Tag Archives: TrailWork

Refers to trips where trail maintenance/work was the primary focus of the trip.

5/11/2019 – Memaloose Lake Explorations

Date of Hike: 5/11/2019
Location of Hike: Memaloose Lake Trail
Trail Number: 515
Weather during Hike: Sunny and warm
Hiking Buddies: Kirk, Ollie and Thor
Start Time: 11:05 AM  End Time: 3:30 PM
Hike Distance: 3.6 miles  Elevation Gain: 1500 feet
Pictures: Link
Today’s hike was quite different than planned. The original plan was to hike an abandoned trail in the Fish Creek drainage, but we got turned back at around 3900′ with a foot or more of snow on a sheltered section of road. The snow was rather soft and slushy so it is really hard to get traction in it. We opted to look for a plan B rather than spend the day trying to get unstuck.

We decided to see if we could get up to Memaloose Lake, which is a little bit lower in elevation. Fortunately, we ran into almost no snow, and the few short spots we encountered were easily passable. We got to the trailhead and started getting ready, when another car pulled up. I was a bit surprised to see another car this far up this early in the season, but I knew we would have company. We shortly headed up the trail, which was littered with branches and detritus from the winter – it didn’t look like anyone had cleared anything yet this year, so we threw a bunch of branches off the trail as we headed up. We stopped at one of the switchbacks where the creek is near the trail and the folks from the car we saw passed up – they were a couple of trail runners, so were moving pretty quickly. We soon made it up to Memaloose Lake that still had lots of snow:

We stopped at the campsite next to the lake and had lunch. We decided to try and head up the trail up to South Fork Mountain to see how far we could get. There was patchy snow on the unmaintained trail:

When this trail finally hits the ridge up to South Fork Mountain, an old abandoned trail joined it – the South Fork Mountain trail headed west and the trail to Wanderers Peak went east. We decided to explore a bit of this abandoned trail – initially we were just going to go a little ways and then return and go up to the top of South Fork Mountain, but as we proceeded down the ridge, we finally realized we didn’t really want to go back the way we came, so we decided to continue down the ridge looking for blazes and tread and eventually come out on the 45 road and then walk back to the trailhead.

As we proceeded down the ridge, the side hill got steeper and steeper – we got concerned we were going to get cliffed out, but we continued to make progress, although it was pretty slow. Here is an example of some of the SERIOUS side hill action going out the ridge on the old Wanderers Peak trail:

At the end of one of the somewhat flat ridge lines, there was a bit of a knob. We climbed over to it and didn’t get as good of a view as we were hoping. This was a cool rock formation looking back at Memaloose Lake (hidden behind trees) from that little knob:

A little farther down the ridge, we came to this cool ridge top meadow:

And a little farther we came across a knob (it actually shows as a small knob on the map). We climbed to the top of it and found great views. Mt Hood and Mt Adams to the north:

Hard to see peak of Mt Jefferson and Olallie Butte to the south:

We climbed back down and continued traversing the steep side hill, which got slightly better as we got closer to the road. We ended up following a second ridge down to the road, which was a little easier. We finally made it back to the road and walked back to the trailhead. Unfortunately, there was almost no trail left that we could find. A few blazes here and there and a few short sections of tread were found, but large sections were without any blazes and many of the sections where there would have been tread are so steep we figured that the tread has probably slipped down the hill.

We got back to the truck about 3:30, so we decided to head farther up 45 to see what conditions looked like. When we got to the 4550 junction, it was obvious that someone had spend some serious time brushing out the road:

We decided to head down it to see how far we could get, wondering if we could make it to the waterfall at Music creek. We made it there, but just past the first campsite, the road was impassible due to snow on the road again. We walked down to the creek, and got a great view of Music Creek falls running loud and fast:

Here is a short Video – it was rather LOUD:

After watching the waterfall for a little while, we headed back up. I walked up the road a bit to see if the brushing continued – it appeared to have stopped at Music creek, but it was hard to tell. Once the road re-opens, it will be interesting to see what it looks like. We walked back to the truck and headed out. On the way home, we took a short detour so that I could show Kirk the remains of the Silvicultural research area – I’d investigated this area several years ago – it is an interesting area where they studied ways to make trees grow better/taller/faster, but it has been closed for at least 10 years I think. There isn’t much left except for some remnants of the buildings and all the fences and trees they planted.

We stopped at Fearless in Estacada for a burger and a beer. What a great way to cap off a great day of exploring!

3/30/2019 – Cripple Creek Trail -703

Date of Hike: 3/30/2019
Location of Hike: Cripple Creek Trail
Trail Number: 703
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Thor
Start Time: 10:0 AM  End Time: 1:00 PM
Hike Distance: 4 miles  Elevation Gain: 1500 feet
Pictures: Link
The weather was forecast to be really nice today, so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for a nice walk in the woods. Since options are still limited due to the snow, I decided to head back to the Cripple Creek trail. The more I hike this trail, the more I like it. You get a few views, but you pass thru some REALLY nice old growth areas and some interesting forest. I knew it would be a pretty short day since we couldn’t get too far without snowshoes, but I was hoping we could get at least as far as we had gotten last month.

We headed up the trail from the pipeline road about 10:00 – there were only a few small patches of snow on the road – I think they were remnants from plowing. There was no snow on the trail at all when we started. At the first rockslide, I got these views looking south. I’ve been wondering/trying to figure out what the peaks to the left were. Kirk (and I) thought they might be Oak Grove Butte, but looking at the map, I think Oak Grove Butte is to the left (east) farther – out of view. I think these peaks are Granite peaks:


Looking to the west, there is Fish Creek Mountain and Whalehead (I love this function on my PeakFinder app – where you can take photos and it labels the peaks):

After enjoying the sunshine and the view for a bit, we continued up the hill. This trail is pretty relentless in its uphill. Never terribly steep, but just constant uphill. The trail was completely clear of snow until about 2700′, where we saw our first real snow, shortly before the clearcut:

We cleaned up some downed branches and continued up. Interestingly enough, the beginning of the clearcut was mostly clear of snow, but soon became more consistent and deeper. By the time we got to the first of the 130 spur road crossings, it was close to a foot deep. After that crossing, we got to one of my favorite spots on the trail – the spot between the two crossings:

Just a really neat grove of beautiful trees. One interesting thing – I noticed that none of the maps show the little “butte” to the west of the trail. It isn’t huge, but it does seem like it should be large enough to show up on the contour lines.

We continued up to the second crossing, where there was probably 18″ of snow on the road. This is one of MANY deer prints we saw on the way up:

Thor played on the road for a bit and for some reason, he was REALLY interested in this one deer print:

He kept shoving his nose in it and then digging and rubbing on it. It was really interesting to watch.

After a while, we headed back down to the little grove and found a spot in the sun on a log. We stopped and had some lunch. Then we headed back downhill.

As we were passing thru the clearcut on the way down, We came across something that was VERY fresh and I’m very sure it was not there on the way up:

I’m guessing it was from a bobcat or a lnyx – it seemed too small for a cougar. Those kitties are out there….

We continued down the hill, making really good time – soon we were out of the snow again. It was a pretty uneventful and short trip down (except for the scat sighting). We got back to the truck about 1:00 and then headed home.

A great day in the woods – the only thing that could have made it better would have been to have shared it with friends.

6/22/2018 – Bull of the Woods Trail – 550

Date of Hike: 6/22/2018
Location of Hike: Bull of the Woods Trail
Trail Number: 550
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Thor
Start Time: 11:15 AM  End Time: 3:00 PM
Hike Distance: 6.7 miles  
Pictures: Link
Today’s hike was a bit of a spur of the moment. I decided on Thursday to take Friday off work and head out on a hike (so I could do stuff around the house over the weekend, but still get in a hike). I had wanted to go explore the old water source for the Bull of the Woods lookout after seeing references in a “What it was like to man a lookout” document.

I was hoping it would be quiet since it was during the week, however it was not to be. It wasn’t too busy – I met 7 people on the trail – 5 backpackers and 2 hikers.

We headed out a bit later than normal – I slept in a bit and got a few other things done before we left. We got to the trailhead a little after 11:00 – it is a long drive. There was one car in the parking lot when we got there. We got ready and headed down the trail. The beginning of the trail almost looked like someone had taken a weed wacker to both edges of it. It was kind of weird. Nicely groomed, but weird for a trail. A short ways up the trail, we encountered this log that had been cut out recently. The odd part was that it had been cut with a chainsaw, which is supposed to be illegal in the wilderness:

Then there was this log, that was not 50 feet from it that they didn’t cut. I think technically both logs were in the wilderness, but maybe the wilderness sign on this log scared them from cutting it:

We continued down the trail until we got to Terrace Spring – I’m not sure I ever noticed this before – not a terribly active spring, but it did have some water flowing:

We continued down the trail and soon got near the objective for the day – the water source for the lookout. I had two different descriptions of where it was – one from one of the old “trail notes” that I had found at the ranger station, and one from a posting on trailadvocate.org. I had created a waypoint for the point from the trail notes, and printed out the description from the posting. Both were exactly as described. 0.1 miles from the section line crossing and in a small saddle right before the last push up to the lookout – a small trail to the left that went downhill (steeply) to an old cave:

It wasn’t much to look at, and I didn’t really see any water in there, but based on the notes, I’m not sure it had a spring – it sounded like it “collected” water – they had dug it out. It was all filled in. A little bonus was finding some old phone wire next to the cave – it was going up/downhill (east/west):

I had tried to find insulators on the trail – the old maps show it having a phone line, but either the trail has been re-routed, or the phone line didn’t follow the trail.

We went back up to the trail and met a group of three backpackers heading up to the lookout. Very quickly we were at the lookout and we sat down and had some lunch. I talked a bit with them and they were going to head east but they weren’t sure where they were going to spend the night.

The views were pretty good, although some of the mountains were hiding in the clouds. Here is Jefferson and Olallie Butte – with Jefferson hiding in the clouds:

And of course, no trip report to the lookout would be complete without a picture of the lookout:

It is weathering OK, but every time I come up here it seems to be in a little worse shape. It does look like someone might have painted the east side of the lookout though. It is a shame that the Forest Service is OK with just letting it rot in place rather than preserve such an important piece of history – wilderness area or not.

Thor was getting really hot in the sun, so he laid under the lookout for a while. It was amazing how much of a temperature difference there was in the shade and in the sun. We stayed up there for a while, enjoying the view. We then headed back down – we met two more backpackers just below the lookout – they were headed on a big loop down to Elk Lake Creek.

We continued down the trail, making really good time (since it was mostly all downhill). I had thought about heading up to the top of one of the Dickey Peaks, but Thor was pretty tired and it looked rather brushy, so I decided to leave that for another day.

On the way up we found a few snow patches, and Thor played in them a bit, but on the way back we headed over to the small meadow/swamp near the start of the trail and Thor played on this rather large snowbank that was a couple feet deep still:

It was a rather short day in the woods, but a really nice one.

4/28/2018 – MP3 Trail to Rimrock Overlook Snowshoe

Date of Hike: 4/28/2018
Location of Hike: Milepost 3 and Rimrock Trails
Trail Number: 704
Weather during Hike: A few sprinkles, overcast and a few sunbreaks
Hiking Buddies: Kirk and Thor
Start Time: 10:15 AM  End Time: 5:00 PM
Hike Distance: 7.6 miles  
Pictures: Link
Today’s hike was going to be quite an adventure. Based on the weather reports, we were planning on getting rather wet, however things turned out quite different than we expected. The plan was to hike the MP3 trail to the Rimrock trail and then head east on the Rimrock trail to the overlook. We brought our snowshoes, and at some point, we figured we would need them.

It rained a bit on the way to the trailhead, but by the time we got there, the rain had stopped. Interestingly enough, back in January, I hiked this trail. It was oddly warm in January, and there was very little snow anywhere. The bad news was that the beginning of the trail was rather difficult to get to due to a tree that came down recently. Today, the good news was that someone had cleaned that all up, and the ramp leading up to the trail from the road was all clear!

We headed up the trail, and had a couple short periods of light rain, but they didn’t last long. The trail gains a fair amount of elevation relatively quickly, so it was tough going – but we didn’t encounter any snow on the lower portion of the trail. At the first rockslide, we found that while we could see a bit, the views weren’t great – lots of clouds:

We continued up the trail, doing minor trail maintenance – soon, we arrived at the junction with the Rimrock trail at about 4200′. This was the first real snow we saw. We stopped and had lunch:

While eating lunch, Thor played around in the snow, and Kirk and I talked about what our next objective was – we figured it was around 2 miles to the overlook, and decided we should have enough time (and hopefully energy) to do it. We headed out, down the trail heading east. The snow quickly began to get deeper. It wasn’t too hard at first without snowshoes, but soon it was easier to put them on – it is still harder to snowshoe than to hike, but it is easier than postholing.

For the most part, we followed the trail, but I think there were short sections where we missed it. The trail is very well blazed and that helped us to know we were on the actual trail.

Snowshoeing is very hard work as you have to lift your legs up a lot higher than you do when hiking. You also have to make your own trail in the snow which takes a lot more effort. After several rest breaks, we finally got to the overlook trail junction, and were surprised to see how deep the snow was:

Compare that to a picture taken when there was no snow:

After a short time of amazement at the snow depth, we then proceeded up the overlook trail, which is about a half mile to the viewpoint. Shortly after the junction, Kirk noticed this blaze that had almost disappeared into the snow – pretty amazing:

The snow continued to get deeper as we headed up to the overlook:

And right before the entrance to the overlook, the snow had really large drifts – Guessing they were 6 feet or more:

We made it up and out to the point, which was clear of snow (amazingly enough). The views from the point were not terrible, but none of the mountains were visible:

There was still a lot of snow on the north facing slopes too:

And there was a LOT of snow at the overlook:

While were out on the point, we could see dark clouds all around us. The weather forecast said there was supposed to be thunder storms about 2pm, which was right about the time we were there. We saw some dark clouds moving towards us, so we decided we should get back in the trees before it started raining. Just as we were getting ready to leave, the rain came in – in the form of snow! It wasn’t heavy, but it was definitely snowing. We decided it was a good time to head back down the hill. Once we were back in the trees we didn’t feel or see any of the rain/snow.

We made very good time going down the overlook trail (they way up seemed like the longest half mile I’ve ever done), and soon were back on the main Rimrock trail. As we were heading down, eagle eyed Kirk spotted one of these old insulators – it was so low due to the snow pack that we could almost touch it:

We continued down and soon came to the junction with the MP3 trail where we had lunch. We took off our snowshoes at this point and then continued down the trail. We made really good time on the way down – it is a lot easier going down than up!

As we were heading down, I noticed this beautiful scene – old trail thru an old moss covered rockslide:

I’ve seen it many times, but for some reason today it really moved me. What a beautiful scene.

We made it back to the truck about 5pm, all very tired from the days adventure. Just about the time we got there, it started raining. We were most fortunate with the day’s weather.

On the way down the 4635 road we spotted three deer that ran across the road!

We decided to stop at Fearless for a burger and a beer – a wonderful way to end a great day of adventuring in the woods!

2/3/2018 – Calico Road and Fish Creek

Date of Hike: 2/3/2018
Location of Hike: Down Calico road and Back Fish Creek
Weather during Hike: Misty to Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Zack and Thor
Start Time: 9:45 AM  End Time: 3:00 PM
Hike Distance: 4.8 miles  
Pictures: Link
Today’s hike was a “Get out in the woods” hike. I’d been working on the kitchen remodel and hadn’t hiked for several weekends, and I really wanted to get out. Thor needed some exercise too – especially since Jet was coming over for the Super Bowl the next day. I wanted to expend some of his pent up energy. I also took the opportunity to test out a theory we had – how much farther the dogs go than we do. I put my old GPS in Thor’s pack and then compared the raw data from the GPS to the raw data on my phone. I used the raw data since I figured a bunch of Thor’s running around would get filtered out by the “fix” program I use (which turned out to be true). The track from my Phone showed we hiked 5.11 miles – the GPS showed Thor hiked 9.17 miles! So even though Thor was by himself (no other dog), he still hiked close to twice as far as we did! It will be interesting to repeat the experiment when Ollie comes along – I will be it wills MORE than twice as far!

Zack joined us on this hike and he wanted to do some clearing up the old Calico road – the plan was to try and clear that and then head down to Fish Creek and clear that road on the way back – we didn’t have enough time to get the whole Calico road cleared, but we got close. We didn’t do much on Fish Creek since we ran out of time. I didn’t take too many photos since it was kind of a short day, but we did cut quite a few logs off the old road. I didn’t count, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were 40 or 50 logs. We used my saw, but Zack did all the cutting since I wasn’t sure how Thor would respond to the the noise of the chainsaw. Amazingly enough, it didn’t seem to bother him. I did a bunch of lopping and clearing of the cut logs.

We started down the old Calico road, and short came to a huge messy blowdown. We cleared that, and then crossed Rimrock creek. After that crossing, I normally head down to Fish Creek (there is an old quad trail down), but today we continued up the Calico road. We cleared logs as we went, and while clearing one log, Zack saw this Pacific Giant Salamander- I didn’t get a good picture of him – once we saw him, he quickly scampered back under some brush – I was trying to get my boot in the photo for scale, but was too slow. His body was probably 6-8″ long and his tail was at least that long, if not longer:

We continued down Calico road to a point where the 120 spur met it. We had lunch there and the sun came out for a few minutes. After a quick lunch, we continued south on the 120 spur and quickly came to First Creek – this is what it looks like a little higher up the canyon wall (a little smaller than down by fish creek):

We continued down the spur road and a litlte farther Zack told me about this cool little waterfall below the road:

While he continued to cut logs off the road, Thor and I went down to check it out. A little farther down the road, we encountered this very large tree that had come down – one we did not cut:

We continued to the end of the 120 spur and then headed cross country down to the old road 54. We came in just north of Second creek. Once we hit the old road 54, we quickened our pace since we were running a bit late. We didn’t really do any cutting or lopping on the way back except for a couple of small trees. We made it back to the truck a little after 3.

A great day out in the woods in February. Nothing earth shaking happened, but cutting out a bunch of logs felt good and the weather really couldn’t have been better.

10/24/2017 – Bull of the Woods Lookout

Date of Hike: 10/24/2017
Location of Hike: Bull of the Woods Trail
Trail Number: 550
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Thor
Start Time: 10:15 AM  End Time: 2:40 PM
Hike Distance: 6.7 miles  
Pictures: Link
Todays hike was a “burn a vacation day” hike. I need to use up some vacation before the end of the year, and it was supposed to be a beautiful fall day, so a hike with views was in order.

I hadn’t been up to the lookout in probably 5 years now, so I decided this was a worthy destination for the day. We headed out at the normal time and I was surprised at how much thinning was going on up the 6340 road. I hiked the Dickey Creek trail back in May and it was all uncut. Today, this is what the junction with the 6340/140 spur road looked like:

It was looking a bit rough, but in a few years time, that forest is going to look much better – it was really thick in there.

We made pretty good time up to the trailhead, stopping along the 6340 road for a nice view of the Pansy Drainage:

We got to the trailhead about 10:00 and I was surprised to see two vehicles there. It looked like they had come in the night before. I wasn’t expecting to see anyone on a Tuesday in October! There was a bit of snow at the trailhead – interestingly enough there seemed to be more snow down lower than there was up higher:

We got ready and headed up the trail. The beginning goes thru a cut area with some new blowdown, but shortly you get into timber and the trail is very pleasant to hike. Part way up, there is a good viewpoint north. The mountains were all out today – the views were spectacular. They are hard to see in the photo, but were easy to see in person. 4 mountains all in a row – Mt St Helens, Mt Ranier, Mt Adams and Mt Hood:

In a couple of hours, we got to the lookout. I had Thor on his leash, but he was dragging it most of the way. We got near to the lookout and he got ahead of me – I started hearing voices and thought “Oh no! he is going to go bug someone!”. Sure enough, I rounded the corner and there were three people with backpacks – one of them, a young woman was sitting on the ground and Thor was licking her, saying hi. I apologized and she said she loved dogs so I guess all was well. We chatted for a little bit and then they headed off down towards Pansy lake to complete their trip. Thor and I sat by the lookout and had some lunch.

After lunch, we headed up onto the catwalk around the lookout (Thor wasn’t so sure about that, but he went up there). The views were incredible – much better than most of the summer when we had lots of smoke. Looking south to Olallie Butte, Mt Jefferson, Three Sisters and Broken Top – they were all out:

And I got this cool photo of Mt Hood from the lookout – looking north:

The lookout is faring OK, but is suffering from neglect. There is a broken window on the lookout – it has been broken for a few years – but at least someone has tried to limit the damage – they put boards behind the open window:

After enjoying the views for a bit, we headed back down the stairs. I got kind of the iconic photo of the the lookout:

I was really surprised at how warm it was – especially at the lookout – it wasn’t very windy at all and the sun felt really good – but not hot. I was in short sleeves and very comfortable.

We headed back down the trail, back the way we came. We enjoyed all the viewpoints on the way back down. I noticed a few things on the way down that I had not noticed on the way up. Like this wilderness sign propped up against a downed tree – I guess when this tree went down it broke the sign:

As we got closer to the trailhead, the snow increased, but it was melting quickly. In a few days, I think most of it will be gone. We made it back to the truck a little after 2:30 and then headed back down the mountain and home.

What a beautiful fall day of hiking! The weather really was almost perfect – not too hot, not too cold, not too windy. And visibility was excellent.

8/19/2017 – Corral Springs Trail – 507

Date of Hike: 8/18/2017
Location of Hike: Corral Springs Trail
Trail Number: 507
Weather during Hike: Misty at first then sunny
Hiking Buddies: Thor
Start Time: 10:00 AM  End Time: 3:30 PM
Hike Distance: 5.75 miles  
Pictures: Link
This was kind of my birthday hike. I decided to do it with just Thor and me. I had wanted to head down Corral Springs for a while – 1, because I haven’t hiked it in quite a while and 2, to see if I could see any evidence of old trail on the east side of the Roaring River. Old maps show the trail continuing on across to the 511 which goes down the South Fork Roaring River.

When we got to the abandoned Lookout Springs campground (where the trailhead starts), there was a family camped there. Thor, being Thor wanted to meet them and ran over to them. He made a new friend with their son, who seemed to really like him. The dad asked me about Huxley Lake – how far, how hard, etc. I told him what I remembered from the last time I went down there and told them about the weird side trail to the lake (which tripped me up on my first attempt). When we returned from our hike, they were still in the camp and I asked if they had gone to the lake they said no. Oh well – at least they didn’t get lost.

OK, back to the hike – The beginning of this trail has some nice trees in it and the trail is pretty flat. It goes thru some beautiful old growth forest – a sample of the upper section:

And then after about a mile, it starts the brutal descent into the Roaring River canyon. Shortly, you get a great view of Indian Ridge which is across the canyon (this is near the big rockslide):

At this point, the trail changes quite a bit – it gets steeper, and the trees are much smaller and there are a lot more rhodies. A little farther, I noticed a bunch of White Iris on the trail, which is really interesting because you don’t see that very often:

As you get closer to the river, the trail gets steeper and more faint. Fortunately, there is good flagging where the trail gets really faint. And as you get closer to the river, the trees get larger as well. The lower part of the trail is somewhat like the upper part, except for an abundance of salal (which is the primary reason the trail gets so faint). We eventually arrived at the Roaring River, which wasn’t too Roaring this time of year:

We ate lunch at the campsite (which obviously hasn’t been used for a while):

Once we were done with lunch, we crossed the Roaring River (I took my boots off and waded and Thor swam) and looked for any sign of tread on the other side – we were trying to find the junction with the old 511 trail. The brush over there was brutal, and there are HUGE logs down EVERYWHERE, so moving around over there was pretty tough. A photo of the rootball of one of the downed trees (hiking pole for scale):

So many downed trees:

We did find one possible short section of something that kind of looked like tread, but it was only about 10 feet long. We found no blazes at all. We spent about 30 minutes over there looking for anything, and found nothing. I’m guessing that the maps are correct and at some point Corral Springs got re-routed farther north (its current location) from its original routing. I’m guessing any tread or blazes (if they exist) would be wherever that alignment was. Since we couldn’t really find more 511 tread across the river, I think that end of the 511 is probably gone.

We crossed back over the river – this time I thought I could rock hop, but it turned out that I missed a rock – I ended up getting wet on the far side. But it wasn’t too bad. We headed back up the steep trail, doing some brushing on the way (it allowed me to rest a bit on the long trip back uphill).

This was a burned out stump I noticed on the way back up which I thought was kind of neat:

And I really liked this little area on the way back up – an interesting combination of dying old trees and new trees taking their place:

We made it back up in pretty good time and then headed home. A very nice day in the woods – great way to spend a birthday!

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!

6/17/2017 – Burnt Granite

Date of Hike: 6/17/2017
Location of Hike: Burnt Granite Trail
Trail Number: 595
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Charles, Robert and Thor
Start Time: 10:50 AM  End Time: 6:10 PM
Hike Distance: 6 miles  
Pictures: Link
The hike today was originally supposed to be a different one, but we found out that we couldn’t get to the trailhead due to lingering snow. So, we decided to hike the old Burnt Granite trail – a segment of the Skyline Trail back in the day.

We had not really planned on doing much in the way of maintenance but we did more than we planned to, moving and cutting small logs off the trail – since the trees in the lower section of this trail are pretty small, it isn’t too hard to do with a handsaw. One thing we noticed on one of the cut trees – VERY small growth rings – although this tree is only 5″ or so in diameter, it looks to be 30-40 years old! (Edit-later – Kirk counted the rings and counted 53 rings!!!):

As we continued up the trail, we were enjoying the brush work from a couple of years ago – still holding up very well:

Shortly, we got to a decent sized log that was partially rotten. Charles decided he could saw it out with his handsaw. It turned out to be more involved than originally thought, but we did end up removing it. A before shot (well, kind of a “during” shot):

And what it looked like after it was cut and pushed off the trail:

We stopped for lunch at the 3rd switchback and then continued up the trail. Up to that point, we had not seen any snow, but about 4500′ we saw our first snow on the trail:

The snow wasn’t too bad – it was intermittent and got kind of deep in spots, but we were able to keep going. When we got to the junction with the Tarzan Springs trail, Charles said he was going to turn around and head back down. Robert and I continued up the trail, and would join him back and the vehicles later. We made it up to the first rockslide, where we were treated to beautiful views of Mt Jefferson and Olallie Butte::

I had thought it would be fun to go up to the top of Burnt Granite, but once we started seeing the snow, I figured it would be too deep up there. Shortly before we hit the rockslide the snow disappeared, and the route up the hill (there is no trail left up there), seemed relatively clear, so we decided to head uphill to the saddle below Burnt Granite and then walk the ridge up to the top. It wasn’t TOO difficult, but we did encounter some significant snow drifts up on top, but we were able to get thru them. Once on top, we found a cut area, which was an old helispot:

I never knew that existed. Kind of a neat find.

We continued up the ridge until we got to the top of Burnt Granite, which is all covered in trees now:

We then continued over to the east side, just below the top where we found the post and telephone wire that we had found on a prior visit:

While we were up there, I took a video of Thor playing in the snow – he always cracks me up when he does this:

We spent a few minutes up on top, and then headed back down – eventually finding the trail. The way down was a little more covered in rhodies than the way up, but we managed to find the trail again, and then headed down. We lopped a few of the worst of the rhodies on the way down, but didn’t really do much – we were already running late. We ended up getting back to the truck about 6:00, which would put us back in town around 7:30. Charles was starting to wonder where were were! We decided to stop at Fearless on the way home – we were hungry – Charles had to get home so he didn’t join us. The burger and beer tasted really good after a hard day of hiking and trail work!

A great early summer day in the woods!

5/27/2017 – Bissell, Old Baldy, White Iris Trails

Date of Hike: 5/27/2017
Location of Hike: Bissell, Old Baldy and White Iris Trails
Trail Number: 502
Weather during Hike: Sunny and warm
Hiking Buddies: Kirk, Charles, Zack, Robert, Ollie and Thor
Start Time: 10:25 PM  End Time: 4:30 PM
Hike Distance: 5.5 miles  
Pictures: Link
I had a 3 day weekend for Memorial Day and the weather was supposed to be beautiful (if a little warm for this time of year). So, I wanted to get out and do a hike. Options are still somewhat limited due to the heavy snow load this year.

I had been thinking of hiking MP3 up to the Rimrock trail and trying to get out to the overlook or maybe going up 4635 and the Cripple Creek up to Cache meadow. Charles had the great idea of doing a shuttle hike using the old Bissell Trail, Old Baldy and the White Iris trail. I was hoping that the Iris would be in bloom, but due to the late spring, it had unfortunately not bloomed yet.

He also said those of us who were “adventurous” could go down and explore the un-named lake below Old Baldy. That all sounded intriguing to me, so we all planned to head out early on Saturday morning. The plan was to leave one car at the White Iris Trailhead, then drive up to the Bissell Trailhead (about 2 miles up the road), and then hike the Bissell trail up to a point where we could head cross country over to the un-named lake below Old Baldy. After exploring the lake, we were going to go up to Old Baldy, and then head down the Old Baldy trail to its junction with the White Iris Trail and take that back to the 4615 road where we could retrieve the other car.

The day went off mostly as planned with the exception of the beginning of the White Iris trail. We ran into some serious snow on the Old Baldy trail, and were unable to continue following it, so we ended up going cross country in the general direction of the White Iris trail, hoping to find it. We eventually did, and followed it the rest of the way down.

OK, on to the play by play and photos of the day.
We made quick work of the Bissell trail, and although the uphil to get to the un-named lake below Old Baldy was physically difficult, it didn’t take too long. Once up the hill, we stopped at the top to eat lunch and rest a bit before heading downhill to the lake. There was this weird hanging snag next to where we ate lunch:

The only thing holding it up was the top branch on the snag next to it. Very odd, although it looks like it has been hanging there for quite some time, so it must be pretty solid.

After eating lunch, we headed down the steep slope to the lake. Just before the lake, Zack found this really cool cave-no sign of bears, however:

Continuing down the hill (it had gotten less steep by now), we found the un-named lake below Old Baldy:

But there was still LOTS of snow and ice at the lake – it was still mostly frozen over!:

We explored around the lake, and while doing so, Thor ended up kind of falling into the lake. I think he ran out on to the ice and it broke. It didn’t seem to bother him much, but he didn’t stay in the water too long. It had to be VERY COLD in that lake!

We ended up walking all the way around the lake, exploring the outlet and the other side of the lake. Once we had finished exploring, we headed back uphill. We opted to go a different way up, which was a bit less steep (although it was still pretty steep). In a few minutes, after much huffing and puffing, we made it around the east side of Old Baldy and found the trail up to the top. Kirk, Robert and I headed up and spent a few minutes on top while Zack and Charles waited on the trail below. Thor was enjoying himself on top of Old Baldy (there isn’t much of a view on top of Old Baldy – it isn’t very “bald” anymore):

After a few minutes on top, we headed back down (we heard Charles yelling for us down below). We continued south on the Old Baldy trail encountering very little snow – this was the largest patch of snow we saw (other than down by the lake) – until we got near the White Iris Junction:

We headed down the trail and soon found a beautiful viewpoint with views of many of the mountains to the north – Mt Hood and Wildcat Mountain from the viewpoint on Old Baldy trail:

After enjoying the view for a few minutes, we packed up and headed down the trail. We made good time until the trail crossed over the ridge onto a north facing slope and the snow got REALLY deep, REALLY fast (like from nothing to 3 or 4 feet of snow). We weren’t exactly sure where the junction was with the White Iris trail, but knew the map was wrong. Since the snow was making it really difficult to follow the trail, and it was also making it hard to walk, we decided to head downhill in the general direction of the White Iris trail and eventually found it. We soon got out of the snow in the woods, however there was still a LOT of snow at the 4614 road crossing on the White Iris trail:

We picked up the trail on the other side of the road and we had no problem finding and keeping the trail all the way back down to 4615. It was a little warm in the cut area going down the hill, since we were in the full sunshine. Fortunately, we were going downhill, and the exposed area wasn’t too long. Thor had apparently had enough though – about half way down the hill, he stopped in the shade behind a tree and laid down. I gave him some water and let him rest a bit and he was then ready to finish the trip. I think he was getting hot in the sun. Black fur makes it easy to get REALLY warm in the sun!

We did a fair amount of trail maintenance on this trip as well, doing a bit of lopping and cutting or moving quite a few trees off the trail.

A beautiful day in the woods with good friends. Per tradition, We stopped at Fearless for a great end to the day!

5/21/2017 – Dickey Creek Trail

Date of Hike: 5/20/2017
Location of Hike: Dickey Creek Trail
Trail Number: 553
Weather during Hike: Sunny and warm
Hiking Buddies: Kirk, Robert, Ollie and Thor
Start Time: 10:30 PM  End Time: 5:30 PM
Hike Distance: 6.8 miles  
Pictures: Link
Today’s hike was intended to shake off the winter “blahs” after all the rain and snow we’ve had this winter. Spring is coming late due to all the snow – there was new snow below 4000′ just a week ago! The snow is supposed to be melting now, not accumulating!

Anyway, Dickey Creek is low enough to be accessible earlier in the year, so I thought it would be a good trail to hike. The trail has been extended by about a half mile in the last few years – the last half mile of the spur road to the old trailhead has been decommissioned and turned into trail. The “trail” past the old trailhead is an old spur road too, so the first 3/4 to a mile of this trail is walking old roads – but they are in good shape for the most part.

When we got to the trailhead, there was a vehicle there – we met a lone backpacker on his way out. While we were getting ready, a couple pulled in and asked about the trail. They had intended to go to Pansy lake but apparently couldn’t get there due to snow. We thought we heard them at one point, but never saw them on the trail all day long. When I got back home, I checked the elevation for the road to Pansy lake and it didn’t appear to get to 4000′, so if that is true, higher trailheads will be inaccessible much longer this spring due to the heavy snowpack.

We headed down the trail and shortly arrived at the old trailhead and kept heading down an even older spur road (I’m guessing this trail might have been built after they logged this area), and pretty quickly we were at the dreaded “rotten log bridge” – normally, I walk across the big log (it has always felt very stable and strong to me), even though the trail walks around it. Thor did not want to walk across the log, so we went around. (on the way back I broke one of the sticks across the water and fell in – oops!)

We continued down and got to the steep descent into the old growth groves and the part that follows the creek. The steep descent has gotten a lot better as they have added steps in some places, but it is still very steep and there is a lot of ground movement on that hill – some of the steps have even moved since they were put in a few years ago. We were able to successfully navigate the steep downhill part and soon came to one of my favorite parts of the trail – the old growth groves (this old photo was taken on a 2005 trip):

Continuing down, the trail crosses several small side creeks like this one (all of them un-named):

There was a fair amount of blowdown from the winter – we cleared a couple that we were able to on the way up, but decided to press on and get to the creek crossing so we could eat lunch. Here is the camp at the Dickey Creek crossing – our turnaournd point:

And the new log “bridge” at Dickey Creek crossing – this has come down very recently it appears.

After eating lunch we all sat and enjoyed the creek – each in their own way. I enjoyed the sounds of the river and the beautiful blue sky:

Kirk decided to cross on another log upstream and Ollie was having separation anxiety when Kirk was on the other side of the creek. Ollie ended up crossing over to the other side of the creek on the new log and then they both came back on the same log a few minutes later:

I recorded a short movie of Dickey Creek (you will hear Thor bark partway thru – he was tied up and not too happy about it):

After a while of enjoying the symphony of the babbling creek, we decided we should head back up. The intention was to clear up some of the blowdown we had come over on the way down. We only had loppers and a small handsaw, but we did a fair amount of trail maintenance. A couple of examples – Before

After – the larger log was too big to cut, and the lower one made a good step to get over the upper log so we left it

Before

After

On the way back up we did clear quite a few downed trees (I lost track of how many). If they were too big to cut or move off the trail, we trimmed all the branches off to make them easier to get over or under. I’m guessing there are a half dozen or so trees left on the trail, but all were trimmed up. We definitely left the trail in a lot better shape than we found it!

On the way back up, we stopped again at one of the overlooks and I noticed how beautifully clear the water in Dickey Creek is:

And another random photo of Thor playing in one of the creek crossings – he really loves the water – and the snow:

Here is a photo of teeny tiny growth rings – this log was in the boggy area, and I remember having to step over it last time I was on this trail – it was really hard to get over – I was glad to see it had been cut:

Lastly, Robert captured this great photo of some really interesting fungus (I’m not sure where he saw this):

We made it thru all the blowdown, and then made the slow trek back up the steep section. We got back to the van around 5:30. Pretty tired, but pleased with a good day of hiking with good friends.

We stopped at Fearless for dinner – great way to cap off a great day!

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.

5/7/2016 – Lower Milepost 3 Trail and Oak Grove Work Center

Date of Hike: 5/7/2016
Location of Hike: Lower Milepost 3 Trail and Oak Grove Work Center
Weather during Hike: Sunny and warm
Hiking Buddies: Kirk, Don, Brian, Elizabeth, Jane
Start Time: 10:30 AM  End Time: 3:00 PM
Hike Distance: 1.3 miles  
Pictures: Link
Hike description

The agenda for this day was to do two things:
1- Explore below the 4635 road where the MP3 trailhead is, to try and find the trail down to Oak Grove
2 – Meet some of Rondy’s family at Oak Grove to get a tour of the buildings and hear about what it was like to live there 50 years ago.

We parked on car at Oak Grove and then drove up to the MP3 trailhead to start our explorations – we fanned out in the woods, and it bout 15 minutes, Kirk had found a phone line insulator:

Unfortunately, that was the only one we found, but at least it showed us where the tread was. Once we found that we worked back and forth from that point, flagging and doing some lopping ot make the route more apparent. Much of the route was overgrown with vine maple. Here is one section of tread (it looked much better in person):

We continued down the trail, flagging as we went until we got to a newer cut area where it kind of disappeared. We ended up finding the spur road that shows on the map – we had thought that maybe the spur road took out the trail since it headed in exactly the right direction. We followed it down until we were pretty much due north of Oak Grove and we saw a “corridor” thru the woods – we headed down that way, wondering if we might find some tread. On the way, we found these bird bones and Skull (kind of a weird find):

We ended up finding what seemed like tread in this area and it led down to 4630. We were running out of time, so we will have to come back and scope out the 3 areas that were kind of fuzzy – right below the road – the section before the spur road (180 spur) and then the last section above 4630.

We made it down to the Oak Grove work center and ate lunch. Shortly after we were done, Elizabeth came walking down the road, followed shortly by her husband and mom. A few minutes later, Brian came and joined us. We chatted for a bit and did introductions and then started looking at all the old buildings. We had viewed them over a year ago, but really didn’t have any context for any of the buildings. We had made guesses (and some of them were correct), but now we know what each building was for, and also the location of a couple of other buildings that are no longer there:

Unfortunately, there has been even more vandalism – now there is graffiti in at least a couple of the buildings. In Rondy’s old house, the chimney has been “tagged” and in the warehouse building, the walls are completely covered in graffiti now. It is very sad what is becoming of this place – it holds such history.

I thought I had photos of all the houses and buildings from our prior trip, but I only took a couple of photos – I will have to take more photos at some other time to preserve what is left of these buildings.

We also found out that the the meadow to the east was where the horses and mules grazed while they were there. They were taken somewhere lower in the winter, but spring, summer and fall they were there. Actually, most of the summer they were probably out on the trail, supplying the lookouts. In addition, we identified which of the 2 shop buildings was the sign shop (where all the cool signs were made) and which was just a shop.

After touring all the buildings, we drove back up the road to locate the location of the old Collawash Ranger Station. It was where I kind of thought it was – pretty much at the junction of the 4630 and 4631 roads – there is an open area in the woods where people now camp – that is where it used to be – just west of Silvertip (which used to be a logging camp). Once the Rippplebrook Ranger station was built, the Oak Grove and Collawash Ranger stations were combined in Ripplebrook and both of the others closed. At some point both buildings were destroyed.

After locating that, we went back to our car and drove back up to get the Van and come home. A stop at Fearless made for a great end to a great day out in the woods with great people.

A couple of closing photos:

Wintertime view of Oak Grove looking east (from 1959):

Lastly the beautiful view from Oak Grove – looking east (taken today):

4/30/2016 – Cripple Creek and Cache Meadow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And here is a short video of the creek:


A little farther down the road is a nice viewpoint:

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

4/16/2016 – Milepost 3 Trail

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4/1/2016 – Hillockburn Trail – 516

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

7/3/2015 – Thunder Mountain and Skookum Lake

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

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

A few highlights:

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

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


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

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

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

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

A good, although very warm day in the woods.

1/31/2015 – MP3 and Rimrock Trails

Date of Hike: 1/31/2015
Location of Hike: MP3 and Rimrock Trails
Trail Number: 704 and 705
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Kirk, Emily, Carly and Zack
Start Time: 10:25 AM  End Time: 4:30 PM
Hike Distance: 7.75 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
My daughter called me and asked if I wanted to go hiking on Saturday – the weather was supposed to be nice. She wanted mountain views. I thought about it for a while and looked at different trails and figured this hike would have it all – an old abandoned trail segment, a current trail, and fantastic Mountain views. It also seemed to be pretty likely we could actually get up there. Normally this will all be snowed in, but since we are having “Juneuary”, I thought we could probably make it. I also thought if we had time we could go to the old abandoned Oak Grove Work Center – I had heard there were some interesting old buildings there.

Kirk had asked if I wanted to go hiking too, and when his daughter heard my daughter was going, she wanted to go too! So, it was 4 of us. Then, Zack texted me in the morning asking about some other trail, and I told him where we were going and said he was welcome to join us if he wanted. We weren’t sure if he would be coming or not. It turned out to be quite a party!

We headed out about 9am and make good time to the trailhead. Took us a few minutes to find the MP3 trailhead (it isn’t marked), and then we went on our way. On the way up, we did quite a bit of lopping in some of the tougher sections. Even though the MP3 trail is abandoned, it is in pretty good shape. In its heyday, I think the trail got a lot of use from pack trains coming from Oak Grove Ranger Station down below.

On the way up, Kirk noticed a big tree – kind of behind another big tree – a REALLY big tree:

And a little further up the trail, we ran across this reminder of prior maintenance on the MP3 trail – probably the last time it had any significant maintenance:

As we were doing some lopping, Zack came up the trail and joined us. It was a great surprise! After chatting, we continued up the trail, clearing brushy areas and navigating around the few pieces of blowdown. Once we got close to the junction with the Rimrock trail, we ran into the somewhat messy area – there is a fair amount of blowdown near the junction. We stopped and had lunch at the junction and then proceeded up the Rimrock trail to the overlook junction. The Rimrock trail had quite a lot of blowdown on it:

And right next to the trail, we came across this rack from a deer – looks like it has been out here for a while – quite green and gnawed on:

We were very surprised at how little snow there was. This was the most snow we ran across the whole trip – at the most there was maybe 12″ of snow on the ground – but you can see other spots were completely bare:

We continued going up, and soon got to the overlook area where there was still almost no snow – the overlook is just over 5000′. It is shocking that there is essentially no snow at 5000′ on the last day of January. We headed out to the point, where you get great views in almost all directions – this is looking south at Mt Jefferson:

We stayed up on the point for a while, enjoying the wonderful views and taking pictures. Since it was starting to get late, and we wanted to make one more stop before it got dark, we decided to head down the hill. We made GREAT time coming down, and got back to the vehicles about 4:30 – just enough time to stop at the old Oak Grove Work Center to look at some of the old houses and buildings. This was the precursor to the Ripplebrook complex and it is where the MP3 trail actually started (not sure if it is still accessible down lower or not). It has a few houses, a shop, a bunk house and other miscellaneous buildings and a big old barn. The barn was getting a new metal roof, so they must be planning on doing something with it. Here is a picture of one of the houses:

Although the houses have been heavily vandalized and have a LOT of mouse/squirrel/rodent activity in them, they have some really neat architectural details inside. Here is a view of a really neat fireplace in one of the houses:

We walked around to the various buildings and then made our way up to the old barn. By this time it was starting to get dark, so we headed back to the vehicles and home. We stopped at Fearless for dinner. A great way to end a great day of hiking!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the memorial plaque – this was well hidden:

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

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

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

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

5/13/2014 – Lower Burnt Granite Trail

Date of Hike: 5/13/2014
Location of Hike: Lower Burnt Granite Trail
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Don and Murphy
Start Time: 10:00 AM  End Time: 2:15 PM
Hike Distance: 3.5 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was a trip to explore the lower section of the Burnt Granite trail – the upper section is still an official trail, however the lower section was carved up by clearcuts and abandoned years ago. It has been re-found, and most of it is in pretty amazing shape for being abandoned for so long. Even many sections of the trail that went thru clearcuts has been located! The sections that went thru the old growth are truly impressive – these old stands have some mighty large trees in them. Unfortunately I didn’t take many photos, but here is one of the photos of some of the tread – it is MUCH more apparent in person than it appears in this photo:

We headed up to the road where the “current” Burnt Granite trail takes off from – but that starts down the road a bit. The section where this crossed the road was clearcut, and so the current trail uses an old cat road to begin. In due time, maybe the original tread can be located in the clearcut and the original path restored. Who knows. (edit – the original route has been found! And restored!!) It is just cool to see this very old path. It will make a great wintertime trail – could be used to snowshoe – start at the bottom, hike up to snow, then put on showshoes to go higher.

On the way back down, we took a slight detour to the un-named creek – there is a user/game trail down to it that is flagged with blue and white flagging. A neat little creek.

On the way back home, we stopped to explore the old Memaloose trail off road 45. We didn’t go too far up the trail, but we did find some old cut logs:

And even cooler, we found an old benchmark tree!

After exploring that trail for a short ways, we headed back down and wanted to stop at fearless for a pint, but found out they are closed on Tuesdays! So, we headed over to another bar in town and had a pint there – not the same as Fearless, but still tasted good.

Both of these trails will be on my list to explore further.

1/25/2014 – South Fork Water Pipeline

Date of Hike: 1/25/2014
Location of Hike: South Fork Water Pipeline
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Kirk and Zack
Start Time: 10:15 AM  End Time: 3:40 PM
Hike Distance: 3 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This trip has been on my radar for quite some time – probably since I did the series of hikes to the South Fork waterworks up the South Fork in 2010. The goal was to hike downriver along the pipeline grade to follow it as far as we could. I had been told there were more tunnels along the river that the pipe went through and we wanted to explore those and see what kind of shape the grade was in. ”’Note: The GPS track above is not terribly accurate. Between the steep canyon walls and the tunnels, the GPS had a hard time locking on accurately. We did not actually wade across the river twice as the track shows.”’

The day started at the location of the old “Oregon City Water Patrol Station” (that is how it is labeled on the maps). The house is no longer there, however there is a nice big pullout and lots of parking there. Kirk brought his canoe and the plan was to canoe across the river over to the landing on the other side and then follow the pipeline trail north as far as we could.

The trip across the river went easier than expected – the current in the middle of the river was relatively fast, but it was pretty narrow – on the far side of the river was an eddy that was actually moving upstream! Anyway, we quickly made it across the river, got the canoe out of the water and then proceeded to find the pipeline grade. Doing this trip in the winter is really the best option for two reasons: 1 – there is LOTS of woody brush (salmonberry, blackberry, various grasses) that would be tough to navigate in the summer. 2 – There is a fair amount of poison oak along the pipeline grade – in the winter it is dormant, so it a lot easier to move past without getting itchy.

We wandered around a bit, and finally found the pipeline grade and started our trip north. I had forgotten how rough this “trail” was – and I think it has gotten worse since I was here last. We struggled with the downed trees and brush and it seemed the farther north we went, the worse it got. I finally had enough of it, and pulled out my little pruning saw and started cutting some branches. Zack had just given me new loppers, but I didn’t bring them, thinking I would not need them – that was a mistake. The pruning saw helped a lot, but loppers would have made it easier. Kirk soon took over the pruning saw, and I got out my hand pruners. There is a LOT more clearing that needs to be done on that trail, but we made a bit of an improvement. Here is some of what we had to go around (and there was a lot worse that I didn’t take photos of:

Here is Zack and Kirk clearing a particularly rough spot:

Once we got past the “cliffy” parts of it, just north of the bend where we started, the going improved a bit, but it was still rather brushy:

Although you couldn’t see the pipeline itself most of the way, these coax cables were visible almost the entire route – they made it pretty easy to follow the route of the pipeline:

Sometimes they were buried in the duff, sometimes they were stretched in mid air (like guard rails almost) – this photo also shows a big downed log that was cut at some point long ago – it wasn’t cut all the way through, but a notch was made in it – it was cut so long ago the notch was now at ground level:

A little farther up the trail, we found this item – Kirk thought it was a device to bleed off air from the pipeline, which kind of makes sense since it seemed to be at a high point along the pipe:

We continued north, following the river – the route improved a bit, and we even got to some rock slide areas where the grade was very good (if you look closely, you can see the coax cables in the lower left of the image):

Around one of these rock slides, an interesting/scary thing happened: When Kirk moved a log off the trail and threw it downhill, the rocks started giving way – a mini slide occurred. We were waiting for it to take out the trail, but it didn’t (thankfully). It did slide a LOT of rock downhill however.

Continuing north along the grade, we finally found the tunnels we had heard about. The tunnels did not start at the cliff face directly north of the bend in the river, they started a lot farther north. Here is the entrance to the first of four tunnels:

They were not very large – and seemed to get smaller the farther north we got. The first one was big enough to stand up in, but just barely

This was a very weird sight inside the first 3 tunnels. Groups of daddy long legs spiders and crickets, all grouped together. We had no idea what was going on there, but it was really weird looking:

At the entrance to the second tunnel, Kirk found an old insulator laying on the floor of the tunnel – it was kind of a weird place to find one:

All of the tunnels were in the cliff behind an “island” in the river. I’m not sure it is actually an island, but it does have a slough going alongside the cliff on the north side, and looks kind of like an island. This is the view from between two of the tunnels looking out at the flat area between the cliffs and the river:

Inside the 3rd tunnel, we had to walk on top of the pipe – there was up to a foot of water in the tunnel and it made for difficult going:

When we got to the other end, we found out why – a landslide had blocked up part of the tunnel exit and there was water dripping down into the tunnel from runoff. I”m sure during wetter parts of the year, this tunnel has a lot more water in it. Here is the exit of the tunnel – that straight thing is not a piece of the pipeline, but a tree that had fallen downhill – you can’t even see the pipeline, just the small tunnel exit:

The last tunnel had what looked like a piece of petrified wood in the ceiling of it:

And it also has a curve in it:

At the end of the 4th tunnel, the pipe takes a hard turn and goes straight down to the water – it is kind of hard to see in this photo because the pipe is covered in moss and ferns, but it goes downhill at probably a 60-70 degree angle until right above the water and then turns north right above the waterline:

On the way back someone noticed this interesting “glaze” on the wall of one of the tunnels:

It reminded me of stuff I remember seeing in the Oregon Caves. When looking it up, they referred to this as calcite deposits. It looks like it is soft, but it feels just like rock (although smooth).

After exiting the 4th tunnel, and realizing we were pretty much at the end of our route, since the pipeline went down to the water and seemed to head at waterline for a while, we decided to head up to the top of the hill and see what we could see – we got up there and saw a very difficult bushwhack. We decided this would be our turnaround point, so we stopped for lunch.

Heading back was pretty uneventful, and considerably faster than the trip in, since we had done all that clearing on the way in. We enjoyed some of the many cliffs on the way back:

We made good time back, and since we were a little early, we decided to go explore a little ways up the “Gipper” trail – it heads up and over the hill over to Hillockburn. I have been on that trail a couple of times and it offers some really nice views (this picture was taken on a trip in 2012):

After exploring up the Gipper trail a bit, we headed back down, back to the canoe, and made our way back across the river without incident. Kirk had to go home to a family dinner, but Zack and I headed to Fearless for a beer and some sweet potato fries. On our way back, we stopped to look at the point we got to, in order to see where the pipeline went. While we were looking we saw an AWESOME sight – A Bald Eagle flew up from the river into a tree! As we made our way down river, the eagle followed us for a bit. They are absolutely beautiful creatures, and it was amazing to see in the wild. An amazing way to spend an incredible winter day in the Clackamas. It felt more like a fall day!

1/1/2014 – Rho Creek Trail – 569

Date of Hike: 1/1/2014
Location of Hike: Rho Creek Trail
Trail Number: 569
Weather during Hike: Mostly Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Kirk
Start Time: 10:55 AM  End Time: 4:30 PM
Hike Distance: 8 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was a (quickly becoming) traditional New Years Day hike. Originally I had wanted to do a low hike, since it is January, but with the lack of snow up high, I thought I would take advantage of the availability of higher elevation trails. I hadn’t hiked Rho Creek in quite some time, and I had wanted to go back and do it again. The first time I was there, I wasn’t sure I followed the correct path to the 4672 road. I wanted to go back and make sure I had done it correctly this time.

We got a lazy start, since it was New Years Day, but got up to the trailhead by a little after 10:30. The driving was a bit tricky, since there was lots of ice on road 46, and also LOTS of rocks that had come down from cliffs – some rather large rocks that required driving around.

Anyway, we headed up the trail – I had forgotten how much elevation this trail gains. The beginning of the trail climbs rather quickly. It is graded well, but you are gaining elevation rather fast. In a short while, we came to the Tumble Creek crossing:

Tumble/Rho creek is beautiful:

After crossing Tumble Creek, we headed up a couple of switchbacks, gaining more elevation before coming to the upper clearcut. It was here where I made an incorrect turn in 2006 (the last time I was on this trail). I turned right (NW) and headed along the edge of the clearcut. I should have continued mostly straight along the other edge of the clearcut, which is where the trail follows. We proceeded up the trail to the 4672 road, which was almost snow free – amazing for a road at 4000′ elevation on the first of January:

We continued across the 4672 road and headed uphill. After some more uphill, the trail levels out and the forest changes to smaller trees and more open:

After following this for a while, we got to a post that used to have a sign on it. We weren’t sure what it was marking. The notes I had sounded like this was a trail junction, and “turning left” would take us to the Guard station, which we wanted to find. We followed a very rough, faint trail for a while – it kind of came and went. We thought the guard station was near the meadow, so we continued on to the swampy area – it is actually called a meadow – Rhododendron Meadow. Maybe later in the year it is drier – today it was icy, otherwise it would have been hard to walk across.

We didn’t see any sign of the guard station site, but we were a bit confused about where exactly it was. We were running out of time for the day, so we decided to head around the meadow and find the trail that we came in on. We found the trail and started heading back, and lo and behold, we stumbled across the old collapsed guard station!

On the way back down, right above the 4672 road, we caught this nice glimpse of Mt Hood:

About half way back to the start, we saw something we missed on the way in – a post – it definitely said something at one time, but what did it say? It certainly didn’t look like a trail junction, so what could it have been for? I’ll probably never know (edit: I later learned that this post IS an old trail junction – the trail has long been abandoned and is pretty faint):

We were kind of in a hurry on the way back, racing to get back to the truck before dark (the days are very short this time of year), but I couldn’t help but take a photo of this section of the trail:

I can’t really say this is “typical” since this trail goes through so many different areas. But it is a very pleasant area. This trail is a very under appreciated trail. I will be back again sooner than 7 years next time.

We capped off the day with a burger and pint at Fearless. What a great way to kick off the new year!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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!

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!

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:

11/3/2010 – Bull of the Woods trail – 550

Date of Hike: 11/3/2010
Location of Hike: Bull of the Woods trail
Trail Number: 550
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 9:00 AM  End Time: 1:30 PM
Hike Distance: 7 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
With the (probably) last of the nice weather, I took a day off to do what is probably my last high elevation hike of the season. I went up to Bull of the Woods lookout on the #550 trail. I was very surprised at the lack of snow, especially since it must have gotten dumped on a few weeks ago. The only snow I saw was on north facing slopes or shady areas, and even there, it was only a couple of inches deep.

The trail was in great shape, with only a couple of downed logs. There are a few areas they get rather brushy, but since all the undergrowth had died, and all the huckleberry bushes had lost their leaves, it was still easy. I spent some time brushing the worst of the trail, up on the top end, but it still needs a lot more work.

One of my goals for this hike was to see how much damage had been caused by the fires this summer. I was rather disappointed that I couldn’t see much.

From what I could see, it looks like the damage is less than I was fearing. Big Slide Lake looks untouched, but I’m not sure why the Dickey Creek Trail is still closed. I didn’t see anything back that way that looked burned, but it must be beyond what I could see. You could see burn damage in the saddle between Big Slide Mountain and its neighbor peak (don’t know what it is called). The good news is that the burn doesn’t appear to have gone up the other side of the valley. The bad news is that I think the damage on the other side of that hill is extensive.

It was a beautiful day, and the wind going up the Clackamas gorge was as strong as I’ve seen it – the reservoir had BIG whitecaps on it! I didn’t have a whole lot of wind on the trail, just a little once I got up to the top. One thing: The lookout appears to have lost part of one of its shutters. I think it was sitting down on the ground below it. It looked like someone had weighted it down with rocks, I’m guessing to help keep it from blowing away.

A great day, and a wonderful way to end the high country season. After this weekend, I think it will be low elevation trails for a while…

10/13/2010 – North end of Bagby trail – 544

Date of Hike: 10/13/2010
Location of Hike: TrNorth end of Bagby Trailail
Trail Number: 544
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 9:00 AM  End Time: 4:00 PM
Hike Distance: 14 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was a mid week hike down the north end of the Bagby trail. I wanted to complete my traverse of the entire Bagby trail. Earlier this summer my daughter and I hiked the lower 5 miles of the trail and I wanted to finish the trail.

Although the initial couple of miles is very heavily traveled due to the hot springs, the rest of the trail is more lightly used. As you get further down the trail, it gets a little more brushy in places

It was an absolutely beautiful day, although it was rather chilly in the morning. When I got to Bagby at about 9am, there was one car who looked like they were leaving, and another that had a flat in the parking lot. I figured the hot springs would be empty – I was in luck! The beginning of the trail is very well maintained, even being paved most of the way. If you look up the hill, you can see the “old” trail – at some point they relocated the trail nearer the creek – probably because they wanted it to be wider and didn’t want to cut into the hillside more I’m guessing. Crossing the Hot Springs fork you got the smell of fish – there were lots of salmon that were dead in the river – I’m guessing they died after spawning.

The rest of the trip up to the hot springs was uneventful. I got to explore a bit around the camp there, although there was a couple there – I found out later I think they were camped up the trail a bit. I did get to see the soaking “tubs” (hollowed out logs). Very interesting place.

Past the hot springs, the trail gets narrower, but is still in extremely good shape. The farther you get from Bagby, the less traffic it gets, though. After a couple of miles past Babgy, the trail is still easy to follow, but is VERY brushed in in places. On the way in, I got absolutely soaked from the dew/rain/moisture on the vegetation overgrowing the trail. Mostly huckleberries with some rhodies and a few tree branches.

You cross several creeks, and pass a really nice, pretty waterfall – it is called shower creek, and it looks like they literally used it as a shower at one point – there is a wooden deck under one section of the falls!

You continue on, crossing a bunch of small creeks until you get to a GREAT viewpoint, with a nice sitting spot and wonderful view of Whetstone Mountain.

There was one spot that I was a little curious about – most of the trail is mature forest, however one section is rather bare, with lots of rhodies and small trees. It doesn’t appear to have been logged, so I’m kind of wondering if there was a lightning strike or something in that area? The trail was easy to follow through it, though.

Once you get farther down the trail, you eventually cross the hot springs fork, but it is an easy crossing thanks to a log. The trail then starts to go uphill and climbs a bit until you get to “Howdy Doody Camp”, a nice little camp area just past a couple of creeks. This was my lunch spot and turnaround point.

I spent a little over an hour working on brushing the trail just North of that camp, but that trail needs a LOT more brush work. I decided to clear a LOT of brush in the areas I did, rather than just do a light trimming – once you start cutting out the overgrowth, it is hard to stop! I eventually ran out of time, but I ended up clearing several hundred feet of the worst of the overgrowth.

This is a WONDERFUL trail that goes through some incredible old growth forest and has the Hot Springs fork as company for most of the trip. If you can endure the sideshow at Bagby, it is a great trail to go on and needs some more friends farther down the trail.

5/31/2008 – Milepost 3 Trail

Date of Hike: 5/31/2008
Location of Hike: Milepost 3 Trail
Weather during Hike: Partly Cloudy and in the upper 60s to low 70s
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 11:30 AM  End Time: 3:30 PM
Hike Distance: 5 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
I woke up this morning, the weather was cloudy, and the forecast was for probable rain. Since I wimped out the weekend before, I decided that I was going hiking no matter what. Then I was half way to Estacada, and it dawned on me that I forgot my rain gear! That didn’t deter me, however….I decided I would make do with what I had and was determined to hike today. Anyway, I found the trailhead for the infamous “Milepost 3 Trail” after a bunch of looking. I was a little farther up the road than I should have been. Everywhere I looked, the hill went almost straight up! Anyway, after a bit of searching, I finally found the trail. WHAT A BEAUTIFUL TRAIL! I wonder why it got abandoned? It is a bit steep in places, but it has a lot of beautiful points on it.

What looks to be genuine first growth old growth, some wonderful views from the talus slopes, and a very calming feel to it.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a whole lot of pictures since the battery in my camera died part way through the trip. I missed getting pictures in my favorite part of the hike where it meanders through the beautiful old growth. There are a couple of pretty rough spots in the trail, but overall it was easy to hike. Most of the tread is easy to spot, however there is a lower section where it gets a little sketchy, and an upper section that is pretty nasty due to downed trees/branches and a bunch of overgrowth. I hadn’t planned on spending a lot of time tending trail, so I just brought my clippers and no gloves, and I clipped until I got blisters on the way up. On the way down, I tried to throw branches off the trail. It could still use a lot of TLC, but the hike is most definitely worth it, and pretty easy to follow as long as you pay attention to where you are going. Since I didn’t see flagging or a rock cairn at the trailhead, I stacked several rocks at the trailhead hopefully to make it a little more apparent for people to find. My GPS differed from the posted coordinates by a little bit. I was up the road a few hundred feet too far. It is just before the 3 mile point on 4635, probably no more than a tenth of a mile. My GPS recorded about 5.1 miles roundtrip, but it also recorded a bunch of searching in the beginning, so I think it would have recorded 2.4 miles up to the intersection of Rimrock. I couldn’t find Rimrock due to the snow, (it was a couple feet deep on the top of the hill). Anyway, a very enjoyable day up in the hills….. The trail is on Road #4635… The UTM coordinates at the trailhead are 10T 577761mE 4994293mN The trail starts out at 2742′ and tops out at 4256′ in 2.7ish miles where it T-bones the Rim Rock trail.