Categories
Hiking Year-end wrap up

2022 Wildlife Gallery Part 1 – Feathered Friends

We thought we’d do something different this year and split our 2022 wildlife gallery into two posts to keep them a little shorter. It made the most sense to us to do a post with the different birds we saw during 2022 and then one of the other wildlife. As with our wildflower post any corrections or additions to our attempts at identifying what we’ve photographed is greatly appreciated. One last note, while we really enjoy taking pictures as a way to record what we see on our hikes, we are by no means photographers. We use our phones and a point and shoot camera on the auto setting, so the pictures are far from professional, but we hope you enjoy them.

We’ll start small which, aside from some of the raptors, is where we have the most difficulty identifying the various species (ducks and sea birds can be tricky too).
HummingbirdHummingbird at Memaloose Hills in May.

HummingbirdHummingbird at Upper Table Rock in May.

Black capped chickadeeBlack capped chickadee at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

Yellow-rumped warbler (Audubon's)Yellow-rumped warbler (Audubon’s) at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

Marsh wrenWren (marsh?) at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

White-capped sparrowWhite-crowned sparrow at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

SparrowSparrow? at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

Common yellow throatCommon yellow throat at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

Yellow-rumped warbler (Myrtle)Yellow-rumped warbler (Myrtle) at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

Tree swallowsTree swallows at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

Wren and white-crowned sparrowWhite-crowned sparrow and a wren at Miller Woods in May.

American goldfinchAmerican goldfinch pair at Miller Woods in May.

Song sparrowAnother sparrow at Miller Woods in May.

Hermit warblerHermit warbler? near Kings Mountain in May.

House finchHouse finch? at Upper Table Rock in May.

Rock wrenRock wren? at Upper Table Rock in May.

Ash-throated flycatcherAsh-throated flycatcher at Denman Wildlife Area in May.

Small bird at Ken Denman Wildlife RefugeUnknown at Denman Wildlife Area in May.

SwallowSwallow at Julia Hansen Butler Wildlife Refuge in June.

WarblerSome sort of warbler? at Julia Hansen Butler Wildlife Refuge in June.

Purple MartinsPurple martins at Julia Hansen Butler Wildlife Refuge in June.

WrenAnother wren at Julia Hansen Butler Wildlife Refuge in June.

SongbirdUnknown at Julia Hansen Butler Wildlife Refuge in June.

SparrowSparrow? at Julia Hansen Butler Wildlife Refuge in June.

WarblerWarbler? at Julia Hansen Butler Wildlife Refuge in June.

Black phoebeBlack phoebe? at Julia Hansen Butler Wildlife Refuge in June.

IMG_1694Mountain bluebird near Union Peak in September.

IMG_1985Red-breasted nuthatch (best I could get) at Crater Lake in September.

IMG_2015Red crossbilss at Crater Lake in September.

IMG_4818Wren on the Eagle Creek Trail in November.

IMG_5040Dark eyed junco at Waverly Lake in December.

Going up a bit in size now (and a little easier to identify).
Grey jayCanada jay (grey jay) along the Crown Zellerbach Trail in March.

Scrub jayCalifornia scrub jay along the Balfour-Klickitat Trail in April.

Stellar's jayStellar’s jay along the Hood River Pipeline Trail in May.

Female red-winged blackbirdFemale red-winged blackbird at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

Red-winged blackbirdRed-winged blackbird at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

Spotted towheeSpotted towhee at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

StarlingsStarlings along the Hood River Pipeline Trail in May.

Brownheaded cowbirdBrownheaded cowbird at Upper Table Rock in May.

RobinAmerican robin at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

Tropical kingbirdTropical kingbird? at Denman Wildlife Area in May.

Black-headed grosbeakBlack-headed grosbeak (also all I could get) at Applegate Lake in May.

Lazuli buntingLazuli bunting at Roxy Ann Peak in May.

Cedar waxwingCedar waxwing at Julia Hansen Butler Wildlife Refuge in June.

IMG_6214Western tanagers, Siskiyou Wilderness in July.

IMG_1094American dipper (Ouzel) near South Umpqua Falls in September.

IMG_2047Townsends solitaire at Crater Lake National Park in September.

IMG_2249Clark’s nutcracker at Crater Lake National Park in September.

IMG_4556Varied thrush along the Eagle Creek Trail in November.

IMG_2981Unknown at Cascade Head in October.

We also struggle with a few of the woodpeckers.
WoodpeckerForest Park in January.

Northern flickerNorthern flicker at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April. We seem to see flickers on nearly every hike, but they don’t often sit still long enough for us to get a decent picture.

Pileated woodpeckerPileated woodpecker at Chehalem Ridge Nature Park in May. We rarely see these but like the flickers, when we do they are very difficult to get a photo of.

Acorn woodpeckerAcorn woodpecker at Denman Wildlife Area in May.

WoodpeckerHairy? woodpecker near Twin Lakes in the Umpqua National Forst in June.

IMG_8655Red breasted sapsucker at E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area in July.

IMG_4737Either a hairy or downy woodpecker along the Eagle Creek Trail in November.

IMG_2764Unknown, Sky Lakes Wilderness in late September.

Next up are scavengers and birds of prey including those pesky hawks.
CrowCrow along the Crown Zellerbach Trail in March.

RavenRaven at Upper Table Rock in May.

Turkey vultureTurkey Vulture at Julia Hansen Butler Wildlife Refuge in June.

American kestralAmerican kestral along the Crown Zellerbach Trail in March.

OspreyOsprey along the Hood River Pipeline Trail in May.

OspreyAnother osprey at Julia Hansen Butler Wildlife Refuge in June.

Bald eagleBald eagle at Julia Hansen Butler Wildlife Refuge in June.

IMG_2517Eagle in the Sky Lakes Wilderness in September. Not sure if it is a bald or golden.

Immature bald eagle and a hawkA bald eagle and hawk at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

HawksPair of hawks at Denman Wildlife Area in May.

Hawk at Ken Denman Wildlife RefugeHawk at Denman Wildlife Area in May.

HawkHawk at Julia Hansen Butler Wildlife Refuge in June.

IMG_0907Hawk along the Pacific Crest Trail near Carter Meadows Summit in August.

IMG_2056Hawk at Crater Lake National Park in September.

Barred owlBarred owl at Noble Woods in May.

Great horned owl at Ken Denman Wildlife RefugeGreat horned owl at Denman Wildlife Area in May.

Great horned owlYoung great horned owl at Roxy Ann Peak in May.

Moving on to game birds, a few of the species we saw this year were at the E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area at their breeding facility in June.
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IMG_8640Ring-necked pheasant

IMG_8634Silver pheasant

IMG_8649Near the breeding facility at E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area.

DoveMourning dove at Roxy Ann Peak a in May.

IMG_6290Grouse? in the Siskiyou Wilderness in July.

IMG_9295Grouse in the Mt. Adams Wilderness in August.

IMG_1783Grouse in the Sky Lakes Wilderness in September.

Bodies of water attract a lot of birds and provide us with a less obstructed view vs the forest.
Long billed dowitchers?Long billed dowitchers? at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

KilldeerKilldeer at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

SandpiperSandpiper? at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

Great blue heronGreat blue heron at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

KingfisherKingfisher at Julia Butler Hansen Wildlife Refuge in June.

American bitternAmerican bittern at Julia Butler Hansen Wildlife Refuge in June.

White pelicansWhite pelicans at Julia Butler Hansen Wildlife Refuge in June.

Hooded mergansersHooded mergansers at Yakona Nature Preserve in February.

Common mergansersCommon mergansers along the Klickitat Trail in April.

American cootAmerican coot at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

Cinnamon tealCinnamon teal at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

Ring necked ducks and an American cootRing-necked ducks (and an American coot) at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

Nothern shovelerNorthern shoveler at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

White -fronted geeseWhite-fronted geese at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

MallardMallard along the Hood River Pipeline Trail in May.

Wood duckWood duck at Denman Wildlife Area in May.

IMG_4906Not sure if this is a ruddy duck at Waverly Lake in December.

IMG_4967Mostly American widgeons with a green winged teal and a female bufflehead or two mixed in at Talking Water Gardens in December.

IMG_5016Bufflehead at Talking Water Gardens in December.

Family of geese on Applegate LakeCanada geese at Applegate Lake in May.

GeeseDomestic geese near the Klickitat Trail in April.

IMG_4914Domestic or hybrid? ducks at Waverly Lake in December.

Categories
Hiking Year-end wrap up

Progress Report – 500 “Featured Hikes” – January 2023 Update

In 2019 we posted about our goal to complete 500 “featured” hikes from William L. Sullivan’s “100 hikes” guidebook series. The following year we finished the first of the five guidebooks (post) and followed that up by completing two more in 2021 (post). That left us with just the Eastern Oregon and Southern Oregon/Northern California books to complete, and while we didn’t finish either of them off in 2022, we did manage to make significant progress on the hikes to the south by checking off 28 more featured hikes. There was less progress to the east where we were completed just 6 more featured hikes.

Here is where we now stand at the end of 2022, having been on 401 of the 500 featured hikes:

100/100 – “100 Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades” 4th Edition 2012

100/100 – “100 Hikes/Travel Guide Oregon Coast & Coast Range” 3rd Edition 2009

100/100 – “100 Hikes/Travel Guide Northwest Oregon & Southwest Washington” 4th Edition 2018

79/100 – “100 Hikes/Travel Guide Eastern Oregon” 3rd Edition 2015

81/100 – “100 Hikes/Travel Guide Southern Oregon & Northern California” 4th Edition 2017

We now have just 40 more hikes to check off to complete our goal and with the progress made in 2022 coupled with some creative rearranging of our plans for the remaining hikes we are on track to finish the final hike in September 2024 at Imnaha Falls. A lot of things still need to go right for that to happen, but as of right now if things do go as planned, we will finish Southern Oregon in 2023 and have just 14 hikes in Eastern Oregon to do in 2024.

Categories
Central Coast Hiking Oregon Oregon Coast Trip report

Lincoln City Parks – 01/01/2023

It has been a couple of years since we kicked off a new year with a hike but January 1st, 2023 was forecast to be a lone dry day in the foreseeable future. Not only was the day supposed to be rain free, it was also going to be at least partly sunny. While Heather works back from her injury we are targeting shorter hikes that don’t involve too much elevation gain. Specifically looking for hikes that fit these criteria has led us to some hikes that we might have otherwise overlooked. We discovered several such trails in Lincoln City.

I put together a plan to visit five of the city’s open space areas over the course of four stops. The four stops would be just under six and a half miles with approximately 800′ of cumulative elevation gain. Following the hikes our plan was to have lunch at the newly opened Pelican Brewing Siletz Bay Brewpub.

Since the brewpub is located just south of Lincoln City we planned to start at the northern most trailhead and worked our way south. This meant that the Friends of Wildwoods Trailhead. The hike here was supposed to be a 1 mile out-and-back with a short side spur to a platform overlooking a swamp.
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We somehow managed to turn it into a 1.5-mile hike including a loop that isn’t shown on any maps. It’s worth noting that in all of these open space areas we visited on this day there were multiple use trails leading off in different directions. We used our GPS a surprising number of times throughout the day. One nice feature was that there were QR codes available at the trailheads which accessed maps for our phones. Even so we somehow managed to not find the viewing platform but instead wound up overlooking the wetlands from a different spot.
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IMG_5056Junction with the spur Wetlands Trail. The larger sign on the left is a Trail Challenge sign. We would see several more over the course of the day. The challenge, we learned later, is to visit all eight of the Open Spaces.

IMG_5058End of the trail at East Tide Ave.

IMG_5065

IMG_5067The wetlands.

We may have overlooked the trail down to the platform due to debris left over from a big storm the week before which packed wind gusts over 70 mph. We had been prepared for the possibility that some of the trail might be inaccessible due to damage but overall they were in good shape.

After finishing our hike we hopped in the car and drove less than a mile south to our second stop at Regatta Park.
IMG_5095Devil’s Lake from Regatta Park.

From this trailhead we would visit two open spaces, Regatta and Spring Lake. Before hitting the trails though we walked down to the shore of Devil’s Lake to get a closer look.
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From the lake we walked back uphill across the parking lot to a large Nature Trail sign.
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Once again the plethora of trails got the best of us and our route through the Regatta Open Space was not how we’d meant to do it, but we managed to see what we had wanted to.
IMG_5100Pointer for a heritage tree.

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Sitka Spruce. This approximately 400-year-old Oregon Heritage Tree is 212′ tall with a 32 1/2′ diameter.

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IMG_5107Another Trail Challenge sign.

After looping through the Regatta Open Space we walked uphill out of the park to West Devil’s Lake Road where we turned left for 400′ to a trail on the far side of the road.
IMG_5109Heading out of Regatta Park

IMG_5110Neat dragon sculpture.

IMG_5113West Devil’s Lake Road. The trail is ahead on the right just beyond the driveway on that side.

IMG_5114There was no sign along the road but there was a trail marker just uphill.

This was the Spring Lake Trail which made a short steep climb to a ridge top.
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IMG_5118The trail briefly leveled out atop the ridge before diving down the other side.

The area around Spring Lake was by far the most confusing of the day with numerous trails crisscrossing and intersecting seemingly every few feet. We used the GPS quite a bit here as we made our way counterclockwise around the lake.
IMG_5120This junction is where our loop began and ended.

IMG_5122Another fork just beyond the one in the previous photo.

IMG_5125Footbridge over the northern arm of the lake.

IMG_5127Spring Lake from the footbridge.

IMG_5131Found another one.

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IMG_5137Small trailhead at 14th Street.

IMG_5139Spring Lake from the 14th Street Trailhead.

IMG_5140We had to walk a few feet along 14th Street to find the trail on the east side of the lake.

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IMG_5143Approaching the junction at the end of our loop.

After completing the loop around the lake we returned to our car and drove another 2.7 miles south to the Agness Creek Open Space.

There are two trailheads here, a north and a south, separated by 200′. We parked at the South Agness Creek Trailhead and started with the 0.3-mile loop there.
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IMG_5154This forested loop was full of bright green mossed covered ground.

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After completing the loop we took a connector trail between the two trailheads to reach the North Agness Creek Trailhead.
IMG_5163The connector trail at the south trailhead.

IMG_5166Two short out-and-back trails begin at the north trailhead. We started with the left hand trail.

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IMG_5172The left hand spur abruptly ends on a ridge above what we assume was Agness Creek although we couldn’t really make out an actual creek.

IMG_5174Agness Creek?

We returned to the trailhead and took the right hand fork which led a third of a mile to SW 19th Street.
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IMG_5184Approaching SW 19th Street.

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After reaching the neighborhood at the end of this trail we returned to the south trailhead and drove 1.8 miles to our final stop at the Spyglass Open Space.
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Sticking with the theme for the day we got turned around a bit here as well and instead of doing a 1.4-mile loop around the perimeter we followed an old roadbed directly up the middle of the open space. We had planned on doing a counterclockwise loop but didn’t see the trail we actually wanted which was right next to a chain link fence.
IMG_5188This should have been the end of our loop, not the beginning. Had we realized we weren’t on the perimeter trail we would have taken the first left hand trail which would have allowed us to do our planned loop in reverse (clockwise). Instead we headed straight up the ridge.

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IMG_5193The Trail Challenge sign here was located at a second junction, near the ridge top. A short distance beyond was another junction with an unsigned trail veering off to the right. We still hadn’t figured out our mistake and thought that the right hand trail was a spur trail shown on the map leading to a neighborhood so we went left.

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The trail never quite reached the ridge top as it veered left in the forest below.
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I scrambled up one of several use trails to see what kind of a view the ridge offered.
IMG_5197A lot of clearcuts is what I could see.

When the trail made a sharp turn left and suddenly headed downhill we began to realize that we hadn’t been where we thought we were. We pulled up the map and GPS track and began comparing and figured out what we’d done. We weren’t sure where we had missed the right turn at the beginning of the hike though. When we reached another split in the trail we went left, leaving the perimeter to cut back uphill to the junction at the Trail Challenge sign.
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We turned left at the junction and then took the right hand spur that we’d mistook for the spur to the neighborhood. We followed this trail uphill, encountering our first and only downed tree for the day, to a junction with the actual spur. This section was fainter and a little harder to follow but we stayed left along the ridge as much as possible.
IMG_5211

IMG_5212We were really surprised that this was the only real obstacle we encountered all day given the recent storm.

IMG_5215An example of the fainter tread along this section.

IMG_5218The spur to the left led to a neighborhood so we turned right.

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IMG_5221The trail arriving at the trailhead entrance road. The chain link fence at Taft High is on the left.

Our hike here was just over 1.5-miles long with a little over 300′ of elevation gain which was the most of the fours stops. We changed at the car and drove on to the Pelican Brewery arriving just before they opened at Noon. We watched the birds in Siletz Bay while we waited for the restaurant to open then enjoyed a great lunch before heading home.
IMG_5222Siletz Bay from the brewpub.

IMG_5225A gull and an egret.

Once we were home we did a little research on the Trail Challenge which is when we learned that the challenge involves eight open spaces. The five we visited on this day plus The Knoll which we had visited back in 2020 (post), Cutler Wetlands, and Nesika Park. It looks like we have a couple of reasons to head back to Lincoln City (and the Pelican Brewpub) sometime soon. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Lincoln City Parks

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 Salem/Albany Trip report Willamette Valley

Talking Water Gardens – 12/17/2022

After a couple of months of being on my own while Heather recovered from a bad knee she had been released to take short hikes with minimal elevation changes. With Heather cleared for action we just needed a favorable forecast for our December hike. When a day off coincided with a rain-free forecast we set off for the Talking Water Gardens in Albany. The site of two former mills Talking Water Gardens is a series of wastewater ponds created to assist with water treatment for the cities of Albany and Millersburg. While it may not sound like a typical place for a hike a series of paths and maintenance roads provide for a nice stroll with plenty chances to spot wildlife.

There are a couple of possible starting points for a visit to the gardens and we chose to begin at Waverly Lake and follow a route suggested in the Oregon Hikers Field Guide.
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IMG_4893Waverly Lake at sunrise.

We headed left (clockwise) around Waverly Lake where a number of ducks were paddling around.
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IMG_4895Mallards

IMG_4903Buffleheads

IMG_4906I think this is a ruddy duck.

IMG_4915American coots

IMG_4914Guessing these are some sort of domestic/mallard? crossbreeds. Very interesting looking.

IMG_4917More mallards near Cox Creek

IMG_4919Cox Creek flowing toward Waverly Lake.

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IMG_4926Nearing the outlet of Cox Creek.

When we arrived at Cox Creek flowing out of the lake we crossed Salem Avenue then crossed Cox Creek on a footbridge.
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We turned left on far side of the creek and followed a paved path 0.3 miles to Waverly Dr. NE and the other possible starting point, Simpson Park.
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IMG_4935We almost got off-track here. This path on the right (just after passing under some railroad tracks) does lead into the wetlands but it wasn’t part of the Oregon Hikers described hike.

IMG_4937One of several interpretive signs along the trails.

IMG_4939Frosty leaves, it had been a chilly 28 degrees when we started out.

IMG_4941Simpson Park

We walked over to the park to take a look but didn’t check out the Simpson Park Trail this trip.
IMG_4942The Simpson Park Trail is a 1 mile out and back along the Willamette River. It also offers access to the Riverfront Trail which one could follow SW almost 3.5 miles to Monteith Riverpark at the mouth of the Calapooia River. With Heather being limited to shorter hikes for now that wasn’t an option today but will be something we look forward to trying in the future.

After the brief detour we recrossed Waverly Road and entered the gardens through a black gate.
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We headed left past a mostly frozen pond.
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IMG_4945Map on a welcome sign.

IMG_4946Frozen leaves

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There are numerous different loops and routes available through the gardens. We followed the Oregon Hikers description linked above. We had to stop numerous times to consult the track map from that description to stay on the right path due to the trails not being marked/signed and the only maps having been located near the entrance. The paths themselves were in good shape and we saw a lot of ducks and other birds as we wound through the wetlands.
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IMG_4953

IMG_4956American wigeons

IMG_4962Bald eagle fly over

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IMG_4968Flock of geese flying over

IMG_4977One of many unsigned intersections.

IMG_4982Robin

IMG_4983One of two memorials in the gardens.

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IMG_5016Bufflehead

IMG_5017Green winged teal

IMG_5019Northern shoveler

IMG_5024Frost

IMG_5027Simpson Park across a pond.

After completing our loop we headed back to Waverly Lake where some fog had rolled in.
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IMG_5036Fishermen heading into the fog at Waverly Lake.

IMG_5039Mallards hanging out in the fog.

IMG_5040Dark eyed junco

The GPS had us at a 3.5-mile hike, a little more than what Oregon Hikers showed but we did double-back a handful of times for one reason or another.

This was surprisingly nice hike and we’re anxious to visit again when the plants are green and water is flowing through the ponds. This was perfect though for a first outing to test Heather’s progress. Merry Christmas and Happy Trails!

Flirck: Talking Water Gardens

Categories
Columbia River Gorge South Hiking Oregon Trip report

Eagle Creek to 7 1/2 Mile Camp – 11/19/2022

I took advantage of some favorable weather and headed to Eagle Creek in the Columbia River Gorge for a pre-birthday hike. I was on my own again with Heather still working her way back from her injury (Good news she has been released to do some short hikes), so I was looking for something we’d done before but also wouldn’t be a total repeat. We’ve visited Eagle Creek twice in the past, both prior to the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire but never gone past Twister Falls so my plan was to continue on beyond that waterfall to at least Sevenmile Falls.

I left home at 5:30am and found myself being pushed around by the wind as I drove Interstate 84 along the Columbia River. Luckily the wind was calm at the Eagle Creek Trailhead where it was right around 30 degrees. I bundled up and set off on the trail past a burned area warning sign.
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Despite the fire the scenery was good. I had to pay attention to my footing though due to areas of slick ice mixed in the wet portions of the trail.
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IMG_4431It was hard to tell at times which parts were frozen.

IMG_4433Snow at the higher elevations.

IMG_4438A pink cloud in the direction of the Columbia River Gorge.

Near the 1.5-mile mark I found the first major difference post fire, a view of Sorenson Falls which had been hidden by trees and other vegetation on our previous visits.
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IMG_4449Sorenson Falls splashing down into Eagle Creek.

Prior to December 2016 there had been a short spur trail just up the trail from this new view of Sorenson Falls that led to a viewpoint of Metlako Falls. A landslide claimed that spur trail but as I continued along the trail Metlako Falls became visible through the remaining trees.
IMG_4454Looking back down Eagle Creek. It was hard to tell where the spur trail had been.

IMG_4456Runoff falling from the cliffs into Eagle Creek.

IMG_4457Metlako Falls

IMG_4459Metlako Falls

I crossed Sorenson Creek on round concrete steps that were fortunately ice free and quickly found myself at the Lower Punchbowl Falls Trail junction.
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I detoured down this nearly 0.2-mile spur trail even though I knew that the former view of Punchbowl Falls was lost in 2018 after a post-fire landslide rerouted Eagle Creek.
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IMG_4470Lower Punchbowl Falls

IMG_4472Rocks from the landslide on the right.

I returned to the Eagle Creek Trail and continued to the Punchbowl Falls viewpoint to get a look at that fall.
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Beyond the viewpoint the trail crosses Tish Creek on a footbridge followed by a second footbridge over Fern Creek after another 0.6 miles.
IMG_4487Tish Creek Bridge

IMG_4490Tish Creek

IMG_4496More snow on the ridge.

IMG_4498Fern Creek Bridge

IMG_4502Fern Creek

After Fern Creek the trail passed through a scree slope where I kept my eyes open for pikas hoping that one might brave the chilly temperatures but alas no luck.
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Following the pika-less scree slope I came to a section of trail where a cable acts as a rail as the trail passes along a rocky cliff. This was the first section where I encountered actual icicles.
IMG_4506Coming up on the cable section with a bit of ice to start things off.

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IMG_4509Careful where you step.

IMG_4512The last part was ice free.

Continuing on the trail brought me to a view of Loowit Falls. This was another case of the fire having created a better view of Eagle Creek below the falls.
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IMG_4521Passing Loowit Falls.

IMG_4529More cable passing Loowit Falls with High Bridge in
the distance.

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At the 3.3-mile mark I came to High Bridge.
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IMG_4538Eagle Creek from High Bridge.

IMG_4541Eagle Creek from High Bridge, looking upstream.

Less than a quarter mile from High Bridge I came to another dramatic change in the trail when I got a good view of Skoonichuck Falls. Previously only the upper portion of this 50′ waterfall was visible from the trail above it but again the fire had removed enough vegetation to provide a nice view of the waterfall.
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IMG_4550Skoonichuck Falls

I was briefly distracted by a varied thrush (my nemesis bird).
IMG_4556Not my worst varied thrush photo.

IMG_4558Another nice view of Skoonichuck after I’d given up on the thrush.

IMG_4559Sad looking penstemon but I’m counting it as a flower.

IMG_4566Some nearly as sad pearly everlasting.

IMG_4569This fall was visible across the creek on an unnamed creek (at least on the maps I’ve seen).

At 4 1/2 Mile Bridge I recrossed Eagle Creek.
IMG_4574I arrived at nearly the same time as the Sun.

IMG_4575Beach and Summer swimming hole at 4 1/2-mile bridge.

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Just beyond the bridge is Tenas Falls on the other side of Eagle Creek.
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IMG_4582Tenas Falls

A little further along the trail passes Opal Creek which begins below Tanner Butte.
IMG_4586Opal Creek flowing into Eagle Creek.

I continued along the trail chasing the Sun past Wy’East Camp and to the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness boundary.
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IMG_4599The sites on the East side of the trail were posted closed for restoration at Wy’East Camp.

IMG_4603The wilderness begins a little over 5.5 miles from the trailhead.

IMG_4606A bluebird sky above a few green topped trees.

Next up was Wy’East Falls which was more visible than before as well from the trail. I opted not to attempt to get closer to the falls this time due to not being able to pick out the route we had taken on our previous visits.
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I continued on from Wy’East Falls enjoying the wonderful weather.
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IMG_4627Near the six-mile mark I passed the signed Eagle-Benson Trail which hasn’t been maintained since the fire, in fact the sign was the only sign of a trail here.

IMG_4632Sunrays over Eagle Creek.

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At the 6.5-mile mark I got a good look at Grand Union Falls.
IMG_4640Note the hexagonal shape of the basalt columns making up the trail surface here.

IMG_4644Grand Union Falls

Not far past Grand Union Falls I got my first glimpse of Tunnel Falls in the distance through the trees.
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The falls disappear as the trail gets closer then after rounding a corner they are back.
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IMG_4657Tunnel Falls on East Fork Eagle Creek.

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The trail passes behind the falls in a tunnel built in the early 1900’s (pre-1920).
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IMG_4664I had brought my micro spikes just in case, but even though there were some impressive ice features there was enough good footing (and cable) to not require putting the spikes on.

IMG_4667The slickest section was exiting the tunnel here.

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With the ice situation being manageable I continued on beyond Tunnel Falls to Twister (or Crossover) Falls just a short distance upstream on West Fork Eagle Creek.
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IMG_4680No ice on this section which was welcome because it can be intimidating anyway.

IMG_4685Twister Falls. There is another hiker ahead on the left.

The section passing Twister Falls was the one that I had been most concerned about ice on. I assessed the situation and decided that with care it was passable and continued on.
IMG_4692This was the trickiest section but again there was just enough good footing to allow passing without need spikes.

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I soon found myself looking at another waterfall which turned out to be Sevenmile Falls. I had been mistakenly thinking that it was 7 1/2 Mile Falls confusing it with 7 1/2 Mile Camp.
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I continued on thinking that this must have been the waterfall but confused because 7 1/2 Mile Camp was still a half mile away. I decided to keep going until 10:45am or I found another waterfall, whichever came first. At this point the trail maintenance, which had been excellent up to a small slide between Tunnel and Twister Falls, really fell off.
IMG_4705A bit more overgrown here.

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IMG_4709Hair ice, only the second time I’ve encountered it.

IMG_4710I stopped at this campsite which some maps show as 7 1/2 Mile Camp, but I pulled out my National Geographic topo which showed the camp a little further ahead near a pair of small creeks. I think both are correct and this was just the first of the sites that make up the “camp”.

IMG_4711Eagle Creek near the first campsite.

It was only 10:15am so I kept going, now thinking that I would either turn around at 10:45 or at the Eagle-Tanner Cutoff Trail junction which didn’t appear too far beyond the pair of creeks.
IMG_4718More campsites near the first creek.

IMG_4722The first small creek. This one was a lot icier than any of the other creeks I’d crossed. I was able to find enough dry rock to make my way to the other side though.

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IMG_4729Looking back at the creek.

The next creek was a different story though. There were no dry rocks here.
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It was almost 10:40am anyway and I was now sure that the earlier waterfall had been what I was calling 7 1/2 Mile Falls where I’d intended to turn around anyway. I made my way back stopping to admire all the falls again along the way.
IMG_4725This cascade was across Eagle Creek near the last campsites.

IMG_4734Woodpecker

IMG_4748Green pool above Twister Falls.

IMG_4758Above Twister Falls.

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IMG_4808Plant in ice.

IMG_4818Wren

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IMG_4868Chipmunk

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With a couple of detours my hike came in at approximately 16.2 miles with 1400′ of elevation gain.

It was a great day overall. The weather, although a bit chilly to start, was great and there weren’t a lot of other hikers out. I still passed a fair number of other hikers on my way out but nothing like it would be on a warm Spring or Summer Saturday. The falls had enough added water from recent rain/snow to be flowing better than they had been when we visited in early October which was also a plus. I missed having Heather out there with me, but it was nice to get out one last time before I turned 50 (yikes!). Happy Trails!

Flickr: Eagle Creek 2022

Categories
Hiking Oregon Salem/Albany Trip report Willamette Valley

Silver Falls Perimeter Loop – 10/29/2022

With October and our official hiking season coming to an end I was hoping to go out with a bang by doing a long loop around Silver Falls State Park. I had gotten the idea during our 2021 hike in the backcountry of the park (post). While looking at the map for that hike I had started doing the math for the loop and it appeared to be a little over 20 miles which would be a long day but doable. Heather was not as enthused as I was about the possibility, so I had originally planned on attempting the loop on a day off while she was working. With her knee ending her season early it seemed like a good way to put an exclamation on the end of mine.

As the day neared I started second guessing myself. Some much need wet weather had moved in, and Friday was the wettest day we’ve had in months. The forecast for Saturday was for more rain in the morning, a 70% chance, followed by several hours of patchy fog then mostly cloudy skies. Twenty plus miles with wet feet wasn’t my ideal way to spend a hike but I decided to give it a try figuring I could cut the loop short by using one of the many trails running through the park. I packed some extra pairs of socks in a dry sack and had my rain gear ready as I made the 40-minute drive to the South Falls Trailhead.

It was a dark and raining when I left home but shortly after turning onto Highway 214 I popped out of the low clouds and left the rain behind. Things were trending positive. When I got to the South Falls Day Use Area entrance I was reminded that by the gate that the Park opens at 8am and not 7am from October through March and it was only 7:30am. I needed to purchase a pass so I drove to the North Falls Trailhead where I knew there was a pay kiosk, only I had forgotten that the station there only accepts cash which I didn’t have. After using the restroom there I drove back through the park to the campground entrance remembering that there was a station along the entrance road that did take cards. I decided that I would get a pass there and then park at the 214 Trailhead like we had in 2021 since there was no gate blocking that one. At the kiosk I immediately inserted my card into the cash slot. Things were trending down. I managed to retrieve the card using a pair of travel nail clippers and finally got my pass. It was nearly 8am as I came to the turn into the trailhead at Lookout Mountain Road. Given the time I changed my mind here and decided to revert back to my original plan and drove back to the now ungated South Falls Day Use Area.
IMG_3949A lot more blue in the sky than I had expected to see.

The route I had penciled out was to take the paved bike path from the parking lot to the campground where I would pick up the Nature Trail. I could take that trail to the 214 Trail followed by a portion of the Newt Loop to the Catamount Trail. I hoped to take that trail up to Buck Mountain then take the Perimeter Trail down to the Trail of Ten Falls near the North Falls Trailhead. I planned on visiting all ten falls and returning to the parking area via the Canyon Trail portion of the Trail of Ten Falls. I crossed South Fork Silver Creek on a footbridge to pick up the Bike Path on the far side where I turned left.
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IMG_3964Crossing Highway 214 to the campground.

IMG_3965I detoured left to check out this bridge over Howard Creek.

IMG_3967Howard Creek

With the Nature Trail being a loop I could have gone either direction from the campground to reach the 214 Trail. Going left was a tenth of a mile shorter but I really wanted to make the loop as wide as possible so I went right at a pointer for the trail and Ampitheater.
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We had been on the Nature Trail in 2021 so it was familiar surroundings as I made my way to the 214 Trail where I turned right.
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IMG_3977Sign at the 214 Trail junction to let people know that there are no waterfalls in the backcountry.

I followed the 214 Trail for 1.3 miles to the Newt Loop.
IMG_3986Just a little fog but no rain.

IMG_3987Passing the Smith Creek Trail (left) after 0.6 miles on the 214 Trail.

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IMG_3992Rough skinned newt on the 214 Trail. (Probably headed for the Newt Loop too.)

IMG_3994Big nursery tree along the 214 Trail.

IMG_3996The trail post at the junction shows the Catamount Trail instead of the Newt Loop but the map at the junction labels it the Newt Loop.

IMG_3997Map check.

I turned right onto the Newt Loop and arrived at a junction with the Catamount Trail after 0.4 level miles.
IMG_4000This second post included the Newt Loop along with a pointer for the Catamount Trail.

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IMG_4005Crossing a CAT road along the Newt Loop.

IMG_4008Turning onto the Catamount Trail.

The Catamount Trail was new trail for me having not used it on our loop in 2021. The park map showed this trail extending 4.6 miles to a junction with the Lost Creek Trail then continuing another 0.9 miles to Buck Mountain. As a mountain bike trail the Catamount wound steadily uphill through the forest.
IMG_4016Lots of nursery stumps along the trail.

IMG_4020Another nursery stump.

IMG_4023Side trails were well marked.

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IMG_4034Did not expect to see that overhead today.

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IMG_4065I believe this short section of fire scar was from the 2020 Beachie Fire.

After 3.8 miles on the Catamount Trail I came to a 4-way junction with a maintenance road.
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The Catamount Trail continued on the far side the road only there was a “Do Not Enter One-Way” sign on the post.
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This was the first I’d heard of the trail here being one-way and I haven’t had a lot of luck since my hike in finding that information online or maps, but I honored the sign and turned left on the maintenance road following a Catamount Trail pointer.
IMG_4069Turning onto the road.

IMG_4070The opposite side of the post had a pointer for the Lost Creek Trail.

I followed the road for half a mile to the Lost Creek/Buck Mountain Trail junction.
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IMG_4074I veered uphill to the right here.

IMG_4075The Lost Creek/Buck Mountain junction.

On our previous visit we had arrived at this same junction having come down the Buck Mountain Trail. To make this hike as different as possible (and to remain as far to the outside of the park as possible) I turned right on the Lost Creek Trail.
IMG_4077The Lost Creek Trail doubles as a fire road.

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I followed this trail for 0.8 miles to a junction with the Catamount Trail at the edge of a clear cut.
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IMG_4083Here is where I would have come up had the Catamount Trail did not have the on-way section. (Note that on some mountain biking maps the one-way section is labeled “Upper Catamount Trail.)

I turned left onto the Catatmount Trail at the junction and quickly found myself walking through the clear cut.
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IMG_4085The treeless section wasn’t long. It appeared to have been an area impacted by the 2020 Beachie Fire.

IMG_4088Still some bleeding heart blooming.

IMG_4089There wasn’t a lot of bright Fall colors in the backcountry, but this maple stood out.

IMG_4090Was a bit surprised to see a few violets along this section.

IMG_4091Nearing the end of the logged area.

At the tree line the trail split unexpectedly (another feature not shown on the park map) into two one-way trails. The right hand fork (in this direction) was one-way uphill while the left down. I was going down at this point so I stayed to the left.
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It wasn’t long before the two trails rejoined. The trail continued downhill to the Buck Mountain Loop near its crossing of Howard Creek.
IMG_4095The rejoining of the trails.

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IMG_4099There were several bridges along this section of the trail. I also ran into the only mountain bikers that I would encounter all day in this area, a group of five.

IMG_4105The Buck Mountain Loop junction.

I turned right at the junction and crossed Howard Creek then turned right again back onto the Catamount Trail.
IMG_4107Bridge over Howard Creek.

IMG_4108The continuation of the Catamount Trail on the right.

The trail now climbed uphill for 0.2 miles to the large trail junction on Buck Mountain, a total of 1.1 miles from the Lost Creek Trail junction.
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IMG_4113The map showed the section I had just done as 0.9 miles, but my track was a bit more twisty than the map.

From the junction I took the Perimeter Trail.
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The park map lists this trail as 5.9 miles in length and has a “Steep” warning not far from the Buck Mountain junction. The trail was in good shape and although it lost over 350′ of elevation in just under a mile to a crossing of South Fork Silver Creek the grade was reasonable. Compared to some of the other trails we’d been on this year it didn’t seem all that steep.
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IMG_4123A small opening on the way down.

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IMG_4128Footbridge over South Fork Silver Creek.

IMG_4134South Fork Silver Creek

If I had paid better attention to the elevation numbers shown on the park map I might not have been so surprised when the trail began to climb on the other side of the creek. Over the next 2.1 miles the trail gained over 650′ before arriving at junction with the Rackett Ridge Trail. Up until the Rackett Ridge junction I had only encountered 8 people, the group of 5 mountain bikers and three trail runners (one solo and two together). The number of people seen doubled at this junction.
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IMG_4143I’m a hiker so I went right here.

IMG_4146Big fungus on the tree ahead.

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IMG_4155Map at the Rackett Ridge junction.

I continued on the Perimeter Trail which now began a nearly 3-mile descent that was at least as steep as the section before with the warning. The use of switchbacks allowed the grade to stay reasonable though.
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IMG_4159Another impressive nursery log.

IMG_4161I stopped in this area to change out of my sweaty socks and into one of the extra pairs I’d brought expecting rain.

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IMG_4163The vegetation went through several changes as the trail lost elevation.

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IMG_4169This was a big tree in the midst of much smaller ones.

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IMG_4174Roemer’s Meadow Trail (left) isn’t shown on the park maps yet, but it was completed in 2021 with help from the Salem Area Trails Alliance. (They do a lot of good work in the park and the area.) The trail is approximately 1.7 miles from the Rackett Ridge junction.

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IMG_4185The Trail of Ten Falls junction near Highway 214.

IMG_4184Looking back up the Perimeter Trail.

For the hike to be a true loop I would have turned left onto the Trail of Ten Falls, but in order to see Upper North Falls I needed go right for 0.3 miles so that’s what I did.
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IMG_4196Upper North Falls

After visiting the falls I headed back and passed under the highway to a large map at a “T” junction.
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IMG_4208A left would have taken me to the North Falls Trailhead.

I turned right at the signboard then veered right onto the Canyon Trail at a congested fork in the trail.
IMG_4209The Rim Trail to the left and Canyon Trail to the right, both part of the Trail of Ten Falls.

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The Canyon Trail descended some stairs then wound its way behind North Falls in approximately a tenth of a mile.
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The trail followed the creek arriving at Twin Falls a little over three-quarters of a mile from North Falls.
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IMG_4240I’m always impressed by the size of this rock in the creek.

IMG_4244Not Twin Falls, but a nice little cascade nonetheless.

IMG_4247This post could be a little confusing without a map. The Twin Falls Trail climbs uphill to a group camp and does not lead to Twin Falls. The falls are the opposite side along a very short spur trail that connects at either end to the Canyon Trail.

IMG_4248Twin Falls isn’t very easy to see from the spur trail either even though you’re right next to it.

I was able to find a better viewpoint of Twin Falls further along the Canyon Trail.
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IMG_4254Twin Falls

My next detour came 0.3 miles beyond Twin Falls when I turned left onto the Winter Falls Trail.
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The Winter Falls Trail crosses the creek on a footbridge then climbs gradually to the base of Winter Falls before steepening to climb up to the Rim Trail. I turned around before the steep part.
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IMG_4261North Fork Silver Creek

IMG_4263Winter Falls, as the name suggests it’s not much of a waterfall outside of Winter when rain and snowmelt provide more water.

IMG_4267With the dry Summer it isn’t a great Fall color year but there was a decent display along this trail.

After saying hi to Winter Falls I returned to the Canyon Trail and continued toward the South Falls Day Use Area. Next up was Middle North Falls and another detour to go behind this one as well.
IMG_4270I turned left here on the spur trail behind Middle North Falls.

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I again returned to the Canyon Trail and quickly arrived at the Drake Falls viewing platform.
IMG_4298Middle North Falls from the Canyon Trail.

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IMG_4301The 27′ Drake Falls.

Approximately a quarter mile beyond Drake Falls I turned right onto the Double Falls Trail.
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Much like Winter Falls, Double Falls is on a side creek which has a low flow much of the year.
IMG_4313The hiker at the base gives a good idea of the fall’s height, you just have to use your imagination to add water.

On my way back to the Canyon Trail I ran into one of Heather’s friends which allowed me to pause for a moment to talk and update her on our new kittens. Just beyond the Double Falls Trail I passed the eighth waterfall of my hike, Lower North Falls.
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It was about here that my feet started to let me know that this was a long hike. It was almost a mile from Lower North Falls to my next marker, a junction with the Maple Ridge Trail.
IMG_4330The Canyon Trail crosses the creek just downstream from Lower North Falls then makes a short climb to get above the canyon cliffs.

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A quarter mile from the Maple Ridge junction was Lower South Falls, another that the trail passes behind.
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After passing behind the falls the trail climbs a number of stairs which at this point of the hike was a mean trick.
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After conquering the stairs it was another 0.6 miles level miles to a footbridge at a fork in the trial within sight of the tenth and final waterfall, South Falls.
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IMG_4376I walked out onto the bridge for the view then returned to the junction to take the right hand fork and go behind this fall as well.

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I stayed right at junctions as I climbed to the top of South Falls then followed a paved path to a footbridge where I crossed the creek.
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IMG_4410View toward South Falls from the footbridge.

I followed the paved path to the Bike Path where I recrossed the creek then made my way along the parking lot to the car.
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IMG_4412Not sure what this old building was, possibly restrooms by the doors.

IMG_4413One of several picnic shelters in the park.

IMG_4414Approaching the Bike Path where I recrossed the creek.

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IMG_4417I can see the car!

The hike turned out to be close to 22 miles with somewhere around 2900′ of cumulative elevation gain. The GPS originally said 22.4 miles but that was partly due to it jumping around when I was behind the different falls and it didn’t have a good connection to the satellites. Removing some of the points put the total down to 21.5 miles but doing that lost the out-and back behind Middle North Falls and some of the switchbacks up from South Falls. Whatever the actual distance it was a lot for me but overall everything held up pretty well. A couple of small blisters on one heel were the worst consequence. The fact that it hadn’t rained surely helped with the feet.

Track prior to trying to remove some of the jumps in data points.

The lack of people in the backcountry is almost a shame as the forest is lovely and the trails well maintained. I say almost a shame because for those of us who do take the time to explore it, the solitude only adds to the beauty. The Trail of Ten Falls was busy comparatively, but it wasn’t the zoo that it would have been on a Summer weekend which was nice. Doing the loop in reverse would have resulted in less folks at the falls but we’d been to the falls in the morning on all our other visits so this gave me a chance to see them with the Sun at a different angle. The only minor bummer was not being able to hike the full Catamount Trail due to the one-way section. If I were to do it over I would probably start at the North Falls Trailhead and go clockwise so that I would have been going the right way for that section and still would have ended with most of the Trail of Ten Falls. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Silver Falls Perimeter Loop

Categories
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