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Corvallis Hiking Oregon Willamette Valley

Peavy Arboretum to Dimple Hill – 10/22/2022

We finally saw some much needed wet weather arrive which started to push out the smoke that had caused the air quality in NW Oregon to be some of the worst in the world for a few days. I was more than happy to alter my plans if it meant the beginning of the end of the nearby fires. With anywhere from a 40 to 90 percent chance of precipitation (and the possibility of an isolated thunderstorm or two) the most promising forecast was for the McDonald-Dunn Research Forests north of Corvallis. Heather and I had visited the McDonald Forest four time already, the most recent in 2021 when we attempted to connect the previous three hikes via a big loop from the Sulphur Springs Trailhead (post). Due to some closures for active logging operations we were only able to connect two of the three hikes, McCulloch Peak (post) and Chip Ross Park to Dimple Hill (post). My plan for this outing was to connect the other hike, Peavy Arboretum (post), as well as checking out a few trails in the forest that we hadn’t been on previously.

After checking online to make sure there were no current closures that might affect me I decided to start my day at the Peavy Arboretum’s Woodland Trailhead
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I had left my route for the day fairly open as I wasn’t sure how wet I might get. I knew that I wanted to start by hiking the 0.4 mile interpretive Woodland Loop Trail which began at the far end of the Woodland Trailhead and then I’d planned on making my way to the Lewisburg Saddle Trailhead where I would follow Road 600 (Patterson Road) SW at least three quarters of a mile to a junction with the Ridge Trail where we had turned onto that trail on our 2021 hike (coming from the other direction). I didn’t get many photos on the interpretive loop since the Sun hadn’t quite risen yet and it was fairly dark under the trees.
IMG_3618The Woodland Loop at the end of the parking lot.

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IMG_3626Starting to get a little lighter near the end of the loop.

After warming up on the sort loop I walked a short distance along the entrance road toward the entrance then crossed the road at a post for the Red Cedar Run Trail.
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What followed was a 19.2 mile (19.6 including the Woodland Loop Trail) reverse lollipop loop utilizing parts of 29 different trails and roads in the forest, not all of them on purpose. This is a good time to mention that having maps is extremely helpful when exploring this forest, but due to the active management by the Oregon State University Forest Department new trails are occasionally constructed while others may be closed or rerouted (the same for roads). Some trails are also closed seasonally or, as we saw on our previous visit, due to active logging operations. Finally the map/brochure available online from the Forest website, at least as of this writing, does not show all of the existing roads/trails. This was an issue that I ran into late in my hike today. Other online resources such as Trailforks show some of the missing roads/trails but may also omit others. (Trailforks is a mountain biking site so some of the hiker only trails such as the Woodland Loop are not included on their map.) My recommendation is to have as many maps handy as possible and a sense of adventure if you’re going to start exploring the area. I had my Garmin and the Forest map but really wish I had had the Trailforks map with me as well.

Back to my hike though. My route went like this (TF indicates that the trail was shown on the Trailforks map but not on the Forest map.):
Woodland Trail, Red Cedar Run Trail, Peavy Arboretum Road, Maritime Meander Trail, Forest Discovery Trail, CFIRP Trail, Section 36 Loop, Road 550, Road 500 (Nettleton Road), Dave’s Trail, Road 5010, Vineyard Mountain Trail, Road 600, Road 650, Upper Dan’s Trail, Road 650, Road 600, High Horse Trail (TF), Upper Bombs Away (TF), Road 640, Road 600, Ridge Trail, Road 600, Road 580 (Davies Road), New Growth Trail, Old Growth Trail, Road 580, Dave’s Trail, Banzai Trail (TF)*, Road 543, Road 540, Section 36 Loop, Road 540, Calloway to Cronemiller Trail, Calloway Creek Trail, Intensive Management Trail, Pond Trail.

*Instead of the Banzai Trail I had intended on taking the Powder House Trail but this section of the Banzai Trail wasn’t on the Forest Map and I went left when I should have gone right at an unsigned junction.

If that sounds a little confusing it was. As you may have guessed the weather turned out much better than forecasted with only one shower that lasted less than a minute near the end of my hike. I suspected I might be in for a nicer day as I made my way up the Red Cedar and then Maritime Meander Trails.
IMG_3629Cedars along the Red Cedar Run Trail.

IMG_3633A brief stint on Peavy Arboretum Road between the Red Cedar Run and Maritime Meander (on the left ahead) Trails.

I took a quiet detour to Randall Pond before hopping onto the Maritime Meander Trail.
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IMG_3640Sunrise from the Maritime Meander Trail.

IMG_3642Forest Discovery Trail junction with the Maritime Meander Trail.

I stayed left at trail junctions along the Forest Discovery Trail, crossing Road 510 along the way, then turned left onto the CFIRP.
IMG_3648The trails were well signed in the Arboretum.

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IMG_3663I had been on the Forest Discovery Trail just under a mile when I reached the CFIRP Trail.

I followed the CFIRP Trail for half a mile uphill across Road 514 and ignoring a spur trail back to Road 510 to the Section 36 Loop.
IMG_3665Road crossing.

IMG_3670The Section 36 Loop junction.

I turned left onto this trail, the first section of trail that I had been on previously, and continued uphill 0.4 miles to Road 550. I left the Section 36 Loop here and took a left onto the road.
IMG_3677Section 36 Loop

IMG_3679A bench along the trail faces this tree.

IMG_3681Road 550 from the Section 36 Loop.

Most of the 0.3 mile road is closed to motorized traffic so Road 550 was fairly overgrown compared to the other roads/trails in the forest but there was still clear tread. I did question my choice though when my feet started to feel the moisture from the grass start reaching my socks.
IMG_3682Looking back down Road 550.

IMG_3683My feet started to dry when I reached the section open to motorized vehicles.

Road 550 ended on a saddle at Road 500 where I again turned left following this road just under half a mile to Dave’s Trail where, you guessed it, I turned left.
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IMG_3691Lots of sparrows, towhees, and wrens were out this morning but most wouldn’t sit still at all.

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IMG_3699Dave’s Trail

I continued to climb gradually on Dave’s Trail crossing Road 590 near the quarter mile mark then dropping slightly to Road 5010 at a 3-way road junction after 1.3 miles.
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IMG_3712A gated road on the left led back up the hill I had just passed under some radio towers while Road 500 was to the right. Road 5010 was ahead on the left heading up Vineyard Mountain.

On our previous hike we’d taken the Vineyard Mountain Trail uphill from this junction (having come up Road 500 instead of on Dave’s Trail) so this time I followed Road 5010. When I reached the radio towers atop the mountain I discovered that we’d completely missed the remains of the 1930’s Dean George Peavy Cabin.
IMG_3714The Vineyard Mountain Trail at the junction.

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IMG_3722The foundation, fireplace and chimney are all that remain of the former OSU Dean’s cabin.

After visiting the cabin remains I continued slightly downhill on Road 5010 to a post marking the Vineyard Mountain Trail.
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It was approximately 1.5 downhill miles to the Lewisburg Saddle Trailhead where there were a decent number of cars.
IMG_3729Some twisted trees along the Vineyard Mountain Trail.

IMG_3732After numerous tries I finally caught a spotted towhee.

IMG_3733The Vineyard Mountain Trail briefly follows an old roadbed.

IMG_3735The section of trail between the roadbed and the Lewisburg Saddle Trailhead is one of the trails subject to seasonal closures. This section is closed when it is wet enough that you’d leave tracks in which case you could follow the roadbed to the right to Road 500.

IMG_3736Close up of the seasonal closure notice. It wasn’t wet so I continued on the Vineyard Mountain Trail.

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At the trailhead I crossed Sulphur Springs Road and passed an orange gate on Road 600 (Patterson Road). After gradually climbing for three quarters of a mile I arrived at a junction with Road 620 on the right. The Ridge Trail started from Road 620 near the junction so I could have turned there and followed it back to the Lewisburg Saddle I would have accomplished my goal of connecting all of our hikes here. The weather was so nice though that I decided to push on and try to reach Dimple Hill.
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IMG_3750Looking back at the towers on Vineyard Mountain from Road 600.

IMG_3753Road 620 on the right.

I stayed on Road 600 for another 1.4 miles (the first 0.6 being new to me) then turned left onto Road 650 at a saddle.
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A tenth of a mile up Road 650 I veered onto Upper Dan’s Trail and made way to the summit of Dimple Hill.
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IMG_3771Mary’s Peak (post) with a cloud just blocking the summit.

The view was nice but there were enough clouds and lingering haze to the SE that I was a bit disappointed. Someday I will make it a point to get to Dimple Hill on a bluebird afternoon/evening but for now I settled for the blue sky overhead and headed back to Road 600.
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If I would have had the Trailforks map handy I would have seen that I could cross Road 600 at the saddle and follow it uphill to Road 662 which would have brought me to what is shown on that map as the High Horse Trail. I then could have followed that to Upper Bombs Away but those two trails weren’t on the McDonald Forest map. I hiked back down Road 600 just over three quarters of mile to a trail crossing where I turned left on the unsigned High Horse Trail. (Not sure if that is the “official” name but it is the name on the TF map.)
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IMG_3788The High Horse Trail. Not shown to the right coming up from below is the Upper Horse Trail.

Despite the High Horse and Upper Bombs Away Trails not being shown on my map or Garmin we had taken these on our 2021 hike so I was familiar with them.
IMG_3789Bikers on Road 600 below.

IMG_3790Moss covered tree.

IMG_3792Lichen

IMG_3794Unsigned junction where the High Horse Trail continues to the left to Road 662 and Upper Bombs Away veers right.

IMG_3796Another connector trail on the left coming down from Road 662 to join the Upper Bombs Away Trail.

The Upper Bombs Away Trail can get a little confusing as it switchbacks downhill but the forest along the trail is some of my favorite in the McDonald Forest. There is another well established trail that basically shoots straight downhill and a couple of use trails that appeared to possibly be coming downhill from Road 600. I basically stayed left and/or downhill until I arrived at Road 640 (0.6 miles from the High Horse Trail).
IMG_3797Will the real trail please stand up?

IMG_3798Switchback near Road 640.

On our previous visit we had crossed Road 640 (it was closed between the trail and Road 600 at the time) and followed Lower Bombs Away to the Ridge Trail at Road 620. Since I’d been on that section of trail before and not Road 640 I took the road 0.3 miles back to Road 600 then turned left on Road 600 for 100 yards to Road 620.
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I hopped onto the Ridge Trail and followed it up and over a knoll to Road 600 near Lewisburg Saddle.
IMG_3806The Alpha Trail on the left at the quarter mile mark. This is where we had turned on the 2021 hike.

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IMG_3815Road 600 ahead.

At Lewisburg Saddle I took Road 580 for a tenth of a mile to the New Growth Trail and headed downhill.
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IMG_3819The New Growth Trail.

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A connector trail at the 0.4 mile mark led back up to Road 580 and marked the start of the Old Growth Trail.
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IMG_3828Old growth

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IMG_3837The end of the Old Growth Trail at Road 580.

After a mile on those two trails I was back on Road 580 which I followed for almost two miles to Dave’s Trail.
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IMG_3845One of three spur roads to the left that I passed.

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I turned left onto Dave’s Trail which paralleled Road 580 for 0.6 miles where it met the road again.
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IMG_3867Blackberries

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It was here that things got a little messy for me. I was already at approximately 15.7 miles and my plan was to head back as directly as possible. The plan was to take the Powder House Trail on the other side of Road 580 which was the only trail shown on the McDonald Forest map (no trails were on the GPS topo map). When I crossed the road though there were were two trails. One heading slightly downhill to the left and one uphill to the right and no signs on this side of the road.
IMG_3873The proverbial fork in the road.

I went left (I chose poorly) and followed what I thought was the Powder House Trail a third of a mile to a sign with a pointer for the Banzai Trail.
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IMG_3875Madrone

IMG_3878A few clouds starting to move in.

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The McDonald Forest map showed a small section old road between Roads 562 and 543 as the Banzai Trail which I was not close to according to the GPS. The Trailforks map shows the Banzai Trail starting where I had left Road 580 so my guess is that it has been somewhat recently added. I decided to forge ahead knowing that whatever I was on would eventually hit one of the forest roads that I could use to reach Cronemiller Lake and get back on course. I followed signs when available and after a mile found myself at a road with no apparent signage.
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IMG_3883The Banzai Trail likely continued on the other side but without a pointer I wasn’t about to find out and turned right here which took me uphill for a tenth of a mile to the Road 560 and Road 562 junction.
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IMG_3885This is the start of what is labeled the Banzai Trail on the McDonald Forest map.

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Road 562 went straight downhill and steeply.
IMG_3888The photo doesn’t do the steepness justice but the trail lived up to its name here.

IMG_3891At some point the road became 543 before reaching a fork where I stayed right.

IMG_3892Another closed roadbed on the left. This is where I stayed right on Road 543.

In another quarter mile I found myself at a 3-way junction.
IMG_3893Road 540 to the left and 541 to the right.

I turned right on Road 541 which brought me to Cronemiller Lake in half a mile.
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IMG_3898George W. Brown Sports Arena near Cronemiller Lake.

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IMG_3903Not that kind of a lake.

I went right around the lake on the Section 36 Loop where for the first time all day a very brief shower passed overhead.
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IMG_3905A few drops hitting the lake.

IMG_3912Kingfisher on the far side of the lake.

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The trail hit Road 540 on the far side of the lake where I turned left and walked back along the lake on the road a short distance to the Calloway to Cronemiller Trail.
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I turned right onto this trail following it downhill for 0.2 miles to a junction with the Calloway Creek Trail.
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I turned right and then turned right again a short distance later onto the Intensive Management Trail.
IMG_3931Second right.

I crossed three roads in the next 0.3 miles before arriving at a signboard map at a split in the Intensive Management Trail.
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I veered right following the Intensive Management Trail for another 0.3 miles to the Peavy Arboretum Trailhead.
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A 100 yard road walk brought me to the Pond Trail at Randall Pond which I briefly followed before cutting across two roads to the Woodland Trailhead where I’d started almost 7 hours earlier.
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In the end the wrong turn onto the Banzai Trail had only added a mile or so to my day and it was trail that I hadn’t been on before so that was a plus. There was enough up and down to put the cumulative elevation gain right around 3000′ feet but none of the climbs were too long or steep. The weather couldn’t have been much better and the trail/road conditions were very good which made a hike like this a bit easier. The amazing thing is that there are still roads and trails that I’ve yet to explore which makes the thought of returning that much more exciting. Happy Trails!

Blue is today’s track, red 2021, purple 2018, and yellow 2016

Flickr:Peavy Arboretum to Dimple Hill

Categories
High Cascades Hiking Mt. Washington Area Oregon Trip report

Mount Washington North Ridge – 10/15/2022

Our lack of rain unfortunately continued for another week allowing the numerous fires in Oregon and Washington to remain active. To top it off a warm, dry East wind arrived in time for the weekend creating a red flag warning for high fire danger and blowing the smoke from the current fires into Western Oregon. The combination of the smoke and unseasonably high temperatures had me searching for a suitable hike. My Plan A, B, and C hikes were all forecast to be in the smoke (and warmer than I’d prefer in October) then I remembered seeing that Hike Oregon had gone up Mount Washington’s North Ridge back in August using a climbers trail off of the Pacific Crest Trail. I had been interested in that trail ever since hearing about it during the Chemeketans Route Finding course we’d taken and then later passing it on our hike to Mount Washington Meadows in 2017 (post). A quick of check of the forecast there showed clear (but breezy) skies and a high below 60 at the mountain, I was sold.

Just as we had done in 2017 I parked at the Pacific Crest Trailhead at Big Lake which at this time does not require a Cascade Wilderness Permit for day-use (one is required for overnight stays).
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I set off South on the PCT shortly before sunrise and followed it for three miles to a cairn marking the obvious climbers trail.
IMG_3387Mount Washington from the Mt. Washington Wilderness boundary just a few hundred feet from the trailhead.

IMG_3395Three Fingered Jack to the North from the PCT.

IMG_3399From left to right – Sand Mountain (post), Hoodoo Butte, and Hayrick Butte.

IMG_3401Mount Washington

IMG_3406Sunrise on Hoodoo Butte.

IMG_3410Sunlight hitting the spire of Mount Washington.

IMG_3416Hayrick Butte and Three Fingered Jack at sunrise.

IMG_3424Big Lake, Hoodoo, Hayrick Butte, and Three Fingered Jack.

IMG_3429Just over two miles from the trailhead I passed a sign for the non-maintained use trail from the private Big Lake Youth Camp.

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IMG_3440Shortly before reaching the climbers trail the PCT left the 2011 Shadow Lake Fire scar.

IMG_3442The cairn and climbers trail from the PCT.

I turned left onto this trail which was fairly easy to follow through the trees.
IMG_3443Huckleberry leaves turning color.

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IMG_3448There were a few logs to navigate and keeping an eye on the tread was helpful.

The trail climbed moderately at first then steepened as it went, with occasional flatter sections before reaching the ridge.
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IMG_3452Maxwell Butte (post) behind Hoodoo and Hayrick Butte.

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IMG_3459Mount Washington

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I stopped here for a moment to admire a raptor that was hovering high above the ridge (small black dot in the middle of the photo).

IMG_3470The only movement that I could see was when it tilted its tail feathers which would catch the sunlight.

IMG_3471First view of Mt. Jefferson behind Three Fingered Jack.

IMG_3473Coming up on the ridge.

IMG_3474Three Fingered Jack, Mt. Jefferson, and a lot of smoke to the North.

IMG_3478Cache Mountain and Black Butte (post) to the NE.

Approximately 1.5 miles from the PCT the climbers trail turned North along the ridge toward Mount Washington.
IMG_3484View along the ridge to Mount Washington.

IMG_3488That East wind was really noticeable as I made my way along the open ridge crest.

I didn’t have much trouble following the trail for the first three-quarters of mile up the ridge. It was typical Cascade volcanic rock which isn’t the most fun rock to hike through but the views were great.
IMG_3496_stitchThree Fingered Jack and Mt. Jefferson to the left. Green Ridge (post) across the center, and Cache Mountain & Black Butte to the right.

IMG_3503Big Lake came into view as I climbed.

IMG_3506One of the steeper sections I went up. The spire is poking up on the right.

IMG_3509Mount Washington’s shadow.

IMG_3510View back down the ridge.

IMG_3511I was hoping to get up and over these rocks where the map showed a more level bench but I wound up reaching a chute where I was unsure of the correct route. The further up I’d gone the more braided the trail became and I may have been too far left. A climber had passed me way back on the PCT but if I had been able to watch him go up here I may have found a better route.

IMG_3513The chute that turned me back. It’s a bit hidden by the rocks in the foreground but there was no way across that I would have been comfortable with and scrambling up looked way too sketchy for my taste (especially w/o a helmet).

I sat down here and took a brief break to catch my breath and have a snack. I was just over 7100′ in elevation and had been feeling that on the climb up.
IMG_3514My shadow on the left from my break spot.

IMG_3518This was the place I’d come up.

IMG_3523Zoom of Three Fingered Jack and Mt. Jefferson

IMG_3525With all the smoke I hadn’t noticed Coffin (flat top) and Bachelor Mountains (post) beyond Hoodoo, Hayrick, and Maxwell Buttes.

After catching my breath I started carefully down, pausing often to admire the view.
IMG_3527The Moon overhead to the West.

IMG_3528Patjens Lakes (post) in the forest below.

IMG_3536Lookout tower on Black Butte.

IMG_3540Unfortunate that my timing once again put the Sun directly in line with my view.

I passed three more hikers heading up the ridge on my way down and at one point wound up following a wrong trail too low on the ridge and had to scramble back up to the correct one.
IMG_3555Using a tree to try and get a better view.

IMG_3561A framed Mt. Jefferson.

IMG_3570Sometimes it’s the little things, like these bent trees that I really appreciate on a hike.

IMG_3572This mushroom casting a shadow was another one.

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When I got back to the PCT I turned right and hiked the three miles back to the trailhead.
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IMG_3584Looking back at Mount Washington from the PCT.

IMG_3589Three Fingered Jack

IMG_3595Hoodoo and Hayrick Buttes behind Big Lake.

IMG_3601Huckleberry bushes and ferns adding some Fall colors.

IMG_3607The best Fall colors were near the trailhead.

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IMG_3611The trailhead from the wilderness boundary sign.

This hike came to 10.7 miles with a little over 2700′ of elevation gain. In total I saw 7 hunters, 4 climbers, and two fellow hikers, not bad for a sunny Saturday. It might not be one for those uncomfortable with heights or climbing/descending loose volcanic rock (for those reasons it was a good choice since Heather is still sidelined) but if you don’t mind those things this would be a worthwhile outing.

When I got back to Salem around 2pm it was 90 degrees, in mid-October! The good news is that the high pressure system causing the warm, dry weather is supposed to break up this week with rain to follow. Hopefully it will be enough to put an end to the fires. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Mount Washington North Ridge

Categories
Columbia River Gorge South Hiking Oregon Trip report

Multnomah Falls to Larch Mountain – 10/10/2022

With Heather still sidelined with a bum knee and a Monday holiday that most of the rest of Oregon didn’t have off I decided to tackle the climb from Multnomah Falls to Larch Mountain. Starting at the Multnomah Falls Trailhead the hike to Sherrard Point is roughly 14.5 miles out-and-back with just over 4000′ of elevation gain. If I was feeling up to it, my plan was to extend the hike just a bit by detouring on the way back to visit Fairy and Wahkeena Falls adding another 1.7 miles and 500′ of elevation to the days total.

We had hiked to Multnomah Falls on a big loop in 2012 starting at Oneonta Trailhead (post), Larch Mountain in 2020 from Road 315 Trailhead (post), and Wahkeena Falls in 2013 from the Angels Rest Trailhead (post). Even though we had visited all of these main attractions before, this route would provide several miles of trail that I had yet to be on. Two of those trips also occurred prior to the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire which burned most of the forest along the lower portion of this hike.

I arrived at the Multnomah Falls parking lot a little before 7am and was pleased to find that I was just the fourth car.
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It was still a bit before sunrise but there was enough light once I had gotten everything together to set off towards the falls.
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The lack of light did nothing for my point and shoot camera but that was a small price to pay to have the falls to myself (save for a few staff preparing the grounds for the day).
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IMG_3043Multnomah Falls

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IMG_3049The Benson Bridge.

IMG_3051View from the bridge.

IMG_3052Multnomah Falls from the bridge.

Beyond the bridge the paved trail climbs steeply via 11 switchbacks. (I’m pretty sure they squeezed a very short 12th in there.)
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IMG_3065The Moon beyond the Columbia River and Multnomah Falls Lodge.

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IMG_3068Beacon Rock (post) to the east on the Washington side of the Columbia.

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IMG_3072The second switchback.

IMG_3073Another view of the falls. I passed a pair of hikers along this stretch then didn’t see another person for another couple of hours.

After climbing above the falls via the switchbacks I took my first detour to visit the Multnomah Falls Viewpoint.
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IMG_3079Viewpoint trail.

This trail descends a tenth a mile to a viewpoint above the falls.
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IMG_3084Small fall just upstream from Multnomah Falls.

IMG_3085Cape Horn (post) to the right across the Columbia.

I returned to the Larch Mountain Trail and continued towards Larch Mountain. After a brief descent to cross Multnomah Creek the trail began a long gradual climb along the creek.
IMG_3087Bridge over Multnomah Creek.

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IMG_3092Approaching Middle Dutchman Falls.

IMG_3095Middle Dutchman Falls

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IMG_3098Upper Dutchman Falls

IMG_3102Dutchman Tunnel

IMG_3106Wiesendanger Falls is located just beyond Dutchman Tunnel.

IMG_3110A short distance beyond Wiesendanger Falls is Ecola Falls.

IMG_3111Ecola Falls

A quarter mile beyond Ecola Falls (and 2 miles from the trailhead) I arrived at the Wahkeena Trail junction.
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IMG_3120Good signage at nearly all trail junctions, especially those closest to the trailheads.

I stayed on the Larch Mountain Trail which crossed the creek on a newer (2018) steel bridge that replaced the one burnt in the Eagle Creek Fire.
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IMG_3126Looking down the creek at sunlight starting to hit the hillside.

IMG_3129A few bleeding heart were still in bloom.

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IMG_3132Penstemon

IMG_3136This section is flooded in late Winter/Spring. The signed High Water Trail leads up and around it for those high water times.

IMG_3138Sign for the High Water Trail at its southern end.

IMG_3139The southern end of the High Water Trail heading uphill to the right.

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IMG_3141I couldn’t find a name for this creek but it had a good flow, in fact it was more water than what was in Multnomah Creek upstream from their confluence.

IMG_3144Multnomah Creek upstream from the unnamed creek.

One point two miles from the Wahkeena Trail junction I came to the Multnomah Basin Road where the Larch Mountain Trail jogged slightly left before continuing on and entering the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness.
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The forest around the wilderness boundary had mostly been spared by the fire but I quickly reentered the burn before arriving at a junction with the Franklin Ridge Trail.
IMG_3154Reentering the fire scar.

IMG_3155The Franklin Ridge Trail on the left.

A tenth of a mile from the junction the trail crossed the nearly dry East Fork Multnomah Creek on a small footbridge.
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The trail continued briefly through a patch of green trees up a ridge between the East and West Forks of the creek then reentered the fire scar. Four tenths of a mile from the East Fork crossing I came to a second footbridge, this one crossing the West Fork.
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Beyond this second footbridge the trail crossed a large scree field where I was taunted by the distinctive “meep” of pikas. They were seemingly all around but I wasn’t ever able to spot any of the little rock rabbits this time.
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IMG_3171Maple changing colors

IMG_3172I’m sure there is at least one pika in this photo somewhere.

IMG_3174Looking back toward Franklin Ridge.

A short distance beyond the scree field the trail left the fire scar for good arriving at a junction with the Multnomah Creek Way Trail 1.8 miles from the Multnomah Basin Road crossing.
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IMG_3180Arriving at the junction.

I stayed left at this junction on the Larch Mountain Trail and climbed 0.4 more miles to a road crossing of gated FR 315 (Where we had started our previous Larch Mountain hike).
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I crossed the road and continued climbing. The trail steepened noticeably at first but quickly relented and resumed a more gradual grade.
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IMG_3192I was hoping for less smoke in the air but these sunbeams told me that there was still a fair amount lingering around much as it had been for the last several days.

IMG_3194After 1.25 miles I passed a pair of old campsites with picnic tables on the right. I stayed right at an unsigned junction with a trail that led uphill to the left. We had come down that way on our previous trip skipping a short section of the actual Larch Mountain Trail.

Another quarter mile brought me to the Larch Mountain Trailhead
IMG_3198There were four cars at this trailhead.

I’d passed one person with a dog followed by a pair of ladies with another dog between FR 315 and the trailhead. I turned onto the paved Sherrard Point Trail expecting to see the other car owners along this 0.3 mile path but was pleasantly surprised to find that I had Sherrard Point all to myself.
IMG_3200Vine maple near the Sherrard Point Trail.

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One of the factors that had led me to choose this hike for the day was due to the forecast calling for clear sky at this viewpoint whereas the other hikes I had considered were expected to have widespread haze. Technically I think the forecast was correct because if I looked straight up it looked like a blue bird day. Looking out was a different story though with smoke in every direction.
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IMG_3221Mt. St. Helens in the smoke to the left and Mt. Adams a bit above it to the right.

IMG_3218Mt. Hood

IMG_3208Mt. Adams

IMG_3228Mt. St. Helens

IMG_3229Silver Star Mountain (post)

Unbeknownst to me at the time a new fire, the Nakia Creek Fire, had started near the Larch Mountain in Clark County, WA to the SW of Silver Star less than 24 hours earlier contributing to the smokey conditions.

It wasn’t the view I’d hoped for but it was something, at least I could see parts of several mountains. I didn’t spend much time at the viewpoint given the conditions and made my way back to the old picnic tables by crossing over Larch Mountain. I took a short break at one of the tables to drink a Gatorade I had been hauling around and put on a clean pair of socks for my return hike.
IMG_3230Heading down.

From the picnic table I returned to the way I’d come up to the Wahkeena Trail junction. Up to that point I had only encountered a total of eight other hikers. I had however seen dozens of woolly caterpillars.
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I heard fewer pikas on my way back through the scree field but saw the same number, zero. There was an encounter with a squirrel that came crashing through the brush, jumped across the trail, and climbed a snag so that it could give me a scolding.
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IMG_3266Lots of fungi on this tree.

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IMG_3273Hedgenettle

IMG_3278Ouzel

The solitude that I had been enjoying ended abruptly at the Wahkeena Trail junction where a number of hikers could be seen heading uphill on the trail ahead and a group was effectively blocking the trail at the junction as they attempted to make sense of the trail signs.
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I tried to align my photos with the hikers ahead passing behind trees.

I had made the decision to take the longer way back past Wahkeena Falls since I had been making good time and I was still feeling pretty energetic. I hadn’t really paid attention to the fact that the Wahkeena Trail gains over 300′ in the first mile as it traverses up the hillside to a junction on a ridge top.
IMG_3284Looking back down at Multnomah Creek.

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IMG_3288Cape Horn again across the Columbia.

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IMG_3291I couldn’t recall seeing these before on a hike, not this color anyway.

IMG_3295The Devil’s Rest Trail on the left at the ridge top.

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I wound up getting distracted by the different hikers coming and going atop the ridge and turned right onto the Vista Point Trail instead of staying straight on the Wahkeena Trail which had been my planned route. In the end I was glad I did. It was only about a tenth of a mile longer to take this detour which was a bit overgrown but it also passed a viewpoint that I detoured out to.
IMG_3297I should have followed the Wahkeena Trail Pointer here.

IMG_3298Instead I followed the pointer for Wahkeena 1.0.

IMG_3301Vista Point Trail

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I could see my car in the parking lot from the viewpoint.

IMG_3309There is the trail I had intended to be coming down arriving at the junction with the other end of the Vista Point Trail.

The Vista Point Trail was in pretty good shape (other than the overgrowth) save for the final 10-20 feet which was now part of a stream bed. The combination of slick wet rocks and it being downhill made for a tricky descent to the junction.
IMG_3316Looking back at the Vista Point Trail from the junction.

After successfully navigating the wet rocks I turned down the Wahkeena Trail. I immediately was glad that I’d chosen to come this way as I had forgotten how scenic Wahkeena Creek is flowing through the narrow gorge. Even after the fire it was still beautiful.
IMG_3320Lots of tight switchbacks to get down the gorge.

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IMG_3324Fairy Falls

IMG_3326Fairy Falls

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IMG_3332Looking out across the Columbia River.

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A half mile down this trail I took a short detour to Lemmons Viewpoint.
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IMG_3348Cape Horn (again)

IMG_3352The Wahkeena Trail from Lemmons Viewpoint.

Another half mile descent brought me to the base of Wahkeena Falls where I was happy to find only a small number of other hikers.
IMG_3354The poison oak was really colorful.

IMG_3355Approaching Wahkeena Falls.

IMG_3357Wahkeena Falls

IMG_3360Wahkeena Falls.

IMG_3362Looking back at Wahkeena Falls.

There were plenty of folks at the trailhead as I passed by before hopping onto the Multnomah Falls Return Trail.
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IMG_3370One last look at Wahkeena Falls through the trees.

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It was roughly half a mile back to the now busy lodge at Multnomah Falls and another tenth or so to my car.
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IMG_3378A line of cars on Historic Highway 30 in front of the lodge.

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This hike came to 16.2 miles with around 4500′ of elevation gain. A tough but scenic outing with highlights at the start, mid-point, and end to help take the mind off the body.

I was on my way home at 1:45pm and looking forward to spending some time with our new kittens. After losing Buddy in 2020 (post) and Hazel in 2021 (post) we’d been cat-less for over a year. With Heather unable to hike it seemed to the perfect time to open our home up again and on Monday the 3rd Heather picked up Merry and Pippin from the Humane Society.
20221005_114540Merry (black) is 3 mos. and Pippin is 2 mos. Both boys from separate litters.

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They have been keeping us plenty busy. Merry is a snuggler while Pippin is a ball of chaotic energy until he runs out, then he likes to snuggle too. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Multnomah Falls to Larch Mountain

Categories
Central Coast Hiking Oregon Oregon Coast

Cascade Head to Hart’s Cove – 10/01/2022

With Heather sidelined for at least a few weeks due to an injury I made some changes to this years remaining hikes so that she might not miss out on places we hadn’t hike yet. I looked through the hikes I had in the works for future years and pulled some of the more challenging seeming outings forward for this October. First up on that list was a hike combining Cascade Head (post) and Hart’s Cove (post). It seemed like a good time to try this hike since the seasonal closure (Jan 1 – July 15) which had kept us from attempting it in 2019 wasn’t in effect and Forest Road 1861 which provides access to both the Hart’s Cove Trailhead and the Nature Conservancy Trailhead is closed. The road closure meant no cars on the road walk between the two trailheads as well as the likelihood of few other hikers on the Hart’s Cove Trail. The downside was the landslide that closed FR 1861 in November 2021 meant that the Hart’s Cove Trail had likely not seen much, if any, maintenance this year and there was limited emergency response capabilities should anything go wrong.

I started from Knights County Park (The same place we’d started on our previous two hikes to Cascade Head) just before 7am.
IMG_2766It seems this time of year I (we) are always a little ahead of the sunlight which does nothing for photos.

Heather had told me that this was probably the time when I would finally see some of the elk that inhabit Cascade Head since she wasn’t going to be there. She hit the nail on the head. Just after crossing Three Rocks Road (less than a quarter mile into the hike) I spotted several elk grazing in a field.
IMG_2768Coming up on the road crossing.

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After crossing Three Rocks Road the trail climbs through the trees along Savage Road before crossing it at the half mile mark. Just before crossing Savage Road I spotted another elk, this time a lone young bull.
IMG_2779Cascade Head from the trail with the elk at the end of the grass to the right.

IMG_2784Fuzzy (low light) photo of the elk.

IMG_2787Crossing Savage Road with the first view of the Pacific.

I recrossed the road a tenth of a mile later at a big trailhead sign where there is no parking.
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From the no parking trailhead the trail climbs (steeply at first) through the forest before leaving the trees behind after three quarters of a mile.
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IMG_2794View from one of five metal footbridges along this section.

IMG_2798Signboard and donation box at the start of The Nature Conservancy owned land.

IMG_2801First direct sunlight of the morning.

IMG_2802Out of the trees and into the meadows.

IMG_2804Looking uphill

The trail traverses the open hillside for approximately 0.4 miles before turning more steeply uphill along a ridge.
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IMG_2810Snacks

IMG_2811Salmon River Estuary

IMG_2814A snail and lupine leaves.

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IMG_2818A small viewpoint just before the trail turns uphill.

IMG_2820Going up

IMG_2825The trail gains views as it gains elevation.

IMG_2827The trail through the meadow below.

IMG_2829This knoll looks like the high point as you climb, but it’s a trick.

IMG_2833The high point is actually marked by a post. (Near the right end of the photo).

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The high point is approximately 2.5 miles from the trailhead at Knights County Park. From there the trail drops slightly and enters the forest after a tenth of a mile.
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The transition from open meadow to lush green forest here is probably the most abrupt and starkest contrast that we’ve encountered on trail. This was my third time crossing this boundary and it was just as impressive and impactful as the first.
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The trail was now nearly level as it followed an old road bed another 0.9 miles to the Nature Conservancy Trailhead.
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IMG_2843Wooden arch over the old roadbed.

IMG_2844Nearing the upper trailhead.

I turned left onto FR 1861 and followed it downhill for 0.8 miles to the Hart’s Cove Trailhead.
IMG_2847When they do reopen the road there will be a few trees to deal with.

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The Hart’s Cove Trail begins with a steep descent via several switchbacks before easing at the 0.6-mile mark.
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IMG_2856There were around 18 trees such as this one across the trail from the trailhead to Cliff Creek.

I arrived at Cliff Creek at the 0.8-mile mark without any issues, all of the trees that were down were easily stepped over or around.
IMG_2858This large chunk of tree trunk has done some damage to the bridge, but it was still passable.

IMG_2859Cliff Creek

Shortly beyond the crossing I came to the first tricky obstacle.
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It was obvious that others had made their way through it and with some careful climbing and ducking I soon found myself on the other side.
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A second tricky downed tree was just a bit further along the trail.
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I wondered if this was a sign of things to come over the remaining two miles but after making my way through this second obstacle the trail conditions improved and the remaining obstacles were easily avoided.
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IMG_2868At the 1.6-mile mark I entered the Neskowin Crest Research Natural Area

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Just beyond the signs the trail rounds a ridge to a bench above Hart’s Cove (still a mile away) with a limited view due to trees.
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IMG_2939Sign near the bench.

Beyond the bench the trail turns inland to cross Chitwood Creek then heads back towards the Pacific Ocean.
IMG_2871Big sitka spruce trunk.

IMG_2872Approaching the Chitwood Creek crossing.

IMG_2873Chitwood Creek

IMG_2874Heading back toward the ocean.

IMG_2875Someone stuck some feathers in this mushroom.

The trail eventually left the forest entering another meadow and descending to a viewpoint.
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IMG_2893There was a large number of noisy sea lions on the shaded rocks below Cascade Head. Even though they were quite far away they were loud.

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IMG_2901Seagull hanging out on a sea rock.

IMG_2902Sea lion heading for its buddies.

To the north Cape Lookout (post) along with Haystack Rock and Cape Kiwanda (post) were visible.
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While the ocean views were great, my timing had resulted in the view into Hart’s Cove leaving something to be desired.
IMG_2906A combination of the position of the Sun and the presence of haze made it very difficult to make out the waterfall on Chitwood Creek. I don’t know if the haze was smoke or just the usual coastal haze. (There was a fairly good east wind blowing steadily all morning.)

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I tried several different viewpoints with no luck for the waterfall although I did find a nice one looking out of the mouth of the cove.
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After exhausting the potential viewpoints I headed back the way I’d come. I passed two other hikers on their way to Hart’s Cove, one at Chitwood Creek and the second just before the bench viewpoint. I stopped at the bench and changed into some dry socks as my feet had gotten a little wet in the damp, muddy area around Chitwood Creek before continuing on.
IMG_2927Sparrow in the meadow at Hart’s Cove.

IMG_2928Pearly everlasting

IMG_2933Varied thrush

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IMG_2942A reminder of Spring, a trillium that bloomed months ago.

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img src=”https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/52398212269_2dca5370f2_3k.jpg” width=”3072″ height=”2304″ alt=”IMG_2949″>Back at the Hart’s Cove Trailhead.

I retraced my steps to Cascade Head and was a bit surprised when I reached the post at the high point without having seen anyone but the two hikers on the Hart’s Cove Trail.
IMG_2950A monkeyflower along FR 1861.

IMG_2951Back at the upper trailhead.

IMG_2955Candyflower

IMG_2957Mushrooms on a log.

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IMG_2974The Thumb, aka God’s Thumb (post)

IMG_2971Heading for the high point.

IMG_2976Descending Cascade Head

IMG_2979There were quite a few of these (an aster?) blooming along the trail.

IMG_2981Not sure what type of bird this is.

IMG_2984Sulphur butterfly

IMG_2990Wooly bear caterpillar, there were many of these on the trail.

When I had a better view of the trail below I could see that I would soon be passing a number of other hikers working their way up Cascade Head.
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IMG_2997Looking back up at one of the first hikers I’d passed.

The remainder of the hike included a lot of pauses as I stepped aside to let the uphill traffic pass. One woman asked if I’d happened to have made it to Hart’s Cove as she was also hoping to make it there. I also spoke briefly with a volunteer from The Nature Conservancy.
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IMG_3002Pretty moth on a bush.

IMG_3009View to the east of the Coastal Range.

IMG_3016Heading for the tree line.

IMG_3022Back where I’d seen the bull elk in the morning.

IMG_3025Cars parked along Three Rocks Road, the parking area at Knights County Park was full when I got back to the car a little before 1pm.

My Garmin showed this to be a 14.5-mile hike with over 2700′ of elevation gain.

It had been quite a bit warmer than I’d hoped for an October hike with the temperature being well over 70 degrees back at the trailhead. Despite that it had been a good hike with good views save for the waterfall at Hart’s Cove. It was pretty strange not having Heather there but given how warm it was this was a good one for her to miss. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Cascade Head to Hart’s Cove

Categories
High Cascades Hiking Oregon Sky Lakes/Mountain Lakes Area Trip report

Sky Lakes Basin Day 2 – 09/25/2022

We woke up way too early for the time of year and found ourselves playing Yahtzee on Heather’s phone lest we would be hiking out from our camp at Trapper Lake in the dark. After some less than stellar scores we packed up camp and set off on the Sky Lakes Trail back toward the Cold Springs Trailhead.
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IMG_2682Low-light at Trapper Lake.

IMG_2689Sunrise from the trail.

IMG_2691Sunlight hitting the tops of trees.

Just before reaching the Heavenly Twin Lakes we came to the Isherwood Trail where we turned right.
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The Isherwood Trail passed by the larger of the Heavenly Twin Lakes.
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The trail left the lake and climbed gradually through the forest to a rocky bluff above Isherwood Lake.
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IMG_2701Heading up to the bluff.

IMG_2706Pelican Butte beyond Isherwood Lake.

IMG_2708Fall foliage above Isherwood Lake.

About half way along Isherwood Lake we detoured to the other side of the trail to visit Lake Liza.
IMG_2709Heading for Lake Liza through a dry bed.

IMG_2710Great reflection

After returning to the Isherwood Trail and passing Isherwood Lake we passed Elizabeth Lake on our left.
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Elizabeth Lake was followed by Lake Notasha on the right with another nice reflection.
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IMG_2722_stitchLake Notasha

IMG_2728Depending on the angle the water was a beautiful green.

A short distance beyond Lake Notasha we came to the end of the Isherwood Trail at the Sky Lakes Trail.
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We turned right for a third of a mile to a junction with the Cold Springs Trail.
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We turned left this time following the Cold Springs Trail pointer. This trail climbed a lot more than we’d expected as it passed by Imagination Peak but after nearly two miles we arrived back at the junction with the South Rock Creek Trail which we had taken the day before.
IMG_2746Parts of the latter half of this trail passed through the 2017 fire scar.

IMG_2748Fireweed seeds

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IMG_2753Pelican Butte as we descended toward the junction.

We turned right here for the final 0.6 miles to our car.
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IMG_2757Leaving the Sky Lakes Wilderness

IMG_2758Dark-eyed junco seeing us off.

IMG_2760An as of yet unidentified flower.

20220925_092616Another unidentified flower.

IMG_2761I do know this one – bleeding heart.

IMG_2764Woodpecker (it was a busy final 0.6 miles).

IMG_2765Back at the shelter and trailhead.

Our hike out came to 6.6 miles with just over 1000′ of elevation gain.

Dark track is Day 2 while the light solid line is Day 1.

It had been a great Autumn weekend for a backpacking trip and the hikes were great. The only negative to come out of it was Heather’s knee which had been a lingering but manageable issue for most of the year finally decided it had had enough. She has some PT ahead and no hiking so I’ll be on my own for a bit. The good news her knee should be fine and we didn’t have any more featured hikes on our schedule until mid-Spring next year. It also means we might be welcoming some new kitties into our home sooner than we’d expected since she won’t be joining me on the October hikes. Happy Tails! (or Trails!)

Flickr: Sky Lakes Basin Day 2

Categories
High Cascades Hiking Oregon Sky Lakes/Mountain Lakes Area Trip report

Sky Lakes Basin Day 1 – 09/24/2022

An excellent weekend forecast allowed us to head back to the Southern Oregon Cascades less than a week from our three night, four day stay in Shady Cove (post). In an attempt to give us the best chance to finish our featured hike goal (post) I’d recently broken a 5-6 day backpacking trip in the Sky Lakes Wilderness into shorter trips. During our Shady Cove stay we did the Blue Lakes Basin hike (post) and now we were back for an overnight backpack in the Sky Lakes Basin to check off Sullivan’s Sky Lakes via Cold Springs and Sky Lakes via Nannie Creek hikes. (Hikes #43 & #44 respectively in edition 4.2 “100 Hikes/Travel Guide Southern Oregon & Northern California.)

We started at the Cold Springs Trailhead.
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IMG_2395Shelter at the trailhead.

We set off through a 2017 fire scar following the Cold Springs Trail into the Sky Lakes Wilderness.
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IMG_2399Aster

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IMG_2407Fireweed

After 0.6 miles we came to a junction with the South Rock Creek Trail.
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Both forks would lead to the Heavenly Twin Lakes but the South Rock Creek Trail would do it in a shorter distance (1.8 vs 2.4 miles) so we stayed to the right and followed that trail through more burned forest.
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IMG_2417Comma butterfly

We left the fire scar after about a mile and continued another 0.8 miles to the first Heavenly Twin Lake.
IMG_2419Exiting the fire scar.

IMG_2420Doe watching us through the trees.

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The larger lake lay just beyond the smaller and provided a view of Luther Mountain.
IMG_2431Luther Mountain on the left and Lee Peak on the right.

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After checking out the view we continued on the Sky Lakes Trail which led along the East side of the large lake arriving at the junction with the Isherwood Trail at the far end.
IMG_2436Sign for the Sky Lakes Trail.

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IMG_2443Isherwood Trail junction.

We would be taking the Isherwood Trail the next day on our way back to the car but for now we continued straight for 1.9 miles to Trapper Lake where we looked for and found a campsite for the weekend. Along the way we passed several small ponds and unnamed lakes and one named one. It was clear why the area is notorious for mosquitos until late Summer (we only noticed two the whole weekend).
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IMG_2448Lake Land

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IMG_2457Luther Mountain from Trapper Lake.

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After setting up camp we returned to the Sky Lakes Trail and continued North along the lake passing the Cherry Creek Trail coming up from the right before arriving at a junction with the Donna Lake Trail.
IMG_2467View along the trail.

IMG_2468Sign for the Cherry Creek Trail.

IMG_2469Sky Lakes Trail sign.

IMG_2470Donna Lake Trail to the right.

This was the start of an approximately 8.8 mile loop around Luther Mountain. We had decided to do the loop counter-clockwise so we took the left hand trail which kept us on the Sky Lakes Trail. This trail led around the North end of Trapper Lake for 0.2 miles where it met the Divide Trail.
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IMG_2473Divide Trail junction.

We stayed left here and started following the Divide Trail which would lead us to the Pacific Crest Trail in 2.8 miles. Shortly after starting up this trail we detoured right to check out Margurette Lake.
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The trail passed close to this lake offering several views of Luther Mountain along the way.
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Beyond Margurette Lake the trail began to wind it’s way uphill passing several smaller bodies of water including Lake No-SE-Um where several mergansers had congregated.
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The trail turned back to the North passing above Margurette and Trapper Lakes along a shelf before turning West and climbing more steeply via switchbacks.
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IMG_2507Saddle Mountain is in the distance with pointy Cherry Peak in the foreground. I believe that is Agency Lake visible in the Valley.

IMG_2514Pelican Butte to the right.

IMG_2515Mt. McLoughlin (post) to the South.

IMG_2517Eagle flyby.

IMG_2522Lather Peak with several more lakes below.

IMG_2524In the distance to the left is Aspen Butte (post) in the Mountain Lakes Wilderness.

IMG_2530Fall is in the air.

IMG_2531On of several small bodies of water along the shelf.

IMG_2533We know there were pikas out there because we heard their “meeps” off and on all day but with so many rocks we were never able to spot one.

IMG_2535Heading toward Luther Mountain.

IMG_2539Pelican Butte on the left and Mt. McLoughlin on the right. The peaks in the Mountain Lakes Wilderness are behind and to the right of Pelican Butte then the small, closer hump is Imagination Peak. To the right of Imagination Peak and slightly further back is Lost Peak and then further to the right (left of Mt. McLoughlin) is Brown Mountain (post). Interestingly according to Peak Finder Mt. Shasta should be visible in between Imagination and Lost Peaks but apparently there was enough smoke/haze in the sky that it was camouflaged.

After passing through the switchbacks the trail straightened out and headed almost due West as it climbed through a rock field on the southern flank of Luther Mountain.
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We left the rock field and made a final climb to a saddle where we arrived at the PCT.
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IMG_2551Luther Mountain from the saddle.

IMG_2553The Pacific Crest Trail.

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After catching our breath we turned right on the PCT which descended slightly to a ridge to the West of Luther Mountain. We followed this ridge, which had been burned in 2014, for a little over a mile to a junction with the Snow Lakes Trail.
IMG_2556Lucifer Peak directly behind Shale Butte.

IMG_2557Lucifer Peak, Shale Butte, Devil’s Peak and Lee Peak.

IMG_2562Blowdown on the PCT.

IMG_2566Luther Mountain

IMG_2573Luther Mountain and Mt. McLoughlin behind us.

IMG_2575Lots of little birds along the ridge but most didn’t stop long enough for even a poor picture.

IMG_2580Sign at the Snow Lakes Trail junction.

We turned right onto the Snow Lakes Trail which passed along another shelf full of small lakes.
IMG_2581Martin, Wind and a Snow Lake from the Snow Lakes Trail.

IMG_2583Hawk circling overhead.

IMG_2585While I was trying to keep track of the hawk this Bald Eagle flew over.

IMG_2588Nearing the end of the 2014 fire scar.

IMG_2591Luther Mountain from one of the Snow Lakes.

IMG_2592Another of the lakes.

IMG_2593Tree on the edge of the shelf.

IMG_2595View from the shelf.

IMG_2601There were many cool rock features along the trail.

IMG_2603Devil’s Peak

IMG_2605Lee Peak and another of the Snow Lakes.

After approximately three quarters of a mile on the Snow Lakes Trail we dropped to one of the larger lakes where we briefly lost the trail.
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IMG_2610A tree had fallen over the Snow Lakes Trail hiding it right where a use trail veered off to the lake. Only seeing the use trail we followed it along the lake until it petered out. A quick look at the map showed we were off-trail so we made our way back finding the downed tree covering the actual trail.

After regaining the trail we followed it downhill via a series of switchbacks past another lake.
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The trail then began to turn ESE as it continued to descend toward Martin Lake and the Lower Snow Lakes. A total of 2.3 miles from the PCT we came to the Nannie Creek Trail junction.
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IMG_2624The worst obstacle for the day.

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IMG_2629Pelican Butte from the trail.

IMG_2630Sign at the Nannie Creek Trail junction.

We stayed right on the Snow Lakes Trail at the junction. After 0.4 miles we passed Martin Lake on our right.
IMG_2634Luther Mountain as we neared Martin Lake.

IMG_2635Dragon fly blending in with the huckleberry leaves.

IMG_2641Martin Lake with a view of the shelf that we’d been on.

Two tenths of a mile beyond Martin Lake we came to what was labeled Lower Snow Lakes on our map which was partly in Luther Mountain’s shadow.
IMG_2643Red huckleberry leaves

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We found a log in the shade along the shore where we took a nice break.
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After our break we continued on the Snow Lakes Trail another three quarters of a mile to a junction with the Donna Lake Trail.
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It was another 0.7 miles back to Trapper Lake either way but the Donna Lake Trail led past Deep and then Donna Lakes so we veered left and took that trail.
IMG_2659Deep Lake was up first, just a tenth of a mile down the trail.

IMG_2665Donna Lake was only two tenths further.

IMG_2670Donna Lake Trail

We arrived back at the Sky Lakes Trail at Trapper Lake and headed back to our campsite for dinner.
IMG_2674Back at Trapper Lake.

Dinner didn’t go as planned as we realized when we pulled our water filter out that we’d left all the hoses at home. Fortunately we carry Iodine tablets for just such an occurrence so we had a way to treat water but by the time it was all said and done we decided to skip a warm meal and opted to eat some of the extra food we’d brought. At least we’d have water for the hike out the next day though. It cooled off quickly once the Sun had vanished and for the first time in a while we got to test the warmth of our sleeping systems.
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Today’s hike came in at 14.5 miles with approximately 2300′ of elevation gain.

Day one is the dark track with the light solid line being part of day 2.

The number of lakes/ponds was almost hard to believe and the scenery was really nice. The timing was great with almost no bugs and the trails were in relatively good shape, just a few downed trees here and there but nothing too difficult to get past. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Sky Lakes Basin Day 1

Categories
Crater Lake Area High Cascades Hiking Oregon Trip report

Union Creek Revisited – 09/20/2022

For the final hike of our Southern Oregon trip we had pegged the Union Creek Trail, the only featured hike that only I had done. Heather had been forced to skip this one after hurting herself at Abbott Butte in 2020 (post). Sullivan has been working on an update to his Southern Oregon book and it will be interesting to see if the Union Creek hike remains a featured hike. A 2015 storm downed many trees along the trail, the middle portion of which had not yet been cleared in 2020 when I’d attempted the hike. A quick look online led us to believe that two years later the conditions were the same so instead of attempting to reach Union Creek Falls from the Union Creek Resort we drove to the Upper Trailhead. To reach this trailhead we followed Highway 62 two miles east of its junction with Highway 230 turning right on Road 600 at a small Union Creek Trailhead sign. After 0.2 miles we veered left at another pointer for 0.1 miles to the parking area at roads end.
IMG_2300An OHV Trail continues on the old road bed from the parking area.

The Union Creek Trail is located at the SW corner of the parking area.
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The upper portion of the trail was in great shape and we quickly found ourselves at Union Creek Falls just 0.3 miles from the trailhead.
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We continued another 0.7 miles before encountering the first real obstacle and began to wonder if by some miracle someone had finally shown this trail a little love.
IMG_2316We had to get creative to see some of the many cool water features along the creek.

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IMG_2338The first mess on the trail.

The trail conditions deteriorated quickly over the next half mile before we completely lost the trail at a large downed tree. Overnight rain had left the vegetation wet and we didn’t see any point in trying to force our way through the brush in an attempt to relocate the tread so we turned around and headed back.
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IMG_2350This mess was just before the bigger tree that turned us back.

On the way back we hopped a side channel onto an island to find a pretty impressive feature that had been hidden from the trail.
IMG_2383Where I crossed the channel.

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To get a good view I had to carefully follow a narrow ledge to an overlook of a thundering hole where water plunged in from all sides.
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We returned to the car having come up a just over a quarter mile short of where I’d given up and turned around in 2020 resulting in a 3.7 mile hike with just over 400′ of elevation gain.

The dashed track is from 2022 with the solid line being 2020’s track.

It is a shame that this trail doesn’t seem to warrant any attention from the Forest Service. The creek is beautiful and the trail isn’t that long so there isn’t that much to clear. It also isn’t in a wilderness area so they could use chainsaws where needed. Ironically this sign is posted at the trailhead along with a box that was full of spiderwebs.
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It was just after 9:15am when we got back to the car and after changing we did what any sane people would do and drove back into Union Creek to Beckie’s Cafe for breakfast, a cinnamon roll, and a blackberry pie to go. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Union Creek

Categories
Crater Lake Area High Cascades Hiking Oregon Trip report

Discovery Point and Lightning Spring – 09/19/2022

The longest planned hike of our Southern Oregon trip also promised to be the most scenic with nearly two and a half miles being along the rim of Crater Lake. After a couple of days of rain showers (and one night of thunderstorms) Monday was forecast to be partly sunny albeit with a 40% chance of showers. We were hoping for clear views of the lake with just enough clouds to make the sky interesting. We had picked up a 7-day pass on Saturday when we’d driven through Crater Lake National Park and now reentered the Park from Highway 62 to the south and parked near the Rim Village Gift Shop and Cafe.
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Our plan was to hike the Discovery Point and Lightning Spring loop described by Sullivan in his “100 Hikes/Travel Guide Southern Oregon & Northern California” (edition 4.2 hike #21). He describes hiking the route counter-clockwise hiking along the rim of the caldera to Discovery Point first but we opted instead for a clockwise loop for two reasons. First was that we wanted to be hiking the rim later in the day when the Sun would hopefully be directly overhead instead of across the lake to the east. The second reason was because Sullivan described the final section of the Dutton Creek Trail as “climbing more seriously…to your car”. Our thought was that it might be more enjoyable to be going down that stretch rather than up.

Before starting the loop we passed by the Gift Shop to check out the morning view of the lake.
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IMG_1885Mt. Scott (post) with a bit of a lenticular cloud.

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IMG_1903Raven making a landing atop a mountain hemlock.

IMG_1909The Watchman (post), Hillman Peak, and Llao Rock along the western side of the rim.

The view was amazing and aside from the ravens we were about the only people around this early. We got distracted enough by the views that we didn’t catch that the Dutton Creek Trail was located a bit downhill along the West Rim Road and we set off on the Rim Trail toward the Discovery Point Trailhead.
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In our defense the topo map on our GPS showed a connector trail further along the Rim Trail (that trail no longer exists) but we didn’t catch our mistake until we’d gone nearly a quarter mile. We turned around and hiked back to the entrance road to Rim Village and hiked downhill to the signed Dutton Creek Trail.
IMG_1913It was by far the most scenic mistake we’ve made while hiking.

IMG_1914Wizard Island and Llao Rock

IMG_1915Mount Scott

IMG_1916We joked that views had been so good maybe we should just end the hike now.

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A short distance down the Dutton Creek Trail we came face to face with a pair of bucks.
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It was quite the start to the hike and we wondered how anything during the remainder of the hike could top the beginning. We followed the Dutton Creek trail a total of 2.4 miles to the Pacific Crest Trail. The upper portion had indeed been fairly steep before leveling out quite a bit. The forest along the trail was very nice and the trail was in excellent shape.
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IMG_1944Dutton Creek was dry.

IMG_1954Blue sky ahead.

20220919_083501Not much left for flowers, this could be a Crater Lake collomia although it’s a little late in the season.

IMG_1964Castle Creek still had some water flowing.

IMG_1965We spotted several piles of hail, possibly from the severe thunderstorms that had been forecast for Saturday night?

IMG_1966Arriving at the PCT.

We turned right on the PCT and followed it for 4.4 fairly level miles to the Lightning Springs Trail. Sullivan described this section of trail as relatively dull but there was enough variety in the scenery to make it enjoyable if not remarkable.
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IMG_1969The campsite at the junction was closed due to hazard trees.

IMG_1970Recrossing Castle Creek.

IMG_1974The PCT appeared to be following an old road bed through the park.

IMG_1982Dropping down to Trapper Creek.

IMG_1984PCT crossing of Trapper Creek.

We saw one other deer, a doe in the trail, and otherwise it was a lot of chipmunks and squirrels along with numerous birds.
IMG_1985A red-breasted nuthatch that was toying with me as I tried to get a photo.

IMG_1988Canada jay (grey jay)
IMG_1990Blue sky to the north ahead.

IMG_1992Some blue sky south too with a glimpse of Union Peak (post).

IMG_1993Union Peak

IMG_2002Entering the 2006 Bybee Complex fire scar.

IMG_2005The Watchman. The lookout tower on top was in a cloud after having been clearly visible from rim earlier. We wondered what that might mean for our views when we finally made it back to the rim.

IMG_2008Chipmunk checking us out.

IMG_2012Coneflower remains

IMG_2017Another creek crossing.

IMG_2015Red crossbills at the creek crossing.

IMG_2025There were some pretty ominous looking clouds behind us but no showers yet.

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IMG_2027Several white crowned sparrows and at least one junco. We could also hear chickadee calls but I couldn’t find one in this capture.

IMG_2030Despite the ugly clouds behind us there was almost always blue sky ahead.

IMG_2032North Fork Castle Creek

IMG_2034Approaching the junction with the Lightning Springs Trail.

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We turned onto the Lightning Springs Trail and headed for the clouds above The Watchman.
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This trail climbed gradually along a ridge at the edge of a 2016 fire scar.
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IMG_2047Townsend’s solitaire

IMG_2048Union Peak had been swallowed by clouds.

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IMG_2052The Watchman with a cloud still hanging on.

IMG_2053Hawk

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IMG_2058The base of Union Peak with lots of blue sky around.

IMG_2066A brief stint in full sunlight.

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We were supposed to pass below a small waterfall after 2.4 miles along Lightning Creek but this late in the Summer it was dry.
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The trail continued to climb beyond the dry fall arriving at Lightning Springs after another 0.8 miles.
IMG_2072Union Peak nearly free of clouds.

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IMG_2081The Watchman still not free.

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IMG_2094Mountain bluebird

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We detoured a short distance down the trail to Lightning Springs Camp to check out the springs which were not dry.
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After visiting the springs we continued another 0.8 miles to West Rim Drive and crossed over to the Rim Trail.
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IMG_2106Full view of Union Peak.

IMG_2109And finally a full view of The Watchman.

IMG_2119Conditions were changing quickly and now there was blue sky above The Watchman.

IMG_2120West Rim Drive ahead with the lower portion of Mt. McLoughlin (post) in between the trees to the right.

IMG_2121Mt. McLoughlin

IMG_2124This squirrel put its cone down in case I had something better for it, but we don’t feed the wild animals per Park rules (and Leave No Trace Principles).

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We followed the Rim Trail for 2.4 miles back to Rim Village passing Discovery Point at the 1.1 mile mark. The views were spectacular resulting in many, many photos for which we don’t feel the least bit sorry about.
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IMG_2150Wizard Island’s cone

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IMG_2160Llao Rock

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IMG_2165Dock along Wizard Island

IMG_2174The Watchman and Hillman Peak

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IMG_2189_stitchGarfield Peak to the left with Union Peak to the far right.

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IMG_2221Phantom Ship

IMG_2224Mount Scott

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IMG_2249Clark’s nutcracker

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IMG_2282That blue though!

IMG_2290Golden-mantled ground squirrel

IMG_2297Back to where we’d been that morning.

Including our wandering around Rim Village and going the wrong way to start our hike came to 14.4 miles with 2000′ of cumulative elevation gain.

I don’t think we could have asked for better conditions. It only sprinkled for one brief moment and the amount as well as type of clouds added to the beauty instead of hiding it. Add in temperatures that didn’t get much over 50 degrees if that and it was about a perfect day for a hike. We changed our shoes and socks then grabbed lunch in the cafe and did some shopping in the gift shop before heading back to Shady Cove. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Discovery Point and Lightning Spring

Categories
High Cascades Hiking Oregon Sky Lakes/Mountain Lakes Area Trip report

Blue Lake Basin – 09/18/2022

The second day of our Southern Oregon trip was forecast to be the wettest so we headed for the Sky Lakes Wilderness where the cloudy conditions wouldn’t hinder our views too much. Our goal for the day was to hike to Island Lake via Blue Lake Basin then possibly return via Cat Hill Way. The out-and-back to Island Lake is featured hike #40 in Sullivan’s “100 Hikes/Travel Guide Southern Oregon & Northern California” guidebook (edition 4.2). We had visited Island Lake in 2016 (post) but from the other direction. Since that visit only covered 0.1 miles of the featured hike and the hike is titled “Blue Lake Basin” not Island Lake we had not considered it done.

We began at the Blue Canyon Trailhead.
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A crisp wind blew through the small meadow near the trailhead encouraging us to hustle downhill on the trail into the trees which provided some relief.
IMG_1712An old fence in the meadow.

IMG_1714Entering the Sky Lakes Wilderness.

IMG_1715Into the trees we go.

It had been a while since we’d actually been cold starting out on a hike and it was kind of nice. We hoped that the wet weather was also present over the Cedar Creek Fire to the north near Waldo Lake. Here there was no sign of smoke as we hiked through the damp forest.
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Just over a mile from the trailhead we arrived at our first lake of the day, Round Lake.
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We continued on the Blue Canyon Trail another 1.2 miles to Blue Lake where a bald eagle startled me when it took off from a tree directly over my head.
IMG_1727The cliff face above Blue Lake ahead from the trail.

IMG_1733Hiking along Blue Lake.

20220918_085604Blue Lake

IMG_1739The bald eagle across the lake after startling me.

The combination of cool temperatures, wet ground and light rain kept us from lingering too long at the lake and we were soon on our way to the next one. Just beyond Blue Lake we veered right at a trail junction to stay on the Blue Canyon Trail.
IMG_1743The South Fork Trail went to the left past Meadow Lake and the Mud Lake before following the South Fork Rogue River to Road 720.

The Blue Canyon Trail passed to the right of Meadow Lake before arriving at a junction with the Meadow Lake Trail in a quarter mile.
IMG_1747Meadow Lake

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IMG_1751Meadow Lake Trail junction.

For now we stuck to the Blue Canyon Trail which brought us to Horseshoe Lake in another half mile.
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IMG_1754Just beyond this small pond south of the trail we turned right on a use trail which led out onto Horseshoe Lake’s peninsula.

IMG_1759Camping is prohibited on the peninsula which is signed in multiple places.

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After exploring the peninsula we returned to the Blue Canyon Trail and followed it to the next lake, Pear Lake, which was just over a half mile away. We took another use trail down to the shore of this lake which is not at all shaped like a pear. (Unless it’s named after the core then maybe but it would still be a stretch.)
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IMG_1773Ducks flying further down the lake.

From Pear Lake it was just over 1.75 miles to Island Lake. The trail climbed up and over a ridge passing above Dee Lake before dropping into Island Lake’s basin.
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IMG_1783Grouse

IMG_1784The only flowing water we’d encounter on this day after not crossing any streams the day before at Union Peak (post) either.

IMG_1815Dee Lake barely visible through the trees.

IMG_1790Bigelow’s sneezeweed

IMG_1794Meadow near Island Lake.

IMG_1795A Horse Camp sign.

IMG_1796Island Lake through the trees.

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We couldn’t remember exactly where we’d gone down to the lake on our previous visit, just that it had been a short trail to the Judge Waldo Tree. We turned left on a clear use trail which brought us down to the lake but not to the tree we were looking for.
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IMG_1806There were a lot of mushrooms down by the water though.

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We returned to the Blue Canyon Trail and continued around the lake to another use trail and again turned left. This one looked familiar and indeed brought us to the Judge Waldo Tree.
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IMG_1812For those interested the 1888 inscription reads:

Judge J.B. Waldo
William Taylor
H.P. Minto
E. J. Humason
F. W. Isherwood
September 13, 1888

Judge Waldo was an early voice for conservation of the Cascade forests (today he most likely would not have carved his name into the tree like that).

Now that we’d linked the two hikes together we were content to head back. When we’d made it back to the Meadow Lake Trail junction we turned uphill onto that trail.
IMG_1817Pear Lake from the Blue Canyon Trail.

IMG_1820Back at the Meadow Lake junction.

IMG_1821Heading up the Meadow Lake Trail.

This trail was much steeper than the Blue Canyon Trail had been and if we were to do the hike again we most likely would opt to come down this way.
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IMG_1832The huckleberries don’t lie, Autumn was right around the corner.

IMG_1833Approaching the ridge top.

IMG_1834Not sure what we missed here but imagine it was some of the peaks in the Sky Lakes Wilderness.

Just over a mile from the junction the Meadow Lake Trail ended at Cat Hill Way.
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This trail ran between the Pacific Crest Trail (1.5 miles to the left) and The Blue Canyon Trailhead (2.25 miles to the right). We turned right following a very old roadbed that climbed gradually just below the summit of Cat Hill before descending to the meadow at the trailhead. While the other trails had been well maintained this one had a number of downed trees that were fairly easily navigated. This trail did provide a view of Mt. McLoughlin (post) albeit limited on this day due to the cloud cover.
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IMG_1858Colorful fungus

IMG_1856Mt. McLoughlin

IMG_1861A little fresh snow, a welcome sight.

IMG_1863A nice little viewpoint just off the trail.

IMG_1870Passing below Cat Hill.

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IMG_1874Back to the trailhead.

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Our hike came in at 12.2 miles with approximately 1700′ of elevation gain.

We only saw a few other people which was surprising even with the wet weather given how popular this area is in the Summer. It had sprinkled off and on for most of the morning but we didn’t ever feel the need to put our rain gear on. We drove back to Shady Cove and after changing headed to 62’s Burgers and Brews for a late lunch/early dinner. The clouds were once again breaking up which was encouraging as we were heading back to Crater Lake the following day where we would be hoping for some good views. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Blue Lake Basin

Categories
Crater Lake Area High Cascades Hiking Oregon Trip report

Union Peak – 09/17/2022

Our hiking focus this year has been primarily on the Southern Oregon and Northern California area. This was due in large part to that being the area where the majority of the remaining hikes were located for us to reach our goal of hiking Sullivan’s 500 featured hikes (post). Over the last couple of years we’ve canceled several trips down to this area due to wildfires (and associated smoke) as well as inclement weather. In fact we were starting to wonder if we might ever get the chance to finish the featured hikes from the area. This year things have been different, in fact we switched our August vacation from the Wallowas in Eastern Oregon to Northern California because the conditions, for once, were more favorable.

One of the trips we’d canceled in recent years was a four day stay in Union Creek. (Dangerous air quality due to wildfire smoke.) We had placed that trip back on our schedule for this year hoping for better luck. There were no fires in the immediate area but a number of fires were burning elsewhere in Oregon and Northern California which could still send enough smoke into the area to affect air quality. We kept a close eye on the weather and air quality forecasts and while the latter looked good the weather forecast was a little iffy. There was potential for showers including snow at higher elevations (7500′) as well as a slight chance of thunderstorms on a couple of days. The forecast was good enough for us to give it a try. Of the four hikes we had planned, two were not view dependent so we could rearrange the order depending on the forecast.

The forecast for Saturday was for partly cloudy skies with a chance of showers all day and a slight chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon. We decided to attempt Union Peak despite the possible thunderstorms counting on summiting the 7709′ peak well before the arrival of potential thunderstorms. The most direct route from Salem to the Union Peak Trailhead is to take the West Rim Drive through Crater Lake National Park requiring the purchase of a $30.00, 7-day park pass. (Please note that both the Union Peak Trailhead and Union Peak itself are inside the park but do not require a park pass.) Since one of our other planned hikes started along West Rim Drive we would have needed a pass anyway so we entered the Park from the north entrance, purchased a pass, and then stopped at the Watchman Lookout Trailhead for a view of Crater Lake.
IMG_1518Wizard Island

IMG_1520The Watchman (post)

IMG_1522Hillman Peak and Llao Rock

We continued through the Park past the south entrance to Highway 62 where we turned right toward Medford for a mile to the Union Peak Trailhead.
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It was a little before 9am which gave us plenty of time to complete the hike based on the weather forecast. Both Sullivan and the trailhead signboard indicated that it was an 11 mile out-and-back.
IMG_1530The sign calls this the “steepest” hike in Southern Oregon. We wondered what criteria that was based on?

The hike begins on the Pacific Crest Trail following it south for 2.5 fairly level miles to a signed junction with the Union Peak Trail.
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IMG_1536There were a large number of big mushrooms along this section of trail as seen to the lower right.

IMG_1537One of the big shrooms.

IMG_1539A Stellar’s jay.

IMG_1540More of the big mushrooms.

IMG_1542Another Stellar’s jay.

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IMG_1549Nearing the trail junction.

We veered right onto the Union Peak Trail which began with a gradual climb following a ridge toward Union Peak.
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IMG_1557First glimpse of Union Peak through the trees.

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IMG_1561Gardner Peak behind Goose Egg (center) to the SE.

IMG_1563Fireweed

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IMG_1566It was cloudy but no showers so far and the clouds appeared to be well above the summit.

IMG_1570Townsend’s solitaire

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I was so focused on Union Peak I failed to notice the deer to the right below until it and a nearby fawn bounded off.

Approximately 1.7 miles from the junction the trail passed an colorful rock outcrop on the right.
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IMG_1585Mount Bailey in the distance to the right of the outcrop.

I missed more deer below the trail here, only noticing them when they started to run off.
IMG_1588The last doe keeping watch as the rest of the deer disappeared into the forest.

Beyond the colorful outcrop the trail dipped to a saddle then turned left at the base of Union Peak passing through a boulder field then onto a cinder hillside.
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IMG_1593Golden-mantled ground squirrel

IMG_1595Western pasque flower seed-heads along the trail.

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IMG_1601Looking up at Union Peak and wondering how the trail got up there.

IMG_1603Nearing the cinder field.

The trail switchbacked in the cinders providing a nice view of Crater Lake’s Rim.
IMG_1606Mount Scott (post) was the only peak covered by clouds.

The trail climbed back through the rock field and then came the steep part.
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IMG_1611It’s always interesting to see the various rock that make up these volcanic peaks.

IMG_1614The Watchman and Llao Rock with Mt. Thielsen in between in the background.

IMG_1617That’s the trail on the right side of the photo.

IMG_1618Looking down at the trail below.

IMG_1619The trail was fairly easy to follow as it switchbacked up through the rocks. It was narrow in places which might be hard for those with a fear of heights.

The final pitch was more of a scramble than a hike though.
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IMG_1625While there were no people at the summit the brush had attracted a fairly large number of yellow jackets.

I had reached the summit before Heather so I wandered back and forth along the top since every time I tried to sit down the yellow jackets took an interest in me, and I don’t do yellow jackets.
IMG_1626Looking west toward the Rogue-Umpqua Divide.

IMG_1633The trail along the ridge below Union Peak.

IMG_1638Lost Creek Lake (post) in the valley to the SW.

IMG_1630Mount Bailey, Diamond Peak (post), and Mt. Thielsen behind the rim of Crater Lake.

IMG_1639The rim of Crater Lake.

The combination of clouds, smoke, and the position of the Sun impacted the view to the south which on a clear day would have included both Mt. McLoughlin (post) and Mt. Shasta.
IMG_1640Mt. McLoughlin is to the far right with some clouds over the top. Starting from the left is Goose Nest, Goose Egg (with Gardner Peak behind), Maude Mountain (with a faint Pelican Butte behind to the right), Lee, Devil’s, & Lucifur Peaks (Mt. Shasta is behind those three.) followed by Mt. McLoughlin.

Heather joined me at the summit. Her dislike of heights had kicked in on her way up so she was ready for a nice break but after having been stung two weeks earlier the presence of the yellow jackets did not help her relax. We did however stay long enough for the clouds to start breaking up a little.
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IMG_1656Mt. Bailey

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IMG_1654The Watchman and Hillman Peak directly behind with Mt. Thielsen further in the distance.

IMG_1653Llao Rock

IMG_1655Applegate Peak

When Heather was ready we headed down. She was a little nervous but managed fine and we soon found ourselves crossing the boulder field again.
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IMG_1671Looking back up from the rock field.

IMG_1672Mount Shasta arnica

By the time we were recrossing the ridge near the colorful outcrop a bit of blue sky had appeared behind Union Peak.
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IMG_1679Bleeding heart

That trend continued and we imagined that the two hikers we’d passed on the way down were enjoying even better views than we’d had.
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We had no complaints though. The smoke hadn’t been bad, we didn’t smell any at all until we were nearly back to the trailhead, and the clouds had kept the temperature down without raining at all. The Sun even made an appearance along the way.
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IMG_1690One of several mountain bluebirds we spotted.

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IMG_1700Bumblebees on a few remaining aster.

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IMG_1703Sunshine

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IMG_1705A sulphur butterfly.

IMG_1708Arriving back at the trailhead.

While Sullivan and the signboard listed this as an 11 mile hike our GPS came in at only 10 miles round trip. Either way there was 1600′ of elevation gain, much of which came in the final, steep, half mile.

From the trailhead we continued west on Highway 62 to the Edgewater Inn in Shady Cove, OR where we would be spending the next three nights. A quick check of the forecast for Sunday before bed revealed that “severe” thunderstorms were now forecast for Crater Lake overnight and Sunday called for clouds and a 50% chance of showers everywhere we’d planned on hiking. The good news was that our planned hike for Sunday was a visit to several lakes in the Sky Lakes Wilderness so showers wouldn’t really affect any views and getting some much needed precipitation was a lot more important than whether or not we would be getting wet on our hike. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Union Peak