Tag Archives: Bodie

Trips with Bodie

10/28/2016 – MP3 and Rimrock Trails

Date of Hike: 10/28/2016
Location of Hike: MP3 and Rimrock Trails
Trail Number: 704
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Dave and Bodie (in spirit)
Start Time: 10:15 AM  End Time: 3:45 PM
Hike Distance: 7.8 miles  
Pictures: Link
Hike description
Today’s hike was very unique. It was unique for two reasons – first, it was my first hike with Dave. Second, it was my last hike with Bodie (in spirit) where I spread his ashes on the overlook on the Rimrock trail.

Originally, I had planned to do the hike myself, but Dave and I had been emailing back and forth and he was interested in the MP3 trail, so I thought I could show him the trail and hike it up to Rimrock and then out to the overlook.

The weather was almost perfect. It was sunny and reasonably warm for a later October day but it was somewhat windy up on the overlook which was a bit chilly.

We met at the church and I drove up to the trailhead. We had great conversation on the way about all sorts of trails in the Clackamas district. Soon we got to the trailhead and shortly headed up the trail. We soon got to the first rockslide which had a neat view of the clouds still stuck in the valley:

We continued up the trail and eventually got to the junction with the Rimrock trail. We headed up Rimrock to the overlook where we had lunch.

After lunch, it was time to say my final goodbye to Bodie. I went out on the overlook, said goodbye and scattered his ashes to the wind. It was sad to say goodbye to a great hiking partner, but he had a good life, and 14 1/2 years is a good run for a dog. All good things must come to an end. Here was his ashes final resting spot:

After performing that sad task, I enjoyed the view of Mt Jefferson for a bit:

We were both getting cold so we quickly headed back downhill, trying to get the blood flowing. Near the overlook, I spied this thing I never noticed before, even though I’ve been up there numerous times:

After looking at the 1/4 section benchmark, we quickly headed downhill again. We made pretty good time going down, stopping a couple of times for water and also to soak up the sunshine in one of the rock fields. We got back to the truck about 3:45 and headed home.

A great (and also sad) day out in the woods.

4/30/2016 – Cripple Creek and Cache Meadow

Date of Hike: 4/30/2016
Location of Hike: Upper Cripple Creek and Cache Meadow Trails
Trail Number: 702 and 703
Weather during Hike: Overcast to start, then partly sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my Dog)
Start Time: 11:15 AM  End Time: 1:30 PM
Hike Distance: 2.2 miles  
Pictures: Link
Hike description

The plan was for this to be another short hike with Bodie. After seeing the conditions over the past few weeks, I thought I might be able to make it up to the Rimrock trailhead (plan A). If tht wasn’t possible, I figured I could make it up to the Cache Meadow trailhead (plan B). The day took an interesting turn.

On the way up, we passed the MP3 trailhead where had been a couple weeks ago. After that, the 4635 road deteriorates a bit – with more potholes and it gets a bit brushier. There has been some interesting winter damage as well 0 this was across the road farther up:

We continued up, seeing only two tiny patches of snow about 3600′ on the side of the road – until we got to the junction with the 140 spur, where we were surprised by about 2 feet of snow all over the road:

So, that nixed both Plan A and plan B. I was thinking we wouldn’t be hiking at all. Then I remembered that the cripple creek trail crosses 4635 and I thought we had already passed that. So, we turned around and headed back down. We found the crossing point, and surprisingly enough, I had cell service there, so I texted Gail with Plan C. We headed up the Cripple creek trail from the 4635 crossing, doing some brushing on the trail and shortly got to 4635 up higher – at the Cache Meadow trailhead junction. Bodie was enjoying himself in the snow:

We headed up the Cache Meadow trail thru the snow and found that Cache Meadow was pretty wet – the snow is melting quickly and the trail is more of a creek at this point:

We made it thru the first bit of water and got to a nice place for lunch, overlooking the “lake” at Cache Meadow (it is pretty shallow, but is technically a lake I guess):

We stopped to have lunch – it was very pleasant there in the sun. I wasn’t sure we were going to get sun since we were in the clouds earlier, but the sun finally burned them off. It was very nice and peaceful with a gentle breeze. We finished lunch and while we were getting ready to leave, some wispy clouds started rolling in over the lake, which was kind of cool looking:

We decided to head up a little farther to see how hard it would be. We didn’t get too far before we encountered alternating large patches of snow and then more “creeks” in the trail. We decided to turn around and head back down. It was a quick trip back down with a little more brushing in places. We got back to the truck and headed back down 4635. Not too far from where the trail crosses 4635, the road crosses Cripple creek, which was running pretty swiftly:

And here is a short video of the creek:

A little farther down the road is a nice viewpoint:

We headed down and headed home. It was a pretty short day, but a great, peaceful day in the woods.

4/16/2016 – Milepost 3 Trail

Date of Hike: 4/16/2016
Location of Hike: Milepost 3 Trail
Weather during Hike: Sunny and warm
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 10:30 AM  End Time: 3:00 PM
Hike Distance: 3.4 miles  
Pictures: Link
Hike description
This was a relatively short hike on a beautiful sunny day – above average temperatures for this time of year – in the 70’s. I don’t think it was quite that warm up higer, but it was till beautiful weather.

On the drive up, I was surprised I didn’t see more cars on the road going in. There were a few, but not many – more coming out than in. On the way in on the 4635 road, I got to see 3 or 4 deer (at least one fawn) cross the road – they bounded out of the woods and disappeared so fast I didn’t get a good look at them, but it was cool to see. More on the deer later…

We made it to the trailhead, parked and headed up. Since the last time I was here, someone has put up several pieces of flagging at the trailhead. It is hard to miss now.

We started up the trail, and I figured I’d do a little bit of maintenance-I ended up doing a lot more than I had planned. I didn’t think I was going to do much, so I didn’t bring my gloves, but I ended up doing quite a bit of brushing and removing oregon grape from the tread. It ended up doing quite a number on my hands, including a big blister on my index finger. Oh well, it will heal.

There was very little blowdown on the first part of the trail – mostly just branches and brush which I was trying to clean up. A half mile or so up the trail was a section where there were two very large trees that had come down a long time ago and both had been cut. One of them had slipped down the hill, so the cut had closed up:

I almost thought we were going to have to turn around, but after a bit, I finally got Bodie to let me help him jump over the log. There was an area that was much easier to get over since it had kind of a step, but he still needed help. At one point, he was trying to find a different way around and he kind of got stuck – his coordination and strength keeps declining due to his brain tumor. I went over help him, but he finally figured out how to get himself out of the situation he was in. Once over that log, the rest of the downed logs were pretty easy.

We continued up the trail, doing brushing, removing limbs and branches and removing oregon grape from the tread in particularly faint areas. Shortly, we came across this cougar scat:

It looks like cougar scat to me, and it looked like he had eaten something very close (a big pile of hair) and then done his business right on the trail. I guess he was warning others!

A little farther, we got our first snow – at about 3500 feet – it was intermittent:

A bit farther down the trail, we found this deer trail, going straight up and down the hill – there was lots of sign of deer on the trail (3 or 4 piles of deer pellets):

Continuing up the trail, we got to the upper rockslide where we had lunch. There is a nice view from here:

After lunch, we continued up and shortly got to the junction with the Rimrock trail:

We poked around a bit and it was already 2:00 (I had spent quite a bit of time on the way up doing maintenance), so we turned around and headed back down. On the way back down, I found this antler shed right in the middle of the trail – my first one! (I forgot to take a photo of it on the trail):

On the way back down, I noticed this interesting activity in this old cut log – something is very actively eating it. There was a pile of fresh sawdust on the ground under it:

Made it back to the truck about 3:00 and headed home. An absolutely wonderful, peaceful day in the woods on a beautiful old trail.

4/1/2016 – Hillockburn Trail – 516

Date of Hike: 4/1/2016
Location of Hike: Hillockburn Trail
Trail Number: 516
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 9:40 AM  End Time: 11:40 PM
Hike Distance: 3.1 miles  
Pictures: Link
Hike description
This was no April Fool’s Joke!!! This was a quick trip down the Hillockburn trail with Bodie. The weather was beautiful and I needed to take a day off from work, so I decided to take this trip. The plan was to hike down to the river and then sit there for a while and enjoy the solitude. Bodie didn’t want to sit there – he kept wandering around – I don’t know what the issue was, whether he smelled or kept hearing something, or if it was just his brain tumor (he does a lot of pacing at home now).

Anyway, we got to the trailhead about 9:30 and headed down shortly after. There were no shooters at the shooting gallery up the road, however we did see evidence of shooting down the trail. In retrospect I probably should have parked my truck in front of the trailhead to try and tell any potential shooters that someone was down the trail.

Three trees appear to have been killed by shooters – the one just recently came down – ugh.
We headed down the trail a short ways only to find that they didn’t stop at the beginning of the trail:

We headed down the trail, making quick time of it. Shortly we were into the larger trees and before we knew it, we were right above the river, looking down at the Beautiful old growth grove:

And one there, we had to get a close look at the South Fork (what a beautiful river):

Here is a short Video of the river in motion – so peaceful:

And this is the campsite near the river that we were going to sit for a while and enjoy the surroundings (until Bodie had different ideas):

After about 10 minutes, Bodie just couldn’t sit still, so we turned around and headed back up. On the way back up, I noticed (thru the trees) a new clearcut area to the North – NNE. When I got home, it looks like this might be above Big Cliff or in that general area. I’m guessing it is fire damage they are logging off. I’ve heard helicopters up the Clackamas a couple times and I’m wondering if that is the area they were logging with helicopters. I tried to get a photo thru the trees, but nothing came out.

We continued up the hill and pretty soon started hearing gunshots. I was worried – I was hoping that no one was shooting down the trail again. I figured I could figure it out as we got closer. Fortunately, they were shooting up the road a bit, so we were fine. We got back to the truck and since it was still so early, I decided to go up looking for the snow level. I headed up 45 and then took off up 4540. Here is where we turned around on 4540 (about 3/4 mile from Helen Lake at about 3600′):

After turning around, I thought I’d see how far I could get up the 45 road. Although I didn’t take a photo, we ended up getting to within about a mile and a half of the Memaloose Lake trailhead. I think we were at almost 3800′.

We turned around and headed back – on the way, I saw the the gate on the 45-220 spur was open. When I was up there in 2013 checking out the Silvacultural area, that gate was locked. I thought I’d go explore a bit. We drove down the road to the old Silvacultural area and then the spur road down to where I went looking for the end of the old Memaloose trail in 2013. Got to the end of the road – not much to see really:

After that we turned around and headed home. While it was a short day out, it was really nice. It was great to get out, enjoy some beautiful weather and some big old trees.

3/18/2016 – Cripple Creek Trail – 703

Date of Hike: 3/18/2016
Location of Hike: Cripple Creek Trail
Trail Number: 703
Weather during Hike: sunny and windy at times
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 10:15 AM  End Time: 1:00 PM
Hike Distance: 4.4 miles  
Pictures: Link
Hike description
The hike today was just a chance to get out and take Bodie out while he is still able. Based on trail difficulty and snow levels, the choices were limited, but I decided to hike the Cripple Creek trail again, since it would be snow free for a while, and it had few downed trees on it (Bodie has a harder and harder time with downed logs). The plan was to have a relatively easy day and to go as far as we could.

We set down the trail a little later than usual – I knew it would be a short day, so wasn’t concerned about getting out of the house early. When we got to the first rockslide, I stopped for a bit and tried to get my bearings – I need to figure out what peaks these are. Looking southeast:

Looking southwest:

After looking a bit, we continued on – no new logs were down that I could see and the trail was in good shape. I was REALLY surprised to see snow at hillside meadow, though:

Not much, but even a little was surprising to me – that was only about 2200′!!!! We continued down the trail (or up the trail I guess since we were heading up) and the snow started to get deeper and deeper. When we got to the 4635-130 spur crossing, it was pretty deep:

We continued up the hill a little farther – I was kind of hoping to get to the big rockslide, but the snow just kept getting deeper What a change from a month ago, when there was NO snow at this level. That big rockslide was almost completely clear of snow. I was hoping to eat lunch in the sun, but due to the snow, we decided to turn around about a quarter of a mile before the rockslide. I found a small section of trail that was in the sun and didn’t have too much snow on it, so we stopped there, had lunch and then headed down.

The trip down was uneventful and pretty quick. Once back at the truck since it was so early I decided to drive up the pipeline road to see what it looked like. I’ve never driven that road. It was interesting, as it basically follows the pipeline. It took us past Frog Lake:

And then past the old Oak Grove Work Center, where someone was doing something (not sure what, but they drove in thru the locked gate on the 4631 side. We drove down into Ripplebrook and I drove around a couple of the roads there – Rondy’s daughter and first wife had talked about what Ripplebrook looked like earlier so I thought I’d drive around it while it was still fresh in my mind.

After driving around Ripplebook, we got back to 224 and headed back home. A quick, but nice day in the woods. Bodie had fun I think and did really well.

2/16/2016 – Fish Creek

Date of Hike: 2/16/2016
Location of Hike: Fish Creek
Weather during Hike: partly sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 10:45 AM  End Time: 1:30 PM
Hike Distance: 6.5 miles  
Pictures: Link
Hike description
This hike was a rather quick hike just to get out and enjoy a nice winter day. I had the day off of work (President’s Day), and the weather was supposed to be pretty good (not raining). It turned out to be much nicer than I thought – it was somewhat warm and partly sunny. A very enjoyable day in the woods.

The one thing this hike had was lots of water. Due to the recent rains, all the side creeks were running high and fast. Fish Creek was very loud all day long and so was the Clackamas River. The North Fork reservoir was very turbid, which you don’t see too often.

We started at the Calico road “trailhead” – it goes a quarter of a mile or so and then there is a side trail that the old quadders made down to the Fish Creek road. The Rimrock creek crossing was the first challenging crossing (although not too bad):

After crossing the creek and heading down to the Fish Creek road, we arrived at this campsite near the river, which I had never really explored before:

We explored a bit and then continued down the road, soon finding yet another campsite near the creek:

After exploring this campsite for a bit we continued down the “road” which is looking more and more like a trail and less like a road:

At one point there is a good viewpoint of the creek – well, it used to be better, but now the alders are growing up and obscuring the view somewhat. I took a video of how loud and fast the creek was:

We also came across this large log which someone spent a great deal of time removing – glad to see someone is keeping this accessible:

We continued down the trail until we got to the approach to the first bridge. The approach is growing in rapidly – I hardly recognized it:

We got to the first bridge and had lunch and enjoyed the sunshine. After eating lunch, I took this video of the creek – both upstream and downstream:

After enjoying the views for a while, we headed back down the trail. We explored another side trail that I’ve never explored before – what had to have been an old trail which was used by quads more recently, but is now just a beautiful mossy grove of trees:

After walking around that short loop and back down to the trail, we continued down the trail and soon came to yet another cool side trail (another one I had never explored) – it was a neat “narrows” part of the creek with a big log over it:

After enjoying that view for a bit we headed back and shortly arrived at the truck and headed home. A short day in the woods, but it was very nice.

2/10/2016 – Cripple Creek Trail – 703

Date of Hike: 2/16/2016
Location of Hike: Cripple Creek Trail
Trail Number: 703
Weather during Hike: overcast with a couple of sunbreaks
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 9:30 AM  End Time: 2:00 PM
Hike Distance: 5.9 miles  
Pictures: Link
Hike description
Bodie and I took a trip up to the Cripple Creek trail today, starting from the pipeline road. I keep thinking each trip I take him on might be his last, but he keeps hanging in there. He did great and had fun I think-I know he was tired when we got done.

The hike was nothing particularly unusual or flashy, but it was a very pleasant day. I had forgotten how beautiful parts of this trail are. It goes thru some magnificent uncut forest and has some very unique features.

The trail ascends relentlessly, sometimes somewhat steeply. It has a few flat spots, but they are pretty few and far between. We ascended about 2100′ in less than 3 miles (to the 4635 road crossing). The ascent is pretty gentle at first. After crossing a couple of rockslides, you get to what many people refer to a “The Grotto”:

Shortly after this is one of the most unique features on the trail. A hillside meadow:

The trail heads right thru the middle of the meadow. The meadow has been a favorite spot of deer and elk. There were signs EVERYHWERE and you could tell that they had not only been using the trail, but heading up and down hill as well.

Once we got a bit further down the trail, the weird (and kind of un-nerving) thing happened. We found a bunch of stuff from someone on a rockslide. It looked like stuff from someone’s pack – a leather coat, a paring knife (in a plastic bottle), bandaid, toothpaste, a sweater among other things. There was also some kind of bag thing with a metal buckle – I couldn’t tell what it was. The whole thing was kind of spooky and weird.

After looking at that stuff for a while, we continued down the trail. I did some trail maintenance as we went. It started as just throwing branches off the trail, but I ended up cleaning up a few messy spots too:

We continued down the trail, cleaning up what we could until we got to the big rockslide – the best view of the day (Fish Creek Mountain and Whalehead I believe):

As we got across the rockslide, the snow started to get deep in spots – it was really the first snow we had seen. There were deer prints in the snow too:

We finally ghot up to the 4635 road crossing, which had 6-12″ of snow on it:

We stopped, had lunch and then headed up the trail about 100 yards or so just to see if there was more snow up there – the trail in the trees was clear! We headed back down, making great time since it was all downhill.

Trail was in great shape, with evidence of recent work (logs cut and maybe even some tread work!). There were about 12 trees down over the trail – all except that big one at the start were easy stepovers/walk arounds – that one is going to be difficult to remove – it was probably 36″ plus in diameter:

We made it back to the truck and then headed home. We got stopped on 224 around milepost 35 – they are doing work to help with the rockfall – I’m guessing it is part of the big rockfall prevention project that ODOT had planned. Here is a photo where you can see guys up the hillside a ways – not sure what they are doing – drilling holes for dynamite? It was interesting to see anyway:

Another great day out in the woods.

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.

11/21/2015 – Dickey Creek Trail – 553

Date of Hike: 11/21/2015
Location of Hike: Dickey Creek Trail
Trail Number: 553
Weather during Hike: Sunny and cold
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 11:45 AM  End Time: 3:15 PM
Hike Distance: 6.5 miles  
Pictures: Link
Hike description
Today’s hike was to get Bodie out while he is still able – and for me. The weather was BEAUTIFUL, so a hike just had to be made! I decided to hike the Dickey Creek trail since I was unsure if I could get to any higher trails due to snow. We’ve had quite a bit of upper level snow in the last couple of weeks, and the nearest snotel at 4000′ had about 5″ of snow reporting, so I decided to play it safe and do this hike, which is much lower.

I haven’t hiked this trail since the moved the trailhead back about a half mile – they decommissioned the old road and turned it into a trail. Here is the new trailhead:

I was surprised to see another vehicle there when we arrived. As we were getting ready, another truck came down the 164 spur, which also surprised me. After getting ready, we headed down the old road, soon getting to the old trailhead (which also continued down an old road that was converted to trail – the first mile or so of this trail is old roads). After heading down the road and crossing a creek (there are still remnants of an old bridge there), we got to the “bad section” – this is a section that drops very quickly, and the tread was never built well. It heads straight down hill – no switchbacks and the ground is very unstable. When Carly and I did this several years ago, we literally slid down the hill on the way down and climbed and slipped up the hill on the way back. It was very difficult. Since I’ve been on this trail, this section has improved somewhat. They have installed steps on several areas of the steep sections:

There are still a few sections that could use steps, but it is much improved over what it was. We continued down the trail, thru the old cut area until we got into uncut timber. This is a beautiful section of trail – probably my favorite on this trail. Big old trees, lots of moss. We stopped to eat a bit and while sitting there, I noticed this beautiful ray of sunshine coming thru the trees:

And I had to take a picture of Bodie – he was having a good time:

After eating a little bit and drinking some water, we continued down the trail. It was rather cool, and when we got to an overlook of Dickey Creek, we saw these frosty trees:

Continuing down the trail, we shortly headed into a very brushy, low, swampy area where this very large tree had come down. It will be tough to remove this, and it is pretty tough to get over.

And this is the “Alder Swamp” area – it is very similar to the “real’ alder swamp off the Collowash, but this one is smaller and apparently un-named.

While hiking the north side of this swamp, I tripped over a root that was in the middle of the trail. I took a pretty good fall, and bumped my knee – I almost thought I was going to have to turn around, but I ended up “walking it off”. We continued down the trail until I saw this Section Line Tree right next to the trail. I can’t believe I never noticed it before:

Somewhere in this area, we met a backpacker and stopped to talk with him for a few minutes. He had camped at Big Slide lake the night before. I asked if there was any snow there and he said not really, but he could see snow up on the peaks around the lake. I think my decision to not try a higher elevation hike was probably smart. We parted ways and continued down the trail. We had to get back home relatively early, so we were kind of racing to get to our objective – the creek crossing at Dickey creek. We managed to get there just about at our turnaround time:

One thing I did notice – the trail continues on the north/west side of the creek – I saw a definite blaze past the current crossing point. I wonder if the trail used to cross farther up creek? Something to research.

We quickly ate a bit more, drank some water and then headed back – the goal was to get back to the truck by 3:00. We missed it by 15 minutes, but still got home in plenty of time. When we got back to the truck, the backpacker we met was at his truck packing up. He went a little slower than we did on the way back I think. That climb back up the hill is not easy, especially with a backpack. Glad to see he made it out OK.

A WONDERFUL day in the woods – the weather was SPECTACULAR! It was too good to waste and not hike.

10/17/2015 – Cottonwood Meadows – 705

Date of Hike: 10/17/2015
Location of Hike: Cottonwood Meadows Trail
Trail Number: 705
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 10:00 AM  End Time: 2:15 PM
Hike Distance: 6 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This hike was another short day to get Bodie out hiking while he still can. Don’t know how many more hikes he will be able to do.

I decided on Cottonwood Meadows since it seemed like a relatively flat and easy trail to do, and it wasn’t too long. The cross country part was a little tough on him, but he did really good all the way. In addition, this is the perfect time to visit this trail, since the meadows are all dried up and the bugs are all gone. I had not been here in several years (looks like it has been 7 years!!!!), and wanted to go back.

The hike was pretty low key – nothing terribly exiting happened. Shortly after we started down the trail, we arrived at the first meadow:

We looked around a bit, headed across the meadow and soon came to the second, largest meadow that has a “lake”:

And then we found something completely unexpected – A boat!!!:

I can’t believe that someone drug a boat all the way into this lake. I can’t imagine there are any fish in this lake – it is very shallow.

We wandered down the trail to the end of the official trail at the 5830-240 spur road. From here, you must go cross country through an old clearcut (that isn’t recovering well) to get to the lower section of trail. Basically, you need to go from the 5830-240 spur to the 5830-260 spur road thru the old clearcut. About in the middle of the clearcut, right at the edge, we found this tree that had something painted/written on it, but we couldn’t make it out. What does this tree say?

We then made it down to the 5830-260 spur and took it to the end where the lower trail starts again. The very beginning is a little rough, but once you get into the uncut area, it is a beautiful trail:

Had to get a shot of Bodie next to a big old tree with a blaze:

We continued down to the 6345-120 spur where the trail ends. We thought about heading down to the Cot Creek bridge that is washed out, but Bodie seemed to be getting tired, so we turned around and headed back up. On the way back up, I took a picture of this rough spot:

There were only about 10-12 trees down on the lower section – less than the upper section. The tread down there is REALLY good!

We continued back up the trail – I’m sure I took a different route thru the clearcut on the way back, but ended up close to where we were started. Got back up to the truck pretty quickly and then headed home.

A very nice, peaceful, pleasant day in the woods.

9/26/2015 – Baty Butte – 545

Date of Hike: 9/26/2015
Location of Hike: Baty Butte Trail
Trail Number: 545
Weather during Hike: Foggy in the morning, Partly Sunny later
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 10:55 AM  End Time: 3:00 PM
Hike Distance: 5.7 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
With all the turmoil the last week (coming back to work after vacation, and Carly leaving for Mozambique), a hike sounded like just what the doctor ordered. It has been over 5 months since Bodie’s diagnosis of a brain tumor and he is still doing pretty good. I thought today would be a good day to take him out hiking – I don’t know how much longer he will be able to go, and he loves it, so I took a look at trails I’ve wanted to hike (or re-hike) and came up with hiking Baty Butte with the possibility of hiking to the top of the Butte to check out the location of the old lookout. This seemed like a good choice since there isn’t a ton of elevation and we could make it as long (or short) as he needed to, turning around at any point.

We headed out a little later than normal – it was kind of foggy and looked like rain – but that was supposed to clear up and be partly sunny in the afternoon.
It has been several years since I’ve been here, and on the way up the 7010 road, it was obvious that thinning has been going on for a while. The forest looked really good where they had thinned. The road up to the point where the thinning stops was in great shape (obviously because of the thinning projects). Beyond that, the road deteriorated a bit – got narrower and a little rougher, but wasn’t bad.

We were driving thru the clouds on the way up to the trailhead – I was hoping that the clouds would burn off so we could have some views later in the day. We passed the Culvert replacement on 7010 at Blister/Stroupe creek that stopped us the last time I was here in 2011. That project is long complete now. We finally hit the 7010-160 spur road that takes you up to the trailhead. One the way up, we ran into a BUNCH of new, DEEP waterbars in the road:

You have to take these VERY slowly as some of them are VERY deep. I’m not sure a passenger car could navigate some of these.

We arrived at the trailhead and headed down the trail. Very quickly, we found some VERY recent trail maintenance!

A big thank you to whoever did this work. Both logging and brushing were done VERY recently.

As we proceeded down the trail, we came to the first rockslide and found brilliant fluorescent fall colors – this photo doesn’t even begin to do it justice – the colors were so vibrant – it was amazing!

We came to the junction and headed north/east – the goal was to get to the top of Baty Butte and have lunch there. On the way, I met a bow hunter (he was VERY quiet-didn’t even know he was there until we were right on top of him) and later we met another couple – the husband had a bow but said he really wasn’t hunting.

As we progressed east, we went under the “white spot” of Baty Butte, and it looked like the east ridge might be a viable way to get up to the top. At an opportune place, we started up the east ridge – we found what appeared to be old tread heading up, but shortly got cliffed out (it got VERY steep and narrow – didn’t want Bodie to trip and fall), so decided to come back down. On the way down, we found what appears to be an old water bar in the tread:

Definitely didn’t look natural – I’m very sure this was some sort of trail at one time. We headed back down the trail to the west side ridge – to a switchback with an obviously homemade sign that said “Bracket Mountain” and pointed north. Figured maybe there was some sort of user trail, so we headed that way. The “tread” didn’t last long, so we ended up basically just walking more or less east – essentially straight uphill – near the top of the hill we found old tread and figured this must go to the top. Well, after going back and forth on the tread, and finding the spot on the east side where we had been earlier, it was obvious that there was no recognizable (at least I didn’t see it) tread to the top – we were VERY close, so we just headed uphill a bit and finally made it to the top of Baty Butte. It was a little bit of a letdown – since it was an old lookout location, I was hoping to find some remnants of the lookout – at least something. We found nothing – it is a very small area with steep dropoffs on all sides, so we had to be careful. Some nice views, however:

Looking west to the Molalla drainage:

Looking south/southwest back to where we started:

Looking south:

Looking north:

And there was a geocache at the very top:

We ate lunch and headed back down the west ridge – we followed the trail down – it wasn’t much of a trail, heading pretty much straight down the hill (it was REALLY steep). On the way down the hill, I literally tripped over this piece of old phone line:

We finally found the real trail again and headed southwest down the trail. When we got to the southern part of the trail, it was obvious it hadn’t had much activity. It was VERY brushy in places and had quite a bit of blowdown. We ended up hiking about a mile south of the junction, and in that mile, we counted about 40 trees down – and some spots in the trail are almost completely grown over with brush. This portion of the trail needs a bit of love.

Just south of the junction, there was this neat view of Baty Butte and Mt Hood (which had emerged from the clouds finally):

And a little farther, one of the cool side hill meadows (the first one as you head south):

And the neat ridge walking in the trees – this is just really cool to me:

We walked down the trail for about a mile and I could tell Bodie was getting tired. We were nearing our turnaround time anyway, so I decided to turn around and come back. I think it was just about the perfect length for Bodie. Had we not expended so much time and energy trying to climb to the top of Baty Butte, we could have gone farther south, but I was glad I finally got to see the top of the Butte.
A very nice and pleasant day in the woods.

8/15/2015 – Elk Lake Creek Trail – 559

Date of Hike: 8/15/2015
Location of Hike: Elk Lake Creek Trail
Trail Number: 559
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 12:00 PM  End Time: 3:00 PM
Hike Distance: 5 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was to be a relatively easy hike – I wanted to take Bodie out – since his brain tumor diagnosis a few months ago, he is having a harder time getting around, but he still loves to get out hiking. I don’t know how many more hikes I will be able to take him on. This is a relatively level hike, and I thought going to the first creek crossing would be a good day – not too hard. I had wanted to see this area since the burn a few years ago, so it seemed like a great option.
We set out much later than I usually get out – I had to work until 3am, so I slept in a bit. We headed out about 10:30 and got to the trailhead around noon. Surprisingly, there were 3 cars at the trailhead, so I put Bodie on his leash. We headed down the trail and shortly entered the burned area:

It is beginning to recover – there are seedlings EVERYHWERE, and there is some amazing resilience evident – these trees are blackened WAY up but are still alive and healthy:

A little farther down the trail is the nice short waterfall on Elk Lake creek and the beautiful green pool below it:

Here is a short video of the waterfall:

The creek crossing at Pine Cone creek is the start of official wilderness – this sign has seen better days, but it still standing after the fire:

We crossed the creek and continued thru the fire area, finally heading out of the fire area into unburned forest:

A little farther down the trail is this great campsite, right next to the trail at a point where the trail is right next to the creek. It would be a very peaceful place to camp:

In this campsite was this interesting tree – Many people have carved their initials into this tree – it looks like it started by some survey crew – it is so old the bark has covered some if it – something MR NOR something survey crew 6 something – maybe in 1971?:

A little farther down the trail we explored an old side trail – it does appear on the maps, but the trail is overgrown in spots and has a lot of blowdown on it. If you follow it all the way down to the creek there is an old campsite spot that obviously hasn’t been used in a long time:

We explored down by the creek and then headed back up to the trail and continued down to the Knob Rock creek crossing:

And then very quickly arrived at the Welcome Creek crossing:

This is a picture of the mini waterfall on Welcome Creek:

As we continued down the trail I found an old phone line insulator – After I saw this one I made a conscious effort to find more of them and ended up finding over 30 of them along the trail! Some were just the loop (the ceramic insulator part had broken off), but probably at least half of them were still complete.

We continued down the trail to the spot where the trail makes its first crossing of Elk Lake creek. I thought this would be a good lunch and turnaround spot. The creek is very shallow here and it is very peaceful.

Just upstream of the crossing is a tiny waterfall. I took a short video of the waterfall and the creek:

We are lunch and enjoyed the creek for a few minutes and then headed back. I could tell Bodie was getting tired but he did very well. The trip back was pretty uneventful except for meeting a family who was heading in to backpack somewhere. They had a dog which is always a challenge with Bodie – it went fine – they passed us and continued down the trail.

We got back to the truck about 3:00 and headed home. On the drive home I tried to look for the short side trail down to the old “Oh Boy” camp, but couldn’t find the flagging. I think this road has been brushed out and the flagging got clobbered. They have done a fair amount of thinning up the 63 road and there is the Jazz timber sale happening up the 6370 road (didn’t see any clearcutting up 6380, but I believe there is some in the Jazz sale). Once I got home I checked old notes about where it was – next time I’m in the area, I’ll see if I can find it. It is 1.6 – 1.7 miles from the 6370/6380 split.

It was a nice, peaceful day in the woods. I am grateful for the opportunity to be able to enjoy these beautiful places.

7/3/2015 – Thunder Mountain and Skookum Lake

Date of Hike: 7/3/2015
Location of Hike: Thunder Mountain and Skookum Lake Trails
Trail Number: 542 and 543
Weather during Hike: Sunny and Warm
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 8:30 AM  End Time: 12:15 PM
Hike Distance: 5.8 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was kind of a spur of the minute hike. I had thought about going out, but we have been in the middle of a heat wave, so I wasn’t sure I wanted to. I thought maybe I could leave really early and avoid most of the heat, but then I didn’t sleep well on Thursday night – the dog woke me up twice! Anyway, I decided maybe he was trying to tell me something so I headed out about 7am for a short hike. Decided to do Thunder Mountain and Skookum Lake – almost skipped the lake though. Bodie is having more trouble hiking these days – I wasn’t sure if he could do the whole thing, plus I had forgotten to bring a bowl for him for water. I improvised with the lid to my water bottle which seemed to work OK. Even though we got an early start, it was still a pretty warm day. The portions of the trail that went thru the sun were pretty warm indeed.

Not a lot to really say about the day. Nothing really unusual happened – just a nice day in the woods.

A few highlights:

There were quite a few lilies along the trail – both white and purple:

On the way down to Skookum lake, there is a fair amount of blowdown, including these two areas that are quite a mess – the second one I cleaned up a bit to make it easier to pass (a tough crawl under):

I had read about this spring, but never saw it before – it was really the only place on the trail with any water, and it was running pretty slowly:

I’m always amazed at how I see things now that I never used to see. Like this section line tree:

If you know where to look, there are all sorts of signs in the woods.

We got back to the truck a little after noon and headed home with the A/C blasting away in the truck. It felt REALLY good. Bodie was pretty tuckered out from the day, but I think he enjoyed himself.

A good, although very warm day in the woods.

6/16/2015 – Whetstone Mountain Trail – 546

Date of Hike: 6/16/2015
Location of Hike: Whetstone Mountain Trail
Trail Number: 546 (and 3369)
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 11:00 AM  End Time: 1:30 PM
Hike Distance: 4 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
Today’s hike was a chance to do a quick hike with the dog (while he still can), and to unwind a bit. It was a very busy weekend.

After looking at some trails, I decided on the Whetstone mountain trail. I have not hiked this trail in almost 9 years – at least not from this trailhead. I did hike to the lookout with Carly several years ago.

The goal was to just make it up to the lookout and return to the truck. Figured ~ 4.5 miles or so based on the trail sheets. Turned out to be just over 4 miles round trip. Perfect day for the dog.

Ended up leaving the house a bit late – slept in and really didn’t decide to go until later in the morning. Left around 9:30, so got to the trailhead about 11. The first thing that happened was I forgot where the trailhead was! The sheet says it is at the end of road 7020 – well, that isn’t quite correct – it is at the end of the 7020-020 spur road, which is right near the end of the 7020 road. Anyway, after a bit of searching, I found it:

We then proceeded down the trail thru a recent clearcut where we found this empty Wilderness box:

We proceeded down the trail, and shortly entered uncut timber:

The trail goes thru some beautiful old growth:

And had some rather “vigorous” brush along it, although the trail was never hard to follow:

With its own small rockslide:

We continued up the trail, to the intersection with the 3369 trail, which will take us up to old lookout location. Once back in the trees, the trail takes on a more “normal” look:

We stopped for a drink and a rest at a small viewpoint, and spied our eventual goal:

After one more trail junction, we finally made it to the top – the old lookout location. It is on the top of a rock and is mostly clear. The views were outstanding, although it was a bit hazy today:

We ate lunch on top, enjoyed the views, and then started our way back down. We made good time on the way back down, and while descending, I noticed this interesting blaze pattern:

It kind of looked like this double blaze was on trees near potential water sources – I probably saw 3 or 4 of these blaze patterns and all of them were near potential water sources (although almost all were dry today). Someday, I’d love to know all the different blaze patterns, although maybe it was up to the person doing the blazing. Maybe there never were any true “standards”.

We continued down the trail, making great time, enjoying the beautiful forest along the way. Shortly, we were back at the truck. We loaded up and headed down the hill for home. I stopped at A&W in Estacada on the way home for an ice cream. A great way to end the day. Short and sweet!

5/25/2015 – Hawk Mountain

Date of Hike: 5/25/2015
Location of Hike: Rho Ridge and Hawk Mountain Trails
Trail Number: 564 and 564-A
Weather during Hike: Mostly Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 12:15 PM  End Time: 2:45 PM
Hike Distance: 4.2 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
Todays hike almost didn’t happen. I had wanted to it to be a family hike with the dog (while he is still able to hike). No one else seemed interested, and I almost didn’t go, but mid morning, I decided to do it. Bodie and I got in the truck and headed out about 10:30. That is much later than I usually go, but this was going to be a short hike, so I knew it would be OK.
It has been a long time since I’ve been to this cabin (I think it was 2011), but I remember the wonderful view of Mt Jefferson you get from driving along the 6350 road:

Olallie Butte has a nice view as well – it has lost almost all of its snow – that is telling how little snow we got this year – the top of it is over 7000′:

We drove to the trailhead, parked, and got ready. Someone appeared to be camped nearby – I could hear voices to the south somewhere, although I didn’t see any vehicles. We headed down the trail, and I quickly remembered how neat it was going thru the beginning of the trail – thru the old clearcut. It gives you another impressive view of of Olallie and Jefferson:

We headed into the woods and walked the trail, enjoying the solitude and peace. The temperature was just about perfect. I wasn’t sweating too much, but wasn’t cold, either – without a jacket on. We continued on until we got to a spring I saw a photo of recently, but never remembered seeing it before:

And on the trail next to it was a tree with a very unique blaze pattern – not sure what it means (I’m guessing it has something to do with the spring):

A little farther down the trail, we passed Round Meadow (the source of Round Lake):

Shortly, we got to the junction of the 564-A trail to Hawk Mountain and up we went. Along the way, I found another interesting blaze pattern – I don’t know what 2 on the left, one on the right means?:

We continued up to the top until we got to the cabin on top of Hawk Mountain – cute little cabin:

I opened up the windows to let it air about a bit, and started looking at the logbooks that were there that people had signed over the years. I took some photos of some interesting ones:

I absolutely LOVE this view from inside the cabin – looking out to Mt Jefferson:

I sat in the cabin for a bit, reading the entries and just enjoying being in there. After a while, I closed it all back up and went out and sat in the sun and ate a snack and enjoyed the views from on top of Hawk Mountain. Bodie poked around, sniffing everything in sight. After about 15 minutes, I decided we should head out, so we could get home on time. We headed back down the trail and made great time back to the truck.

A very quiet and pleasant day in the woods.

P.S. – The better way to get to this trailhead is to take 46 all the way down to where 6350 intersects and then take that north to the 6355 road. It is a LOT better driving than doing all the gravel roads. Probably slightly longer, but it has to be a LOT faster.

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!

1/21/2015 – Harris Ranch Trail – 1347

Date of Hike: 1/21/2015
Location of Hike: Harris Ranch Trail (Siuslaw Forest - Drift Creek Wilderness)
Trail Number: 1347
Weather during Hike: Alternated between foggy, Sunny and misty
Hiking Buddies: Carly and Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 12:15 PM  End Time: 3:20 PM
Hike Distance: 5.6 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:

This is a hike that has been on my list for a while. I saw it in my backpacker magazine a few years ago – the part that intrigued me was the comments about lots of wildlife and big trees.It was an interesting day to say the least. Since it is down near Eugene, I asked Carly if she would like to join me, so we met in Corvallis and headed out. My planning said it was 3.5 hours to the trailhead from home (a lot of driving!). We met in Corvallis at 8:30 and proceeded to the beach to find the trailhead. I had printed out a couple different sheets on the trail and brought them along. We had to make a stop along the way, and took a picture of the ocean – although it was sunny, the waves were pretty big (bigger than they look in this photo):

We continued on to the trailhead, got out of the truck and started getting ready. When I looked at the trail name, I realized we were at the wrong trailhead! Apparently, I had downloaded a similar trail (it still ends up near the creek), but it was different than what I had originally planned. So, back in the truck we went, and off to the other trailhead. The first trailhead was the Horse Creek North trailhead – we had originally intended to hike the Harris Ranch trail – Horse Creek North comes in from the north, Harris Ranch comes in from the south, but both end up next to Drift Creek. I guess we could have hiked the first trailhead and ended up in almost the same spot!
Once we arrived at the other trailhead, we quickly got ready and headed down the trail. The trail starts off on an old road, going thru an older cut area, and after a half mile or so, enters the Drift Creek Wilderness:

At this point, the trail changes into a different trail – old growth coastal forest. You are accompanied by large spruce, hemlock, fir and a variety of deciduous trees. The forest floor is covered in ferns, salal, oregon grape and mosses of all kinds. A lot of the trail looks similar to this:

or this:

I didn’t get many other photos of the trail, but soon were were down near Drift Creek, which was running high and fast due to all the rain we recently received (almost 3″ over the weekend at home, probably almost double that here in the coastal forest):

And a really nice campsite – one of several down by the creek:

We explored down near the creek for a bit and then had some lunch. Another hiker and her dogs came down and we almost had an “incident” with Bodie, since he wasn’t on a leash – we had passed the only hikers that were on the trail when we started, and I thought it was safe to have him off leash. Fortunately, it all worked out OK – we got him on the leash and all was well.

Bodie being a doofus down by the river:

We had a very brief misty shower after lunch. It was odd because it was sunny and you could see blue sky, but there was a small cloud above us that was misting. It just kind of added the variety of weather we experienced. After lunch, we started back up the trail. On the way back up, we came to this beautiful sight:

Sun poking thru the fog in the big trees. Very pretty. The rest of the hike out was pretty uneventful. We got back to the truck about 3:30, and headed back down the mountain. On the drive down from the trailhead, Carly took this very interesting photo with the sun gleaming through the clouds:

We decided to take a different route home – highway 34 back to Corvallis. I had had never driven that road before, and it seemed like it might be faster. It is a very pretty drive, although parts of that road are pretty curvy.

On the way back to Corvallis, it started raining, and we saw several rainbows – very bright rainbows!

We made it back to Corvallis just before 5 and went to Woodstock’s Pizza (a hometown favorite) for dinner. I dropped Carly off at her car, and we both headed home. It was a very long day, with LOTS of driving (I think I drove about 350 miles), but it was a great way to spend Martin Luther King Day.

11/11/2014 – Battle Creek Shelter – East

Date of Hike: 11/11/2014
Location of Hike: Old Trail East of the Battle Creek Shelter
Weather during Hike: Sunny, but cold and windy
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 10:00 AM  End Time: 2:10 PM
Hike Distance: 4.4 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
The goal for this hike (doesn’t every hike need to have some sort of goal or point?) was to hike an old trail reported on trailadvocate.org. The trail headed east from the old Battle Creek Shelter site on the Elk Lake Creek trail. The trail intrigued me since it was in the Bull of the Woods wilderness area, and I had not seen this trail before. It sounded like a great way to to get to the middle of the Elk Lake Creek trail without a long hike.

So I had the day off (Veteran’s Day) and went up and hiked this trail. Thanks to the wonderful description, and a copy of the track, we were able to follow most of the trail. It gets pretty iffy in the middle – LOTS of blowdown and the tread gets less discernible along with LOTSs of rhodies. It is obvious this trail has not seen real work in a long time – and no hikers for a long time either. The tread is covered in moss, but most of the route does have intact tread. It is actually pretty amazing that it is still hikeable (although with a fair bit of difficulty). A day or two of lopping/brushing and maybe a bit more flagging in a few spots would make this trail relatively easy to hike.

We headed up the old road to find the cairn that marked the start of the trail. The directions I was given were very good, and we had no problem finding it. We headed through a rhodie thicket (on old downed logs to minimize the fighting the rhodies) and soon came to the other side of the rhodie meadow – we found tread! And flags! We followed these for quite a ways pretty easily. In the middle the trail starts to get rather vague – I think we pretty much kept to the tread (there are blazes all along the way). We continued down the trail until we found a flat spot with an old old sign:

We continued on down to the creek – at the creek there are a LOT of REALLY BIG logs down, which were a challenge to navigate around. We decided not to cross the creek – it was pretty cold and the creek runs pretty high. We stopped to have lunch, enjoy the sights and sounds of the creek, and then headed back up the hill.

Going back up was a little tougher than coming down. We lost the trail a couple of times at difficult points, but picked it back up after getting our bearings and looking around a bit. On the way back up we found a few interesting things. One was a section marker cut into a tree – this was very close to a section line – kind of cool:

This tree looked like it was the location of old sign maybe?

This next photo might have been an old junction – it was just about at the halfway mark on the trail. You can’t really see much tread to the right (the trail heads to the left – you can see a flag). But the tree to the right looks double blazed and it looks just like an old junction would look – and there is a bit of tread heading down to the right – it just doesn’t go too far:

And lastly, on the way home I took this very sad photo of Detroit Lake – I don’t know if is it always this low this time of year or not. Wondering if they drain it down really low to allow water to accumulate over the winter? It looks like the water level is at least 50′ below where it should be. All those docks are sitting WAY high and dry.

When we got back to the truck, I realized it was colder than I thought – my boot laces were FROZEN! But we left feeling good that we could find this very old trail. A bit chilly (the heater in the truck felt REALLY good), but satisfied at successfully hiking another old abandoned trail.

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.

7/11/2014 – Fish Creek Mountain Trail – 541

Date of Hike: 7/11/2014
Location of Hike: Fish Creek Mountain Trail
Trail Number: 541
Weather during Hike: Sunny and warm
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 9:50 AM  End Time: 4:00 PM
Hike Distance: 7.5 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
Due to all the family stuff going on this summer, I haven’t been able to get out as often as I’d like. I took a Friday off to help with moving my mom, but it appeared all was ready to go for the move, so I decided to head out and do a hike. I wanted something that would give me some elevation, but not too hard since I knew the following day would be very busy (moving day for my mom).

Anyway, Fish Creek Mountain seemed like a good option. It has some good elevation gain, and isn’t too long. Plus, I haven’t been there for several years. It was going to be a warm day, so I intended to get an early start, but I didn’t get going as quickly as I had wanted to. Got to the trailhead a little before 10. On the way up, I noticed that they have done a LOT of thinning along the 4620 road.

We headed up the old trail (a segment of the old Cold Springs trail, I think), up to the old road. This part of the trail was in pretty good shape, although it was a little brushy in the switchbacks near the top of that first hill. The road is getting reclaimed by nature and getting very brushy in places, too. We got to the original trailhead and headed up. In the sun, it was very warm, but in the shade it was very comfortable. On the way up, there was lots of beargrass blooming along the trail:

Not much blowdown to contend with either. Most of the trail is in excellent shape. A little farther up the trail we came to a beautiful hillside meadow with a neat rock formation:

And of course the great viewpoints like this rocky outcropping near the High Lake junction – look at all the old cuts on those hills:

We proceeded up to the lookout location and was greeted with a ton of beargrass blooms. Although the summit is grown in a bit, there are still a few spots that provide views. If I remember correctly, this was Olallie Butte peeking over the ridge in the distance:

And something I had never seen before on previous trips – the location of the old outhouse:

And the memorial plaque – this was well hidden:

And something else I had never seen before up there – what looks to be the remnants of an old helipad:

After poking around the summit for a while, we ate lunch in the trees since it was a lot cooler in the trees than out at the old lookout. After lunch, we headed back down, and did a little cleanup of the trail on the way down, lopping some of the brushier sections of trail, and moving some small logs off the trail. At the junction, we took the trail down to High Lake, and although the trail was a little brushy, when we got there it was very still and calm:

We spent a little while exploring the lake and then headed back up – on the way we cut some of the brushier sections of trail, and I cleared a bunch of “head slappers”. By this time it was starting to get cloudy and I was concerned we might get some thunderstorms, so we headed back down the trail pretty quickly. We made good time back to the truck. When we got there, there was a rather large group (8-10 people) wondering where the “trail to high lake” was, and how far it was. I told them how to get there and they went on their way. Some of the group was going to camp at the lake, but others were just day hiking it. It seemed like they were starting kind of late, but I didn’t question it.

A nice day in the woods – got to give the dog a good workout, and I it gave me some conditioning for the Enchantments trip in a couple of weeks. I need to do more of this to get ready.

4/8/2014 – Memaloose Trail – 515

Date of Hike: 4/8/2014
Location of Hike: Memaloose Trail
Trail Number: 515
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 12:30 AM  End Time: 3:00 PM
Hike Distance: 2.5 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This hike was just a “get out in the woods and clear my head” kind of hike. The weather was beautiful, and I just needed a quiet day away.

The day started out by seeing how far up road 4550 I could go. I got a little past where I did the prior week, but not much past Music creek.

So, plan B was to hike the Memaloose trail and see if I could make it up to South Fork Mountain. The road to the trailhead was almost completely clear of snow, and the trail was completely snow free almost to the lake. The trail was mostly free of downed trees, except for a couple, including this BIG tree over the trail, which will be really hard to remove with crosscut saws:

After crouching under that big log, we continued up the trail and eventually crossed Memaloose Creek on the way up:

It was running pretty fast and high, but it was a beautiful sight. I’ve only been on this trail a few times, but I’ve never seen the creek so high. Continuing up the trail, soaking in the glory of all the old growth, we finally got to a Frozen Memaloose Lake:

We stopped for a bit at the first campsite and then I headed up the South Fork Mountain trail, not knowing if I would be able to find the trail and/or make it to the top. The trail quickly got buried in snow, however I was able to continue to follow the blazes, but after a short while, the snow got just too deep:

18-24″ in spots, and the postholing just was no fun. So, I turned around and went back to the lake. I found a nice spot to sit and just take in the sights and sounds of the woods, and sat there for over a half hour. It was really nice to just stop and enjoy where I was and really be in the moment. The experience soothed my spirit and calmed my mind. It was exactly what I needed to help endure recent events. Not a terribly long day, but just perfect.

11/25/2013 – Old Hillockburn Trail Exploration – Old Silvicultural Area

Date of Hike: 11/25/2013
Location of Hike: East of old Hillockburn Trail
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 10:30 AM  End Time: 1:15 PM
Hike Distance: 5 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This hike was kind of planned last minute. We’ve had an extended run of nice, sunny (but cold) weather, and I needed to take some time off before the end of the year, so I took a weekday off to do a hike in the nice weather.

While the snow has not buried all of the higher elevation trails, anything above about 4000′ or so seems to be out of range for hiking. So, I had to try and find a trail that appealed to me that was lower than 4000′. My first thought was to go back to Cold Springs and do some more cutting on areas that badly need it. My saw was still in the shop, so that idea did not fly. I looked at a few others, but they were either too high, or too far for a short day trip. I was still recovering from the Cold Springs trip two days prior, so I wanted a relatively easy, short hike.

The original goal was to drive out the 45-242 spur and then just hike down to where we hiked to from the other side of the old Hillockburn trail (not sure if that is the correct name for it or not). Since the gate was locked at the junction of road 45:

So we ended up walking all the way down to the jump off point. It was an easy and interesting walk.
Shortly after we started down the road, we were presented with this odd sign:

The day turned out to be a lot more about the Silvacultural research station that used to be located here. I’m not sure when it was abandoned, but the research areas are still all fenced off, with tags on trees.

You can see from this photo it has been a while since anyone drove into this particular fenced area:

At the junction of the 240 and 242 spurs is where the research station used to be located. You can still see a lot of remnants of what was there – an old outhouse (turned on its side with a missing roof), old roofing materials, lots of firewood, and the outline of a burned structure, which I’m assuming was the actual research facility. You can see what looks like office chair pedestals, and a couple of filing cabinet drawers along with some other rusty burned stuff. It was interesting to poke around all this stuff.

The old outhouse:

The old burned out building footprint:

Some of the rusty relics:

Some of the tags on the trees:

The fenced off area:

When I came down the 240 spur, I saw the turnoff to the research station and mistakenly thought it was the 242 spur road. We walked north until we hit a fence, then we followed the fence mostly west (a little south) to another fence. These fences are 8′ high, and are still in surprisingly good shape. I found a couple spots where people have jumped the fence, but the top of it still has 2 rows of barbed wire. I wasn’t about to try and navigate that, plus I had the dog, who wouldn’t be able to climb the fence anyway.
Here is the “road” we followed the fence:

I headed back thinking we were done for the day. When we got back to the 240 road, I looked down the road a bit farther and lo and behold, there was the 242 spur road heading north. We took off down that road to our jump off point.

Here is the 242 spur road:

One thing that was troubling – we saw several piles of neatly stacked logs – probably 25-30 cords of firewood at least. All sitting there just rotting away. Why did they leave so much wood?

When we got almost to the end of the road, we headed west, downhill searching for the point where we had come up from the other direction several months ago. The going was brutal. First, we had to navigate a VERY dense thicket of small fir trees. Actually, I think there were a couple of those.

Once we got through those, we were presented with this – a BUNCH of downed logs:

After the difficult day we had Saturday, I didn’t think I was up to navigating all of those downed logs. We still had to hike back up to the truck! So, we decided to turn around and head back. We ended up getting about halfway to where we ended up last time (probably about a tenth of mile away).

The trip back was relatively un-eventful and went quickly. The elevation gain was pretty easy since it was all well graded roads. We ended up back at the truck about 1:15 and then headed home. A short, but very nice day in the woods. The weather was SPECTACULAR! I was dressed for cold weather, and although it was a big brisk in some of the shady areas, it really was pretty warm up there – especially in the sun. It was nice to get out and enjoy a unique area on a nice fall day. Maybe I will return when that gate is open and I don’t have to walk all that way – then I would have enough energy to negotiate all the underbrush and downed logs.

9/27/2013 – Pansy Lake, Motherlode, Schreiner Peak Trails – 551, 558, 555

Date of Hike: 9/27/2013
Location of Hike: Pansy Lake, Motherlode, Schreiner Peak Trails - 551, 558, 555
Trail Number: 551, 558, 555
Weather during Hike: Mostly Overcast in the morning, drizzle in the afternoon
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 8:45 AM  End Time: 2:00 PM
Hike Distance: 10.3 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This hike is one I’ve been wanting to do for quite some time. In fact, I had tried to do it with Kirk last summer, but we missed the junction of the Motherlode and Schreiner trails, and kept going. By the time we figured out our mistake, we decided to do a tour of the Welcome Lakes basin instead. Anyway, this was on my list to do as it was one of the few trails that I didn’t have a complete track for. And, as it turns out, this was the LAST trail that I needed to complete in order to have a full inventory of GPS tracks for all official trails in the Clackamas district!

Anyway, on to the trip report – I got an early start for this trip because there were impending reports of serious weather coming in early Friday afternoon. Heavy rain and high winds – I don’t mind a little rain, but this was supposed to be a big storm. The forecast said the rain would start around 11am, so I was hoping I could get done by early afternoon so I would be out of the worst of the storm. I left the house about 7:20am and got to the trailhead around 8:30am. A little before the trailhead, I stopped on the road to capture this photo:

I was amazed that we had sunshine! Maybe it was a good omen for the day? I wasn’t expecting to see anyone else crazy enough to be out in weather like that (especially on a Friday), but a woman who had been camping just up the road from the Pansy trailhead kind of popped out of the brush. Since I didn’t see any cars at the trailhead, I assumed no one else was around, and I had Bodie off leash. Fortunately he didn’t cause a scene, and came right to me when I called him. Once we started up the trail, I let him off leash again (he likes that so much better).

Once I got suited up for the wet weather, we started up the trail, keeping a pretty brisk pace. I knew if we were going to beat that storm, we wouldn’t have a lot of time to waste. We made it up to Pansy Lake pretty quickly and kept going. This is where the incline starts getting a little steeper. On the way up, I took a few pictures of the Pansy creek drainage from one of the rockslides above the lake:

One we made it to the junction with the Motherlode trail (the end of the Pansy Lake trail), I was getting pretty hot, so I took off my thermals so I wouldn’t sweat as much. It wasn’t terribly warm, but keeping a brisk pace on the trail kept me pretty warm. I didn’t want to get too wet from exertion, otherwise I might get chilled. Anyway, after a short stop at the junction, we headed off down the Motherlode trail (someone had been really creative fashioning an arrow directing people on the Motherlode trail – it takes a sharp right at this junction):

This trail continues the upward climb, although at a gentler pace. We continued up the trail until we got to the junction with the Bull of the Woods trail and continued just a bit further to the Schreiner junction. This was the junction we passed last time – it was my mistake – I thought the Schreiner junction was farther down the trail. Anyway, this time, we headed north at the junction. This section of trail goes downhill at a pretty good pace, and then steepens with a series of short switchbacks down the side of the hill. It then levels out and joins the Dickey Creek trail right where there is a seasonal creek. I was surprised the creek was not flowing. Every other time I’ve been through there it has been flowing – but not today – It was dry as a bone. Once through the flat area, you start heading up the hill to Big Slide Mountain, passing several rock fields with expansive views of the Welcome Lakes/West Lake basin:

You can really see the fire damage done in the recent fire (2011). We got a good look at the Welcome Lakes basin, especially the lower Welcome Lake (the larger one) and all the burned area. You can see some green starting to come back, however, which is great! We continued up the hill until we reached the saddle between Big Slide mountain and the hill next to it where the trail down to Lake Lenore starts. I’ve been down this trail one time before, in 2006 with Carly on a backpacking trip to Big Slide Lake. The beginning of the trail was unaffected by the fire, but very quickly, you clearly see the fire line:

From there the trail quickly degrades to the point it is very difficult to follow due to all the debris on the ground – bark, branches and burned out logs litter the ground and obscure a large portion of the route of the trail. It was never a well used trail, and the fire really took a toll on it. After watching carefully and making our way down the hill, we finally arrive at Lake Lenore:

Compare that to our trip in 2006 – taken from a similar location:

But the good news is that nature is regenerating itself! Without any help from man – we saw LOTS of these little seedlings popping up everywhere:

It was also interesting to see the burned trees with the old blazes on them (which will probably soon fall down and disappear since they are all dead now):

After looking around the lake a bit, it was time to head back – It was just beginning to rain a bit, so we hurried back up the hill (well, as fast as we could, huffing and puffing) and quickly made our way back. On the way back down, we caught a glimpse of the lookout on Bull of the Woods:

And I stopped to enjoy the vine maple turning colors one one of the rockslides:

The rest of the trip back was a bit of a blur – we were trying to make time to get back to the truck before the worst of the storm hit. It was supposed to be a real doozy of a storm, and I didn’t want to get stuck in high wind and heavy rain. We made really good time on the way down, stopping only a couple of times for a quick drink of water or snack. I had to make one quick stop at the rockfield above Pansy Lake though – I wanted to capture the difference in weather between the morning and the afternoon. In the morning, it had been sunny, but by early afternoon the rain had moved in (I don’t think this picture really shows how misty and gloomy it was):

We got back to the truck right at 2:00 – a pretty good pace – the GPS showed about 10.3 miles in just over 5 hours with almost 4000′ of elevation gain. Not too shabby….. Although it was a rather rushed day, it was good to get out into the woods and seeing Lake Lenore post fire was an interesting excursion. The woods around Pansy and in Bull of the Woods are absolutely gorgeous, too. Beautiful old growth timber with some spectacular views (even in the rain). We were both tired, but we had a great day in the woods.

8/9/2013 – Olallie Butte Trail – 720

Date of Hike: 8/9/2013
Location of Hike: Olallie Butte Trail
Trail Number: 720
Weather during Hike: Overcast with bits of sunshine - one rumble of thunder on the way down
Start Time: 10:20 AM  End Time: 3:40 PM
Hike Distance: 7.35 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This has has been on my “to do” list for a while now, mostly due to it being one of the last trails I do not have an official, full trail track for. Kirk was camping with his family at Olallie Lake and asked if I wanted to do this hike while he was there. Since I had some extra vacation I needed to use, I decided to burn a Friday and take this hike. I’m glad I did.
I had seen photos of the top of Olallie (it looks like it has a hat from a distance) and had wanted to see it for myself. That, coupled with this peak being the highest peak between Mt Hood and Mt Jefferson made it even more attractive. One thing that I wasn’t so sure of – I like more of the “deep woods” trails, and the Olallie area is much sparser and drier. I wasn’t sure I would like the trail itself – maybe the view from the top, but I figured the trail would be kind of “ho hum” at best. Well, I was pleasantly surprised with that as well. This day was giving me all sorts of surprises!

We started out around 10:30am at the southern edge of the powerline clearing, just north of Olallie Lake. There is a powerline road that takes off from here and near the beginning of that powerline road is where the Olallie Butte trail takes off. It was in great shape, with little blowdown. It stays in the trees, and shortly crosses the Pacific Crest Trail, and then continues its rather relentless trek uphill. Since the trail has to gain about 2500′ of elevation in 3.5 miles, it has to be reasonably aggressive. The nice thing was that this trail really was well graded – it pretty much just is continually going up, but almost never at a steep grade. It was much easier than I had expected – especially for all the elevation gain.
The trail continues up through some very nice forest – much larger and greener than I had expected. It passes a few little meadow areas (which I should have gotten photos of). Although the theme of this day would be all about views. Our first glimpse of the views we would be enjoying came on the first rocky opening in the trail, about 2/3rds of the way up the trail. We stopped for a bit to take in these views:

Here is a photos of Kirk (and Bandit) reviewing the map to identify the peaks on the horizon:

And here is a photo of the “lone dog”, Bodie

Although Bodie LOVES to go hiking with me, he is not terribly good around other people or dogs. Kirk has taken Bandit with us on several occasions and he is a great trail companion. I thought (maybe) that if Bodie was not at home he might do better with other people and dogs. Turns out I was partially correct. If I let him off leash he could do his own thing and run away from other dogs – if I left him on the leash he got rather scared and snippy. It worked out OK, but I don’t know if I will take him on another group hike. He tends to do better when it is just me or the family. OK, back to the hike….

After breaking out into the open (pretty much above treeline at this point), and a bit more climbing-getting a little steeper as we approached the “hat” of Olallie. As we finally got on top, this was pretty much the first relic we found:

It was a really big firepit, with some of the wood from the old lookout. The wood from the lookout was scattered all over the top of the butte. It looks like people have used it for various things. I was surprised at how big it is up on top, and also that it isn’t really flat – it has a higher and lower end. The lookout was built on the north end of the butte, on a pile of cinder rocks, but collapsed many years ago – you can still see the remains of the lookout which was very interesting. My recollection was that it collapsed due to snow load one winter and they just left it in place. It shows how slowly things break down at this elevation:

Once we saw the old lookout, we started exploring the rest of the top of the butte. The east side has a pretty dramatic drop off – much different than the west side. There was even still some snow on the northeast corner of the butte, although Kirk said it is a much smaller snowfield than he has seen in previous years:

And then we got our first look at some of the dramatic rock outcroppings on the east side – wow:

Even though it was a bit smoky this day, you could see all the way east from on top – Bend is out there somewhere – you can definitely see the wheat fields of central Oregon:

Walking around to the south side of the butte, you got a GREAT view of Mt Jefferson – this photo doesn’t do it justice – you really felt like you could touch it from up there:

And then looking down on Olallie Lake:

Most of the bushes/trees on top of Olallie were pretty flat. I think it is because of all the snow – they get flattened out every year, so grow out more than up:

Lastly, I will leave you with some of the panoramic views from the trip – they don’t even being to do these views justice:

View from the rockfield about 2/3rd of the way up:

This was a cool one – I wish I could have gotten Mt Hood in the panorama – it is from the old lookout – starting at the south, panning west up to Mt Hood – I couldn’t quite get Mt Hood in the panorama. It was neat being able to look to your left and see Mt Jefferson then look to your right and see Mt Hood:

Lastly, a panorama looking kind of southeast (Mt Jefferson to the right), with Kirk pointing at something:

After eating some lunch and taking in the views one last time, we headed back down. We did a little bit of trail maintenance on the way down, nothing major – just a little brushing and moving logs off the trail. We did hear one burst of thunder on the way down. Thunderstorms were forecast for the evening, and I guess they were correct. The trip down was much less strenuous than the trip up for sure.

A great day – and a surprising hike. I would definitely do this one again. It is all about the views!

8/2/2013 – Rimrock and MP3 trails – 704

Date of Hike: 8/2/2013
Location of Hike: Rimrock and MP3 Trails
Trail Number: 704
Weather during Hike: Cool and Overcast (we hiked in the clouds most of the day)
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 10:50 AM  End Time: 4:00 PM
Hike Distance: 7.5 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This hike was just a fun hike, and a chance to get back to one of my favorite trails and to also capture the rest of the track for the trail, as well as to capture the upper MP3 trail track. If I had time, I thought I might try and hike the MP3 trail from the bottom as well. I ran out of time for that, but was able to get to the top section of MP3 and show it a little love (trail maintenance).

We started off in the morning, and it was pretty cool – especially for an August morning. I almost put a jacket on when I started, but figured I would warm up soon enough-which I did. I had high hopes that the clouds/fog/mist would burn off, but that did not happen to any great extent. We did have a few moments later in the day when the sun came out for a few brief moments, but most of the day was in the clouds and fog. That was OK – it was still a great day.

This gives you a sense of what it was like hiking in the fog:

On the way up, I had wanted to see if I could find the junction with the MP3 trail. I remember the last time I was there, I saw some flagging, and thought that might be the junction. Although I didn’t see any trail at the flagging, I followed it a bit to an interesting little seasonal stream (or at least that is what it looked like):

We explored that a bit, and quickly realized that was not the junction. We continued on our way to the overlook trail. When we got there, this was our view for the day:

Not much of a view. Even the “point” which normally is an exceptional view of the valley was completely socked in:

We didn’t even venture out to it. We stayed on the main landing (near the old helicopter landing pad) and ate lunch and enjoyed the spot. After eating lunch and watering up a bit, we headed back down the trail. One thing I noticed while hiking down was how wide the trail corridor was. It is getting somewhat overgrown, but where it goes through the trees, you can see a very wide corridor. I’m thinking this must have been a pretty major re-supply route for the lookouts. I could just imagine a long pack trail of horses/mules with supplies headed down this trail:

After getting back to the junction with Rimrock, we continued up the trail to the point where it starts its short descent to road 5830 and the Cottonwood meadows trail. Normally, you get a pretty good view here, but not today:

There is a cool rock field on this end of the trail, though:

We (I) didn’t really want to do the descent to the 5830 road, since we would just have to turn around and come back up, so we turned around at this point and headed back. I had some time (a little), so I decided to look for that junction with the MP3 trail. After reviewing the trail info sheet, I realized the junction was near the start of the trail, right after the first overlook viewpoint. So, I carefully looked to the south for any evidence of a trail junction. While I was thinking, I remembered seeing a 704 sign on a tree – I thought that was an odd place for a trail sign, but then thought that must be where the junction is – signs are usually at or near junctions to identify trails. I figured it was near a jog in the trail – I was RIGHT! The problem was that there was so much blowdown, it was obscuring the MP3 trail and its junction:

I saw a “hole” on a tree that used to have a sign on it – I’m guessing this sign used to identify the MP3 trail (whatever it was originally called). After following the cut logs for a bit, I found the trail and followed it down a bit. I did some trail maintenance, removing sticks and rocks and doing some brushing – it was in quite a bit worse shape than I remember it being when I hiked it last. I don’t think it has seen many boots on it in a few years. Here is a before and after photo of a section of trail we cleared:

We hiked down to the first rock field, clearing as we went, and by that time, the fog was beginning to lift a bit and we got a bit of a view:

Shortly after that, I looked at the time I realized I needed to head back, so back up the hill we went. The rest of the MP3 trail would need to wait for another day. It is a cool trail….The rest of the trip back was pretty uneventful, except for right around the marshy/swampy area. I saw this on the way in, and wanted to make sure and pick it up on the way out:

The balloon said “We miss you Marcos”. I wonder who Marcos was, and why they released a balloon for him? Kind of sounds like a sad story. Anyway, I picked up the balloon and took it home to dispose of it properly.

Arriving back at the truck about 4:00, we headed home – a great (cool) day in the woods!

6/15/2013 – Anvil Lake and Black Wolf Meadows – 724

Date of Hike: 6/15/2013
Location of Hike: Anvil Lake and Black Wolf Meadows
Trail Number: 724
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 10:30 AM  End Time: 12:15 PM
Hike Distance: 3.25 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
Today’s hike was a short jaunt on the day before Father’s day. I had seen a posting on another website talking about this trail, and I knew it was a short hike and I needed a GPS track of the trail, so it seemed like a good option for the day.

Got a bit of a late start, and I wish I hadn’t. There was LOTS of traffic on the roads today. If I had left earlier, it would probably have been less crowded. No matter, I finally arrived at the trailhead about 10:30 and found two other cars there, which was surprising. I thought this trail was pretty lightly traveled. Anyway, after a few minutes of getting ready, we headed down the trail. The beginning of the trail was rather uneventful, hiking through sparse woods.

Once we got to the meadow, it started to get really wet and soggy. The trail going into the meadow was under 3-6″ of water, which made travel a bit difficult.

Once in the meadow, it was still wet, but less so. Walking through the meadow it was a little tough to follow the trail since it wasn’t too evident in places. There are a few posts to help guide you, but basically you just stay to the right and eventually the trail re-enters the woods. A short while after re-entering the woods the trail crosses Anvil Creek, which was kind of nice. The creek was flowing pretty well this time of year – draining the meadow.

The trail was well blazed and easy to follow in the woods. A little while further is the junction to the short side trail to Anvil Lake. We opted to keep going straight, to the other end of the trail at road 5820. The rest of the trail was pretty uneventful, however it did head downhill a bit to the road. Once on the road, we walked down to where Anvil Creek crosses the road just to see what it looked like. You can’t see much since it goes under the road in a culvert and was pretty well hidden by undergrowth.

After turning around, we took the side trail to the lake. It is a pretty short trail (1/8 mile?) Anvil Lake is shallow and brushy, and the bugs were pretty thick, just like they were in the meadow. I’m sure they are all hungry!

On the way back, we stopped to enjoy some of the flowers along the way. I found an interesting bunch of what I think are trillium’s, but they were not white – they were kind of a purpleish color. Very interesting.

Lastly, right before the trailhead, I noticed black and pink striped flagging on a tree. This typically is left by the FS historian, and it denotes some sort of historical artifact. I looked around but could not find anything that looked like it might be historical. A mystery for another day…..

On the way home I stopped at High Rock and took in the view – Mt Hood was BEAUTIFUL today – very clear.

I also did a little scouting for a good spot to do a cross country hike to try and find the big old growth down in the Roaring River (stuff that wasn’t burned in the big fire 100 years ago). I think I may have a good idea of where to take off for that hike, but that will also be for another day.

All in all a short, but nice day in the woods.

4/27/2013 – Big Bottom Exploration – Round 2

Date of Hike: 4/27/2013
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 11:30 AM  End Time: 2:30 PM
Hike Distance: 1.6 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This hike was round two of trying to find the largest cedar (Western Red Cedar?) tree in Oregon. The last time I went (two weeks ago), I was unable to find it. So I went back to Big Bottom today looking for the giant.
On the way down, I did some clearing of the old road to make it easier to pass. There were some downed trees and hanging branches that were annoying. I recently purchased a replacement pair of loppers after breaking my old pair, and also purchased a small pruning saw to deal with limbs larger than my loppers can handle. They worked well in clearing out some of this debris and it should be easier passage down the road now.

This is actually my third trip down into Big Bottom. I went down there several years ago on a very hot day to try and find the record holder. I realized after I made that trek that I had gone down the wrong spur road. It was an interesting trip, but was not fruitful obviously. After my prior trip two weeks ago I reviewed GPS coordinates someone had sent me and compared it to my track from last time. I was convinced I was on the right track last time, I just didn’t go far enough. That made me want to try again!
There is supposed to be a “faint trail” that heads off from the old road, however I was not able to find it last time. This time, I think I did find the beginning of it. There was a flag (kind of hidden) right on the corner where you start heading north on the old road. It is right where the turn starts, however it was kind of hidden due to all the new, young trees growing up – I was amazed at how many young trees were in this area. I started up that way, and found another flag, and another, and another. I cut out a trail between the flags that should be easy to follow. The bad news is that the flags (and any semblance of a trail) stopped as quickly as it started. Since I could not find any other flags, and I wasn’t sure where it should go, I stopped cutting. There were so many places I thought might be a faint trail, but I’m pretty sure they were just game trails. There was a LOT of sign of elk and deer in those woods…..

Here is the log we ended up taking across the “creek” (bog really) to get into the grove:

Anyway, I came to two trees at the coordinates I was given, but I don’t think either one was “the” big one.

A picture looking up the trunk of one of the giants:

I looked around a bit, saw another one nearby, but I don’t think it was any bigger than these two.

It had a very interesting “bump” on the side of it:

I was just about to leave when I saw another giant kind of “over in the corner” of the grove. I went over to look at it and took a photo. I still wasn’t convinced I found it until I looked at another photo of the giant and compared it to mine. I think I found it! There were some telltale signs – two gashes on its bark. This was a monster of a tree! My Guess was 12+ foot in diameter (more if you measured it at ground level due to the huge root ball). But there were LOTS of HUGE trees in that basin. Just AMAZING.

After taking some photos of the tree it was time for lunch. We had lunch atop a downed cedar that was probably 5’+ in diameter. That was a really neat place to eat lunch. The only way I got on top was because it was next to another tree and it helped me get up on top.

This place feels so remote, but is actually very close to road 46 – I could hear traffic in the distance periodically. It didn’t detract from the serenity of being with these ancient giants, though. Here is a photo of part of this grove – it is impossible to grasp the scale of these trees in these photos:

After having lunch, it was time to head back. You really have to pay attention to where you are going because it all looks very similar – having to navigate around all those HUGE downed trees makes travel difficult. It was a short day of hiking, but a great day.

Driving on the spur road on the way out I got my last little perk of the day. A deer ran across the road in front of me. She didn’t seen too scared of me, after getting a little ways away – she just stood there and looked at me. This isn’t a great photo, but it was a cool way to end the day:

Another wonderful day in the woods, and a great accomplishment to see the largest cedar tree in Oregon!

4/13/2013 – Big Bottom Exploration

Date of Hike: 4/13/2012
Location of Hike: Big Bottom Old Growth Grove
Weather during Hike: Take your pick - Snowy, Rainy, Windy, Sunny - it had it all!
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 11:45 AM  End Time: 1:30 PM
Hike Distance: 3 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was a hike into the old growth grove of Big Bottom on the Clackamas River. This low, flat area has a lot of old growth fir and cedar. It is supposed to contain one the largest Western red cedar in Oregon – I’ve heard it is pretty big, and reminds you of the redwoods in California.

I had done this hike a few years ago – I think it was on my birthday – I remember it being a VERY hot day – something like 100 degrees in town. I remember it being cooler at Big Bottom due to the shade and humidity of the area, but it was still pretty warm. I was trying to find that cedar tree then, and I wanted to come back to try and find it again.

On to this days adventure. I was surprised when I got to the starting point. It had snowed overnight!

This hike started on old road which continued to get narrower and narrower the farther you got into Big Bottom. There were spots almost impassable due to small downed trees blocking the road – even for hikers. But, it is well worth the effort – you are soon rewarded with beautiful views of majestic old growth trees like this:

We hiked about as far down the road as we could. The major objective for the day was to try and find the cedar giant. Once it seemed we had definitely gone too far north, we turned around and continued to search for the “faint side trail” that was supposed to lead us to the giant cedar. I knew it would be a tough bushwhack, but I was determined to find it.

On the way back, we took several side trips, trying to find this faint side trail, but nothing looked like a trail at all – at least not for more that 30 feet. With the weather looking a bit threatening (I had hesitated to go hiking this day due to uncertain weather), I opted to leave the big cedar for another day after I could do some more research and fact finding to see if I could get more info on where it is located. So, a little disappointed, we headed back to the truck. A little disappointed, but how can you not love being around trees like this (and bigger, too!):

And more beautiful trees!

By the time we got back to the truck, the snow had pretty much melted away:

I will definitely be returning to Big Bottom, and I will find this big cedar. That will be an adventure for another day.

Note: After I did this hike, I conferred with someone else who has been to see this big cedar. He gave me the GPS coordinates of where the tree is supposed to be located. I put that in the gps track for this trip so I could see how close we got. Based on his description, it is about where I was thinking it was – you can see the route we took to the east, just west of where that GPS waypoint is. Although it will be difficult to get over there due to all the undergrowth, I look forward to returning.

3/9/2013 – Cripple Creek Trail – 703

Date of Hike: 3/9/2013
Location of Hike: Cripple Creek Trail
Trail Number: 703
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 10:45 AM  End Time: 3:15 PM
Hike Distance: 8.5 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This particular Saturday’s weather report was supposed to be very nice. I didn’t want to miss a springtime opportunity for good weather! So, I planned a hike up the Cripple Creek trail. I wanted to start down by the river – having done that section only once, in January a couple of years ago, I wondered what it would be like without snow. I was not disappointed! One thing that was disappointing and I did not find out until I got home – I had tried to use my phone as a camera and I was experimenting with a new mode called HDR (High Dynamic Range) which is supposed to create better photos for areas where you have different lighting levels (like taking a photo in a forest on a sunny day). It worked, sort of, but it made the pictures look really strange. I have to say I really don’t like how it does HDR and I will not be using it in the future. So, all the photos from this trip are a little “different”. They have a certain “glow” to them.

One thing that I did not remember – the lower part of this trail is BEAUTIFUL! It goes through a bunch of beautiful old growth, especially where it is near Cripple Creek. This is virgin forest that was never cut and is impressive. I also forgot how much elevation you gain on this trail. I gained somewhere between 2600 and 3000 feet of elevation on this hike (depending on who you believe). The first view on the hike is shortly after you cross the pipeline road:

Just before the interesting hillside meadow, you come the place many people refer to as “the grotto” – It is a weeping waterfall cliff below the hillside meadow:

This is really neat to see in the winter time when it is all frozen!

Continuing up the trail you proceed through a bunch of really nice forest – mixed ages, and some really nice old growth. The trail is in excellent condition:

Hiking up farther, the snow came pretty quickly (this was a little over 3200′ I think):

And finally got too deep to navigate through the young alders – This is where we turned around – about .2 miles from the 4635 road crossing:

This photo was interesting for two reasons – 1 – It was interesting to see how much more snow was in the old clearcut – in the uncut woods, there was almost no snow – in the old clearcut, there was 2+ feet. 2 – The tree on the right was used as an anchor for logging operations a long time ago. Amazingly enough, it doesn’t seem to have killed the tree.

After turning around in the deep snow in the old clearcut, we made a hasty and uneventful descent back down to the truck. It was a really nice, warm (for late winter) day in the woods.

1/19/2013 – Alder Swamp, 3 Lynx Falls, Sounds Trail

Date of Hike: 1/19/2013
Location of Hike: Old Alder Swamp Trail (attempted), Three Lynx Waterfall, Sounds of Two Rivers Trail
Weather during Hike: Sunny but cold
Hiking Buddies: Carly and Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 11:15 AM  End Time: 2:30 PM
Hike Distance: 3.5 miles  
Pictures: Link

Description of Hike:
This was originally going to be a short wintertime hike on the old Alder Swamp Trail. I was on this trail a couple of years ago with Don, and it is a good wintertime hike. Not too much elevation gain, and usually not too much snow. Well, this year was a little different. We made it to the beginning of the trail, which was not all that easy due to the snow on the roads. There was 6-10″ of snow on the roads – the people that go up to Bagby had pretty much maintained a single track up until the Bagby turnoff. Past that, the tracks disappeared. Once we got to where the trail started, here is what we saw:

We started down the trail, but with all the snow, it was hard to see where the trail was. The beginning of this trail is a little rough (it follows the river at the start and some of it has slid down into the river), and we had a hard time finding where it should go. To top it off, Bodie did something to his foot (he has been having an issue with one of his toenails), and his foot started bleeding. We thought it best to turn around and try something different.

I had read about a new waterfall near the small community of Three Lynx. It was supposed to be a very short hike to the waterfall, so we thought we would try it and see how Bodie did. We found the old Schoolhouse in Three Lynx (edit later- which has now been torn down):

One there, we headed up the road behind the schoolhouse. We passed through this BEAUTIFUL forest along Three Lynx Creek:

Shortly, we found the dam that supplies this small community with water:

We headed up and over the dam and just a little ways past the dam is the BEAUTIFUL 90 foot waterfall!

After spending a few minutes enjoying the waterfall, we headed back the way we came and since Bodie did fine with his foot on this trip, decided to try to hike the “Sounds of Two Rivers” trail. This is an old, unofficial trail up the north side of the Roaring River (hence the name – both the Clackamas snd Roaring rivers can be heard). Here is the “trailhead” for this trail:

We figured we could hike as far as we were able to, or until we got into too much snow, and then turn around. That turned out to be a pretty good plan of attack. We headed up the trail, which was in pretty good shape – I kicked a bunch of branches and rocks off the trail on the way up. There were a few freshly downed trees that I tried to clean up a bit (branches on the trail), but for the most part, the trail was in good shape. Once we got almost to the top of the hill, we decided to stop and have lunch. After eating, we decided to turn around and go back down to the truck.
Although the day didn’t turn out as planned, it was a great day, with great weather, and having my daughter along was a bonus! They don’t get much better than this!

12/29/2012 – Alder Flat and Riverside Trails – 574, 723

Date of Hike: 12/29/2012
Location of Hike: Alder Flat and Riverside Trails
Trail Number: 574, 723
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 10:15 AM  End Time: 2:30 PM
Hike Distance: 6 miles  
Pictures: Link

Description of Hike:
I wanted to get out in the woods, but didn’t want a big hike. There was a “challenge” on the trailadvocate.org site to try and re-create where a photo was taken. I thought it would be a good challenge to see if I could figure out where it was taken. So, off I went – a little later than normal, but knowing it would be a short hiking day (short hikes for short winter days), I thought I could go a little later. I wasn’t sure how many people I might run into since both of these trails are relatively busy trails.

When I got to Ripplebrook, where Alder Flat is, I was surprised at how much snow was there. Not a ton, but the parking area had 4-6″ in it, and since the road is plowed there, getting into the parking lot you had to break through the berm of snow that the plow created.

We started hiking down the Alder Flat trail, looking for the site of the photo. Stupid me – I printed out the photo to refer to, but I left it sitting on my desk at home. Oh well, I just had to do it from memory. I figured I could take a bunch of photos and compare when I got home. I didn’t see anything that looked too familiar, but I did snap a couple of photos that might fit what I remembered:

We got to the river, looked around a bit and then headed back to the truck to go up to the Riverside trailhead parking lot. As we got closer to riverside, the snow kept getting deeper and deeper and the road become unplowed and single track travel. By the time we got to the Riverside trailhead, the snow was 8-10″ deep. Interestingly enough, there was a couple at the trailhead that had started a fire. I think they were just enjoying being out in the snow.

First good look at the Clackamas River from the Riverside trail:

Here is the shot that matches the one that was posted (the “challenge”):

Nice shot looking south up the Clackamas from the Riverside trail:

Here is what a lot of the Riverside trail looked like:

One sad note – there used to be a bridge over Tag Creek that was a Boy Scout Eagle Project. I was always quite impressed with the bridge – it must have been quite a job to put that bridge in – surely a challenge for a boy under 18! The sad news is that it has been replaced with a new bridge. I’m guessing that the old bridge succumbed to the elements, and it needed to be replaced. The last time I hiked this trail (in 2008), the bridge was still there, but the railings were falling off. The bridge itself looked in good shape, so i don’t really know what happened. Nature taking back what is hers I guess.

Although there was nothing really noteworthy on this hike, it was a beautiful day to get out into the woods in the winter. I needed to stretch my legs a bit.

12/10/2012 – Gold Creek Mines

Date of Hike: 12/10/2012
Location of Hike: Up old 2209-330 spur road (kind of a trail)
Weather during Hike: Foggy in the morning and partly Sunny in the afternoon
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 11:00 AM  End Time: 2:30 PM
Hike Distance: 6.3 Miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was a hike based on a trip report on the Portland Hikers website. I had the day off and was trying to find something that was interesting, new and would be doable without snow. This seemed to fit the bill, and since I love historical places, I thought it would be a great fit.

Got going a little late, so didn’t start hiking until 11:00 – it was almost a 2 hour drive to the trailhead (Opal Creek trail), but the good news is that there were only two cars there today! Unlike the weekends, where you might have 100 or more. Anyway, we started out on the hike, crossed Gold Creek on the big tall bridge and soon came to the junction of the old 330 spur road, which would take us up Gold Creek to the site of the old mines.

As we started our way up the old road and past the wilderness boundary sign, the old road seemed more like a creek than an old road:

We got a few glimpses of the surrounding terrain through the trees:

We missed the turn to continue up the old road. I had thought the Gold Creek trail would take off to the right, however what really happens is the Gold Creek trail continues on straight, and this road takes off to the left, through a bunch of brush. We saw the junction, but it looked rather overgrown and figured it was just some sort of side trail. After a bit on the Gold Creek trail, I realized we were not heading in the right direction. We were still headed up quite a bit and heading away from the creek. So, we turned around and found the junction and soon found the rest of the old road (what is remaining of the old road bed).

The road was rather overgrown with LOTS Of downed trees over it – It was tiring to keep going over or under all the big trees:

After hiking for a while, we came to an old bridge, which has kind of turned into a logjam. Only one of the original logs is still intact – the one we crossed on:

After crossing the creek and heading uphill some more, we finally found the first evidence of old mining activity (other than the “road” bed) – This was some sort of bridge over a collapsed mine shaft. You could see the remains of the wooden supports down in the bottom of the cave in.

A little farther up the road was a flat area

And an old blacksmith forge blower:

Downhill from that flat area was some more remnants. Roofing from an old building

Old Rails

An old mine car

And a woodstove (maybe? Or Maybe a blacksmith furnace?)

Knowing there might be more up the road, but also seeing what time it was, and how tired we already were, I decided it was time to turn around. I really didn’t want to be hiking in the dark, and we still had a ways to go back down the road/trail to get to the truck. I was also a little nervous about getting back over the creek on that log (with the dog). We were getting tired, and I didn’t want either of us slipping on that log on the way back. So, it was better to call it a day and head back. Going back was much easier than going in – I think we made it back down in about an hour and a half. So, we didn’t have to hike in the dark (or drive in the dark).

The weather was great for December and it was an interesting day of hiking, seeing some old relics in the woods, and being able to see some giant old trees. I would love to know how old some of the trees in that area are. Some of them are HUGE!

12/03/2012 – Bedford Point Lookout and Wanderers Peak Weather Station

Date of Hike: 12/3/2012
Location of Hike: Bedford Point Lookout and Wanderers Peak Weather Station
Weather during Hike: Cool and overcast
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 10:30 AM  End Time: 2:00 PM
Hike Distance: 4.5 miles  
Pictures: Link


Description of Hike:
This was a rather short hike – but I had been feeling bad over the weekend and I thought that getting some fresh air might help me recover from whatever it was I had. I had the Bedford Point lookout on my “todo” list for a while, and the Wanderers Peak weather station was one I had recently found and was interested in seeing. The two of them looked like relatively short hikes (depending on how close I could drive to them – I wasn’t sure of the state of the roads).

So the first stop was to the old Bedford Point Lookout location. According to the maps, there is a road that goes right to the lookout. Well, that was a while ago…..I started down the narrow road (although I’ve been on worse FS roads), until I got to the Whisky Creek crossing – it is hard to see in the photo, but the road was washed out on either side of the culvert, so the “road” was probably only 4′ wide. In order to drive over the creek, I would have had to drive on the culvert, which I didn’t really want to do:

That looked a little too dicey for me, so I decided to turn around and find a wide spot in the road (just in case someone came down the road and was crazy enough to cross that creek). We started hiking a little ways from the creek crossing where there was a spot just wide enough to fit two vehicles. After the creek crossing, the road wasn’t too bad for a while. It went through the corner of a privately owned piece of land that had recently been clearcut. After the clearcut, the road continued in reasonably good shape until it came to another un-named creek that had washed out the road and there were dirt berms on either side of the creek:

After crossing this small creek, we continued up the road, finding another dirt berm in the road a little farther up:

After getting around that, it was evident that the land north of the road had recently been thinned. When we got to the end of the thinning, we found this on a tree:

It appears the thinning was done in the spring of 2008. Continuing up the road, we found the old road up to the lookout site and started hiking up that road. It wasn’t in very good shape, and was definitely not driveable:

Once at the top, it was a little bit anti-climactic, since there was absolutely no view from the top (it is all grown up now), and there wasn’t a whole lot to see. We did find evidence of the old footings for the lookout:

And something else interesting – We found what I think is one of the rock piles shown in the photo from 1934:

What we saw:

What was taken in 1934 (there were lots of rock piles – we saw several, but this was the largest one):

WOW – A lot has changed in 78 years!!! We also found some old tin – not sure what it was for, but guessing it was from a roof of something:

After looking around for a while, trying to find more artifacts, we decided to head back to the truck. We easily made it back to the truck and on the way out, we saw a fenced off area to the west of the road. This looks very similar to other areas I’ve seen. The other areas were “study areas” that the Forest Service used for various purposes. I guess the fences were to try and control the experiments the best they could. I’m sure this area hadn’t been studied in years. The gate was off the fence, so anyone could go in.

The next stop on the agenda was to go to Wanderers Peak and see if we could find the weather station located there. I found out (I think) that the station is part of the RAWS network. Here is more info on that. After driving up the road, I wasn’t sure how far we could drive to. Fortunately, we were able to drive very close to the station. After a short walk (up an abandoned road), we found the weather station:

You could see the remains of the old “shack” that used to be there. I’m pretty sure the big pile of wood was the old shack. It looks like this station has recently been upgraded.

It was a shame the clouds were so low – on a clear day the view would be tremendous. After a bit of walking around exploring, we hiked back to the truck and made our way home.

All in all, a good day in the woods, and the bonus was that we didn’t get rained on!

10/8/2012 – Eagle Creek Cutoff and east end of Eagle Creek – 504, 501

Date of Hike: 10/8/2012
Location of Hike: Eagle Creek Cutoff and east end of Eagle Creek
Trail Number: 504, 501
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 9:45 AM  End Time: 2:15 PM
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
I wanted to take advantage of what may have been my last chance to experience the extended summer this year. We have had an unseasonably long stretch of nice, warm, dry weather – in fact, it is supposed to be the longest stretch of dry weather on record (from July-September). The weather reports were calling for rain the following weekend, and it looked like that might be the start of the rainy season. So, with my Monday holiday (Columbus Day), I decided to complete the Eagle Creek to Old Baldy trail connection – the Eagle Creek Connector trail (504).

I have hiked the Eagle Creek trail several times, and even backpacked there with the scouts a couple of times, but never got up the trail all the way to where it crosses the creek. This is the point where the Eagle Creek connector trail starts, and then heads uphill to the Old Baldy trail. I had ventured a short distance down that trail when I had hiked the Old Baldy trail earlier, but since it is a 2.2 mile trip down to the river, I didn’t go very far. Originally, I had thought I could do this trail when I completed the east end of Old Baldy, but when I started looking at details, the length of the trail made it obvious that it would need to be a separate trip. Since I hadn’t hiked all the way to the end of the Eagle Creek trail, I decided to include that in the hike as well. Turns out it was a bit farther than I thought to the end of the trail!

The day started out rather cool, but we quickly got on the trail and proceeded down, then up and went down and up for a bit – I had anticipated essentially going downhill, but the start of the trail is a bit up and down. The trails in this area seem to be “older” and as a result, do more “direct” routes (read: straight up and straight down). Shortly, we came to a nice viewpoint, overlooking the Eagle Creek drainage.

After stopping for a bit to emjoy the views, we continued on – at this point, we started downhill. The beginning of the downhill was not too bad, but the farther down the hill we got, the steeper it got. With my knees still recovering from our Eagle Cap trip, the trip downhill was a little challenging (for my knees). We made it downhill (finally), and got to the creek crossing. My hope had been that the creek would be low at this time of year to make it easy to cross. The creek was pretty low, which made for an easy crossing, just an easy rock hop.

After the creek crossing, we were now on the Eagle Creek trail. This was a portion of the trail I had not been on before. At this point, the trail was right next to the creek. Very quickly, we came to a “narrows” area, where there was some rock ledge and where the creek got very narrow and deep. It was very similar to a section on the Clackamas river that you can see from highway 224, although it was much smaller (obviously).

We proceeded down the trail, heading downstream. At one of the side creek crossings, I had an experience I’ve never had before – I lost my footing completely and ended up falling in the water. It had to have been a very comical sight. The good news was that I didn’t hurt anything, except a few scrapes and scratches. It will teach me to be more careful, even at small water crossings. After my big fall, we continue down the trail until we got to the place where we had to turn back in April (with the scouts). On the way back, I noticed a really pretty section of maple that was really “popping” with the fall colors – green, yellow, orange and red. The photo didn’t do it justice:

A little farther down the the trail, we found a nice place along the creek to stop, sit and have lunch. While we were sitting there, I saw the most unusual bird. It would sit on rocks and constantly bob up and down. It would then “swim” through the water to the next rock. It was a grayish black color. It would repeat these behaviors over and over down the creek. I tried to get a video of it, but was unable to get something that was clear. When I got home I looked up the bird, and it is called an “American Dipper”. I guess the dipper name comes from its behavior. It was a very interesting way to spend my lunchtime.

After lunch, we continued back down the trail to re-cross the creek and head back up the hill. One thing I was amazed at – how moist and green this area still was, even with our extended dry period. Side creeks were still flowing and everything was still very green.

After crossing the creek it was time to head back up the hill. Wow, was that hard – the “switchbacks” were not very wide, they were more like “S”s, so it wasn’t much better than walking straight uphill. And it was STEEP. It took me a while, but I finally made it back up the hill. Tired, but happy that we were able to experience this new piece of trail on a beautiful fall day. The Eagle Creek canyon is an absolutely beautiful place with lots of old growth trees. It is also a very quiet forest – different than many. It was a good day.

9/29/2012 – Old Baldy – 502 – East End – Squaw Mountain and Meadow

Date of Hike: 9/29/2012
Location of Hike: Old Baldy Trail
Trail Number: 502
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 9:40 AM  End Time: 2:45 PM
Hike Distance: 8 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was a milestone hike for me. Completing this hike means I have hiked all of the mileage of all the official trails in the Clackamas district. While there are still lots of abandoned trails to find, explore and hike, this was a big deal for me. It was a goal that was almost 10 years in the making. It started with me just wanting to hike the “interesting” (to me) trails, and evolved into a goal to hike all of the trails. As I came to know more about the trails, I realized that some trails I thought I had hiked all the way through, I had actually missed some portions of it. This trail was one of those. I hadn’t realized that I missed the eastern portion of this trail and so had marked this as one to finish.

OK, on to the hike description. Originally, I had intended to start at Twin Springs and hike west, but after thinking about it, I realized I could start from the point where Old Baldy hits the 4614 road and it would be much closer to town and I wouldn’t have to drive that awful Abbot road! So, the revised plan was to start there, very near where the Eagle Creek cutoff trail intersects, and go east to the end of the trail.

This was to be a relatively easy hike for me, as my knee was still recovering from the Eagle Cap backpacking trip with my daughter. I didn’t want to push my knee too much, but knew it would be good to exercise it a bit. This didn’t look like too much elevation or mileage so it seemed like a good hike for that. If my knee felt OK, I planned to go up to Squaw/Tumala Mountain and down to Squaw/Tumala Meadows as well.

I was a little concerned early in the trip – my knee was bothering me quite a bit. I was thinking I wouldn’t be able to complete the trip, but after about a mile or so, my knee loosened up and felt fine. I decided to go straight thru to the end first, not doing the potential side trips, just in case my knee got sore. If things went well, I could do the side trips on the way back. The beginning of the trip was pretty non eventful – this trail is very much “old school” – not a lot of switchbacks. Many areas go straight uphill and straight downhill.
We passed the confusing junction to Squaw/Tumala mountain (the trail takes a hard left turn – straight takes you to the old lookout), and continued down the switchbacks and east on the trail. A little farther down the trail we met a hunter who had just come down from on the ridge and was looking for the trail down to Tumala/Squaw meadows. I told him that I hadn’t been on the trail before, but there was supposed to be a side trail down to the meadows, and I hadn’t seen it yet, so I assumed it must be farther down the trail. Turns out I was correct – a little farther down the trail was a rough side trail which went downhill and went down to the meadows. A side note – I hadn’t realized that this day was the opening day of (deer?) hunting season – there were LOTS of hunters around, and I hadn’t worn bright colored anything – all I had was my red bandanna. OOPS!

Shortly after we passed the side trail down to the meadows, we came to a rockslide which had a great view of the basin.

We stopped there for a while, took a break, had some water and food and I looked at maps, etc to see what peaks were around. It is a GREAT viewpoint and interesting to see all the little meadows and lakes.

After spending a while on the rockslide, we continued east on the trail to the end at Twin Springs. We saw some VW campers there (Bob?), but were in a hurry to get back, so just turned around and headed back up the trail. When we got to the side trail down to the meadows, my knees were feeling pretty good, so decided to head down the trail to the meadows, and explore what was down there. The trail heading down is good in places, and rather faint in others. We had to pay close attention so we didn’t lose the trail on the way down. (We did end up losing the trail a couple of times on the way back up – it was easier to follow down than up).

Once down the hill, we went out into the meadow, however it was still rather soft, even with all the dry weather. I can’t imagine trying to go through these meadows in the spring!

Since the meadows were so soft, we decided to go back to a flat spot a little higher up in the trees to have lunch. We ate and then decided to see if we could see any remnants of the road that showed up on the south side of the meadow. We went towards where the road shows on the maps, however the brush was just too thick. I didn’t want to risk messing up my knee, so we turned around. I’m not sure how they got a road in there, seeing how soft that soil is. Maybe on the other side it was firmer. So, we turned around and headed back up the hill, and back to the main trail. When we got to the junction up to the old lookout site, my knee was still feeling OK, so we took that side route and went up to the old lookout site. One surprising thing we found – a “new” (relatively) radio antenna of some sort below the lookout site – right in front of what looks like used to be a garage for the lookout. I’m guessing it must be for the forest service radios or something. It was quite a project to get that into place! Looks like they might have brought a truck up the old road to get the building there.

We spent a little time at the lookout site, enjoying the view, however the mountains were hiding behind the clouds. The rest of the view was pretty good, though – not too much smoke.

After a short break at the old lookout site, we headed back down the trail and back to the truck. The mileage total for the day was more than I had expected. It ended up being over 8 miles! My knees did OK, and I was able to complete this milestone! The hike was pretty peaceful, except for the few gunshots that I heard in the distance (from the hunters), saw no one else except for the lone hunter, and the weather was just about perfect – not too hot, not too cold. What a great day to be in the woods!