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3 Stars

3/3/2018 – Calico Road and Fish Creek

Date of Hike: 3/3/2018
Location of Hike: Calico Road and Fish Creek
Weather during Hike: Cool with intermittent sunshine
Hiking Buddies: Thor
Start Time: 9:50 AM
End Time: 1:25 PM
Hike Distance: 7 miles
Pictures: Link
Today’s hike was kind of a roller coaster. Originally, I was supposed to be working on the house this weekend (getting ready for our flooring installation), but I’ve made good progress during the week, so decided I could get out for a quick hike. Kirk was going to come, but had to cancel due to needing to go to the doctor. So, Thor and I headed up to Calico Road (the second time this year), and headed up.

I was surprised at how much snow there was. Just a few weeks ago there was pretty much no snow anywhere, but today, there was snow at the crest of the hill outside of Estacada, and remnants of snow along 224. Once we turned off to go up Fish Creek road, the snow started getting heavier – it wasn’t ON the road, but right up to it.

We started out on the old road with snow almost covering the “tread”:

We continued down the road, making good time and watching the snow get deeper and deeper. We got to a turn where the sunlight was poking thru and illuminating the trees (this photo doesn’t do it justice):

We continued down the road, gaining elevation until we got to the 120 spur junction. At that point, we started heading down and found some fresh deer prints in the snow:

We continued down the road to its end and then did a short cross country jaunt back to the 54 road. From there, we decided to head upstream to the first bridge. We had lunch there and rested for a few minutes. Here is Fish Creek from first bridge:


Thor was kind of restless, so we shortly headed back. On the way back, I looked back at one point and saw this view of what I think is Wanderers Peak, with snow on it:

We made good time going back and got back to the car about 1:30 and then headed home.

Nothing terribly exciting or earth shaking happened on this hike, but it was nice to experience the snow and get out and enjoy the woods for a few hours.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Looks much different than it did back in January 2016:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9/2/2017 – Old Buck Lake Trail Explorations

Date of Hike: 9/2/2017
Location of Hike: Old Buck Lake Trail
Trail Number: 701
Weather during Hike: Sunny and Hot
Hiking Buddies: Kirk, Ollie and Thor
Start Time: 9:25 AM
End Time: 1:00 PM
Hike Distance: 5 miles
Pictures: Link
The hike today was a continuation of a hike I took with Zack last fall. We had explored from Buck Lake north up the old Buck Lake trail. Last trip it was November and some snow had fallen, so we had a hard time following anything that looked like tread. We finally bailed out after hitting a cut area and walked back a road. Today’s trip was to try and expand on what we found last fall.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take many photos on this trip. The forecast was for it to be almost 100 degrees and we started early to try and beat the worst of the heat. We left home about 7:45am and got to the trailhead a little after 9. We had a bit of a surprise – Road 5810, which takes you to Buck Lake was closed due to logging activities. Even though nothing was happening today, the road was still closed completely, right after you got onto 5810. So, we looked for an alternate route. We decided to head up the road we bailed out on last time – the 58-160 spur – and kind of start where we left off last time. We weren’t exactly sure how the day would progress – we thought maybe we would go back to Buck Lake if we had time.

We quickly found what looked to be something like tread. I think it was what we were following last year, however it looked very different since there was no snow on the ground. We continued north thru the clearcut, following (at times) what looked like it could be tread, and other times just taking the easiest route. We got thru the first clearcut and spread out, looking for signs of tread and/or blazes. We found intermittent sections of tread – in some spots it wasn’t too bad – well blazed and somewhat distinct tread. But it never lasted too long. Either the blazes and/or tread dried up, or we hit another clearcut, where any signs of tread completely disappeared. I think we went thru 4 or 5 cut areas. A good shot of one of the good sections:

We continued north, looking for tread and blazes in the uncut areas, and just tried to get thru the cut areas as best we could – usually going along the east edge of the cut – it usually seemed there was a somewhat open area there. In one of the cut areas, we got this cool shot of a hazy Mt Hood (I thought it would be worse due to all the fires):

It was beginning to get rather warm (especially in the cut areas) and the dogs were getting hot so we stopped in the shade and all drank some water. Kirk snapped this great picture of Thor and Olle cooling off in the shade – they really have fun together:

After heading north and not finding a lot of recognizable tread, we knew we were getting close to the Anvil Lake trail. We spotted a flag, and found some tread. And then another flag, and some more tread. We didn’t backtrack to find the trail, but we did find out where the trail appears to have met the Anvil Lake trail – right at the post with the Blackwolf Meadow sign. This is the Anvil Lake trail as it heads thru Blackwolf Meadows:

We stopped in the shade there and decided what to do. Neither of us wanted to go back the way we came, so we decided to head back down the Anvil Lake trail to the 160 spur and walk back to the truck that way. It looked to be about 2 miles or so back to the truck, so that seemed like a good option, as it was starting to get really hot. We wanted to get done by noon or 1 and it was already noon. We made good time back to the truck and then packed up and headed out.

On the way out, we had been talking about Cot Creek (I’m not exactly sure why), but I thought we could drive up to see the old collapsed bridge. It wasn’t too far out of our way, so we headed up. Interestingly enough, the 4635-120 spur road that heads up to the bridge has had a lot of roadwork done on it. New gravel, grading, and a bunch of trees cut off the edges of the road. Looks like the are prepping for doing some more thinning work up that road.

Here is a photo of the old Washed out cot creek bridge as we saw it today:

Contrast this to 2008 – it has grown in quite a lot since then:

A wonderful day in the woods – it was good to get out and escape most of the heat. Even though we didn’t find a lot of that old trail up high, it was still neat to try and find it.

8/12/2017 – Plaza Lake Trail

Date of Hike: 8/12/2017
Location of Hike: Plaza Lake Trail
Weather during Hike: Foggy to Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Robert and Thor
Start Time: 9:30 AM
End Time: 1:50 PM
Hike Distance: 2.0 miles
Pictures: Link
This was a rather short hike since I had to get back early to do some work at home. Charles was camped out at the big slide on the 4610 road, exploring sections of the old Clackamas Lake Trail, so I decided to go visit him. On the way, I thought I’d go see Plaza Lake – a trail I’d never been on before.

We started out earlier than normal, leaving the house a bit before 8:00. We got to the Plaza Lake trailhead about 9:30 and headed down the hill. The drive in on the 4610 road was bad – it keeps getting worse and worse. We ended up coming in from 4614/4613 which saves 7 or 8 miles of 4610 road driving, but those last 10-12 miles on 4610 are just horrible. LOTS of potholes and the road is continuing to have worse washout damage each year.

The trail down to Plaza Lake is pretty short (about a half mile or so), on a really good tread, and really well graded. Here is a segment of trail up higher where the trees are smaller. The trees get quite a bit larger as you head down the hill:

For a lightly used trail, it was actually in really good shape. Tread was great, and not too brushy most of the way. Partway down the trail, there is a large rockslide that the trail edges up to – kind of some cool rock formations up the slide:

I wish I had taken photos of some of the large trees on the way down. There are some REALLY huge trees down this trail! – Some of the largest I’ve seen in the Clackamas drainage. Very shortly we got down to beautiful Plaza Lake:

The lake is pretty brushy around it, but we found a small opening to get to the lake. We rested there for a bit. Here is picture of Thor being Thor – I had a hard time getting a good picture of him. I think Robert got a really good closeup shot of him, though:

Thor was restless, and ended up finding the continuation of the trail, which continued around the lake. It was really brushy right where he found it which is why we didn’t see it at first. I took him and we followed the trail to what seemed like the end, at the outlet of the lake. We came back and ate a few snacks, drank some water, and then headed back up.

Soon, we were back at the truck and we loaded up and headed farther up the 4610 road-the road gets continually worse as you get closer to the slide. The plan was to get to the big slide area and find Charles. We finally found the slide area and made our way down, finding Charles on the old Clackamas Lake trail. We visited for a bit, and since our time was getting short, decided that we would head west on the old Clackamas Lake trail for a bit and then head back up.

While we were on the trail, we encountered this very colorful garter snake:

Once Thor saw it, he started barking at it. He has gotten garter snakes in the back yard, but they were much smaller than this one!

Time was getting short, so we quickly headed back to the truck and then back down the horrible 4610 road and home. Fortunately, we got home a bit early, so things worked out very nicely.

Although this was a pretty short day, both in terms of distance and in terms of time, it was nice to see a few places I had not seen before.

7/21/2017 – Fish Creek Mountain

Date of Hike: 7/21/2017
Location of Hike: Fish Creek Mountain Trail
Trail Number: 541
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Thor
Start Time: 10:45 AM
End Time: 4:30 PM
Hike Distance: 7.25 miles
Pictures: Link
This hike was intended to be a quick day hike in preparation for my annual backpacking trip with Carly. I wanted something with elevation gain to do a little conditioning for the trip the following day. Fish Creek Mountain seemed like a good option since it is relatively close and has about 2000′ of elevation gain.

We got started a little late since I wasn’t sure if we would do this or not. I needed to get ready for the big trip (packing, shopping, etc), and wasn’t sure if I would have enough time to do a hike as well. After finishing up a few tasks at home, we headed out and got to the trailhead about 10:45 and quickly started the ascent. I love the beginning of this trail since it is a remnant of the old Cold Springs trail and goes thru some magnificent old growth. The trip up was pretty uneventful – reaching the old decommissioned road on the ridge pretty quickly and heading up to the original trailhead. We then headed up the original trail. Here is the “traditional” view from partway up the trail:

It was a BEAUTIFUL day and not too hot. We continued up the trail to the high lake junction where there is a HUGE blowdown that obscures the trail. I did some cutting and clearing so that at least now you can see where the trail goes:

After cleaning that mess up a bit, we continued down to high lake. I was wondering if we might see some snow down there since it is in a pretty protected bowl. We didn’t see any at the lake, but just before it, we saw this bit of snow remnant on the trail:

We shortly got down to High Lake – here is High Lake with Fish Creek Mountain in the background:

We ate some lunch and I took this short video of Thor playing in High Lake – he just kind of splashed around a bit – enough to get wet up to his chest:

Since he loves water, I wondered if he would go in for a swim, but he just got wet and then came out.

We then headed up to the lookout. On the way up, we met another hiker, which kind of surprised me since there had been no other cars at the trailhead. He had come up after us and headed straight for the lookout. He was going to to High Lake on his way down. We chatted for quite a while – he was from Camas and had been coming down to the Clackamas to get away from the crowds in the gorge.

We made it up to the old Lookout spot – not much has changed here in many years:

After spending a few minutes up there, we headed back down, making really good time. We got back to the truck about 4:30 and headed home.

A good conditioning hike and a great day in the woods. I think I might have made a new hiking friend as well!

4/22/2017 – Cripple Creek Trail – 703

Date of Hike: 4/23/2017
Location of Hike: Cripple Creek Trail
Trail Number: 703
Weather during Hike: Varied - Misty/Rainy to sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bob, Robert, Carly, Buddy and Thor
Start Time: 9:50 AM
End Time: 4:45 PM
Hike Distance: 5.75 miles
Pictures: Link
This hike was originally intended to be a waterfall exploration hike, but since our guide got injured, we had to come up with an alternative. The alternatives this time of year are minimal due to the snow levels. The choice was to hike Cripple Creek to snow and then return. The weather was very interesting – it rained really hard on the way to the trailhead, then by the time we got there, it stopped. It showered off and on all day, interspersed with sunny periods. Welcome to springtime in Oregon!

This hike had two new hiking friends – Bob and Robert. I hope they had fun on the hike. It was a good day for Carly, Thor and I!

We headed up the trail, cleaning up some of the wintertime messes as we went. Shortly, we got to the “grotto”, the small waterfall below the hillside meadow:

We continued up into the hillside meadow and beyond. I was amazed we were not seeing any evidence of snow at all. Based on the snotel data, I was expecting to see at least a little bit. We continued up the trail and got to the campsite at the 4635-130 spur road. We ate lunch and then decided to see if there was a view on the small hill just south of the campsite:

We hiked over and unfortunately there wasn’t much of a view since the whole hillside was covered in trees. We did see this campsite further down that spur road, however. I never knew it existed:

We went back to the campsite at the spur road crossing and finished lunch. This is the best photo I could get of Carly and Thor near the spur road Campsite (Thor kept moving):

We continued climbing the hill and shortly got to the rockslide below the 4635 road, which had a great view – the clouds parted for a bit on the way back down for a better view:

As we made our way thru the clearcuts and rock fields, we did some trimming of the ever encroaching brush – hopefully it helps keep the trail clear. Shortly, we then made it to the 4635 road crossing, which was approximately 3800′ where we found a bit of snow (there was a bit on the trail below as well) – I wonder if you could drive this far up on 4635 now?:

We stayed on the road for a bit – Robert got a cell signal and was looking for potential geocaches, but the signal was not good enough to really determine where they were. We discussed going up to the end at the Cache Meadow trail junction, but decided we should probably head back down. That turned out to be a good call, as shortly after we got back to the car, it started raining pretty heavily.

It was a fun day in the woods with new hiking friends.

3/11/2017 – McIver State Park

Date of Hike: 3/11/2017
Location of Hike: McIver State Park
Weather during Hike: Rainy
Hiking Buddies: Thor
Start Time: 12:50 PM
End Time: 1:30 PM
Hike Distance: 1.4 miles
Pictures: Link
Today’s hike was “hiking lite” – a very short hike on well groomed trails at McIver state park. It is close to home, and since it is raining hard, and Thor tends to get carsick easily, I thought it would be good to stay relatively close to home and try and see how he did on a short hike.

We left after noon (late since I had to work late last night) and shortly made it to the park. That is a BIG park! I think it took almost as long to find the parking area as it did to drive to the park! The plan was to hike up and down the river a bit – I didn’t want to go too far since Thor is only 19 weeks old and I wasn’t sure how much stamina he had. I figured these trails would be easy and we could walk as far as we wanted and then turn around.

We started at the River Mill Dam:

The water was flowing fast over the dam due to all the rain and it was pretty loud. He got a bit scared when we got closer to the viewpoint, but he did OK. We then continued west along the river. I had to take a picture of him exploring the muddy trail – he was sniffing all over the place – so many new smells:

We went down to the river at one point where it was less turbulent (but still moving pretty quick):

We walked a little farther – to the road crossing. Thor looked like he was getting tired, so we turned around and headed back. When we got back to the road and we saw the truck, he started pulling on the leash like he was saying “C’mon Dad! Hurry up! We are almost back to the truck!”

We ended up hiking around a mile and a half – probably good enough for today. We piled back into the truck and headed home. One tired puppy:

We’ve had some trouble with him getting carsick. The good news is that he didn’t get carsick this time. I think it is due to nerves and hopefully some more trips to fun places will cure him of getting sick.

A very nice, but short day in the woods.

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.

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.

3/27/2015 – Indian Heaven Backpack Trip

Date of Hike: 3/27/2015
Location of Hike: Thomas Lake Trail
Trail Number: 111
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Carly
Start Time: 10:45 AM
End Time: 2:10 PM
Hike Distance: 6 miles
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was to be a quick backpack trip into the Indian Heaven Wilderness. In a normal year, this would not have been accessible at all in March, but due to the extreme low snow this year and recent trip reports from the area, we were hopeful we would be able to make it.

We knew going in it was going to be a little iffy due to the snow that was received the prior week – it was the first snow at 4000-5000′ in a couple of months probably. We decided to chance it anyway. I recorded GPS routes of the trail, so we could follow even if it was covered in snow.

We got to the trailhead about 10:30 – there was almost no snow at the trailhead – just a few small patches. There were 3 other vehicles there, so we knew someone was hiking the trail. We headed out, up the trail to Thomas Lake. This lake was completely melted out, with really no snow:


We poked around the lake for a bit and then headed up the trail. From here, the trail headed uphill rather steeply. Fortunately, it was a short steep section. We shortly popped out onto a flat meadow, which had a fair bit of snow, and was REALLY wet and muddy:

We headed up a bit more, and got to Naha Lake, which was still frozen over:

Although the trail wasn’t too bad at this point:

We went past Naha Lake, and up to this point had a really good track from others. It was at this point the track kind of fell apart – there were footprints everywhere:

And the snow was getting quite a bit deeper (and it was all really soft):

It is hard to tell from the photos, but the sky was getting dark as well. The forecast called for 100% chance of rain on Friday night, and the clouds looked like it was starting to roll in. I wanted to make sure we had setup camp before the rain started. We talked a bit, and decided that it would be too difficult without snowshoes to do the loop we wanted to do. Since we were unable to get to much farther down the trail, we decided it really wasn’t worth camping – we would just camp out, then pack up and head out in the morning. So, we decided to hike back out and come home. No overnight on this trip.

On the way back, we stopped at Eunice Lake to eat lunch.

We also explored a few campsites (in this area you can only camp in designated sites) – they were WAY off the trail, and a good ways from the lake – they like to keep 200′ from water.

After exploring the campsites, we headed back down to the truck and drove home. Not quite the trip we were expecting, but it was still interesting to see this new wilderness area. I think this would be a great place to go later in the summer when it has all dried out.

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.

09/13/2014 – Horseshoe Saddle, Ruddy Hill and Skyline Trail

Date of Hike: 9/13/2014
Location of Hike: Horseshoe Saddle, Ruddy Hill and Skyline Trails
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Zack
Start Time: 10:30 AM
End Time: 4:00 PM
Hike Distance: ~5 Miles
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was originally going to be a light hiking day – the plan was to meet the daughters of “Rhondy” (a former Trails supervisor in the Mt Hood NF) to hike the trail that has a sign commemorating him – he passed away in 2007 – I wish I had been able to meet him. I found his name while searching through historical documents at the forest service and got in touch with his daughters who were thrilled that someone was interested in trails as much as their dad was.
On the way up, all the rough roads shook up my bladder so I needed a break. We stopped at the Olallie Meadow campground to use the outhouse. While there, Zack happened to spot tread! We hiked it a ahort way just to see where it went. I realized this must be the old Skyline trail when it was routed near the meadow. After scouting that out for a short way we headed back to the truck and checked out the guard station/cabin (not sure its official name):

It was unlocked so we went in and looked at it. It was cool to see a structure that is probably close to 100 years old (built in the 20s?):

And soaked in the views of the huge Olallie Meadow:

After checking that out for a bit, we headed on up to Olallie Lake – we stopped at the store to look around (since Zack had never been there before). It was rather breezy, which was putting whitecaps on the lake. After enjoying the view of the lake fora bit, we headed up to Horseshoe Lake campground. Well, I didn’t do any real planning – the plan was to meet at the campground and hike the Horseshoe saddle trail (which has the sign on it). Well, never having met them in person before, I wasn’t sure who to look for, but I kind of figured 3 women camping would be easy to spot. Zack asked if I knew what they drove and I said “that would have been a good question to ask!”. Looking around the campsites, we didn’t see anyone who fit the bill – we asked a couple people and they kind of looked at us strangely. We decided to hike the trail and then head up to Ruddy Hill – maybe we would meet them on the trail. So, off we started down the trail. Shortly, we came to the new sign, which was very well done:

We continued down the trail, reaching the saddle shortly and then headed north on the PCT to the short, but steep Ruddy Hill trail. Huffing and puffing, we finally arrived at the summit of Ruddy Hill, were the first thing we saw was the old phone box. A little worse for wear than the last time I saw it, it continues to stand (barely):

We took in the incredible views from up on this aptly named hill:


We decided to eat lunch on the hill, enjoying the views. Once done with lunch, we headed back down the trail. When we got to the campsite, we looked around to see if anyone new had arrived. For some reason, I was thinking they were going to stay Friday and Saturday nights, but I was wrong – they were only staying Saturday night and had gotten a late start from town. Needless to say, we didn’t find them, so we decided to head out. We figured maybe plans had changed or something else happened. Having a bunch of extra time in the day, since we were so close, I asked Zack if he wanted to go explore a section of the old Skyline Trail that Donovan had shown me a couple of years before. I guess that was going to be “plan B”….. On the way, we decided to stop at Olallie Meadows and do a little more checking of that section of the Skyline trail. We went back and got on the trail segment again and hiked north a short ways. Zack found a really cool artifact – an old fence/hitching post along the edge of the meadow – they are kind of hard to see in the photo, but they are in a line – all leaning to the right in the center of the photo:

We also found a blaze:

After poking around, finding a couple more fence posts on the ground, we decided to head out and go up to the other junction I had been shown a couple of years before. We headed up an old decommissioned road to the point where the trail crossed it. We could either go north or south. We opted to go north. Following the trail was difficult in parts, but we kept finding blazes. Up the trail a little ways, we found another interesting artifact – an old phone line insulator – it is kind of hard to see in this photo – it blends in with the tree behind it:

We continued north, finding tread and blazes – the trail gets pretty wide near an old grazing/watering hole. We ended up kind of running out of time, but since the trail pretty much ran parallel to the road (the 4220 road), we decided to go a bit farther and then hike over to the road and back to the truck. We figured it would be MUCH faster than climbing over all the logs we came thru and we could go a bit farther up the trail. So we ended up going a little farther than a mile up the trail and then headed over to the road and back to the truck. The trip back to the truck was a LOT faster than the trip in. Note for future explorations – we can head over on the road and then start where we stopped to continue north.

It was a good day of trail exploring. Not quite what was planned, but we had a good time. The big event happened on the way home. Not too far from Estacada on Highway 224, we got stopped by a flagger. We didn’t know what was going on, but we heard a helicopter and were stopped for 10-15 minutes. I got out and asked the flagger what was going on and he said there was a fire – once I was out of the truck and around the corner, I could see a smoke plume up on the canyon wall. It was a pretty good fire, that was certain. We watched the helicopter do about 3 or 4 runs, dipping his bucket in the river and then heading up to the fire to drop it. They did not want cars going under the helicopter due to safety concerns. After those runs, the helicopter stopped for a bit and they let us go. After we got past the fire, Zack took a couple photos of the fire out the read window of the truck:

It was obvious this was a large fire and growing quickly – it started right above the quarry at milepost 36 sometime during the day. I guess it is named the “Pit 36 fire”. As of today, the fire is still growing and they have closed highway 224 – hopefully they will get it under control soon. It was a very somber way to end the day.

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.

2/1/2014 – Newell Creek Canyon

Date of Hike: 2/1/2014
Location of Hike: Newell Creek Canyon
Weather during Hike: Sunny but cool
Hiking Buddies: Gail
Start Time: 10:30 AM
End Time: 12:30 PM
Hike Distance: 1.25 miles
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was not a big hike, but it was fun, and it was technically a hike. It was a “walk” led by a Metro Naturalist down into Newell Creek Canyon in Oregon City. This land was purchased by Metro in 1995, but it was just left to be. Last year, a bond was passed to allow them to do some maintenance/improvement to it, so they are beginning the process of determining exactly what that will mean. They have started to remove invasive species and will be doing re-planting of native plants soon.

The walk started at Nelson’s Nautilus and followed the power line corridor for a bit down to a gate in the fence that surrounds the area. The gate is apparently an old logging road that took you down into the canyon. The naturalist that led the hike said the area was logged in the 40’s and 50’s. It has recovered pretty well. The road was pretty narrow and very muddy, but still a very recognizable road until we got close to the bottom. One the way down she stopped and showed us some native plants, invasive plants and several tracks in the mud. It was an interesting, although very slow walk down. As we descended into the canyon, the trees got larger, and we saw several areas where there had been homeless people camping. We stopped at a creek that they named Tumble Creek (also called Red Soils Creek):

The road kind of stopped there, but there is what looks like a user trail that continues north past the creek. After spending a bit of time down at the creek, we turned around and headed back up the hill, back to the starting point. It was a short walk through an interesting area. I think I will be returning (with others) to explore more in the future.

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.

7/13/2013 – Huxley Lake – 521 and Vicinity

Date of Hike: 7/13/2013
Location of Hike: Huxley Lake Trail (and vicinty)
Trail Number: 521
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Start Time: 10:15 AM
End Time: 6:00 PM
Hike Distance: 11.1 miles
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
Today’s goal was to capture a good track of the Huxley Lake trail and to do a little exploring around the area. It was a beautiful day, not too hot, not too cold and sunny. What a great day for a hike!

We started out at Lookout Springs about 10:00, and headed down the trail to Huxley Lake, passing the old corral (which I assume is what Corral springs was named for). At the junction, we started our steep downhill down to the lake. The trail is pretty steep (I should have gotten a few photos of it) due to it being abused by ATVs over the years. We believe we found remnants of the original trail that switchbacked down the hill a lot more than the existing trail does. The existing trail just heads straight downhill in a lot of places. After enduring what seemed an endless series of steep downhill sections of trail, we finally came to the old road described in the trail guide. The trail to the lake takes off to the left, however we kept walking down the old road – I was trying to remember where I had gone the first time I hiked the trail. We made it all the way out to the 4612 road, which now has a huge “tank trap” on it to keep people off the old road. Once we found the old road, we headed back to the Huxley Lake side trail, which we followed down to the lake.

Here was our first view of Huxley Lake:

We looked around a bit and had lunch at the lake. One interesting thing – there was a fire at the lake, and it appears as though it was caused by the campfire. It looks like a “root fire” that smoldered underground and killed several of the trees, which subsequently fell over into the lake.

Here are some of the trees – they were kind of stacked like lincoln logs on top of each other:

Here is a nice panorama shot of Huxley Lake:

It is a small and shallow lake, but it is pretty. I remember the last time I was there, there was a lot of damage from ATV riders around the lake. It appears as though some of that damage has been reduced over time, but you can still see the scars left by the ATV riders.

After eating lunch and investigating the burned area for a while, we decided to head back up to the trail and take it all the way down to the 4611 road. (so we could get a complete track of the trail). We headed back up to the trail, until we got to a strange intersection – we opted to go downhill, which was the right decision. After a while, we ended up at the 4611 road. The map showed the “real” Huxley Lake trail starting up the 4611 road a ways, so we walked up the road thinking maybe we had followed an ATV trail instead of the real Huxley Lake trail. After walking up the road a ways past where the map showed the trail, we decided the map must be wrong – but on the way back, we decided to go cross country to see if we could see any other trail. We were unsuccessful, however we did see this interesting marsh/meadow area:

We ended up right at the junction of the two trails. Just to see where it went, we decided to go back up the other trail. We were thinking this was the “real” Huxley Lake trail – all we had to do was to read the description on Trailadvocate.org and we would have known what this trail was:

If you start at the 4611 end, keep right at the first trail junction about a half mile up the trail. The route to the left is an old trail which leads back towards Winslow Pit. You can come in from this direction on this unofficial trail (a re-use of a segment of an old trail) if you like. It starts on the left at the crest just before the end of the 4611-136 spur in a recently harvested area, about a mile off the 4611 road before Winslow Pit. The 4611 road gets rough beyond Winslow Pit. The alternate access is good road but will add a mile and a quarter to your hike.

We walked a ways until we realized the trail was not going in the correct direction – after a bit of discussion and a brief attempt at off trail cross country travel, we decided to turn around and head back up the trail (back the way we came). We needed to water up before our big ascent back up the hill, so we stopped at this pretty little creek crossing and filled up:

After filling up, we headed on our way, doing some trail maintenance as we headed up the hill (cut a couple of logs, did a lot of brushing of the trail, and kicked branches and rocks off the trail). After what seemed an eternity of steep uphills, (similar to the downhill section), we finally ended up on top. We made it back to the truck without incident – a little tired, but having a great day in the woods.

We stopped at Fearless for burgers (we were both hungry!) – a great way to end the day!

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

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

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

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

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

And a photo of the very interesting sign:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

5/28/2013 – Music Creek Falls and Wanderers Peak

Date of Hike: 5/28/2013
Location of Hike: Music Creek Falls and Wanderers Peak
Weather during Hike: Overcast and rainy most of the day with occasional sunbreaks
Hiking Buddies: Kirk and Brian
Start Time: 1:45 AM
End Time: 6:15 PM
Hike Distance: 5.4 Miles - Wanderers Peak .25 Miles - Music Creek Falls
Pictures: Link


g4MapImage

Description of Hike:
This trip was intended to be to further explore the Surprise Lake in the Fish Creek drainage (there are at least 3 “surprise lakes” in the Clackamas country). There is no trail to the lake, however there are still the old decommissioned roads in the area that lead to the lake. After some great sleuthing by Brian (who accompanied us on this trip), a potential route was found that wasn’t too long – ~2.5 miles each way, with only about 3/4 mile of cross country travel needed. The rest would be on old spur roads.

The day took a bad turn when we encountered 12-24″ of snow on a sheltered area of the 4550 road near Pick creek. After looking at the snow (and the downed tree across the road), we opted to go for “Plan B”. Here is what stopped us:

We passed Music Creek and there is a very interesting waterfall just off the road. We turned around and went back to explore this waterfall a bit. A short hike from the road brought us to this surprising waterfall which is about 60′ or so in height. It was running pretty wild on this day due to all the rain we have had. On lower flow days, you can rock hop across the creek and go into a cave behind the waterfall, but today the waterflow was WAY too much to attempt this (without getting completely soaked in the process – we were getting wet enough due to the rain all day long). The waterfall ampitheater is very interesting – not a typical place for a waterfall. It was just kind of a bowl on the side of the hill – beyond which looked pretty normal. Very neat place to visit.

After exploring the waterfall for a bit, the plan was to go up to Wanderers peak and do some more exploring up there, potentially looking for an old trail that was supposed to exist there. We started up the spur road to Wanderers peak, and were quickly stopped by a bunch of downed trees across the road. We didn’t have anything to cut them out, so we parked and walked up the road to Wanderers peak. On the way up, we found a couple of animal skeletons. First, what appears to be a cougar skeleton:

Next was a pair of elk skeletons:

We walked up to the weather station there and explored a bit. I found that the “conduit” that I had seen last fall in the snow wasn’t really a conduit. What I thought had gone into the ground was really just sitting there – essentially it was just garbage. Mystery solved. When we got there it was REALLY foggy and rainy off and on, but after being there for a while, the fog cleared out a bit and we got a reasonably good view across the canyon to Fish Creek Mtn, Whalehead and Camelsback. The clouds kind of came and went, but we had a pretty good view from a rock outcropping below the weather station.

From there, we proceeded to head up to the “summit” of Wanderers peak on an old double track “road”. It led up to a campsite near the peak (it is pretty flat on top of Wanderers peak). We found another rock outcropping and enjoyed the views for a while until a large dark cloud came in.
The view from the top of Wanderers Peak:

We then started looking for the mystery trail. There are a LOT of small little “trails” up on top of Wanderers Peak – we wandered around a bit looking for tread, blazes or cut logs and were about ready to leave when Kirk found what he thought was a blaze (after traversing a particularly difficult section of rhodies and small fir trees). From there we continued north along the ridge, looking for blazes and cut logs. We found virtually nothing of existing/recognizable tread, but we did find quite a few blazes and a few cut logs. The terrain is relatively flat open as it progresses down the ridge. After progressing down the ridge a ways 3/4 a mile or so, the wind and rain was picking up, it was getting a bit late, and we started hearing thunder in the distance. Rather than continue looking for trail and going cross country, we opted to walk down the spur road to the end of the ridge. From there, we went downhill to road 45 through some rather dense reprod. Once on road 45, we walked back to the spur we parked on then up the spur. On the way up, there is a small spur to the east where we stopped and took in another view of the Fish Creek drainage. It was sunny for a bit, but then quickly turned back to drizzle and then rain, so we packed up and headed back up to the truck.

All in all, it was a great salvage of a day after a disappointing start. The waterfall, the views of the Fish Creek drainage and finding some good evidence of the old trail made for a wonderful adventure. And to top it all off, the weather wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it might be. It probably only rained half of the day, and most of the rain was pretty light.

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.

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

g4MapImage
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

g4MapImage
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


g4MapImage

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!

11/10/2012 – Weather Station exploration and Oak Grove Butte Area

Date of Hike: 11/10/2012
Location of Hike: Weather Station exploration and Oak Grove Butte Area
Hiking Buddies: Kirk and Don
Start Time: 9:15 AM
End Time: 4:15 PM
Hike Distance: 5 miles
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:

This was an end of the higher elevation year hike to try and find a couple of weather stations as well as hike to the top of Oak Grove Butte and also hike an old abandoned trail that was recently found. The goal for the day was just to have fun and hopefully stay out of the snow. I think those goals were achieved!

First off was trying to find the Peavine Ridge Snotel site. I had rough coordinates for it, but wasn’t sure exactly where it was. We drove up the road as far as possible, until it got too rough (even with a 4WD and high ground clearance) and narrow. From there, we continued walking up the road until we found what looked like an old skid road to the south. We followed this “road” which led us directly to the snotel site. It was interesting to see in person.

It had obvious old and new equipment – the “pillows” on the ground that measured snow depth were interesting to see (although we were careful not to get too near them). After looking around for a bit, we headed back out. Right after the site on the “road” we happened to notice a couple of signs:

OOPS!! In our defense, we were very careful around the equipment….

After going back to the truck, we headed to the other weather station site, which was nearby. It is called the “Red Box” site. Not sure why – none of the equipment there was red:

We spent a little while looking around there, and then went back to the truck. The next two destinations were to the top of Oak Grove Butte (where there used to be a lookout long ago), and an old abandoned trail. We decided to go to the top of Oak Grove Butte first, but on the way, Don showed us an old 4 way trail junction:

It was interesting to see the blazes on the tress going through the woods in 4 directions. After exploring in that area a bit, and talking with a hunter who showed us a big fresh bear track, we headed to Oak Grove Butte. There is a road almost to the top, but that last part is pretty iffy – more of a jeep road than anything. We parked downhill a ways and walked up to the top:

And to the old lookout site, which now has some antennas on it:


We then went down to the “reflector” (not sure what else to call it) that is on the hillside. I think it is actually what is called a “Passive Repeater” wikipedia.

We took a look at it and then Don showed us the remains of the old outhouse for the lookout:

After looking around for a while, we headed back to the truck for our final destination of the day – the old “Oak Grove Butte” trail. On the way down, Don also showed us an old phone line insulator that still had the phone line in it!:

Interesting thing was that the phone line had ice all over it. It is amazing it is still hanging after all these years.

We headed back to the truck and then to the beginning of the trail. It starts at the end of an old spur road – it starts on a decommissioned section, then a normal spur road, and finally devolving into a treed nightmare for a bit before eventually opening up onto the actual trail (It appears the road was built right over the trail). We spent quite a big of time working on brushing out the trail (past the old road portion). It started snowing partway through, but never got very hard. It was an interesting trail, and it had a couple of really nice viewpoints – my favorite was this shot of Burnt Granite and Granite Peaks:

We got to the other end, which is near an old clearcut and a small, swampy lake. We attempted to find the trail from the ridge, but were unable to find anything definitive. After a bit of searching, we turned around and headed back to the truck. A little more cleanup on the way out, and we were back at the truck shortly before it got dark. We headed back and had our normal ritual of stopping at Fearless Brewing in Estacada for a beer and some dinner.
A great day with some great friends exploring some great country!

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!

8/8/2012 – Mid PCT trail – Gibson Lake

Date of Hike: 8/8/2012
Location of Hike: Horseshoe Saddle Trail, PCT, Gibson Lake Trail
Trail Number: 712, 2000, 708
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Start Time: 11:00 AM
End Time: 2:30 PM
Hike Distance: 7 miles
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
Hike description
This hike was one of my last 3 hikes to complete my goal of hiking all the trails in the Clackamas District. The section I needed was the short section of PCT north of Ruddy Hill. I had tried to do it last year, but there was too much snow at the time. Since that was a pretty short hike, I thought I would add in the Gibson Lake trail as well, since I didn’t have a track of that trail, and it had been quite some time since I had hiked that trail.

The trip to Horseshoe lake was pretty non eventful, although that road keeps getting worse, year after year. There are some pretty washed out sections of that road now. After getting to the Horseshoe lake campground, we parked and headed up the Horseshoe Saddle trail. This trail is a little confusing at the start because there are user trails all over the place at the Horseshoe Lake campground. Basically, just follow the trail that leads next to the lake and you’ll soon be out of the maze of user trails. It is pretty level for a while, until the last few tenths of a mile – then you have to work to get to the saddle. The trail is well graded up to the saddle, and there were a few trees across the trail, but nothing huge. At the saddle, you hit the PCT. We briefly stopped here for a water break, but quickly started down the trail, as the bugs started finding us. The bugs weren’t bad, especially when hiking, but when you stopped, they did tend to find you and were kind of annoying. The PCT was well manicured (as usual), with nothing terribly unusual. We recognized the section where we turned around last summer due to the snow (8 feet of snow on the trail!), and continued a little farther. When the trail started heading uphill, we decided we had gone far enough, and turned around.

On the way back, Kirk noticed what looked like a side trail (definitely not something natural looking), so we we followed it up to explore. It kind of petered out a little bit up the hill, but the beginning certainly looked like a side trail. We continued on down to the Gibson Lake junction and took off to Gibson Lake. The sign says 3/4 of a mile, but it is a little further than that. Probably just over a mile to the lake. We got to the lake where there was a rather large family swimming in the lake, having a great time on a sunny summer day. We stopped at the east end of the lake to eat lunch and to dip our feet in the water. It was a nice break. After eating, we continued on the trail down to road 4220, where the trail ends. We turned around and headed back up the trail, and back to where we came.

Since we still had time left, we decided to do some more exploration on the old Skyline trail, but that is in a separate trip report…..This was a neat half day romp in an interesting section of the forest.

7/14/2012 – Corral Springs (507) Trail

Date of Hike: 7/13/2012
Location of Hike: Corral Springs Trail
Trail Number: 507
Weather during Hike: Sunny (overcast at times)
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 10:00 AM
End Time: 3:15 PM
Hike Distance: 6 miles
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This hike was a milestone for me in my goal of hiking all the trails in the Clackamas district. It marked the last trail that I have not hiked at all (I still have two more trails I need to complete hiking the entire length). This hike was on the Corral Springs trail all the way down to the Roaring River – what an interesting trail! The beginning isn’t all that great, but the further down the canyon you get, the more interesting (and faint) the trail becomes. There are some awesome viewpoints at the rock fields, and some fantastic views across the canyon.

The upper part of the trail was in great shape, however you could tell it doesn’t get hiked much. There was lots of branches, etc on the tread, although the trail was quite wide at the top – probably due to the quad traffic this trail used to get. The lower section started to get brushy in places and was difficult to follow as you got closer to the river. The last tenth of a mile or so it felt like you were going straight down! At a couple of points I wasn’t sure I was on the trail-I had to look very closely for where the trail was. I think it would have been a lot easier to hike in the early summer or late fall, when the ground cover isn’t do dense. On the way back up, I lost the trail for a bit – it was easier to see the faint tread going down than going up – the undergrowth is getting so aggressive now it is hiding what is left of the trail.

I spent a fair amount of time on the way back up the hill doing pruning of vine maple, fir trees and rhodies (it was a good excuse to take “rest” breaks on the long slog back up the hill). I didn’t have my loppers, so I was limited to smaller branches, but I think I improved the trail a fair amount. Also removed a lot of sticks and rocks from the trail – hopefully making it a little easier to follow. What the trail really needs down at the bottom is more boots on the trail. There are a few sections around the rockslides where the tread has kind of disappeared (slid down), so those areas need some tread work. But all in all, the trail was in pretty good shape – especially for an abandoned trail!

Some questions I came up with during the hike (I haven’t found answers as of yet, but will continue to look for them):

  • Where did Corral Springs get its name? Was there a horse Corral there at some point? I figure the springs are the ones at the junction of the Huxley Lake trail and Corral Springs. I did find evidence of what appears to be a corral (barbed wire) near the old campground, but don’t know what the story is.
  • A little bit past the “Corral”, past the junction with Huxley Lake, there was a small clearing?? it looks like there might have been a house or something there. Looking at the map, it is VERY close to an old spur road. I wonder what used to be there? I didn’t really see much evidence of a building or anything. Answer’ – There was some sort of corral in this vicinity. Apparently it was a grazing claim way back when. The barbed wire remnants I found were from the corrals. That clearing may have housed some kind of building at one time.
  • I found a pink ribbon tied to a tree down by the river – it said “PNW 7/27/10 Team #1” – anyone know what it means? The campsite didn’t look to have been used for quite some time. Maybe two years ago was the last time anyone camped there.
  • Near the base of the rockslides, there is what looked to be an area where a cabin may have been at one point. Anyone know anything about that? Or is my imagination running wild?

View from the trail down into the canyon:

Roaring River: