Tag Archives: Otis

9/6-9/9/2022 – Alpine Lakes Wilderness Backpack Loop

Date of Hike: 9/6-9/9-2022
Location of Hike: Alpine Lakes Wilderness Backpack
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Carly, Kirk and Otis
Hike Distance: 31.4 miles  Elevation Gain: 11,000 feet
Pictures: Link
This trip was my annual backpacking trip with Carly (Number 18). Originally, we were planning to climb Luna Peak a little farther north. A few days before we were to leave, a fire broke out near where we would be hiking. It wasn’t closed, but we opted to come up with a plan B. This trip was plan B – but it sure didn’t feel like it. It was another great adventure.

The plan was to do a modified loop – basically a loop with an out and back for each night associated with it. It was a challenging plan, but we were all up for it. The plan was this:

  • Day 1 – 6.2 Miles – Deception Pass Trailhead to Robin Lake – 3200′ Elevation
  • Day 2 – 7.9 Miles – Robin Lake to Jade Lake – 2500′ Elevation
  • Day 3 – 11.1 Miles – Jade Lake to Peggy’s Pond – 3200′ Elevation
  • Day 4 – 5 Miles – Peggy’s Pond to Cathedral Pass Trailhead (right next to where we began) – 300′ Elevation

Total: 30.2 Miles, 9200′ Elevation
Actual: 31.4 Miles, 11,000′ Elevation

Carly had also planned “side trips” if we wanted to do them. I wasn’t sure I’d be up for them, as this was challenging enough. I would see how I felt to see if I thought I could do any of the side trips. Here is what happened:

Day 1 – Deception Pass Trailhead to Robin Lake

We started out really early from home, leaving at 5am. The idea was since the first day wasn’t terribly long, we could just meet at the trailhead around 11:00 and head out. Fortunately, that worked out OK even though the day turned out to be much more difficult than we anticipated.

The first weird thing of the trip happened just north of the Columbia river. Highway 97 takes a weird little jog at one point. You have to stop, take a left, then take a right. At the stop sign, something had been spilled on the road. When I went to take off, I spun my tires. Shortly after that, there was this terrible stench in the truck. We were kind of expecting it to dissipate after driving for a while, but it didn’t get a whole lot better. We stopped in Cle Elum for gas, and I also paid for a car wash, hoping it would help wash off whatever it was that got on my truck. It helped but it didn’t get it all off unfortunately.

We made it to the trailhead a little before 11, and Carly had texted us earlier that she was just a little behind us. We got ready, and in about 5 minutes, she showed up. We got all of our passes in place and headed out. We started at the Deception Pass trailhead and would be returning on the Cathedral Pass trailhead on Friday. The first portion of the trip was pretty easy – it was mostly level along Hyas Lake. At one point we got a good look of the lake and also of Cathedral Rock on the other side (which we would be going around on Thursday):

Partway up the trail, as we were beginning the gentle climb, we got a good look at Mt Daniel, which Kirk and Carly would climb early on Friday morning:

About 4 miles in, after the junction for the Robin Lakes trail, the trail changed dramatically. What had been a pretty good trail suddenly changed into a goat path. Heading straight up steep hills, filled with rocks and roots and just plain difficult. This continued pretty much all the way to Tuck lake – a sample of what it looked like-this had to be at least a 45 degree angle:

As we were climbing, there were some open spots. At one point, we got a good view of where we started earlier in the day – Hyas Lake way below:

We continued climbing – I struggled and felt like I needed to stop about every 10 feet – it was getting warm and the trail was just terrible – and dusty. Eventually, we finally made it to Tuck Lake, which is a very nice alpine lake:

We stopped here for a bit to rest and then continued the climb to Robin Lakes. As we were leaving Tuck lake, we got a good view of Tuck’s Pot, a small lake just south of Tuck Lake:

And we got a better view of Tuck lake as well:

As bad as the trail up to Tuck lake was, the “trail” from Tuck to Robin lake was even worse. The trees were thinning, there were more rocks and boulders and the trail was steep in places and went up and down a lot. It was extremely difficult, especially at the end of the day with a full pack. After a lot of rest breaks, and “I think it is just above the next hill” moments, we finally made it up to Robin Lakes:

We scouted around a bit and setup camp for the night:

We had an excellent view of Mt Daniel:

After setting up camp, we made dinner. We didn’t have a lot of time to do much exploring. After dinner, we cleaned up and went to bed. We were all tired and had another challenging day ahead of us.

Day 2 – Robin Lake to Jade Lake

We woke up on Wednesday morning to a chill in the air, but we all expected it to be colder than it was. We were at almost 6200′ and expected it to get close to freezing but it never felt that cold. As we had another busy day planned, we made breakfast, cleaned up and then packed up and left. On the way down, I got a picture of what part of the “trail” looked like on the way down – rough and steep:

The descent was a bit easier than the ascent, but it was still hard on the knees and quads coming down because it was so steep in places. It took us probably two hours to get back to the Deception pass trail where we headed north to Deception pass:

This is an area where 5 different trails converge in a very short space. It was busy – every time we came thru, there were at least some people there taking a break. We didn’t stop, but took off on the Marmot Lake trail:

At the beginning of this trail, it is mostly level. It was in this area where there were TONS of huckleberries:

I was surprised there were still so many since this is an extremely busy area. I assumed people would have picked the bushes clean – but there were still lots of berries for us to enjoy. The trail continued for a while pretty level and at some point it started heading downhill, which surprised me – I had assumed that we would just take a leisurely grade uphill to Marmot Lake – but I was wrong. We continued down until we got to the outlet of a small lake (which we couldn’t see). We stopped here for lunch:

Kirk walked up the creek to see if he could get a view of the lake and got a view of a few Marmots sunning themselves:

After eating lunch, we continued down a bit until finally starting our ascent up to Marmot Lake. We passed thru some magnificent old timber which was a bit unexpected. We continued until we got to this neat spot where we crossed the outlet of Marmot Lake – there was a cool waterfall and an interesting crossing – not sure how they did it, but most of the water was going under the rocks, which made for an easy crossing:

We stopped to fill our water and then continued up to the junction with the Clarice lake trail. That trail continued north, to Clarice Lake and we swung around and headed back south. We encountered this sign – we quickly learned when we saw “hiker only trail” that meant it was going to get a lot rougher – most likely a lot narrower, more ups and downs and generally just a difficult trail:

Soon after that junction, we came to the second crossing of the outlet of Marmot Lake:

And soon arrived at the absolutely HUGE Marmot lake – it is over a half mile long and almost a half mile wide at its widest point:

We stopped at the lake for a short rest and then proceeded along the shore for a bit. The “trail” along the east side of the lake was rather rough, going up and down a LOT. We thought moving along the shore as far as we could would be a bit easier. After we couldn’t go any farther along the shore, we went back up to the trail and continued south. The trail takes many ups and downs, some parts were pretty good, some were pretty bad. It appears it gets no maintenance as there were a lot of downed logs. Once we got to the end of the lake, the trail takes a sharp turn up, heading up an outflow from the lakes above. I didn’t get a picture of it, but although it was steep, it wasn’t too bad. It was WAY better than the ascent to Tuck and Robin lakes. Once you get up the steep stream bed ascent, it flattens out into a very pretty meadowy area:

And you soon encounter “No Name Lake”:

And then, after a short climb, the stunning, appropriately named Jade Lake:

I’ve never seen a lake so vibrant in its color. The color comes from the sediment from the glacier on Dip Top Gap. After enjoying that view for a bit, we headed down to the area where there are campsites and looked around. There were quite a few people there. We found one and setup camp for the night:

Here is Jade Lake in the evening light, looking up to Dip Top Gap, which is one “side trip” Carly suggested – but we were all too tired to do it:

We made dinner, ate and cleaned up and by that time it was starting to get dark, so we went to bed, tired after another long and challenging day.

Day 3 – Jade Lake to Peggy’s Pond

Day 3 was supposed to be the hardest day – it had the most mileage and still a lot of elevation. My perception of it was that the first day was the hardest. Even though there was a lot of mileage and elevation, the trail condition and the grade of the elevation gain made it much easier than day 1.

We got up, got surprised by frost on the tents (and the ground), made breakfast and headed out. We tried to leave early due to the anticipated long day, but we only left like a half hour earlier than we had the day before. That turned out to not be a big deal though, since the trail was in such good shape we made pretty good time.

On the way down the Marmot Lake trail, we took a side trail to check out the small pond that fed the creek we had lunch at the day before (and where Kirk saw the Marmots) – it wasn’t much of a lake:

But there was a large meadowy area where people were camped:

We made pretty quick work of getting down the Marmot Lake trail and soon got back to Deception pass. This time, we took the PCT cutoff from the pass and headed down (I wasn’t expecting it to go down since we had a lot of elevation to gain). We headed south on the PCT, heading down. We crossed two feeders to the Cle Elum river – here is the first one:

Which gave us a pretty good view down the valley to Hyas Lake:

The second crossing was nothing, but the third one was the one that a sign warned about – a “dangerous ford” – this picture didn’t really capture it, but at higher water it would be a challenging crossing – most likely having to wade – today it was a pretty easy rock hop across:

Once across this crossing, the trail started its ascent. The grade was pretty good for the most part. It went in and out of the trees but for the most part was pretty good trail.

A little farther south, getting closer to Cathedral rock, it went thru a very rocky/boulder area – it was kind of interesting:

Looking up at Cathedral rock thru the boulder field:

A little farther up I got this interesting view of Cathedral Rock:

We soon got to Cathedral pass and continued over on the PCT to its first switchback down to Deep Lake. This was the point where the Peggy’s Pond trail took off. The beginning had a sign warning about a “hiker only” trail, so we were kind of expecting it to be rough. It was a lot rougher than we thought. A lot of it was basically a goat path – very narrow, steep in spots and don’t slip otherwise you’ll tumble down a VERY steep hillside. I didn’t get a picture of it though. I think I was just trying to get thru it after a long day of hiking. I do remember the last bit up to the lake was incredibly steep and dusty. I was tired and cranky, but we finally made it up to Peggy’s Pond:

We had a great view of Mt Daniel, which Kirk and Carly would climb the following morning:

We looked around for a while for a campsite – Carly said she found the perfect spot but someone else grabbed it. Again, there were quite a few people around the lake but were all dispersed around so it didn’t feel busy at all. This is where we ended up:

Otis gets cold easily when not hiking, so Carly puts her pad on the ground and covers him up with her sleeping bag. He was so tired he just crashed out while we setup camp.

We got to Peggy’s Pond a little after 5 and took a while to choose a campsite. Once we did, we setup camp, made dinner and went to bed as it was getting dark. The plan was for Kirk and Carly to get up at 5am the following morning and hike to the top of Mt Daniel while I stayed back in camp with Otis. Friday promised to be an interesting day.

Day 4 – Peggy’s Pond to Cathedral Pass Trailhead

Carly and Kirk woke up at 5am and headed out a little before 6 I think. It was cold (it froze again overnight), so I stayed warm and comfy in my sleeping bag. I slept in until about 7:30 I think. The hike up to Mt Daniel was estimated to be about 3 miles roundtrip and 2200′ of elevation – I was expecting it to take them 3-4 hours. Turns out both of those expectations were incorrect.

When I woke up I wasn’t quite sure if it was just foggy or if the smoke had rolled in, but after a while it was clear it was smoke, not fog. Here is what Peggy’s pond looked like in the smoke:

It wasn’t terrible smoke, but it was definitely making everything hazy. I guess the wind shifted overnight and brought the smoke in. Until that point, things had been pretty clear. Since I didn’t have a lot to do after I made breakfast and cleaned up, I took this better shot of our campsite, showing Kirk’s tent up the hill in the trees:

And I took this smoky picture of Cathedral Rock hovering over Peggy’s Pond:

I waited patiently for Carly and Kirk to return but the time just kept ticking. By 11:00, I started to get a little worried. I think they finally got back into camp a little before noon. It ended up to be a 5-6 hour trip, not a 3-4 hour trip. Part of that was because it was a 5 mile roundtrip, not 3. The view from the top wasn’t that great due to the smoke – this is what they saw – just a blanket of smoke with a few peaks popping thru:

Once they arrived back in camp, they packed up (I had already packed up all my stuff) and we left camp about 12:15. There was another trail going up to Peggy’s Pond that we didn’t take on the way in, so we decided to try that trail on the way out to see if it was better (it was marginally better). Along the way, we found the remains of either a cabin or shelter or something:

We continued out on Peggy’s Pond trail thru the highly exposed parts and soon got back to the PCT. The way out didn’t seem quite as bad as the way in, but I’m sure that is partially because we weren’t all tired out at the end of a long day.

Once back on the PCT, we headed back over Cathedral Pass and continued down. Part way down, we passed Squaw Lake:

A little farther down, we took the junction to the Cathedral Pass trail, which would be our last segment for the day. We were all looking forward to getting some real food and getting home to our comfortable beds and hot showers. The last couple of miles seemed to take a long time, but we finally arrived back at our vehicles about 3:00.

We cleaned up a bit, changed clothes and then headed out. The grading on the 4330 road we had encountered on the way in appeared to be done and it was in beautiful shape. We drove out to the town of Cle Elum (where we had gotten gas on the way in) and stopped at the Dru Bru for an early dinner. Cle Elum is where our routes home diverged so it was a good place to stop. We had pizza and beer and it tasted FANTASTIC after 4 days of backpacking food.

We said goodbye to Carly and headed home. Kirk and I powered thru the trip home – we didn’t stop at all and ended up getting home about 9:30 Friday night, tired but glad to be home.

Another outstanding backpacking trip. I wonder what trip #19 will be?

6/28/2022 – Sahalie Falls Loop

Date of Hike: 6/28/2022
Location of Hike: Sahalie Falls Loop
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Gail, Nicholas, Carly, Abby, Alyssa, Sadie, Otis, Jet and Thor
Start Time: 4:15 PM  End Time: 6:00 PM
Hike Distance: 1 miles  Elevation Gain: 150 feet
Pictures: Link
This hike was an “all hands” hike that was family friendly. We did it on our family vacation near Sisters. The plan was to view Koosah falls and then take the river trail to Sahalie Falls and back. It is listed as a family friendly hike and it said it was 1.3 miles each way. After doing it, I think the 1.3 miles was the entire length, not just the length between the two falls. Either way, it worked out well and I think everyone had a good time.

We had a few minutes to kill before meeting Nicholas and Alyssa there, so we stopped at Clear Lake to see what it was. It was a cool county park on a really nice lake. Here is a picture of clear lake from the day use area:

We parked in the Koosah Falls lot and headed down the path to the falls. The path is fully accessible and heads down to a viewpoint of the falls. Here is a view of Koosah Falls from that viewpoint:

And a video of Koosah falls:

After looking at the falls for a bit we headed north on the trail that follows the river. The river in this area is rather constricted so the water was flowing pretty fast. The trail is right next to teh river most of the way, and there are several small waterfalls and/or rapids to see along the way:

Here is a picture of most of the clan looking at one of those areas:

It wasn’t too far until we got to Sahalie Falls (it felt a lot shorter than 1.3 miles). Just like Koosah falls there is a nice viewpoint:

And a video of Sahalie Falls:

From there, we continued north past the falls and went to the top of Sahalie Falls where there was another viewpoint:

It was neat to see the falls from the top – Sahalie splits into two pieces and it was neat to see what was behind it.

After looking at the top of Sahalie Falls, we turned around and headed back to where we started from. The length of the hike was just about perfect for everyone. It was a really nice way to spend an hour or so!

1/12/2022 – Eagle Creek Trail – 501

Date of Hike: 1/12/2022
Location of Hike: Eagle Creek Trail
Trail Number: 501
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Carly, Otis and Thor
Start Time: 12:00 PM  End Time: 2:30 PM
Hike Distance: 5.3 miles  Elevation Gain: 1100 feet
Pictures: Link
Today’s hike was a great day out with Carly and the 3 dogs. She was down visiting for a few days as a late Christmas celebration. Since pickings are slim due to all the fire closures and all the low elevation snow, I thought Eagle Creek would be a good choice. I was hoping we’d have the trail to ourselves doing it midweek, and we did.

We started late since we had to wait until Jet came over – we got to the trailhead about noon and quickly headed out. I was a bit surprised to see snow right before the trailhead on the road. We didn’t see any more until a bit down the trail on the old road:

We soon got to the good portion of the trail where it heads into the big trees and follows the creek. It was a beautiful sunny day in the big old trees:

We continued down the trail with the dogs doing their thing, probably walking twice as far as we did. As we got further up the creek, the snow became more consistent and soon covered the whole trail:

It was still easy walking at this point – we knew it was going to be a short day, partially because we got a late start, but also because we needed to get back before dinner. A little after 1:00, after about 2.5 miles or so, we decided to stop at a spot near the creek. We walked down off the trail and over to a campsite near the creek. This is what it looked like from our lunch spot:

While we were eating, the dogs were enjoying the snow:

After a pretty quick lunch, we decided to head back since Otis was starting to get cold in the snow. The trip back seemed really fast, and we got back to the truck about 2:30 and headed home.

It was a really nice day in the woods, shared with Carly and the dogs.

6/20/2020 – White Iris Trail

Date of Hike: 6/20/2020
Location of Hike: White Iris Trail
Trail Number: 502a
Weather during Hike: Rainy
Hiking Buddies: Carly, Otis and Thor
Start Time: 9:45 AM  End Time: 12:00 PM
Hike Distance: 1.7 miles  Elevation Gain: 900 feet
Pictures: Link
Today’s hike was a quick run up to the White Iris trail. Carly had come down for Father’s Day and we had until early afternoon so we did a quick hike to see if the white iris were in full bloom yet.

We started off early to make sure we had enough time to do the hike and get back home in time. We left about 8:00 and headed up 4614. It has been several years since I’ve been up this way and I made a wrong turn. I thought the 4615 junction was farther up 4614, but I was wrong. We made it all the wy to the current end of 4614 – it was bermed a few years ago:

After reviewing maps to figure out where I made the wrong turn we headed back. We finally made it to the real western trailhead on 4615. We looked for the trail for a few mins (it is an abandoned trail and is rather brushy) – I finally found it and we headed up. As we went up, there was a lot of small tree blowdown from the winter as well as a LOT of brush – since it had rained, it made for a very wet hike. We cut and lopped several trees off the trail as we went up.

As we continued up the hill, what started as a light mist started getting heavier. It went on and off, but since the trail is so brushy, we did some maintenance and everything was drenched, we both got VERY wet. We continued up the hill, losing the trail a few times along the way, but mostly following it. We soon got to the beginning of the bloom:

And here is probably the best bloom photo of the day – it might not have been in full bloom but it was blooming pretty good:

We continued up and got to the downed log where we had to turn north (left) and continue up the hill. There were several large logs that have come down in the cut area so it made travel tougher. We got back into the old growth and headed up a ways. I checked the time and it was a little after 11:00. I figured we should turn around to make sure we got home in time. We were both really wet anyway, and there wasn’t anything terribly different that we would see if we made it up to the 4614 road anyway. So we turned around and headed down.

We made good time on the way down and got back to the truck right at noon. We headed out and then called home to see if we had enough time to stop at Fearless for lunch. We were both hungry. We had enough time so we had a nice lunch at Fearless and then headed home.

It was great to hike with Carly and to see the white iris in bloom, even though it was a very wet day.

3/15/2020 – Cripple Creek Trail

Date of Hike: 3/15/2020
Location of Hike: Cripple Creek Trail
Trail Number: 703
Weather during Hike: Sunny at times
Hiking Buddies: Kirk, Ollie, Otis and Thor
Start Time: 10:00 AM  End Time: 3:00 PM
Hike Distance: 6.2 miles  Elevation Gain: 2300 feet
Pictures: Link
Today’s hike was kind of unique. Normally I would be going to church on Sunday, but due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) our church services have been cancelled for the next two weeks. Since I can’t go to church, I thought what better way to commune with God than to experience his creation?

The weather was supposed to be reasonably good and I expected new snow (and wasn’t disappointed). New snow is always really pretty in the woods, especially when it is undisturbed. We were the only ones on the trail all day long and it did not appear anyone had hiked it the day before.

The hike itself wasn’t anything special, other than being on a beautiful trail that goes thru some spectacular forest scenes. We headed up the trail, went past the “grotto”, the unique hillside meadow (where the dogs seemed to have caught some scent as they all wanted to head up hill into the woods). We continued up the trail to my favorite spot – the spot between the two road crossings:

I’m not sure why I like this area so much – it is just a beautiful section, especially in the snow. Big trees, a serene setting between two hills. We went thru this section and decided to continue up the trail, since the snow wasn’t really all that deep. The 4635-130 spur probably only had 3-4″ of snow on it. I was expecting quite a bit more.

Shortly after the road corssing, we got to a pretty significant section of blowdown – the trees weren’t huge, but it was tough to make it thru them, so we decided to clean it up with our loppers and handsaw. This is what it looked like before the work:

And this is what it looked like after we were able to remove all the blowdown:

As we continued up, the trail ends up going thru a rockslide, which didn’t have a ton of snow on it. This was the view from the rockslide:

We continued across the rockslide – this is the only spot where Otis had some trouble. He didn’t like the large rocks in the rockslide and didn’t want to proceed. I had to help him thru one section of the rockslide. After that, we continued up the trail to the spot where it crosses the road:

We decided this would be the perfect turnaround spot, so found a spot below the road that had a bit of a view. We had lunch – we tried to eat quickly because Otis didn’t have his jacket and since he has a short coat, we thought he would get cold quickly. Ollie, Otis and Thor did a LOT of horsing around on the 4635 road, keeping active so he didn’t get cold.

After eating lunch, we headed back down the hill. We did some more lopping and trail maintenance on the way back down, trying to improve the trail for the next trip.

The trip down was pretty uneventful and pretty quick since it was all downhill and we didn’t do NEARLY as much trail maintenance on the way down. We got back to the truck about 3:00 and then headed home.

3/7/2020 – MP3 Trail to Rimrock

Date of Hike: 3/7/2020
Location of Hike: MP3 Trail
Weather during Hike: Overcast with some sun breaks
Hiking Buddies: Otis and Thor
Start Time: 9:45 AM  End Time: 1:30 PM
Hike Distance: 305 miles  Elevation Gain: 1600 feet
Pictures: Link
Today’s hike was literally just to get the dogs out of the house for a while to burn off some energy. We’ve been babysitting Otis for the past 4 weeks and he has a lot more energy than Thor can deal with. It was also for me to get out of the house – work has not been going well, and I needed some time to just relax and enjoy the woods.

We headed out a little early, as it sounded like the weather might be better earlier in the day. I was expecting to have rain and/or snow later in the day, but fortunately, it appears the rain came in a bit later than expected.

I decided to do MP3 because I love this trail and I was hoping we could get to it. I was curious how far we would get.

On the way in, on the the 4630 road we came across 3 pretty good sized deer who were making their way across the road. Once they saw us, they scurried up the hill. It was kind of a cool way to start the day. We got to the trailhead about 9:40 – here is what it looked like when we arrived:

We quickly headed up the hill. This trail gains quite a bit of elevation pretty quickly. We soon got to the first rockslide – there was a pretty good view of up on top where you could see there was quite a bit more snow:

As we continued up, the snow got deeper in places – mostly open areas. This is a more open area where it was probably a foot deep or so:

It was right around this spot somewhere, in a rockslide that had a new bit of blowdown. The tree kind of shattered, so I was able to use my loppers and handsaw to clear the mess. Unfortunately, when I was moving one of the pieces off the tread, it rotated and a branch came back and hit me in the forehead. It hurt, and left a nice bit gash on my forehead. Earlier on the hike I hit my knee and it hurt but I didn’t realize until later than it also bled – my knee and my head are pretty sore, but they will recover.

After clearing that spot, we continued up – I did some lopping on the way up to remove some of the brush. The snow continued to get deeper, but we were able to make it up to the point where MP3 joins the Rimrock trail, which is where we ate lunch:

The snow up here was probably 18-24″, maybe a little less in places – quite a bit less than other times I’ve been up here. I thought it would have more.

We ate lunch and I could tell Otis didn’t like it too much – he wanted to sit/lay down, but it was too cold for him. So we didn’t spend too much time up there. We packed up and headed back down.

On the way back down, I did some more brushing in some of the rockslides where it was getting really tough to get thru. I tried to pull out some of the new shoots rather than just cut them, hoping it would slow them down more.

The trip back down was pretty quick, even with the additional brushing work. We made it back to the truck about 1:30 – the dogs were tired and slept the whole way home.

On the way out, I stopped at an old cut area where you get a nice view to the south and west. I took a couple of photos:
Oak Grove Butte:

Fish Creek Mountain:

It was a nice, but short day out in the woods.

2/17/2020 – Fish Creek

Date of Hike: 2/17/2020
Location of Hike: Fish Creek - Old Road 54
Weather during Hike: Partly sunny
Hiking Buddies: Thor and Otis
Start Time: 1:30 PM  End Time: 4:00 PM
Hike Distance: 6.1 miles  Elevation Gain: 1500 feet
Pictures: Link
Today’s hike was mostly intended to get the two dogs out to wear them out a bit. The weather was supposed to be nice and I had the day off (President’s day), so it all seemed to line up. Since I couldn’t dedicate a whole day, I wanted something close, so Fish Creek fit the bill.

We headed out after lunch and got to the trailhead a little after 1:00. I was surprised to see another car and and a truck there. The truck had a guy getting out of it, getting ready to hike it appeared. I was amazed there was so much interest in this “trail” on a Monday. But I guess it was nice weather and it was technically a holiday. The Clackamas River trail parking lot had quite a few people in it as we passed by.

The man in the truck headed out before us, and since there were others on the trail, and I haven’t really hiked by myself with Otis, I decided to keep them on the leashes. We soon headed down the trail, with Thor and Otis in the lead:

That didn’t last too long as Thor seemed like he felt it was his “job” to lead, and would growl at Otis if he got ahead. So Thor lead, and Otis followed (mostly).

It wasn’t too far when we met a group coming back – and I heard another dog bark, so we got off the trail and let them pass – both Otis and Thor barked at them but they passed without incident. We continued south down the old road and soon saw the man who headed out before us. It wasn’t too long before he said he needed to remove some layers and let us go by. The dogs were pulling me hard, so we were making GREAT time. We passed him and a little farther down the trail I let them off leash since there shouldn’t have been anyone ahead of us. They loved that and did the usual running around with me having to remind them not to get too far ahead. They did pretty well off leash, though.

It didn’t take too long (a bit over an hour I think) to get to the first bridge, which I thought would be a good turnaround point for the day. Just short of the bridge there was a tree across the old road, so I sawed off some branches to make it easier to step over. We then got to the first bridge, with Fish Creek rushing underneath. Here is the view looking north:

And then looking south:

We stopped, had some water and ate a little bit – the man soon caught up to us and the dogs started barking at him, but once they saw he presented no danger they stopped. We chatted for a bit – he said his dad was a logger who had cut out a lot of the roadways in the drainage back in the 60’s. He had been coming down there regularly and liked the area. I wish I had gotten his name, but we were chatting about all the history in the area it never came up.

After a bit, he decided to continue further south. We shortly packed up and headed back north, back to the truck. I don’t think we really stopped at all on the way in or the way out. As I said, it was a pretty short hike by design, but we did end up hiking over 6 miles! It was a nice day out in a beautiful forest along an gorgeous creek.

12/27/2019 – Wentachee – Burch Mountain

Date of Hike: 12/27/2019
Location of Hike: Wenatchee - Burch Mountain
Weather during Hike: Partly sunny to foggy and cold
Hiking Buddies: Carly, Otis and Thor
Start Time: 10:50 AM  End Time: 1:45 PM
Hike Distance: 7.9 miles  Elevation Gain: 2100 feet
Pictures: Link
This was another “short” hike while we were in Wenatchee with Carly during Christmas. I put short in quotes because it was originally intended to be a relatively short hike as the one yesterday was. Carly thought this would be a good hike and she was right. It wasn’t a real trail – we walked up a Forest Service road to the top of Burch Mountain. Originally we hadn’t intended on going that far, but it was pretty easy going and we just kept going.

We drove up the road, which is the extension of the Burch Mountain Road (there are houses on it). At some point, it transitioned to gravel and eventually crossed into the national forest. Carly kept driving and we did OK on the way up. At some point we transitioned into ponderosa pine forest instead of just desert sagebrush, etc. We finally stopped at a spot where the snow was starting to get deeper:

We headed up the road from that point – there had been no traffic up that way on that day so far. We just walked up the road. It was easy walking except for a few icy spots (I fell in one spot and jammed my thumb pretty bad – it hurt for a couple days). When we got up a little ways, the road split. We had to decide which way to go:

The left road would go up to Eagle Rock and we could look at a communication tower – the right road headed up to Burch Mountain. We opted to see how far we could get up to Burch Mountain – Carly had not been up there before. So to the right it was.

As we worked our way up the road, we got to an open area where we could see the communication tower that we could have opted to go explore:

We continued up the road and the snow just kept getting deeper and deeper although it wasn’t too difficult to walk in – we followed the tire ruts mostly – the dogs were having a blast in the deeper snow:

As we were making our way up, I knew we would be later than expected so I texted Gail to let her know – we had good cell service the whole way. Eventually, we got to the end of the road, but we weren’t quite up to the top yet. We had to take a narrow path past the end of the road up to the summit of Burch Mountain – I think it ended up being about a quarter of a mile to the summit from the end of the road. Here was our final push to the top:

When we were lower, it appeared as thought we were going to be socked in with fog, but as we headed up, things cleared up quite a bit. Here is the view to the west from the top of Burch Mountain:

And this was a shot looking back from where we came – you can see the communication tower in the distance – we more or less followed the ridge out:

We didn’t stay on top too long – the dogs were getting cold and we needed to get back. So we headed back down and back to the car. When we were close to the car we encountered a group of people in side by side’s heading up the hill, but those were the only people we saw all day. We made good time on the way down and then started driving back down the road – slowly – there were a lot of icy spots. In one spot Carly’s car started sliding sideways and I took over driving – we didn’t have any other treacherous spots, but it was a pretty slow drive back down the road.

It was an unexpectedly nice hike with a lot more snow than I was expecting to encounter and also quite a bit farther than I thought we would be going. But it all worked out well.

12/26/2019 – Wenatchee – Saddle Rock

Date of Hike: 12/26/2019
Location of Hike: Wenatchee- Saddle Hill
Weather during Hike: Cold
Hiking Buddies: Carly, Gail, Otis and Thor
Start Time: 9:00 AM  End Time: 11:00 AM
Hike Distance: 3.8 miles  Elevation Gain: 1000 feet
Pictures: Link
We spent Christmas with Carly in Wentachee – Carly said we could do a quick hike the day after Christmas. This trail started out behind her gym and climbed up to a view of Saddle Rock (or Hill – I keep interchanging them). The trail was mostly snow free, but there were a few spots of snow and ice we had to be careful of. Part way up the hill, this was the view looking back toward Wenatchee – you can see the spot where I said Carly’s house is (somewhere in there):

We continued up and soon made it to the hill that overlooked Saddle rock:

While we were up there, Thor and Otis decided to run around and play:

While up there we decided to take a slightly different route back down and hike by Rooster Comb (shown as Old Butte on the map). We snaked our way down, using a faint user trail to get over to more of a proper trail. I didn’t climb up on the rock, but it was pretty much the same view we had the whole trip. This is what Rooster Comb looked like from the backside:

The whole hillside is covered in many trails – some official, some user trails. They head off in many directions.

It was a short hike, but it was interesting and a neat way to spend a couple of hours.