Categories
Hiking Year-end wrap up

The Hikes of 2022 – A Look Back

What a strange year 2022 was for us from a hiking standpoint. We have come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as a “normal” year knowing that there will always be surprises and things that we haven’t experienced yet. This year was full of ups and downs, sometimes on the same day. We go into every year with an initial set of hikes planned out for the year knowing that by the end of the year changes will have been made, but this year may have seen the most changes to the initial plan in the 10 years we’ve been doing this. As is the case most years weather and wildfires caused the majority of the changes but in 2022 we were the cause several as well.

Our goal is to get out once a month from Jan through April and in both November and December while taking at least one hike a week from May through October. We had managed to hike a least once a month since February 2013 but the injury bug finally got one of us this year. Heather had to shut her hiking down at the end of September but did manage to get back out for the December hike. I kept to the schedule but instead of the planned hikes which would have been new to both of us I put some new twists on some old favorites. My end of the year numbers were 61 days hiking totaling just over 660 miles with a little more than 115,200′ of elevation gain. Heather’s numbers were 55 hikes, approximately 557 miles, and 97,450′ of elevation gain.

Once again we focused on hikes that were new to us (at least in part) so no day was an exact duplicate of one we’d done before. Union Creek Falls (post) was very close for me but I did manage to see one section of Union Creek that I hadn’t bushwhacked to on my first visit (post). Heather had not been with me that day due to an injury she’d sustained earlier in the day at Abbott Butte. While our Elk and Kings Mountain Loop (post) in May was a repeated hike we added a stop at Killin Wetlands to keep the day from being a repeat. Forty-four days were completely new trail for me while forty-five of Heather’s were new.

Another focus was our continuing quest to complete 100 featured hikes from each of the five William L. Sullivan’s “100 Hikes…” books (Feb 2022 Progress Report). We’ll go into more detail on that quest in our annual progress report next month, but we managed to make significant progress in the Southern Oregon/Northern California area and inched a little closer to our goal in Eastern Oregon. We now have an outside shot of finishing all 500 by the end of 2024.

Five days were spent hiking in Washington while twelve days were, at least in part, spent in California, our first visits since 2018. We visited four designated wilderness areas in California including our first ever visit to the Siskiyou Wilderness (post).

It’s interesting to me each year to see what hikes were the furtherst in each direction on the map. This year our most southern hike was our visit to Trail and Long Gulch Lakes (post).
IMG_0752Long Gulch Lake. The furthest south we hiked was on the trail a short distance after leaving this lake.

To the west one of the beaches along the Pacific Ocean is typically our most western hike but this year it was just inland from the ocean at Yakona Nature Preserve (post).
Yakona Nature PreserveTechnically the western most spot we hiked at was the trailhead for this hike, but the Yaquina River was a nicer picture.

Surprisingly our northernmost hike was neither our visit to Goat Marsh Lake at Mt. St. Helens (post) or Crystal Lake in the Mt. Adams Wilderness (post) but rather a hike we did just across the Columbia River from Oregon at the Julia Butler Hansen Refuge for the Columbian White-Tailed Deer (post).
Brooks SloughWe hit our northernmost point during the stretch of our hike that followed Brooks Slough.

Our one trip to Eastern Oregon produced our easternmost hike which was a visit to the Wallowa Homeland (post) in Wallowa, Oregon.
IMG_8011View of the Wallowa Mountains from our easternmost point.

While weather considerations prompted us to make a number of changes to the timing of, and sometimes destinations for, our hikes 2022 may well have been the best all-around weather conditions we’ve experienced in a year. Several hikes throughout the year had forecasts for possible rain showers yet we only experience a couple of very brief periods of precipitation. Clouds also seemed to be less of an issue this year than in years past. It seems that almost every year we have at least one “viewpoint” hike where we arrive to find ourselves in a sea of grey. This year that really didn’t happen. We did arrive at the lookouts atop Illahee Rock (post) in the clouds, but the lookouts were the goal not necessarily the view.
Cupola lookout on Illahee Rock

Furthermore, it was just the first of two stops that day and by the time we arrived at our second viewpoint of the day above Twin Lakes the views had drastically improved.
Big Twin Lake from the viewpoint above Twin Lakes

Wildfires, which there were still far too many of, also had much less of an impact on our plans than they’ve had the last couple of years. The second week of September was the only time fires forced us to get creative. Heavy smoke saw us stick close to home for a short hike at the Spring Valley Greenway (post).
IMG_1506That’s the Sun above the trees.

I believe the destinations for our 2022 hikes were the most diverse in terms of the type of managing agency/entity. We visited trails located on private timberland (obtaining permits ahead of time when required), in city, county, state and national parks, and privately owned nature preserves (again with permits where required). We took hikes on BLM managed lands, state and federal wildlife refuges, state and national forests, wilderness areas, and a National Volcanic Monument. Our hikes also took place on a variety of trail types and surfaces.
Wildwood TrailIced over snow in Portland’s Forest Park.

CZ TrailThe Crown-Zellerbach Trail, a converted logging road.

Klickitat TrailThe Klickitat Trail, a converted railroad.

Hood RIver from the end of the Hood River Pipeline TrailThe Hood River Pipeline Trail.

Rock Creek Trail along NE WilkinsSidewalk, Rock Creek Trail.

Kings Mountain TrailRope section of the Kings Mountain Trail.

Mt. McLoughlin from Touville RoadGravel Road at Denman Wildlife Area.

Brooks Slough RoadPaved Brooks Slough Road, Julia Hansen Butler Wildlife Refuge (it is open to cars).

FR 20Dirt road at Siskiyou Gap.

Ridge to Observation PeakCross-country to Observation Peak.

IMG_5881Crossing over granite to reach the Devil’s Punchbowl in the Siskiyou Wilderness.

IMG_6794Water covered trail at Catherine Creek Meadows.

IMG_9702Sandy dirt Mt. Shasta.

IMG_1610Rock field, Union Peak.

IMG_2350The remains of the Union Creek Trail.

IMG_4667Frozen tunnel on the Eagle Creek Trail.

As far as our destinations go waterfalls and lakes were the top two goals for the hikes this past year, and we are always on the lookout for wildlife and flowers. There were also a few unique features, both natural and man-made, that we visited.
Witch's CastleWitch’s Castle – Forest Park, Portland, OR

Maryann's Wind Telephone at Yakona Nature PreserveWind Telephone, Yakona Nature Preserve – Newport, OR

Erratic RockErratic Rock (post)

Bunker 3 at Ken Denman Wildlife RefugeOne of several military bunkers at Ken Denman Wildlife Area – Medford, OR

Umpqua Hot SpringsUmpqua Hot Springs – Umpqua National Forest, OR

Illahee Rock LookoutIllahee Rock Lookout – Umpqua National Forest, OR

Twin Lakes ShelterTwin Lakes Shelter – Umpqua National Forest, OR

Donomore CabinDonomore Cabin – Donomore Meadows, CA

IMG_6551Mt. Ireland Lookout – Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, OR

IMG_6819Cabin at Catherine Creek Meadows – Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, OR

IMG_7029Reds Horse Ranch – Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, OR

IMG_7609Lodge ruins – Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, OR

IMG_7869Bear Creek Guard Station – Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, OR

IMG_8007Gazebo on Tick Hill – Wallowa, OR

IMG_9834Spring above Southgate Meadows – Mount Shasta Wilderness, CA

IMG_9915Panther Spring – Mount Shasta Wilderness, CA

IMG_3722Remnants of the OSU Dean’s house – McDonald Forest, Corvallis, OR

IMG_4991Talking Water Gardens – Water treatment wetlands, Albany, OR

I will save the flowers, wildlife, waterfalls, and lakes for their own 2022 galleries. We’re looking forward to 2023 and hoping that Heather makes a full recovery. We’ve done a bit of shuffling for the first part of 2023 to help ease her back into things. While 2022 was a good year we hope 2023 has a few less bumps along the way. Happy Trails!

Categories
Hiking Oregon Trip report Wallowas

Catherine Creek Meadows – 07/10/2022

We’d spent the night in Baker City following our hike to the Mt. Ireland Lookout (post). Our plan for the next six days was to do five more of the “featured hikes” (post) from Sullivan’s 3rd edition “100 Hikes/Travel Guide Eastern Oregon” then before heading home on Friday do the Wallowa Homeland hike which is featured in Sullivan’s most recent 2022 edition of “100 Hikes Eastern Oregon”. Because the hikes were spread out along the western and northern sides of the Wallowas we would be moving our base of operations a couple of times during the week starting with a move to La Grande for Sunday through Tuesday nights.

Sunday morning we packed everything up and headed for the North Fork Catherine Creek Trailhead. After navigating the pothole filled FR 7785 we pulled into the large trailhead parking area.
IMG_6597

IMG_6598A $5 fee is required here and at several other trailheads we visited during the week. (An annual NW Forest Pass can be used instead.)

The trail doesn’t start at the parking area but rather another tenth of a mile up the road so we road walked to the official trailhead.
IMG_6600

The trail initially climbs above the creek to an open hillside, that was putting on a pretty good wildflower display, before descending to a bridge a little after 1.5 miles.
IMG_6608Lots of purple venus penstemon.

IMG_6613There were also some white scabland penstemon on the hillside.

IMG_6614Buckwheat

20220710_061539Venus penstemon

IMG_6619Lupine and stonecrop

IMG_6624Paintbrush

IMG_6625North Fork Catherine Creek

20220710_062027Douglas dustymaiden

20220710_062112Spreading dogbane

IMG_6634The trail crossed several side creeks, all of which were we were able to cross dry footed.

IMG_6636A brief stretch along North Fork Catherine Creek.

IMG_6637Queen’s cup

IMG_6638Another side creek.

IMG_6640Bog orchid

IMG_6641Spotted coralroot

IMG_6642A fleabane

One of the more interesting things we’ve witnessed was watching carpenter ants removing sawdust from a dead log and dropping it in a pile below.
IMG_6652

IMG_6653They’re a little blurry but you can see the ants in the cracks where they would drop their sawdust. It was fascinating to watch and we paused for quite a while.

IMG_6658Columbine

20220710_064502Mountain lady slippers

20220710_065926Large-flower triteleia

IMG_6685Back above the creek.

IMG_6692The bridge over Catherine Creek.

IMG_6693

IMG_6695Bluebells next to the bridge.

The trail climbed gradually for the next three and a half miles before reaching Catherine Creek Meadows.
IMG_6700

IMG_6704

IMG_6708Crab spider

IMG_6710Another type of penstemon

20220710_073039Rosy pussytoes

IMG_6713A side creek running down the trail.

20220710_073735Yellow columbine

IMG_6720Entering the Eagle Cap Wilderness.

IMG_6726Jim Creek, this was one of the trickier crossings.

IMG_6735Hound’s tongue

IMG_6737Nettle-leaf giant hyssop

IMG_6750One of several smaller meadows along the trail.

IMG_6751Jacob’s ladder

IMG_6752California corn lily and bluebells.

20220710_082334Boot Hill Creek was also tricky as it had taken over the trail.

IMG_6765

IMG_6766A large patch of coralroot.

IMG_6772A few remaining balsamroot blooming above North Fork Catherine Creek.

IMG_6777Arriving at Catherine Creek Meadows.

Up until this point we had been very lucky this year with mosquitos but the meadows were very wet and the recent warm weather had the bugs out in decent numbers so we couldn’t linger in any one spot too long but we did take a short break at a campsite near a side creek.
IMG_6778

IMG_6779

IMG_6786All the black dots in the blue sky were gnats flying over the stream at the trail crossing.

heart-leaved bittercressHeart-leaved bittercress

Our goal for the day lay about a half mile away, an early 1900’s log cabin at the far end of the meadow. After our break we set off across the creek following what became an increasingly wet trail to a junction where we forked left.
IMG_6791

IMG_6794

IMG_6799Looking back at the sign post in the meadow marking the trail junction.

IMG_6802Another dry section of trail.

IMG_6803It wasn’t dry for long.

IMG_6806Yellow buttercups and pink elephant’s head.

IMG_6807

IMG_6805Elephant’s head, one of our favorites.

IMG_6810Ladybug

IMG_6814Nearing the cabin.

IMG_6816

IMG_6817Ground squirrel

IMG_6819

IMG_6820Squatter running from the cabin.

We checked out the inside of the cabin before heading back.
IMG_6821

IMG_6822

It was only 9:45am when we started back so we took our time and kept an eye out for anything we’d missed on our first pass.
IMG_6831Beetle

IMG_6836Another beetle and Nevada bitterroot.

IMG_6839Brunch

IMG_6845A comma of some sort.

IMG_6848Big mushroom

IMG_6852Something from the Lycaenidae family.

IMG_6855Coneflower

IMG_6874Swallow-tail on red clover.

IMG_6882Fritilary on clover

IMG_6897Mourning cloak perched overhead.

IMG_6899Lorquin’s admiral

IMG_6900A tortoiseshell

IMG_6903Skullcap, one of the hardest flowers to get a decent picture of for some reason.

IMG_6910Tapertip onion

IMG_6915Yarrow and other wildflowers up the hillside.

Our hike came in at 11.8 miles with approximately 1450′ of elevation gain.

From the trailhead we drove to La Grande and checked into our Motel, after hanging out at a park for about an hour because we’d arrived a bit too early, and then headed to Side A Brewing for an early dinner. It was going to be a warm week so we turned in early planning on another 4am wake-up the next morning to beat as much of the heat as we could. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Catherine Creek Meadows