Tag Archives: 505

6/20/2022 – Fanton and Old Baldy Trails

Date of Hike: 6/20/2022
Location of Hike: Fanton and Old Baldy Trails
Trail Number: 505 522
Weather during Hike: Overcast, Foggy, Sunny at times
Hiking Buddies: Thor
Start Time: 9:55 AM  End Time: 2:05 PM
Hike Distance: 7.5 miles  Elevation Gain: 2500 feet
Pictures: Link
Today’s hike was intended to be kind of a redemption from all the rain we’ve had recently. It was Juneteenth and I had the day off and the weather report looked good – mostly sunny weather. When I woke up it was overcast outside and the deck was wet, but it was still supposed to be nice. So we packed up and headed out. On the way it started raining! I almost turned around because I wasn’t in the mood for another wet, cold day. I continued on and the weather kept kind of going back and forth between light rain, fog and just overcast. As we got higher, it seemed like the weather was improving – we had a couple of sunbreaks on the way up so I hoped it would improve as the day went on.

We got to the trailhead – the plan was to hike up the Fanton trail (go as far up the road as we could – I wasn’t sure how far the snow would go) then head up to Squaw/Tumala Mountain and if we had time, go back down Old Baldy to its junction with White Iris where we stopped last month. I was hoping we would see some snow (so Thor could play in it) but not TOO much snow. When we got to the trailhead, I saw something I’ve never seen – people camped at the trailhead. I didn’t see any people, just tents and vehicles. I parked down by the road and leashed up Thor just in case they had dogs. We got up to where the trail took off and headed into the woods. As we were walking up the trail, I did see a couple people out on the landing (they had built a fire out there), but that was the only time I saw them.

After a short bit, and seeing no other fresh footprints in the snow at the beginning of the trail, I took Thor’s leash off. We continued up and soon after we left the small un-named creek, the snow stopped and the trail was completely clear. We hiked up to the junction with Old Baldy and headed Southeast to Squaw/Tumala Mountain. We had clear trail until shortly before the saddle just north of the mountain. At that point the snow started and it got deep pretty quickly, although there were some spots in the trees where the trail was clear. The last bit of climbing up to the road the snowdrifts over the trail were very deep and very steep. I had to kick steps into the snow to get across them. We quickly got to the road where we encountered probably 4 feet of snow at its deepest. We walked up to the lookout – the radio repeater was still buried by a lot of snow but it wasn’t like when we were here last May.

We headed up to the lookout location where the old steps are – amazingly the steps were not covered in snow:

It was still a bit early for lunch, but I thought we could stop, take a break and have some water and a snack. There wasn’t much to see – the clouds kind of floated in and out but didn’t really get to see much:

After eating a quick snack and getting some water, we headed over to the other end of the ridge. Along the way, I found where someone thought this was a good place to shoot some skeet- I found quite a few broken skeet scattered about:

While walking around, we had a brief lull in the clouds where you could see a little bit, but not much:

We looked around for a bit and then headed back down – when we got to the junction with the Fanton trail, we continued straight, heading north on Old Baldy to its junction with White Iris, where we were about a month ago – at that point there was a LOT more snow here than there was today:

I looked around some more for the “new” White Iris trail sign that I saw back in December of 2020 – we looked last time and didn’t see it but were wondering if we were just looking in the wrong spot or it was covered in snow or something. Today there was almost no snow here and I still didn’t see it. I’m not sure what happened to it. It was a nice sign.

We turned around and headed back up the hill – that is one thing with the Old Baldy trail – it follows the landscape – it goes up and down a LOT. I think parts of it are old Indian trails as some parts literally go straight up and down the hill instead of doing switchbacks or something more gentle. At some point we finally got done with the upds and downs and finally got on a nice gentle downhill grade. Shortly after that we came to the junction with the Fanton trail and headed back.

Somewhere along the Fanton trail, we crossed a snowmelt runoff and there might be some sort of spring as well – it is pretty wet and it had skunk cabbage growing in it:

Thor drank a little water and we continued down – we were soon back into the snow along the creek and then back at the trailhead. I was wondering if the campers would still be there – they were – at least their tents and vehicles were. We walked over to the new bridge over the creek which was really nice:

And then enjoyed the somewhat better views from the landing – this was looking back to Squaw/Tumala Mountain:

We looked around a bit and then headed back to the truck. We loaded up and since it was still early, we headed up 4614 just to see how far we could get. We didn’t get too far – maybe a half mile or so and then the snow covered the road. I might have been able to make it thru it, but I didn’t feel like getting myself unstuck, so I turned around and we headed home.

It was a nice day in the woods – I love these trails as they go thru some beautiful forest. I only wish we could have seen more when were up on Squaw/Tumala Mountain. It was still a great day out.

5/1/2021 – Fanton to Old Baldy to Squaw Mountain

Date of Hike: 5/1/2021
Location of Hike: Fanton and Old Baldy Trails
Trail Number: 502, 505
Weather during Hike: Overcast and misty
Hiking Buddies: Kirk, Ollie and Thor
Start Time: 9:30 AM  End Time: 3:45 PM
Hike Distance: 10 miles  Elevation Gain: 2700 feet
Pictures: Link
Today’s hike plan was to drive up 4614 as far as we could, and take the Fanton trail up to Old Baldy and then head east over to the Squaw Meadows area to explore. The day threw us a few surprises but it turned out to be a really nice day of exploration.

We started out a bit earlier than normal and made it up to 4614. Kirk thought we could make it up to the corner which isn’t too far from the Old Baldy trail. I didn’t think we would make it that far, but I was hoping we could make it to the midway point where we started a snowshoe a few years ago. We didn’t make it to either as there was still quite a bit of snow on 4614 in places. We ended up stopping at a wide spot and then walking up the road a bit and then heading south thru the woods to meet the trail. The trip up the hill to the trail was kind of steep but not bad walking at all. This is what the forest looked like near where we joined the trail:

Once on the trail, we headed down. At this point there was essentially no snow on the trail at all, so it was pretty easy going. I forgot to mention that it was VERY foggy when we got there, and that persisted all day long. We got to this first viewpoint, but unfortunately, there would be no view this day – just lots of fog and mist:

We continued east on the Fanton trail and soon came to this interesting wet area – all melted with a couple of skunk cabbage:

We continued east and soon got to the mid point where we had hoped to start the trip, which had a fair amount of snow on the old spur. We soldiered on, got to the corner access point and there was even more snow there:

It was at this point where I put on my snowshoes as the snow cover was consistent and getting deeper. Kirk opted to leave his off, but I’m glad I put them on – it made the snow a little easier to navigate.

We continued up and soon got to the old Baldy junction which was barely noticeable with all the snow. We got up to the saddle where the trail splits – one up to Squaw Mountain and the other continuing down to Twin Springs (and the meadows). We stopped and had a quick lunch there. We both got a bit cold at lunch because there was a slight breeze coming thru the saddle which really cooled things off. We packed up and tried to head down the switchbacks but were kind of thwarted. The trail takes a pretty good dip down a steep hillside, but all the snow really obscured where the tread went. We headed down in the direction of where it was supposed to go, but the sidehill was really steep and icy in spots. It was tough going. We got down to the spot about where the first switchback was, and we both decided that we should turn around. We would have had to come back up that slope and we didn’t think we’d have enough time to get to the meadow anyway – so we turned around. This is what the trail in that area looked like – the trail is somewhere on this steep hillside:

Since our primary goal was thwarted by all the snow, we decided to salvage the day and head up to Squaw Mountain. At some point the route of the trail became indistinguishable so we just ended up going cross country, roughly following the route of the trail. There were a few pretty significant snow fields we had to cross over. We finally popped out onto the road leading up to Squaw Mountain which had a lot of snow on it:

We then got up to the top where the radio repeater is and found it almost buried in snow – we were estimating there was at least 8 feet of snow here:

We went up to the old lookout location but nothing was visible due to all the snow. I took a picture of Thor and Ollie playing in the snow on the top of Squaw Mountain:

We spent a few minutes on top – it was actually warmer than it was in the saddle – we were hoping the sun would break thru but it never did. You could tell it was trying, but it was still socked in. After a few minutes, we headed back down, mostly re-tracing our steps out. On the way out, I took a photo of one of the snow fields we had to cross – lots of snow – the wall of snow we had to kick in was probably about 3′ high:

We took a slightly different route back as we figured on the way in we went too low on the hill. Kirk found an old segment of phone line:

And one of the most interesting things was that it was actually growing into the tree:

After seeing that interesting historical artifact, the rest of the trip was pretty uneventful. The trip was mostly downhill. I took off my snowshoes a little earlier than where I put them on – while they help with the snow, they are more difficult to walk in and require more effort.

I guess the only thing that I recall on the return trip was where we were going to head back over to the 4614 road. On the map it looked like a great place was in a flat area shortly before where we would hit the 130 spur. There were TONS of rhodies that we would have to push thru so we ended up heading out to the 130 spur. We thought we could head over to 4614 from there, but the trees were pretty thick, so we ended up just walking the spur out to where it hit 4614. It was slightly longer but much easier I think. We liked walking thru the trees because there was less snow which made for easier walking, but sometimes you have to just go with the flow.

We got back to the truck before our targeted time, but I was surprised to see that no one had attempted to drive up 4614 any farther than we did. I’m guessing it was due to the weather – there weren’t a ton of people out. We packed up and headed out.

While the day turned out differently than expected/planned, it was still a really good day of exploration – I always enjoy the snow (so does Thor). We are hoping that at some point we can attempt this trip and make it down to the meadows. More to come on that.

11/21/2020 – Fanton to Old Baldy to Squaw Mountain

Date of Hike: 11/21/2020
Location of Hike: Fanton and Old Baldy Trails
Trail Number: 505, 502
Weather during Hike: Sunny but cold
Hiking Buddies: Thor
Start Time: 10:00 AM  End Time: 12:30 PM
Hike Distance: 3.3 miles  Elevation Gain: 1000 feet
Pictures: Link
Today’s hike was intended to be short (however it ended up shorter than I expected). The weather was supposed to be beautiful, and I hadn’t been out in a couple weeks, so I knew I had to go out this day. I’m glad I did. I just wish I had calculated the distance before I left. I was thinking the trip to Squaw Mountain from that last trailhead before 4614 turns north was about 5 miles round trip – it is just over 3. I would have started farther down Fanton if I had known that to make a bit longer day. It was still a really nice day, however.

We got to the chosen access point a bit before 10. When we got there, a woman was there – I rolled down the window and asked where she parked – she said she parked down at the Fanton trailhead. She had gotten an early start! Anyway, she headed out and we got suited up for the cold and snow and then headed out a few minutes later. Although the trail was snow covered the entire way, it was easy to follow – there have been others hiking this trail after the snowfall. The snow was mostly crunchy and hard down lower – as we got higher out of the trees we got into some new fluffy snow however.

On the way up, there were several points where the sun was shining thru the trees on the snow. I caught one of the on my camera:

We made pretty good time – I actually missed the junction with the Old Baldy trail (I missed it on the way down too). I was thinking we should see it soon and I looked at my phone and we had passed it. Soon after that point, we got to the now unmarked junction to Squaw Mountain (the sign fell off the tree):

We continued straight to head up the Squaw Mountain. A little farther up the trail there was another beautiful show shot with the sun:

It was about at this point where I put on my snowshoes. I wasn’t sure if I would need them or not, but I brought them just in case. I could have made it without them, but there were enough sections where they came in handy.

It didn’t take long for us to reach the road and then the old garage location and lookout. The views were spectacular! Here was Mt hood from the old lookout location (you can see the old steps):

Next I headed to the south end of the ridge to see if I could get a good view of the the Riverside fire damage. Unfortunately it was hard to see a lot – it is too far south:

Got to see the tip of Mt Jefferson:

And then heading up to the north end of the ridge, we got to see St Helens, Ranier and Adams – they were a LOT clearer in person:

As we were looking around, the woman who we had met at the parking area came over – she had been down the ridge a bit. We talked for a bit (keeping our distance of course). She has been discovering the Clackamas district and hiking a lot of the trails she can. There were others she wanted to hike, but was unable to because of the fire. She then headed back down.

It was still a bit early, but I thought we should eat some lunch before heading down. It was a bit windy on the ridge, so we headed down to the old garage foundation and ate some lunch there. While we were down there, another group came walking up the road with 2 dogs. The headed up to the lookout.

We finished lunch, packed up and headed down. The trip down was pretty quick. On the way down we encountered (I think) 2 more groups of people. I’ve never seen this trail so busy, especially in the winter! We made it back to the truck, and after getting everything packed up, I started driving out, and someone was trying to head up the spur road to the trailhead! Kind of a late start it seemed. But on the way out, I ran into about 10 vehicles coming up! There were a lot of people in the woods!

As I passed one of the spur roads (167 I think), I saw a car parked there – There have been people shooting down this road and the Fanton trail crosses it. I backed up and asked if they were shooting and said there was a trail down the road. They seemed to appreciate knowing that and I think they were going to pack up. I wish they would put up a “no shooting” sign on this road.

Since we were so early, I decided to drive down 4613 to see how far I could get – I figured they probably blocked it at some point since it intersects 4610 which has been closed since the fire. Sure enough, it has a big concrete barrier at the North Fork Crossing:

We turned around and this point and headed home. It was a short day, but a really nice one. I’m glad I was able to get out.

1/1/2019 – Squaw Mountain Snowshoe

Date of Hike: 1/1/2019
Location of Hike: Fanton and Old Baldy Trails
Trail Number: 505 and 502
Weather during Hike: Sunny and cold
Hiking Buddies: Kirk, Ollie and Thor
Start Time: 9:40 AM  End Time: 2:30 PM
Hike Distance: 5.4 miles  Elevation Gain: 1900 feet
Pictures: Link
This hike was the continuation of a pretty consistent tradition, however if I had know what was coming for me, I would have probably not gone on the hike. I’m really glad I did because it was just about a perfect day. Sunny, almost no clouds, not too cold and we had pristine snow the entire way. It was GORGEOUS.

We tried to do this same trip in 2016, but the snow was much deeper and we had to turn around about 3/4 mile from the top so that we had enough time to get back before it got dark. Since the snow was much deeper it was a lot rougher going too. Having to break trail thru the deep snow was very tiring. For this trip, the plan was to drive up 4614 as far as we could, since the Fanton trail mostly follows it for a few miles. Then we would park and head up the trail to the old Lookout spot.

We decided to stop near the 167 spur – about a mile farther than we were able to get to in 2016 – I was hoping that would be enough to get us to the top:

We parked, and then headed up the road looking for where the trail crosses the spur road. At this point in the day, it was all untouched snow – this is the Fanton trail continuing south from the 167 spur:

We took off to the north, heading up towards the Old Baldy trail. The snow was probably 4-6″ deep here, but we really didn’t need snowshoes while we were in the woods. At this point, we really only needed them in open areas where the snow was deeper.

Not too far down the trail, Kirk saw this cool shadow of a cross, I thought I’d take a picture:

Very quickly we arrived at the landing just off the 4614 road – the last point where you can hit the Fanton trail from 4614. After seeing what we saw, we probably could have driven up this far with little effort – but we were confident we had enough time to make it to the top. The landing was beautiful in the morning light – with all the fresh snow:

Kirk took this picture of Ollie being a goof in the snow:

After enjoying the view from that landing for a bit we headed back to the trail and continued up. It didn’t take too long to get up to the junction with the Old Baldy trail. The sign that used to mark the junction is gone – not sure if it is laying on the ground or what – you can see where it used to be though:

Anyway, we continued up towards the lookout, with the snow continuing to get deeper. It wasn’t long before we got to the road up to the lookout and finally popped out on top. It is hard to know where the lookout was – the snow had to be a couple feet deep at least. We stopped here and pulled out our stoves and made some hot beverages and ate some lunch. We tried to get a good view of Mt Jefferson, but it seemed to be hiding in the clouds. We did get a great shot of Mt Hood:

While Kirk and I were eating, Thor and Ollie were playing around:

After we ate lunch, we explored the peak a bit. Kirk found these cool designs in the snow:

And you could see part of Squaw Meadows to the east (it wraps around the back of the ridge to the south – this was just the north end of it):

After exploring the peak a bit we went down to where the old garage used to be but we couldn’t quite figure out where the foundation was – I think there was too much snow. We started our descent back down. I think the dogs were glad we were headed down – they were both having some issues with their feet and ice getting between their pads on their feet. As we got down farther and the snow wasn’t as deep, the problem seemed to go away. I could tell Thor was getting tired – between the foot thing and just being tired, he stopped a bunch of times on the way down.

We made good time on the way down – nothing much of note happened until we got almost back to the 167 spur – maybe 100 yards or so from the spur road, there were tracks on the trail – we weren’t sure if it was a jeep or what – but it was a 4 wheeled vehicle for sure. As we got back to the spur road, you could see they just drove up the spur road and then headed up the trail. I think there was a large enough log that they turned around.

Once we got back to the truck, we saw lots of new tracks – there was snowmobile tracks – not exactly sure where they went – and new tracks farther up 4614. As we were getting ready to leave, a side by side came up 4614 and went down the spur – I think that is the vehicle we saw tracks for – I hope they weren’t going to try and head farther up the trail…

We headed out and got stuck behind a caravan of 3 trucks – not sure if they were together or not, but the lead truck just stopped and talked to someone for like 5 minutes – we couldn’t really go around them due to the snow on the road, so we had to wait. This part of the forest seems to get very busy in the wintertime…. There were LOTS of people up here now with families.

An absolutely beautiful bluebird day in the snow – a perfect way to start 2019.

Post Hike note: While doing this hike I had a bit of a runny nose. I thought I was just getting a cold, but after I got back home, it really hit me. I got hit with a pretty severe flu bug. That is why this posting is so late – I was so tired I didn’t even look at my computer for like 3 days. Had I known what was coming, I definitely would not have gone on this hike, however I’m very glad I went. These are the kinds of hikes that are special. You don’t get too many beautiful winter days like this with undisturbed snow.

11/11/2017 – Fanton Trail to Squaw Mountain Snowshoe

Date of Hike: 11/11/2017
Location of Hike: Fanton Trail to Squaw Mountain
Trail Number: 505, 502
Weather during Hike: Overcast with a few sunbreaks
Hiking Buddies: Thor
Start Time: 10:30 AM  End Time: 12:45 PM
Hike Distance: 3.5 miles  
Pictures: Link
Today’s hike was almost cancelled. I had thought about this for a couple of weeks, hoping I could complete a trek we had done almost 2 years ago (although a bit shorter). No one else wanted (or could) go, and I had debated a LOT about doing it myself. I ended up leaving later than normal, which was OK since it is a pretty short drive to the trailhead. I’m really glad I decided to go, even though it was a short day. (The beginning of the track is a little messed up – I forgot to disable power saving mode)

The plan was to head up the 4614 road as far as possible (the Fanton trail pretty much follows the road – more or less), and then head up the trail to its junction with Old Baldy and then up to Squaw Mountain. When we did this trip on New Years Day in 2016, we ran out of time and energy to get to Squaw Mountain – but we started quite a ways back down 4614. I was hoping to get to the point we did, and possibly a bit farther. I was able to get to the easternmost point of the road, where an old spur road heads to an old landing. When we got to the trailhead, I was surprised to see two other cars parked there:

We got ready and shortly headed out. I saw boot prints and dog prints, so knew one of the cars had headed up the trail and had a dog, so I made sure Thor was leashed.

There was not much snow at the start of the trail:

Shortly, not too far up the trail, we met the lone hiker with his dog. I Asked how far he got up the trail and he said not very far – maybe 1/4 mile or so. It wasn’t loo long before we passed their turnaround point and the trail ahead was clear of any new tracks – we were breaking new trail in the snow! As we were hiking, I saw lots of other tracks in the snow. Some were clearly deer, but there were a bunch of these tracks, which were hard to see detail since they were partially melted, but they were LARGE. I’m thinking this had to be a bear print:

The farther we headed up the trail, the deeper the snow got, but it was still pretty easy to walk – no major postholing. By the time we got to the Old Baldy Trail jct, the snow was getting rather deep:

Looks much different than it did back in January 2016:

At this point, Thor decided he needed to “frap” a bit – it went on for quite some time (wow- you can really hear me breathing hard!) – he must have gone back and for 10 or 15 times at least:

Shortly after this point, I ended up putting on my showshoes since the snow was getting too deep to easily walk in. It kept getting deeper and deeper. It was really deep in the open areas approaching Squaw Mountain:

As we were headed up, Thor was having lots of fun playing in the snow (it was up to his chest! – But he didn’t seem to mind):

We soon made it up to the old road, and found that someone had recently walked up the road to the old lookout:

We finally got up to the top where it was almost sunny (almost), but a bit windy.
The view to Mt Hood from Squaw Mountain (Mt Hood was hiding):

We spent a little bit of time up on top looking around, but it was pretty cold in the wind, so we headed back down to the old garage foundation where it is a bit sheltered. We ate some lunch there and drank some water. Thor was having a great time running around in the snow, but even out of the wind, it was getting a bit cool for both of us, so we headed back down the hill. As we headed down, the sun was kind of coming in and out and at one point, there was this really cool Sunbreak thru the trees – although this photo doesn’t begin to capture it. It was really pretty:

We continued down the trail and at some point I removed my snowshoes since the snow wasn’t very deep and it was easier to walk in boots. Thor typically stayed near me, but at one point, I thought he had gotten the scent of something and ran uphill (a LONG ways uphill). I saw a black rear end running up the hill in the snow. I assumed it was Thor and I started walking uphill, calling him. I was getting VERY upset since he wasn’t coming – I had visions of him disappearing. I kept calling, and walking up the steep hillside, and pretty soon, I see him coming up the hill from below. I think what I saw was the rear end of a bear running away from me! After that, I kept his leash on so he stayed closer to me. It was kind of scary and cool all at the same time.

We quickly made it back to the old spur road, and we ended up walking out to the old landing. You can’t drive out there anymore, as the small bridge over Fanton Creek has failed (that is the creek running under that snow):

We enjoyed the views from the landing for a bit and then headed back to the truck and then home.

It was a very short day (I was really surprised how quickly we were able to do this trip), but it was a beautiful winter trip.

1/1/2016 – Fanton Trail – 505 – Snowshoe

Date of Hike: 1/1/2016
Location of Hike: Fanton Trail
Trail Number: 505
Weather during Hike: Sunny, cold and windy
Hiking Buddies: Kirk, Sarah, Daniel, Emily
Start Time: 11:20 AM  End Time: 4:20 PM
Hike Distance: 5.6 miles  
Pictures: Link
Hike description
Todays hike was continuing a 4 or 5 year tradition of hiking on the first day of the year. This year, Kirk and I decided to try a snowshoe trip, since we’ve had lots of snow so far this year. I got snowshoes for Christmas 2 years ago and had yet to use them due to the minimal snow we’ve had the last 2 years. Sounded like a perfect opportunity to use them.

Most of the “regular” (higher elevation) trails would be out, since they would be under snow. After much discussion, we decided to try and hike the Fanton trail. We weren’t sure if we could get all the way to the lower trailhead, but we thought the road got plowed to within a couple of miles of the trailhead, so worst case, we could drive to that point and then hike in. Well, it was quite a bit different than we had planned…..The road was clear up to the snowplow turnaround, so we kept going – it went up a hill that was VERY icy, so we put on chains and kept going for a bit. Kirk’s van was having a bit of trouble with the packed snow, so we parked it and piled everyone into the bed of my truck and headed up. What was amazing was how many people were up there – this road gets a LOT of traffic in the winter.

We easily made it to the 4614/4613 junction and I’m sure could have made it to the lower trailhead, but we decided to head up the 4614 road a bit farther to see how far we could go – maybe we could make it all the way up to Squaw Mountain? That would be kind of a neat day! We continued up the road, which got increasingly deep with snow. We finally found an old decommissioned side spur – the trail went right next to it. It was about 2 miles from the junction with 4613. That seemed like the perfect place to park and start our hike. We bundled up, put on our snowshoes and headed out.

Amazingly, the trail was pretty easy to follow, even with the 2-4′ of snow on the ground. We lost it in a couple of places, but for the most part, it was obvious where it went.

We headed east on the trail, and shortly came to the first Landing:

The view looking south from the first landing – it was a winter wonderland!

And here is a photo of most of our intrepid crew (Sarah was adjusting her snowshoes):

We enjoyed the view from the landing and then continued east on the trail. Here is a picture of our broken trail in this clearcut below the landing:

We continued down the trail, alternating people to take the lead – since breaking trail in this snow – even with snowshoes is REALLY hard work. A little while down the trail, we came across this broken snag that is going to fall fall really soon – it was cracking, creaking and groaning when the wind blew:

I thought it might come down by the time we returned, but it must be stuck up high pretty good, as it was still there on the return trip.

We continued down the trail until we got to the next trail access – on an old gated spur off of 4614. There was a nice sunny spot that didn’t seem too windy, so this is where we had lunch:

The only vehicle that had been up 4614 that far was a snowmobile – I’m glad we stopped where we did. We definitely could not have made it this far on the road.

After lunch, we continued east to the junction with the Old Baldy trail. The snow continued to get deeper and more powdery:

I was expecting to see a trail junction with the Old Baldy trail, however we just kept paralleling the ridge. At some point, I realized we must have joined the Old Baldy trail. On the way back down, we found the Trail junction:

It was not apparent due to the snow and the fact it was a Y junction, not a T junction.

It was about at this point we realized we would not have enough time to get up to Squaw/Tumala Mountain. It was getting late, and we wanted to get down off the hill, out of the snow before dark. So, we headed uphill to find a viewpoint so we could see Mt Hood and the mountains north of us. We finally found a few spots where you could glimpse views of the mountains – it was BEAUTIFUL (although rather chilly with the wind).

View of Mt Hood from above Old Baldy Trail:

View of Mt Adams from a slightly different viewpoint above Old Baldy Trail:

After enjoying the views for a bit, we headed back down the the trail to start the trek back to the truck. It was almost 2:30 so we needed to make good time back to the truck – it had taken us 3 hours to get here. We were hoping the trip back would be considerably faster since it was mostly downhill, and the trail had already been broken, so it should be faster and easier.

A couple of interesting points on the way back. There was this REALLY deep canyon of snow on the trail – probably close to 4′ deep – I’m thinking that water came down thru here to melt the snow – there was a small little creek/spring crossing the trail:

And a bit farther down the trail, there was this beautiful un-named creek that was partially frozen:

We did make really good time on the way back down, and got to the truck a little after 4:00, but it was already starting to get dark. We quickly took off our snowshoes and piled back into the truck for the trip back down. We had a little bit of excitement on the way back down – we met 3 trucks on the road – it wasn’t really wide enough for 2 rigs to pass each other, and one of them got stuck – the other 2 backed down and he had a winch, so would be able to get himself out easily. We wound our way back down the hill slowly.

Once we got down out of the really deep snow, we started encountering LOTS of vehicles – this area must be party central at night. Trucks, SUVs, ATVs were all up there around fire pits, and more were coming up. We must have met at least 20 vehicles on the way down.

Once out of the snow and ice, we stopped to take off our chains and then headed back down the hill and out to Estacada for a well deserved post hike dinner at Fearless.

Truly a “bluebird” day in the mountains – traversing lots of untouched snow with beautiful views.

12/5/2015 – Fanton Trail – 505

Date of Hike: 12/5/2015
Location of Hike: Fanton Trail
Trail Number: 505
Weather during Hike: Cloudy, snowy, rainy and windy
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 10:45 AM  End Time: 2:00 PM
Hike Distance: ~5.5 miles (GPS flaked out)  
Pictures: Link
Hike description

Today’s hike had two parameters:

  1. It had to be accessible (snow)
  2. It had to be easy enough for Bodie

In looking at snow levels and trail elevations, I thought the Fanton trail might fill the bill. It seemed low enough and it seemed relatively level – we could also turn around at any point. It has also been quite a while since I’ve hiked this trail.

So, off we went – got a bit of a late start, but that was OK since this was going to be a pretty short hike anyway. We got to the trailhead about 10:30 or so. We just hit snow about 2800′ – right before we got to the trailhead. As I was getting ready, I noticed what appeared to be a continuation of the trail on the west side of 4613. After getting ready, we headed across the road and sure enough, there was a BEAUTIFUL trail there! Easy to follow and nice tread:

We followed it for about a quarter of a mile until the edge of the FS property where it abruptly ended:

There was a recent clearcut on that property which obliterated whatever was left of the trail thru there. Too bad – looking at the old maps, it looks like it went west until it hit an old road in the area called Fanton (I’m guessing that is where the trail got its name). There used to be a school and guard station there and what looked to be a small community.

Well, enough old trail exploring. We turned around and headed back to 4613 – it had some slushy snow on it:

And then I took a photo of the trailhead – not much signage – I guess this trail missed out on the stimulus money a few years ago where all the trailheads got new signs:

Bodie was raring to go – he was ahead of me all day long! I was surprised how well he did. Even jumping over logs!

This trail, although not spectacular is very pleasant to hike. It is basically a ridge walk thru some very nice forest and a variety of ecosystems. Not a ton of views, but there are a few. When we started out, there was really no snow on the trail (just a tiny bit on the road), but as we got higher, snow started appearing, especially in the more open areas of the trail. It was quite the winter wonderland farther down the trail:

When we got up to the old road along a clearcut (don’t know what the number was, it doesn’t show on my maps), there are some good views looking south. I was surprised we could see much on this day. I’m not sure, but I think this might be Fish Creek Mountain and Whalehead in the distance:

The snow was getting pretty deep on that old road:

We continued down the trail, fighting the wind (it actually blew off my hat at one point) and the snow bombs off the trees as the snow melted and the wind gusts came thru and blew it off. Not too much farther down the trail, we decided to turn around. It was getting a bit much and the snow was getting deeper and deeper – And the wind seemed to be getting stronger. I kind of wanted to get to the junction with the parking area that most people take – the one that goes up the Squaw/Tumala Mountain. But we had gone far enough.

On the way back, I found this cool old blaze and sign after a road crossing:

The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful. We quickly arrived back at the truck. By that time, 4613 was pretty much melted out. Since it was still early, I decided to drive up 4613 and hit 4610 and see how far up I could get. I encountered a lot of traffic on 4610, mostly mudders who had been up higher. I made it to about 3500′, and decided to turn around. It wasn’t too bad, but I was by myself and I really didn’t want to get stuck. I got to within about .75 miles of Lookout Springs I think. We turned around and headed back down and headed home.

A short hike for a short day. But it was nice to get out and I’m glad Bodie had fun.

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.

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!

10/9/2005 – Fanton Creek Trail to Squaw Mountain

Date of Hike: 10/9/2005
Location of Hike: Fanton Creek Trail to Squaw Mountain
Trail Number: 505
Weather during Hike: Cloudy
Hike Distance: 6 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
I’ve hiked this trail at least twice (you can see the winter time in a couple of the pictures). It is a very pretty trail, and the spot on top of Squaw Mountain is a nice vista. There used to be a fire lookout at Squaw Mountain, and you can see its remnants in the photos. There are also some nice camping areas along this trail.