Tag Archives: 517

11/7/2020 – Shellrock Lake to Cache Meadow to Cripple Creek Trails

Date of Hike: 11/7/2020
Location of Hike: Shellrock Lake to Cache Meadow to Cripple Creek Trail
Trail Number: 700, 702, 703
Weather during Hike: overcast and snowy
Hiking Buddies: Thor
Start Time: 10:105 AM  End Time: 4:20 PM
Hike Distance: 10.5 miles  Elevation Gain: 2800 feet
Pictures: Link
The goal for today’s hike was to get down to the Cripple creek trail to see how it fared in the recent Riverside fire. I knew it was going to be a tough day and I knew it was going to be tough to get as far as I wanted to get – I wanted to get about another half mile down the trail, but I ran out of time.

The days are short right now and I had to take the long way around over Mt Hood to get here – it takes about 2 hours to get to the trailhead, so I started early – I left the house at 8:00. The weather report said it would be cold, but it also said it would be “partly sunny” – that turned out to be a lie. I got off 26 and started down 42, soon getting to road 58. It climbs quite a bit and I was soon into a fair amount of snow. It kind of looked like someone had plowed the road (two tracks – it didn’t look like just driving). But it was deeper than I was expecting:

We soon made it to the junction with 4610 and I decided to drive up a bit to see what the east end of the road closure looked like – I don’t think anyone will be getting around that gate:

There was also a pretty large log deck there:

After quickly checking this out, we headed back down to 58, then down to the 5830 road and out to the Shellrock lake trailhead. As I expected, I saw no one else, nor any evidence of anyone driving out this way at all. This is what my truck looked like parked in the Shellrock Lake trailhead parking area in the morning (about 10:15):

And this is what it looked like when I returned about 4:15 – It had been snowing a lot of the day and I was concerned it would have been a lot more snow – and I would have a difficult time getting home – fortunately things were OK – I think we got about a half inch of snow during the day:

We suited up for the cold and quickly headed out. A little bit up the trail we got a really beautiful view from the trail – looking east ish:

It didn’t take Thor long to start REALLY enjoying the snow – doing his “beaver” thing in the snow – you can hardly even tell he is there – he kind of buried himself in the snow! There was probably 4-6″ of snow at this point on the trail:

We continued down the trail and soon got into the woods. It is at this point that the abandoned trail takes off to the west. There used to be a post that was a good jumping off spot – the trail going up the hill seems to have mostly disappeared but once you are up the hill a bit, it re-appears. I couldn’t find the post so we took a shot and headed up the hill – it was kind of tough going, with the snow, but we eventually found the trail and continued west. Pretty soon, we got to this junction with another abandoned trail that heads down to 5830 – I had not seen this before – but I’ve only been on this segment a couple of times:

We followed the trail thru the snow and soon came to this small lake around cache meadow:

Shortly after this small lake, we hit the junction with the Grouse Point Trail (517). Just past the junction we saw Cache Meadow proper:

And near this is a campsite where Cripple Creek Trail comes in and where there used to be a cabin – it burned in the early 2000s:

We stumbled around in the snow a bit, struggling to find the trail, but eventually found the cripple creek trail and headed south, and then took a westerly turn. At that point, we came to this lake – I’m not sure what it is called – Cripple Creek Lake? – Cripple creek feeds it and is the outlet from it, so that would make sense, but it is not labelled on any of the maps I have:

We continued down the trail, fighting a LOT of downed logs such as this – I’m guessing these might have been casualties from the Labor Day windstorm:

Soon after that tree, I found this Bear print in the snow:

And soon after, Thor found what looked to be a “deer nest” – there was deer fur all over the place – or maybe that is where a deer got eaten – I’m not sure – it sure looked like a good “den” – It sure interested Thor:

We continued down the trail – I kept looking for the trail heading north (I didn’t want to have to road walk around) – I found it and we soon got to the spot where where all the trail junctions come together with a few signs – it is very confusing:

We actually headed off in the wrong direction – heading back up the Cache Meadow trail – I soon realized my mistake and we headed back and found the correct trail – which was probably 20′ from those signs. We soon got out to the 4635 road where the Cache Meadow trail starts:

We headed a bit down the road where Cripple creek continues downhill and continued down. It wasn’t too long before we got to the spot where the trail crosses the 4635 road farther down:

Shortly after the road crossing, the trail gets into a big rockslide. It was here that we got our first look into the burned areas farther below:

We continued down the trail, thru the cut area, and soon saw the first evidence of burn damage. It started out relatively limited, and soon got worse. This is one of the more severe burn damaged areas – lots of trees downed across the trail – you can see a cut log where the trail went in the distance:

Some of it wasn’t too bad to follow, but some got tough. In many spots, the tread burned out, like this section -a big hole that was one tread:

I saw this interesting section as well – it burned on both sides of the tread but the tread itself is completely intact – It seems like in this area it was mostly a ground fire:

We continued down the trail – it kept getting harder and harder to make progress – there was a lot of stuff on the trail, a lot of downed trees (some green). I used my loppers and a bit of hand saw work to get thru some of it, but it was getting increasingly difficult. This was another example of a heavily damaged area:

It was getting close/past my turn around time (1:30) and we still had not eaten lunch. I decided that we would turn around and find a spot to eat lunch. We had been pushing hard all day long. We found a small unburned section not too far from where we turned around. We quickly ate lunch and then headed back up.

On the way up, it started to snow, even at the lower elevation where there really wasn’t any snow. I started to get worried about how much snow was falling and whether or not I’d be able to get out. We hurried our pace (as much as I could, since the beginning was mostly uphill – heading back up to Cache Meadow). It continued to snow off and on. When we got back to the confusing junction (with the signs), I decided to go back on the Cache Meadow trail instead of going back the way we came in. I wasn’t sure if it was any shorter, but it didn’t seem like it was any longer and since it has been a LONG time (2008?) since I’ve been here, I thought it would be good to have different scenery. We made it around the north side of Cache Meadow and soon got back to the Grouse Point trail near the old campsite. We went a little bit on Grouse Point to the cutoff trail – on this end it is VERY apparent – so apparent it would be easy to take the wrong turn. We headed east on the cutoff trail, heading uphill – struggling a bit to follow the trail in the snow, but keeping with it. We did well until we got to the top of the hill. There was a big downed tree, and we kind of lost the trail at that point. We went downhill, navigating a BUNCH of downed logs and finally hit the Shellrock lake trail. From there, it was easy sailing back to the truck. I had set a target of being back at the truck by 4:30 – we beat it by about 15 minutes. We quickly loaded up and headed out. I didn’t want to drive too far on the forest service roads in the dark. Fortunately, it didn’t get really dark until we got close to 26. The drive over 26 was rather interesting. It was snowing pretty hard and it was icy – the thermometer on the truck said 27 degrees and there were signs that said watch out for ice. At some point, there were trucks and what looked like some cars spun out. We successfully navigated all that, and got home safely. I think it took us almost 2.5 hours to get home, though.

It was a challenging, beautiful, COLD day. I’m glad I was able to get as far as I did. I think this is the last opportinty to get into the high country this year. It is forecast to be cold and snowy all week long – unless we get a big warm spell, I think these areas area all closed for the year now.

2/16/2015 – Grouse Point and Serene Lake Trails

Date of Hike: 2/16/2015
Location of Hike: Grouse Point and Serene Lake Trails
Trail Number: 517 and 512
Weather during Hike: Sunny and Breezy
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 10:40 AM  End Time: 2:30 PM
Hike Distance: 8.1 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
The words of the day were: Breezy, Gift and Blowdown – It was a very breezy day (although I was protected from it for much of the day). Being able to hike this area in mid February (!!!) was a wonderful gift! And there was a LOT of blowdown on the trail, which started right at the beginning of the trip.

This hike was a President’s day outing. I had the day off (one of the perks working for a bank), so I decided to take advantage of the lack of snow this year. I thought I could make it up to Frazier turnaround to do a loop – Grouse Point to Serene Lake and then back. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, although since it was windy, I did pack the chainsaw in case some trees came down while I was hiking. Didn’t want to get the truck stuck behind a downed tree!

Anyway, the trip up to Frazier turnaround was uneventful until I got onto that horrible spur road. 4.4 miles of rutted, rocky, pothole pocked road. The first couple of miles were pretty typical, with almost no snow on them. Once the road takes a turn and gets a southern exposure, there started to be some snow on the road. I was a little leery of continuing, but thought I would try. The snow drifts were so compacted, and frozen, I basically just drove right over them, only sinking an inch or two. I continued down the road, and the only sketchy part was the long, narrow section on the big slide – but it wasn’t too bad with the truck. I got past that and the snow disappeared again. A little farther up the road, it was good I brought the chainsaw – there was a few small trees across the road which I cut with the saw. I made it to the turnaround in pretty good time, and this is what I saw when I got there:

A HUGE tree had come down and blocked the “turnaround” part of the road. I was to learn later that this tree actually was right next to the trail – it came down and now is hanging over the trail (although it is easy to walk under). It was a bit breezy at the turnaround, and a bit chilly, so I decided to head out quickly (to get my blood pumping and warm up). Getting over that big tree was a challenge for Bodie, but he finally figured it out. We headed up Grouse Point (an old road that has been converted to a trail), and shortly came to a big rockslide, which had VERY little snow:

Looking the other direction on that rockslide was our first incredible view of the day – looking down the Shellrock Creek drainage:

We continued down the road/trail, through a few small spots of snow, heading down thru the forest until we got to a partially frozen Cache Meadow:

After looking around the meadow a bit, we headed back uphill along the Grouse Point Trail. Shortly, we came to the helispot overlook above Serene Lake with its pitiful lack of snow on the ground at almost 5000′:

And I can’t do this trail without showing the wonderful view of Serene Lake down below – with only a little bit of ice:

I thought This was kind of neat – 4 mountains out for viewing – St Helens, Ranier, Adams and Hood (I think):

We continued a little farther on the Grouse Point Trail until we got to the junction with the Serene Lake Trail. We headed down this trail, avoiding most of the wind. It was a relatively short trip down the hill to the west side of Serene Lake and the camping spots there. There was a complete lack of snow on the ground. I decided to eat lunch there, trying to sit in a location protected from the wind. I was somewhat successful, but I had to put on my shell to stay warm. I ate lunch quickly, and we headed around the north side or the lake – across the Serene Lake outlet:

We continued down the trail, stopping at a rockslide to look across at where the old 511 trail is – across the drainage over there somewhere:

As we continued down the trail, we had to negotiate many big areas of blowdown on the trail – this was one of the worst ones:

After we got to the junction with Middle Rock Lake, we took the short side trail up to it. We didn’t go any farther than the first campsite, but it was interesting that it was almost completely frozen, unlike Serene Lake:

After stopping and enjoying the view for a few minutes, we headed back (climbing back over all the fallen trees) and continued up the trail (we were headed back up now). We came across some VERY wet sections of trail:

We made good time going back up the hill, and made it back to the truck. I really wanted to get out of there before it started to get dark. On the way out, I encountered someone driving a car that had made it quite a ways up the road. I told him he was guranteed to get stuck if he kept going. On the way out, the snow drifts that had been frozen on the way in were partially thawed. I sunk a few inches into them. No problem with a truck with ground clearance, but a car would probably have high centered. I hope he turned around, but I passed him and kept heading out.

The last treat for the day was on road 57, about a half mile from where it meets 224/46 – There was a group of 3 deer that were on the road. They didn’t hear me coming down the road and when I rounded the corner, they were startled and ran off, but I got a good look at them. It was a great way to end the trip!

8/19/2014 – Three Lynx Way Trail Exploration

Date of Hike: 8/19/2014
Location of Hike: Three Lynx Way Trail
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 10:00 AM  End Time: 3:30 PM
Hike Distance: 9.6 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was my birthday hike – in figuring out where I wanted to go, a trip report on the trailadvocate.org site intrigued me. It was a report about someone finding a trail I stumbled across reference to in some old hiking books/maps. It was referred to as the Three Lynx Trail (maybe because it went all the way down to Three Lynx at some point?). Anyway, he found it and I thought it might be fun to follow his findings. I always love to find/follow abandoned trails. While I’m not as good at finding them as many others, the more I look, the better I become. I don’t think I’ll ever be as good as some of the seasoned veterans I know.

Anyway, the route was intended to be going up the Shellrock Lake trail to the “shortcut” trail (another old abandoned trail) over to the Grouse Point trail and then head up this trail to the junction with this abandoned trail. I started out on the “shortcut” trail which has blazes all over the place:

Made it up the shortcut trail, and then to Cache Meadow – I never get tired of looking at it:

Heading past the meadows and up Grouse Point, we came to the helispot overlook above Serene Lake – It is a beautiful spot with a great view of Serene Lake and Indian Ridge:

Proceeding a little further, we came to the junction with the Three Lynx Way trail – the tread is recognizable for much of the trail:

We continued southeast on this tread until we got to a clearcut, where the trail essentially disappears. We headed around the edge of the cut, looking for where another old abandoned trail intersected it. Unfortunately, we did not find any evidence of this other trail. We did, however pick up the trail on the southeast corner of the clearcut, and followed it out to the 4635 road. We headed across the road to see if we could find any evidence of the trail on the west side of the road, but the only thing we found was this (whichI really don’t think was tread):

While exploring this area, I found this cute little tiny frog hopping about – he was hard to get a photo of:

After searching for a while and finding nothing, we headed back up to the road to go back to the Cache Meadow trailhead. We then followed the Cache Meadow trail to the meadows:

And then back to the shortcut trail and down the Shellrock Lake trail back to the truck.

Although I didn’t find the continuation of the trail, it was neat to hike a short section of a historical trail. On the way out, I took a picture of this unusual thing:

I’m guessing this is some sort of water “cache” for fighting fires. It kind of looks like a small swimming pool. It was on the 5380 road on the way to the Shellrock Lake trailhead.

This was a wonderful way to spend the beginning of my birthday! Weather was just about perfect for hiking – not too hot and not too sunny.

9/2/2013 – Shellrock Lake, Grouse Point, Cutoff Trails and Frazier Mountain

Date of Hike: 9/2/2013
Location of Hike: Shellrock Lake, Cutoff Trail (between Shellrock Lake and Cache Meadow), East end of Grouse Point Trail and finally, Frazier Mountain
Weather during Hike: Partly Cloudy
Hiking Buddies: Don
Start Time: 10:25 AM  End Time: 3:35 PM
Hike Distance: 7.3 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
The goal for this hike was to capture a track for the Shellrock Lake trail, and to capture the east end of the Grouse Point trail (that is a LONG trail!) for inclusion on the trailadvocate website. In addition, I had heard rumor that there was a telephone box on top of Frazier Mountain – I wanted to see if it was still there. I had also been informed of an old “cutoff” trail that went between Cache Meadow and the Shellrock Lake trail which I wanted to explore a bit. So, a bit of a mismash of objectives.

Since Don knew the cutoff trail location, and he also wanted to go up on Frazier Mountain, he came with me. We started at the Shellrock Lake trailhead parking lot about 10:30 under sunny skies. Shellrock lake starts through a clearcut, and it pretty open and hot, but thankfully, it wasn’t too warm this day. Almost immediately after entering the forest from the clearcut, there are 2 posts on the side of the trail (wonder what they used to say?). This was our clue to head uphill to find the cutoff trail. You only have to head uphill 100 yards or so and you’ll see blazes and the trail. It is in pretty good shape – amazing shape actually, for a trail that is no longer used. We made our way up this trail until we came to the first “excitement” of the day – a nest of wasps/hornets/yellow jackets that had been dug up next to the trail (just like the hike from 2 days ago where I got stung 3 or 4 times). I tried REALLY hard to be careful around it, but I ended up getting stung on my left hand anyway. STUPID BEES! Don gave me some Benadryl which helped a bit.

The trail starts getting a little sketchy towards the bottom of the hill, but following blazes helped us stay the course. Once it gets to the bottom where it starts getting wet, we kind of lost it for a bit, but quickly located some more blazes and then it was easy to follow to the point where it meets the Grouse Point trail near Cache Meadow. We headed west on the Cache Meadow trail until we got to the site of the old cabin there:

We walked a little farther east, to the point where the Cache Meadow trail intersects, and then turned around. We got a good view of Cache Meadow “proper”:

And found an interesting sign that had been eaten by a tree (not exactly sure what it said):

And another sign that looked like a woodpecker attacked it:

Once we got done looking around Cache Meadow, we turned around and started heading east up the Grouse Point trail. Up the hill….to the first rockslide of the day:

And finally to the end of the old Frazier road, which is now trail:

The road continued southwest from where the trail meets it, however we did not explore that section. We had other things to explore this day. We proceeded up the old road, which was really nice walking – to the next rockslide:

On a clear day, it would have an AWESOME view of Mt Hood, but on this day, it was hiding in the clouds. Here is what the old road looked like through the rockslide:

We continued up the road until we got to Frazier Turnaround. Another old trail that interested me was the old South Fork Roaring River (511) trail. Supposedly there was a junction off the Serene Lake trail not too far from the beginning. Don had seen it quite a few years ago, and we headed up to see if we could find it. We didn’t go too far, but couldn’t find the old junction – a quest for another day. We stopped to eat lunch at Frazier Turnaround and then headed back down the Grouse Point trail (east) to a jump off point to make our way up to the top of Frazier Mountain. Our plan was just to walk the ridge from the road up to the top of Frazier Mountain. We did, and it wasn’t long before we found an old trail!

The trail is pretty overgrown, but we guessed this must have been the route before the road was built. Once up on top, we got some great views:

And found evidence of the old phone box and phone line:

One more interesting thing – Don had seen from one of the old lookout photos (from the 30’s) a very clear “line” across a rockslide above the South Fork Roaring River – it certainly looked like a very clear trail. Since we were up at a similar vantage point, we decided to see if we could see the same “line”. The view was a little more obscured due to the trees being much larger, but we did see a very clear “line” on the rockslide:

This anomaly really needs to be investigated. That trail heading up the South Fork would be AWESOME if it could be located. This visual clue certainly looks like a trail, however it will be need to be investigated up close to determine exactly what this “line” is. Maybe it is the first hard evidence that the 511 actually exists?

Once we enjoyed the view from the top, we followed some blazes west until we hit the flat area west of the summit of Frazier Mountain at which point we lost the trail – so we just headed south to go back to the Grouse Point trail. Once on the trail, we headed back to the junction with the Shellrock Lake trail and headed down the 700 trail until we got to Shellrock Lake:

We took in the views of the lake (and the MANY campsites surrounding it) and continued back towards the beginning of our journey.

We got back to the parking lot around 3:30 – a day well used and lots of new things found and as usual, more items to explore another day.

A short stop at Fearless in Estacads for a beer made a great ending to the day.

7/6/2013 – Grouse Point, Parrywinkle Falls, South Fork Roaring River

Date of Hike: 7/6/2013
Location of Hike: Grouse Point Trail
Trail Number: 517
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Paul, Brian and Kirk
Start Time: 9:45 AM  End Time: 4:00 PM
Hike Distance: 4.6 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
Today’s hike was setup by a couple of hiker friends, Brian and Paul. Paul was the one who took me on the “death march” a few years ago. It was a great trip, but it was quite a stretch for me to do. I think the day ended up as 19 miles and 5000′ of elevation gain. I made it, but it took a lot out of me.

Anyway, the plan for the day was to hike part of the Grouse Point trail, see Parrywinkle Falls on the Roaring River, then cross the river and head up the other side of the canyon. At some point, we were going to bail off the trail and head over to the South Fork of the Roaring River to see it and also to see if we could find any remnants of the elusive 511 trail or a waterfall that was supposed to be near the confluence of the two rivers.

We got a little bit of a late start and had a bit of a time finding it, but ended up at the trailhead a little before 10:00. The trail starts at the end of the driveable section of the 4611 road. From there you head down the remnants of the road a bit to the actual trailhead, which really doesn’t have much of a sign, just some flagging and an old shot up post (which probably used to have a sign on it before some yahoos decided it would be fun to shoot it to pieces). The trail starts relatively easily, but quickly descends into the Roaring River canyon, losing elevation quickly. In no time we were at the Roaring River and headed upstream to see Parrywinkle falls. It is pretty much a bushwhack to the falls, but it wasn’t too difficult. Parrywinkle falls is a very interesting waterfall – not too large, but an interesting setting:

Here is a photo of the falls with Paul wading the river in front of it:

And a photo of the very interesting sign:

And finally, a view of the Roaring River downstream of the falls:

After enjoying the view of the falls, we noodled a bit as to how we were going to cross the river. Paul had already gone over and back up near the falls. Brian and I had not come quite as well prepared, and so opted to cross on a log near the trail crossing. As luck would have it, there was a cedar tree that went all the way across the river. Brian was brave enough to walk across the entire log. I walked about halfway, and then sat down and “scooted” across the rest of the way. At the end, while I was trying to get off, I slipped a bit and ripped my pants on one of the broken limbs. I got a scratch on the back of my leg, but nothing (other than my dignity) was really hurt. With all of us successfully across the river, we headed up the Grouse Point trail – up the other side of the Roaring River. When we got to what we thought was a good area, in a relatively level place, we headed off trail, east to the South Fork of the Roaring River. This was a river I have never seen, and is not easy to get to, as there is no trail that goes to it. The only way to see it is to bushwhack your way in. We made it to the South Fork, and crossed on a big log jam (not a great photo of the logjam, but it was BIG):

We explored around on the far side of the river for a while, and did a little looking for any evidence of the 511 trail, but found none. I think we probably didn’t go uphill enough. We also headed upriver looking for the waterfall, but we didn’t see any. It was sunny on the north side of the river and it was getting warm, so we decided to cross back over the river on another log and have lunch in a nice shady spot – this was our view:

After having lunch and watering up for the trip back, we packed up and headed back the way we came. On the way back up to the Grouse Point Trail, I saw this tree:

Which has to be one of the trees from the fire so many years ago (1920s?). When it was alive, it was a BIG tree.

Once we found the trail again, we made pretty good time back to the Roaring River. We all crossed the same way we came over – Paul and Kirk waded across and Brian and I crossed on the log. Once back across the river, it was time to regain all that elevation that we lost on the way down. It was tough, especially being at the end of the day. I continue to have breathing issues when doing serious elevation gain like this. I have to stop way more than I would like to catch my breath, but I eventually made it. I was at the back of the pack…..

It was a great day, with great company and great weather. Couldn’t ask for a better day in the woods.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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