.

While I couldn’t get out on Saturday, I wanted to try and do a short hike on Sunday. I opted to hike the Thunder Mountain and Skookum lake trails. These were supposed to be 1 mile trails (each), so I had expected to do about 4 miles total. An easy Sunday afternoon. Well, the trail sheets were off a bit. The trails are more like a mile and a half (one way), so I ended up hiking a little more than 6 miles. Still easily do-able on a Sunday afternoon.

Got to the trailhead about 12:40 and started up the trail. On the way in, 3 does got scared by my truck and they RAN (more like jumped) down the road. This was the start of deer season.

The beginning of the trail starts at an old spur road and the trail is a little rough. There are spots that are VERY overgrown with Thimbleberries, but thankfully they are not too long. For some reason, I get the beginning of this trail confused with the begining of the Whetstone trail.

Once past the rough spots, the trail takes off through pretty much untouched forest, which is stunning. The trail does gain a fair amount of elevation, but for the most part, isn’t too bad. A few brushy spots along the way, too. There are a couple of really nice viewpoints on the way up, but today was just fog and clouds. Once almost to the top, the Skookum lake trail joins. We took the trail to the summit and the location of the old lookout. Not a lot to see on this day – we were hiking through clouds/fog and on top there were lots of low clouds, so couldn’t see too much. I was hoping we might get another view of the Motherlode fire, but there were too many clouds.

Back down the trail to the junction with the Skookum lake trail, and down through the burned area to the lake. The last time I hiked this trail, the fire had just occurred and the trail was very difficult to follow due to damage from the fire. That has all been fixed, and the trail is pretty easy to follow – someone had recently flagged a bunch of the lower section where it gets a little brushy in places. I had forgotten how much elevation you lost on the way down to the lake – you lose almost 900′ of elevation going down to the lake. So, you start out, go up to the lookout and then come down to almost the same elevation you started at, and then have to come back up all that elevation. Once at the lake, we stayed fora little bit, took a couple of pictures and then started back. I did a little brush work on the way back up. It gave me a chance to catch my breath as we were making our way back up. Bodie didn’t care – he was ready to go!

The trip back was uneventful. The views were a little better on the way back, but you could tell that the rainy weather was blowing in. Where the trail is exposed on the west side, it was pretty breezy. I think that was the weather system coming in. As I didn’t want to get caught in a downpour, I decided to try and pick up the pace a bit. I was already pretty soaked from all the wet brush, but didn’t really want to get rained on, too. Made it back to the truck by about 4:15.

A nice cloudy/foggy/cool day in the woods along some beautiful trail.

9/24/2011 – Rho Ridge Complete – 564

Date of Hike: 9/24/2011
Location of Hike: Rho Ridge Trail
Trail Number: 564 and 564-A
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Start Time: 10:00 AM  End Time: 4:30 PM
Hike Distance: 12 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
In my ongoing quest to hike all of the trails in the Clackamas district, one on my list was the Rho ridge trail. Without doing an overnighter, hiking 22.5 miles in one day (up and back) is too much for me. Although this trail has good intermediate access at several points, I still wanted to do the whole trail in one day if possible. The next best thing is to do a shuttle hike, leaving a car at each end.

We got an early start to the day, since it would be a reasonably long day, and the days are getting shorter. We met at the ranger station at 8am and headed out. We got to the northern trailhead about 9:15 or so, dropped one vehicle and headed to the southern trailhead. We started our hike a little before 10 I think. We decided we would make the short hike up the cabin on Hawk mountain. Last time I was up there in the fall there was a wasp nest in the porch and I got stung. This time, no wasp nest. There were some more things in the cabin, and someone had posted 4 photos showing what things looked like when it was in use. It was pretty cool to see – the tower had a second temporary tower next to it- probably when they were building it. There was also another building to the side.

After visiting the cabin for a bit, we wandered back down the side trail and back onto the main Rho Ridge trail. The trip was pretty uneventful – it was a warm day but there was a slight breeze blowing. I was a little surprised that there weren’t more views, especially on the southern end of the trail. Most of the trail you are on a ridge, but hidden in the trees. The views are mostly on the northern end of the trail. We did get a really good look at the Motherlode fire from the old lookout site on Mt Lowe. Although the fire had died down over the last week or so, the warmer temperatures and wind had whipped it up again, and there was lots of smoke from the Battle Creek drainage.

The trail crosses quite a few old roads, many of them closed or decommissioned. Right at the northern trailhead we found a bounty of ripe huckleberries. We stopped and ate a few of them, but we were running a little bit late so we didn’t have time to pick any to take home – just a few for the ride home. Stopped at Fearless brewing in Estacada for the annual launch of their strong scotch ale – good stuff!

A great, but tiring day in the woods….

P.S. – I have about 8 more trails to finish before I hike all the trails. I won’t be able to finish this year – will have to wait until next year…..

7/30/2011 – Lodgepole Trail- PCT Loop – 706

Date of Hike: 7/30/2011
Location of Hike: Lodgepole and PCT Trails
Trail Number: 706
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 10:30 AM  End Time: 4:00 PM
Hike Distance: 11 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was intended to be a loop hike, going counterclockwise, starting on the Lodgepole trail, then taking the Red Lake trail to where it intersects with the PCT and taking the PCT east and then north back up to where it intersects the Lodgepole trail. Shortly after the trail starts, there is a poorly marked junction with the PCT – to continue on the Lodgepole trail, I needed to turn right instead of continue straight ahead. I quickly realized my mistake, and decided to to the hike clockwise instead.

This is pretty dry country. The Olallie Meadow campground was closed and looked like a war zone since they had cut down so many trees due to disease and fire. Here is Olallie Meadow:

There were a lot of wood cutters there cutting up the downed trees. The hike started out great – not too many bugs and the temperature wasn’t too bad. It continued to get warmer and warmer throughout the day, and this trail doesn’t have a lot of protection from the sun. I didn’t bring sunscreen (oops!), so I tried to cover my neck and head to keep from getting sunburned. I was mostly successful in that regard. The PCT was in GREAT shape, and I met quite a few people on the trail on my way to Olallie lake. I opted not to stop at the Olallie Lake store on my way through due to having Bodie with me (he isn’t too good around people). I crossed the 4220 road and went by Head Lake and stopped shortly after that at an unnamed lake to have lunch. It was nice – in the shade, next to a lake. The bugs weren’t too bad, either. Bodie took the opportunity to lie down in the lake to cool off a bit.

After the lake, we headed west, to meet the Red Lake trail, passing a few small lakes. We met the Red Lake trail – where we were two weeks earlier that had snow covering the trail – the trail was free of snow and we had an uneventful trip to the Lodgepole trail junction. We hiked up the Lodgepole trail a ways, and stopped at Lower lake to cool off a bit. It was starting to get pretty warm, especially when you are hiking. After a short rest break at the lake, we continued on to Cornpatch meadows (a very interesting place) and finished the hike.

I saw the place we took the wrong turn at the beginning, and the last mile of the hike seemed to take FOREVER. Probably because I was hot and tired and I just wanted to get back to a comfy seat and some A/C. We went down to the Olallie Lake store to see the improvements they made and I bought a cold drink.

All in all a great, although DRY day. I underestimated the amount of water I needed and had to stop a couple of times to fill my bottle. At least there were lots of lakes to choose from.

7/9/2011 – Baty Butte Cross Country hike – 545

Date of Hike: 7/9/2011
Location of Hike: Baty Butte Trail
Trail Number: 545
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Kirk and Matthew
Start Time: 10:00 AM  End Time: 7:45 PM
Hike Distance: 12 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was intended to be a hike on the south end of the Baty Butte trail, in preparation for a South Sister climb the following weekend. Neither of those things came to pass. The South Sister climb was changed since there was between 2-8 feet of snow on the ground at the lake we were going to camp at. This hike was changed because the road leading to the trailhead was closed about 4 miles short of it due to a washout.

We looked at the map and thought we could go cross country to hit the Baty Butte trail. What we didn’t plan too well was how difficult that cross country route would be. It was over a thousand feet vertical and there was LOTS of devils club and rhodies to deal with. It was an amazing cross country hike, but it was TOUGH. Kirk calculated the incline to be about 55%.

It took a long time to do the short cross country (less than a mile), and by the time we got on the trail, it was getting late. We ended up going less than a mile down the trail, but did get to the first hillside meadow, which had lots of flowers in it.

Since the trip up was so difficult and took so long, we decided to hike back the road, even though it was much longer. We didn’t get back to the pickup until almost 8:00pm! A long day, but it was a lot of fun…..

7/2/2011 – Fish Lake – 717 and Round Lake – 565

Date of Hike: 7/2/2011
Location of Hike: Fish Lake and Round Lake Trails
Trail Number: 717 and 535
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 9:00 AM  End Time: 5:00 PM
Hike Distance: 7 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
I have not been out hiking in almost 2 months due to end of school year events, so this was a welcome escape. Since I wasn’t sure of the snow levels (this has been a weird year for snow), I decided to try a couple of relatively safe (lower) trails, and to add on a short hike that I’ve been wanting to do for a while now (Round Lake.. Part 1 of the hike – was the Fish Lake trail. This was a trail I’ve done a few times from the west end, but never went beyond the lake. That is too bad, because one of the best spots on the trail is actually past the lake – after you pass the lake and make the climb up the hill, there is a GREAT viewpoint of the lake. There were a couple of families camped at the lake, but both were on the NE side of the lake, so I didn’t pass through any occupied campsites which was kind of nice.

I saw no snow until about 4200′, on the way up the hill, and then just in a few spots. Once up on top, there was no snow until almost to the Lower Lake campground, and then there was a couple hundred feet of 2-3′ drifts across the trail.

One thing about the access to the trailhead – there is a washout on the 4691-120 road at Squirrel Creek that low clearance vehicles can’t get past. Trucks or higher clearance vehicles can get through no problem with a little caution.

I also explored the NE side of the lake, trying to see where people had been driving to the lake from the power line road. There is a rough “road” from the power line access road that people are still using, even though there are signs that motorized vehicles shouldn’t go any farther. There are large “tank traps” on the NW side of the lake which seems to have stopped them on that side, but there is only one trap on the NE side and it isn’t too hard to get over, which is why they probably choose that side.

Part 2 of the hike was the Round Lake trail and camping area. This is a very LONG drive, but it is a very pretty lake and some really nice campsites at the lake. The trail goes all the way around the lake, however the back side gets a little brushy. The campsites at the lake were very nice, well dispersed with picnic tables and even outhouses!

Had a little bit of a challenge getting to the trailhead on road 6350 – there were 3 different snowdrifts across the road – one was over a foot deep, but it was pretty soft and I just plowed through it. Won’t be long before it is completely gone.

There were 3 or 4 families camped there, however they were camped along the road, not at the lake. There was no one camped at the lake itself.
A beautiful summer day in the woods!

5/1/2011 – Hillockburn Trail – 516

Date of Hike: 5/1/2011
Location of Hike: Hillockburn Trail
Trail Number: 516
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 10:30 AM  End Time: 1:30 PM
Hike Distance: 3.3 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was a short hike down the South Fork of the Clackamas River on the Hillockburn trail. I didn’t have a lot of time for a hike on this day, but really needed to get out and stretch my legs and enjoy nature. The weather was BEAUTIFUL! This is a short trail that is pretty close to home, so it worked out OK. The start of this trail is very depressing due to all the garbage and abuse, however there is one corner that you turn on the trail and it completely changes from an abused area, to a beautiful area with wonderful scenery. The noise and abuse you saw earlier literally disappears. It is almost magical.

I spent a little while down at the river, enjoying the sounds of the river and eating lunch.

I spied the trail that continues up the other side, and am going to try and do that trail later this summer.

A short, but great day out.

4/23/2011 – Calico Road – Up Fish Creek

Date of Hike: 4/23/2011
Location of Hike: Old Calico Road - Up Fish Creek
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 8:30 AM  End Time: 1:00 PM
Hike Distance: 10 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was a trek up the old 5420 road in the Fish Creek drainage. Many people call it the Calico road (old maps also show this name).

I have explored this area before, however I wanted to go further than I had before. I had heard some interesting things about the area and wanted to explore more.

I ended up going up the road about 5 miles, passing numerous old road junctions. This area had LOTS of roads in it before the ’96 floods when all the roads were decommissioned. I saw some BIG elk prints in the mud –

crossed several creeks, and even got to see a bunch or horses on the trail!

I also found an old stump with an old sign on it, however the sign text was gone. I’d love to know what used to be on the sign, but alas I will probably never know.

It is very interesting to see how quickly nature will recover and reclaim land that man has disturbed. While you can still clearly see the old roadbeds, most of them are being overgrown with young alders – the only thing that keeps it passable is the quad tracks and periodic pruning of some of the alder sprouts.

Most of the old road is rather protected, but there are a few places where you get a good lookout into the drainage. I saw the lower road at one point, and most of the way you could hear Fish Creek in the distance.

I didn’t see anyone else all day, until I was almost back to the truck, and then saw a lone hiker and a group of horseback riders. As I was hiking back, I saw tracks and droppings, and couldn’t believe I had missed them on the way in – well I didn’t, it was because they came in after me!

An interesting day of exploration in an interesting place.

2/26/2011 – Switch Creek

Date of Hike: 2/26/2011
Location of Hike: Switch Creek Trail
Weather during Hike: Overcast and cold - SNOWY
Hiking Buddies: Don and Kirk
Hike Distance: 3 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
A short hike on an abandoned trail with a couple of friends. Although it was a short hike, it was great to get out in the woods. I was surprised at how much snow there was, especially up higher. When we got on top, there were spots where it was probably 18″ or more deep! Crossing Switch Creek was a little bit of a challenge, too, since there was a lot of ice covering the rocks. I ended up walking across a log on the way back, since it wasn’t icy like the rocks were.

A trip on the way home to Fearless Brewing in Estacada for Strong Scotch ale made for the perfect end to the day.

1/27/2011 – Riverside Trail – 723

Date of Hike: 1/27/2011
Location of Hike: Riverside Trail
Trail Number: 723
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 10:30 AM  End Time: 2:30 PM
Hike Distance: 9 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
I decided to take advantage of the nice weather and take a day off from work. It was a little cool and foggy in the morning, but the sun came out a little later and it was beautiful. I started this hike at the Rainbow campground, hiked the trail all the way to the Riverside campground where I had lunch. After eating lunch, we turned around and came back the same way. A couple of notes about the trail – The first bit where you are on the trail along side the Oak Grove fork isn’t too interesting. When you turn the corner and hit the main Clackamas, things start improving. You go through a lot of old growth, lots of moss, several creek crossings (which all have bridges), and basically just go up and down the whole route. Most of the time you can see the river, and sometimes you can see and/or hear the road. The last mile or so of the south end of the trail parallels the road pretty closely, so you will see and/or hear the traffic on the road. You almost always have the river as a companion, however. It was very interesting to see how the river is re-shaping its channel. There are a lot of big slides on the trail where the river is changing course.

I also found a few historical things today – or what I think are historical things – one is possibly where the old fish hatchery used to be. I’m going to check some old maps to see if I’m right. There is also a bridge across Tag creek that was an Eagle project in 1997. What a cool Eagle project!

It was a great day out in the woods. Great weather and a river that was running wild!

1/1/2011 – Cripple Creek – 703

Date of Hike: 1/1/2011
Location of Hike: Cripple Creek Trail
Trail Number: 703
Weather during Hike: Overcast and cold - Sun made a few breaks in the clouds
Hiking Buddies: Kirk and Don
Start Time: 9:30 AM  End Time: 2:15 PM
Hike Distance: 5.75 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
The plan for this hike was to start the new year out right and do a new hike. Although I’ve hiked the upper section of the Cripple Creek trail, I had never hiked up this “alternate” starting point for the trail. It started down at highway 224, went up to an old camping area, across an old (broken) bridge across Cripple Creek,

then down and old Railroad grade and eventually up to the “official” trailhead for this trail.

The new route was VERY easy to find, and was interesting to see more history of the area, even though you couldn’t see any of the historical artifacts (other than the railroad grade).

Once on the regular trail, I was surprised at how much snow was down low, but even more surprised at how little snow was up higher. We ended up getting up the trail to almost 3000′ before we decided to turn back, with the snow being about a foot deep. It was fluffy, light snow so even in the places on the trail it was 3-6″ thick, it wasn’t too hard to walk in. Where it got to be a foot deep, the upper layer was the fluffy stuff, and the stuff lower was crunchy, which made you post hole.

The weather wasn’t as clear as I had thought it would be, but it was still nice. Rather cool, being probably below freezing when we started, and warming up a bit to a little above freezing by the time we left. The hike was a constant struggle to keep warm, and then not get too warm. Some nice viewpoints along the way, along with good company, good weather and beautiful snow in the forest made for a great day in the woods and a great way to start 2011.

12/24/2010 – Alder Flat – 574

Date of Hike: 12/24/2010
Location of Hike: Alder Flat Trail
Trail Number: 574
Weather during Hike: Cloudy and misty - no rain
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 9:00 AM  End Time: 10:15 AM
Hike Distance: 2.5 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
I got up early to do this hike before too much happened on Christmas Eve. It has been about a month and a half since I have been out, and really felt the need to do a quick hike. The weather didn’t sound too bad, so I managed to squeeze this in. I hiked this trail several years ago with the whole family, but haven’t been on it since. We did it in winter time as well, but I don’t remember any snow when we did it last time. One thing that we missed last time was a side trail to the pond and beaver dam. This time I found the side trail and went to the beaver dam – I scared a big rabbit at the dam and he scurried away in the snow.

Hiked up to the river and headed upstream as far as the flood plain went to check out some rapids. The water was pretty high and running fast.

After looking around and soaking it in, We hiked back to the truck. It was a great morning, and I didn’t even get wet! I was surprised it didn’t rain at all.

11/3/2010 – Bull of the Woods trail – 550

Date of Hike: 11/3/2010
Location of Hike: Bull of the Woods trail
Trail Number: 550
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 9:00 AM  End Time: 1:30 PM
Hike Distance: 7 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
With the (probably) last of the nice weather, I took a day off to do what is probably my last high elevation hike of the season. I went up to Bull of the Woods lookout on the #550 trail. I was very surprised at the lack of snow, especially since it must have gotten dumped on a few weeks ago. The only snow I saw was on north facing slopes or shady areas, and even there, it was only a couple of inches deep.

The trail was in great shape, with only a couple of downed logs. There are a few areas they get rather brushy, but since all the undergrowth had died, and all the huckleberry bushes had lost their leaves, it was still easy. I spent some time brushing the worst of the trail, up on the top end, but it still needs a lot more work.

One of my goals for this hike was to see how much damage had been caused by the fires this summer. I was rather disappointed that I couldn’t see much.

From what I could see, it looks like the damage is less than I was fearing. Big Slide Lake looks untouched, but I’m not sure why the Dickey Creek Trail is still closed. I didn’t see anything back that way that looked burned, but it must be beyond what I could see. You could see burn damage in the saddle between Big Slide Mountain and its neighbor peak (don’t know what it is called). The good news is that the burn doesn’t appear to have gone up the other side of the valley. The bad news is that I think the damage on the other side of that hill is extensive.

It was a beautiful day, and the wind going up the Clackamas gorge was as strong as I’ve seen it – the reservoir had BIG whitecaps on it! I didn’t have a whole lot of wind on the trail, just a little once I got up to the top. One thing: The lookout appears to have lost part of one of its shutters. I think it was sitting down on the ground below it. It looked like someone had weighted it down with rocks, I’m guessing to help keep it from blowing away.

A great day, and a wonderful way to end the high country season. After this weekend, I think it will be low elevation trails for a while…

10/13/2010 – North end of Bagby trail – 544

Date of Hike: 10/13/2010
Location of Hike: TrNorth end of Bagby Trailail
Trail Number: 544
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 9:00 AM  End Time: 4:00 PM
Hike Distance: 14 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was a mid week hike down the north end of the Bagby trail. I wanted to complete my traverse of the entire Bagby trail. Earlier this summer my daughter and I hiked the lower 5 miles of the trail and I wanted to finish the trail.

Although the initial couple of miles is very heavily traveled due to the hot springs, the rest of the trail is more lightly used. As you get further down the trail, it gets a little more brushy in places

It was an absolutely beautiful day, although it was rather chilly in the morning. When I got to Bagby at about 9am, there was one car who looked like they were leaving, and another that had a flat in the parking lot. I figured the hot springs would be empty – I was in luck! The beginning of the trail is very well maintained, even being paved most of the way. If you look up the hill, you can see the “old” trail – at some point they relocated the trail nearer the creek – probably because they wanted it to be wider and didn’t want to cut into the hillside more I’m guessing. Crossing the Hot Springs fork you got the smell of fish – there were lots of salmon that were dead in the river – I’m guessing they died after spawning.

The rest of the trip up to the hot springs was uneventful. I got to explore a bit around the camp there, although there was a couple there – I found out later I think they were camped up the trail a bit. I did get to see the soaking “tubs” (hollowed out logs). Very interesting place.

Past the hot springs, the trail gets narrower, but is still in extremely good shape. The farther you get from Bagby, the less traffic it gets, though. After a couple of miles past Babgy, the trail is still easy to follow, but is VERY brushed in in places. On the way in, I got absolutely soaked from the dew/rain/moisture on the vegetation overgrowing the trail. Mostly huckleberries with some rhodies and a few tree branches.

You cross several creeks, and pass a really nice, pretty waterfall – it is called shower creek, and it looks like they literally used it as a shower at one point – there is a wooden deck under one section of the falls!

You continue on, crossing a bunch of small creeks until you get to a GREAT viewpoint, with a nice sitting spot and wonderful view of Whetstone Mountain.

There was one spot that I was a little curious about – most of the trail is mature forest, however one section is rather bare, with lots of rhodies and small trees. It doesn’t appear to have been logged, so I’m kind of wondering if there was a lightning strike or something in that area? The trail was easy to follow through it, though.

Once you get farther down the trail, you eventually cross the hot springs fork, but it is an easy crossing thanks to a log. The trail then starts to go uphill and climbs a bit until you get to “Howdy Doody Camp”, a nice little camp area just past a couple of creeks. This was my lunch spot and turnaround point.

I spent a little over an hour working on brushing the trail just North of that camp, but that trail needs a LOT more brush work. I decided to clear a LOT of brush in the areas I did, rather than just do a light trimming – once you start cutting out the overgrowth, it is hard to stop! I eventually ran out of time, but I ended up clearing several hundred feet of the worst of the overgrowth.

This is a WONDERFUL trail that goes through some incredible old growth forest and has the Hot Springs fork as company for most of the trip. If you can endure the sideshow at Bagby, it is a great trail to go on and needs some more friends farther down the trail.

10/3/2010 – Burnt Granite – 595

Date of Hike: 10/3/2010
Location of Hike: Burnt Granite Trail
Trail Number: 595
Weather during Hike: Cloudy, foggy and cool
Hiking Buddies: Don and Kirk
Start Time: 12:30 PM  End Time: 5:30 PM
Hike Distance: 8.5 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was a hike to the restored Burnt Granite Trail, which goes around the east side of Burnt Granite. This area burned extensively in the 1930’s or so and is very rocky. The area had lots of rhodies! From reports, it is a popular cougar spot as well, since they seem to like the cover the rhodies provide. We didn’t see any cougars on our trip, however. The weather was cool, and a little foggy-actually a lot foggy at times, but still a good day. When we were at Tarzan Springs, there was a point we couldn’t even see across the meadow due to the fog! Due to the fog, we didn’t get to see any views from the top, but it is an interesting trail once you get up on top.

The beginning of the hike starts up an old cat/spur road and is rather steep, but then the grade levels out a bit. The lower section wasn’t too interesting, just some scrubby pine and lots and lots of rhodies. After you get to the mountain, you encounter a couple of big rock slides, which I’m guessing would yield some spectacular views on a better day, but we couldn’t see much. We hiked out to the other side where the trail pretty much disappears in an old clearcut (we didn’t take it down to the other end) and turned around. We hiked cross country up to the peak of Burnt Granite, looking for the location of the old lookout. All we found was some old phone line that looked like it was used as a guy wire for the pole and a place where a pole was for the old phone line.

Nothing that looked like a foundation or anything, but I don’t think we actually found where the actual lookout was.

After trying to find the lookout, we came back down and took the side trail to Tarzan Springs. I guess this is considered the beginning of the Tumble Creek trail. It went down to a road, which we walked a bit to find Tarzan Springs/Meadow.

I wonder why they called it Tarzan Springs? Not a whole lot to see there, but was interesting to see nonetheless. An interesting day, but one that requires a do over on a better/clearer day.

9/27/2010 – Fish Creek Mountain – 541

Date of Hike: 9/27/2010
Location of Hike: Fish Creek Mountain Trail
Trail Number: 541
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 9:30 AM  End Time: 3:00 PM
Hike Distance: 8 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was a day hike to Fish Creek Mountain – After the tiring quad trip the day before, I wanted a shorter hike that was reasonably close to town. I had forgotten how much elevation this trail had, and it really tired me out! I was able to make the entire trail, including going down to the lake. Did some trail maintenance (brushing of the trails) on both the main part of the trail and also on the trail down to the lake. It needs more help, but I hope it helps keep things passable. I got soaked hiking down to the lake, since the huckleberries were so wet! Got some great views from some of the viewpoints, and got a nice GPS track with some good waypoints on it. One of the interesting things on the hike today – there were at least 8 very large ant hills that were either over the trail, or right next to the trail. I’ve not seen those before and wonder if the ants are busily preparing for winter?

The area is definitely transitioning to fall, as the fall colors were out in force. Many of the huckleberries were turning red, and the vegetation on the rock slide above the lake was yellow and red. It was beautiful!

Couldn’t ask for a nicer day in the woods!

9/26/2010 – Surprise Lake Quad Trip

Date of Hike: 9/26/2010
Location of Hike: Fish Creek Basin - Old decomissioned roads - leading to Surprise Lake
Weather during Hike: Cloudy and drizzly
Hiking Buddies: Mark, Chris and Brian
Start Time: 10:30 AM  End Time: 4:30 PM
Hike Distance: 21 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was not a hiking trip, but a very tough trip with 4 quads down old decommissioned roads to Surprise Lake in the Fish Creek Basin. The roads are very rough and becoming overgrown with alder. We were whacking young trees almost the whole way.

At most of the creek crossings the crossing was tough since all the culverts have been removed and going down and then back up the ravines was difficult. The weather sort of cooperated, but it drizzled off and on all day. It was definitely cloudy and overcast. It was interesting to see much of the area that was closed after the 1996 flooding.

Although it was a physically very tough day, it was a lot of fun, although I’m not ready to repeat it anytime soon.

9/12/2010 – Abbot Road and High Rock

Date of Hike: 9/12/2010
Location of Hike: High Rock and East end of Abbot (4610) road
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Mark and Andy
Start Time: 10:15 AM  End Time: 2:40 PM
Hike Distance: 3 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This wasn’t a hike, but it was an interesting adventure in the woods…..I had always wanted to explore the east end of the 4610 road up to where the slide destroyed the road. We were originally going to take the quads up the old Fish Creek road “trail”, but it has been washed out again, so this was the alternative I came up with. It was a fun day and was interesting to see the little used east end of the road. There are some huge trees and huge rock slides on that end and the road gets VERY narrow in places. I’m not sure a normal truck could get through all the way to the landslide.

High rocks was an amazing place and being able to go up to the old lookout location was pretty cool.

It is a VERY steep trail to the top, and on the way down I slipped and before I knew it, I was on the ground and scraped up my arm pretty good. It didn’t bleed too much, but sure hurt a lot!

A great day of exploration in the woods, and a great way to recover what could have been a wasted trip….

9/18/2010 – Signal Buttes

Date of Hike: 9/18/2010
Location of Hike: Cougar Creek Trail over to Signal Buttes
Weather during Hike: Rainy and windy on the buttes
Hiking Buddies: Kirk and Don
Start Time: 11:30 AM  End Time: 2:30 PM
Hike Distance: 3.5 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was a very short, very wet hike down a very short section of the Cougar Creek trail and then bushwhacking over to Signal Buttes. It was a very rainy day, but even with the rain, we were able to have a decent view from the top of the Buttes. There was also some very interesting rock formations between the buttes that we investigated. One of the most interesting things I found was how deceiving the distances were. The rock formations didn’t look that big, or that far away, but it took us quite a while to get down the butte and out to them. They had these interesting rock formations – Kirk decided to climb one of them:

They were considerably larger than we had expected. All in all a great day, even though we got wet.

We finished up the day by visiting Fearless Brewing in Estacada for the fall release of their “Strong Scotch Ale”.

9/6/2010 – South Fork Clackamas falls

Date of Hike: 9/6/2010
Location of Hike: South Fork of the Clackamas River - Old Oregon City waterworks
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Kirk
Hike Distance: 8 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was another hike up the South Fork of the Clackamas to explore the old Oregon City Waterworks relics. I went with Kirk and the new objective was to get to the bottom of all 3 of the falls in the area (the two on the South Fork and one on Memaloose). We had tried to do the big falls on the South Fork earlier in the year, but Memaloose creek was rather high and we weren’t prepared to get wet. This time, we were able to cross Memaloose creek with no problems, not even getting our feet wet. The view from the bottom of the canyon on the big falls was quite impressive.

We spent about a half hour at the bottom of the big falls before returning to go explore up Memaloose creek. When bushwhacking down to the Memaloose falls, we started downhill too soon, and it was pretty rough going. On the way back up, we found an impromptu trail that has been forged by all the people who have been exploring this area.

It was much easier coming back up than going down. Nothing else significant on this trip, except that there was shooting debris on the road coming out. They haven’t had the “tank traps” in place too long, and already people have started shooting there, even though it is illegal on that stretch.

First Waterfall on the South Fork:

My upper thighs were complaining for a few days after this trip! It was a pretty good workout…..

9/3/2010 – Fanton Trail up to Squaw Mountain

Date of Hike: 9/3/2010
Location of Hike: Fanton Trail - up to Squaw Mountain
Trail Number: 505
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Hike Distance: 5 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was a short hike up the Fanton trail to complete my hiking of the trail. I had almost completed the entire trail, but lost the trail in the snow. It was a great hike up a beautiful part of the Fanton trail. Once up on Squaw Mountain there was some very interesting cloud formations on Mt Hood.

On the way back down, I found a VERY old trail number sign that was embedded within a tree it had been there so long:

All in all a great day in the woods.

8/20 – 8/21/2010 – Bagby – Whetstone – Battle Ax Creek Trails

Date of Hike: 8/20/2010 - 8/21/2010
Location of Hike: Bagby - Whetstone - Battle Ax Creek Trails
Trail Number: 544, 546, 3369, 3339
Weather during Hike: Warm, but not hot - no rain - In the 70s
Hiking Buddies: Carly
Hike Distance: 17.9 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
What a weekend! The original plan was to hike the south end of the Bagby trail, going up to Silver King Lake for night #1, then come down across the Whetstone trail and then down the Gold Creek trail down to Opal Creek. Then up Opal Creek to Battle Ax creek, camp somewhere along Battle Ax creek, and then down Battle Ax Creek back to Elk Lake and finally back to the truck. Day 1 was going to be a little over 5 miles, day 2 was going to be a long one, somewhere around 12 miles, and day 3 would be 4-6 miles, depending on where we camped on night 2. On day 1, my back started bothering me, and at camp that night, I started pondering alternatives. We could have just gone back the way we came, but I decided to opt to shortcut the route by taking the bypass trail, #3339. The trail names are confusing in this area, but I think its proper name is the Whetstone Mountain Trail (as opposed to the Whetstone trail, #546). The Gold Creek trail is (I think) #3369 and goes off the West end of the Whetstone trail, right after the junction to the trail to the top. So, instead of about a 25 mile backpack, we ended up doing about 18 miles or so, doing a little more sightseeing along the way. I think it worked out for the best, as it would have been a rough slog on day #2 if we had gone as planned.

Day 1 was a relatively uneventful day, driving down the rough 4697 road to Elk Lake and beyond, up to the Bagby (544) trailhead.

Headed up the trail, gaining elevation for the first couple of miles, but not seeing anything too unusual. The forest is beautiful, with lots of old growth. When we got up close to a ridge, we ran into a lone hiker who had just encountered a bear while eating lunch. He said he saw what looked like a big German Shepard dog, but when he saw the whole thing, realized it was a BEAR. He made lots of noise, and I think the bear was as scared as he was and the bear ran down the hill. My guess is that he was being rather quiet eating lunch and the bear didn’t realize he was there. We got to Silver King Lake mid afternoon and set up camp and just relaxed the rest of the day.

The lake was beautiful with lots of salamanders and LOTS of fish jumping. I really wish I had taken my pole….I saw a rainbow trout swimming in the lake, but when some of them jumped out farther, it looked like there might be some cutthroat as well. It was really neat to watch the fish jump. Some of them were jumping REALLY high! Had dinner, cleaned up and went to bed early.

On the morning of day 2, we got up, ate breakfast and then packed up and headed out about 8:00. We went back down the hill from Silver King Lake and then went a little farther north on the Bagby trail to investigate “Howdy Doody Camp” as mentioned on the trail sheet. Not much to see, just a fire ring and a crude bench, but was somewhat interesting.

It also sparked a discussion with my daughter about who Howdy Doody was….Filled our water bottles from a small creek (rather than the lake, which tasted funny) and then proceeded back south along the Bagby trail, back up to the junction with Whetstone. Hiked across Whetstone, taking in the beautiful views from some of the rocky outcroppings along the way. When I looked south and told my daughter where we were going she asked “all the way down there?”.

It was a ways down to the creek…. We then continued losing elevation down to the junction with the 3369 trail which was the one where we lost a lot of elevation and eventually ended up at Battle Ax creek, which we crossed.

We ended up stopping there for lunch, and trying to dry out my boots – my daughter had one of those new “Off” doo dads to keep the mosquitoes at bay and it ended up falling in the creek when we were crossing. When I went to get it, I slipped and one of my feet fell in and got soaked. Oh well…We ate lunch, enjoyed the beautiful scenery of the creek, then packed up and started the long road back up. We had about 1800 feet of elevation to gain back….Right at the creek there were two really nice campsites.

Would make a great place to camp someday…Headed back up to the junction with the Battle Ax Creek trail (3369? – I don’t know) which is a really old road that was abandoned long ago and has reverted to a trail. We went west a bit to see the Shiny Rock mining company gate.

Going further it would take you all the way to Jawbone Flats, the old mining town which is still occupied with an environmental center now. We didn’t see much except for the gate and a sign – I guess there is a mine somewhere in there, but maybe we didn’t go far enough to see it. We didn’t want to go too far, since we knew how much elevation we had to make up. So we turned around and went back up the road, heading south. The road did a pretty consistent uphill all the way, gaining elevation at a reasonably gently grade most of the way. As we got closer to Beachie Saddle, the road got steeper. It was interesting that parts of the road still looked like a road, and parts were barely a trail, being very overgrown. We got to a point just short of Beachie Saddle, which offered a great view and we could see the point where I told my daughter where we would be later in the day.

Got up to Beachie Saddle, rested a bit after the long climb and then headed back to the truck (which was all downhill). I was absolutely amazed that they had cut a road through that area so long ago. It must have been a terrifying road to drive, especially in a truck!

After getting back to the truck, we found two other vehicles at the trailhead. We took our boots off and headed home. A short stop at Dairy Queen in Stayton for dinner and then home. It was a long day, a little over 12 miles and quite a bit of elevation.

All in all a good trip, however I was a little disappointed we didn’t see more interesting things – I guess that is what I get for doing a quickly planned trip. The trail from Battle Ax Creek to Beachie Saddle isn’t a great trail – there isn’t much to see, and on a sunny day would be quite warm. It is pretty open most of the way. I very much enjoyed the south end of the Bagby trail and Whetstone is always an interesting place to be. It would be interesting to see what that Gold Creek trail is like and the section between Jawbone Flats and Battle Ax Creek – That will have to wait for another day…..

8/13/2010 – Elk Lake Creek – Welcome Lakes – Geronimo – Motherlode Trails

Date of Hike: 8/13/2010
Location of Hike: Elk Lake Creek - Welcome Lakes - Geronimo - Motherlode Trails
Trail Number: 559, 554, 557, 558
Weather during Hike: Sunny and warm
Hiking Buddies: Carly and Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 9:15 AM  End Time: 6:45 PM
Hike Distance: 14.5 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was a rather long hike, one I like to call an “epic” hike. Essentially, it is a long hike that is rather challenging for me. I invited my daughter to accompany me, and to my surprise, she said yes.

I was a little worried about the distance, coupled with the heat that was forecast for the day. We tried to get an early start, and got to the trailhead at about 9:15 and started off. I’ve had not been on the upper section of Elk Lake creek and it was beautiful, just as the rest of the trail is. We got up to the climbing section of Welcome Lakes and I thought we were going to have to turn around because my daughter wasn’t feeling well and had a headache. A short stop with water and some food and she felt better and we continued on.

When we got to the lower (larger) Welcome Lake turnoff, we went down to the lake and hiked around the backside where you can actually see the lake. I had not gone that far around the lake before, and it is very pretty, although the lake is rather brushed in and it is hard to get to the water.

The other big item of the day was hiking the old abandoned Geronimo trail. Quite honestly, based on the descriptions of the trail, I didn’t think I would like it all.

I only wanted to say that I had hiked that trail. I was actually very pleasantly surprised! Although the trail itself is in rather rough shape (lots of downed trees, very brushy and difficult to follow in places), it is a really nice trail.

The comments about the trail make one think it is exceedingly steep, however I found most of the trail to be pretty reasonable. It was only the last 1/2-3/4 mile of the trail that was rather steep, and I’ve been on trails in other areas of the Clackamas district that were easily that steep. (at least according to my rusty memory). The trail starts out walking a ridge, then descends through a nice meadow where the trail is a little difficult to follow, but is very pretty. It then descends down the hill at a reasonable grade until the last bit, which drops much quicker. The trail does have little mini switchbacks to make it a little easier. The biggest challenge we had on this particular trail was keeping on the trail. There were several sections that required us to find the trail. Downed trees, brush and general lack of use are allowing this trail to disappear in places. It is pretty well blazed which helped a lot.

Once we got back down to Elk Lake trail, the two creek crossings were relatively easy, and the cold water felt good on tired feet.

We ended up getting back to the truck about 6:45, so it was about 9 1/2 hours of hiking! I was very surprised at the temperature all day. Even though it was 93+ in town, it never felt that hot on this trail. Most of the day we had a nice breeze blowing and most of the trail was in the trees, so it really helped keep things tolerable.

All in all a wonderful trip! My muscles are going to complain tomorrow, though….

7/21/2010 – Rimrock Trail – 704

Date of Hike: 7/21/2010
Location of Hike: Rimrock Trail - Viewpoint
Trail Number: 704 (Rimrock) /705 (viewpoint)
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 11:00 AM  End Time: 3:00 PM
Hike Distance: 5 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was a very special hike for me. My father died on July 14th and his funeral/memorial service was on July 20th. One of the things he loved to do was to live vicariously through me in looking at pictures of my hikes. When he was a little younger and more able, I took him and my mom on some short hikes. In memory of him, I asked my mom if it was OK if I took a few of his ashes and scattered them in the woods. I chose this trail because the viewpoint trail is one of the most dramatic and beautiful places I’ve seen in this area. The actual task of spreading his ashes only took a few moments, but it is a memory I will treasure and one that helped bring closure for me.

When I got to the viewpoint, there was a hawk circling overhead, but I didn’t get a chance to get a photo or video of it since I was so enthralled with watching it, I forgot to get my camera out until it was too late. Later on, I saw 3 or 4 hawks that were riding the thermals in the canyon below. It was mesmerizing to watch them. It was a beautiful day with wonderful views of all the mountains and the surrounding valleys.

And finally, the video of me spreading dad’s ashes:

7/19/2010 – Plaza Trail – 783

Date of Hike: 7/19/2010
Location of Hike: Plaza Trail - Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness
Trail Number: 783
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Don
Start Time: 10:15 AM  End Time: 2:30 PM
Hike Distance: 7 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was a hike up the old Plaza Trail off the 4610 (Abbot) road just before the Twin Springs campground which is now all bermed off. We first stopped at the remnants of the old Plaza Guard station, which is mostly just an old fireplace and foundation for a garage now, but was interesting to see.

Farther up the trail we stopped at Sheepshead rock, which offered a beautiful view of the terrain, most of which is untouched (not a patchwork of recovering clearcuts).

In addition to the trail, we did a bit of offtrail travel to find the site of an old plane crash. It was interesting to see how little the area of the crash has recovered. Even more somber to think that quite a few people died in that crash.

The trail is pretty well graded, and was in really good shape. All in all a nice day.

5/30/2010 – Eagle Creek Trail (off the Clackamas)

Date of Hike: 5/30/2010
Location of Hike: Eagle Creek Trail (off the Clackamas)
Trail Number: 501
Weather during Hike: Cloudy and cool
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 11:00 AM  End Time: 2:00 PM
Hike Distance: 7 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
I have wanted to get out hiking again for quite some time, but with everything going on, and having a wet spring, it has been difficult. I thought I could get out on the Memorial Day weekend, but the weather wasn’t cooperating. My wife finally encouraged me to go out on Sunday, since the weather was supposed to be OK. I’m very glad she did, for this trip was good for my soul. The weather was OK, with a few small sunbreaks, but mostly overcast. It wasn’t too cold or too hot, just about perfect for hiking.

This is the second time I’ve done this hike, and once you get past the initial clearcuts, it is a beautiful hike. I went a little farther this time, going past the big creek crossing, but I ended up turning around a little ways up the trail since it started to mist and I didn’t really want to hike in the rain. It worked out OK, and I had a great time. This area has LOTS of REALLY big trees and the creek is a constant companion, either by seeing it, or by hearing it. This day, the creek was roaring due to all the rain we have had.

A beautiful day in the woods!

2/20/2010 – South Fork Clackamas and Memaloose Creek Falls

Date of Hike: 2/20/2010
Location of Hike: South Fork of the Clackamas and up Memaloose Creek
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Don and Charles
Start Time: 10:00 AM  End Time: 2:00 PM
Hike Distance: 5 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was another trip up the South Fork of the Clackamas where the old OC Waterworks was. This time we wanted to get to the base of the falls to get a better look at them. We also did a little scouting of some other abandoned trails in the area. The scramble/bushwhack down to the base of the falls wasn’t easy, but it gave a totally different view of the falls than what you get up above.

The falls on Memaloose you can’t even see without scrambling down to the creek. It is a very interesting falls in a very interesting bowl with almost vertical walls.

The only fall we didn’t get to the base of was the big falls, because we would have to ford Memaloose creek and we weren’t prepared to do that. It was still a great day with some beautiful scenery that very few people have seen.

2/9/2010 – Dickey Creek – 553

Date of Hike: 2/9/2010
Location of Hike: Dickey Creek Trail
Trail Number: 553
Weather during Hike: Partly Cloudy
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 10:30 AM  End Time: 2:30 PM
Hike Distance: 7 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was a hike into the Bull of the Woods wilderness area. Normally, this trail isn’t open this early, but since there has been very little low elevation snow this year, the trailhead was still accessible. Actually, there was NO snow at the trailhead, and the only place I saw snow was at the high point of the hike, about 3000′. I hiked to the crossing of Dickey creek, ate lunch and turned around. It was a glorious day in the woods which I had all to myself. I had forgotten how beautiful the large trees are at the bottom of the first hill. It is a tough climb back up, but it is the price you pay for the beautiful old trees.

1/10/2010 – Oregon City Waterworks – South Fork and Memaloose Creek

Date of Hike: 1/10/2010
Location of Hike: Up the South Fork of the Clackamas River and up part of Memaloose Creek
Weather during Hike: Mostly overcast and cool
Hiking Buddies: Don
Start Time: 9:30 AM  End Time: 1:00 PM
Hike Distance: 5 miles?  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was a hike I had on my list of “to dos” for quite some time. It was hiking up the South Fork of the Clackamas to explore the remains of the old Oregon City waterworks. From what I’ve been able to find out, it was decommissioned in the early 1960’s. I have not been able to find out when it was built, but for a number of years, it was the water source for the city of Oregon City. It would appear Oregon City was trying to duplicate what Portland did with Bull Run-piping in high quality water from high in the hills where it was much purer.

We crossed the South Fork near where it dumps out into the Clackamas-over a logjam which was pretty easy.

We then explored down near the river where there used to be a house of the caretaker. We found an old cable crossing point, some foundation for a small building, and even an old fire hydrant!

From there, we proceeded back up the “road” that parallels the river.

The pipeline is buried under this road and it is visible in a few places. We passed through several tunnels, saw two beautiful falls-the

higher of which has to be over 200′ tall and rivals anything you can find in the gorge. Then at the end of the trip we saw the dam and collector where the pipeline started. Back down the trail and across an old bridge just North of where Memaloose creek joins the South fork and up Memaloose creek.

Saw some more old stuff, including what looked like a settling box.

Continued up the creek, through one last tunnel and then climbed up out of the canyon to an old road and back to the car.

It was one of the best days hiking for me, since it combined two of my passions – hiking and history. It was really cool to see all the old stuff, and the waterfalls were absolutely gorgeous. I’m planning on making a return trip……