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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 Wallowas

Minam River via Moss Springs – 07/11/2022

Following a great first two days of hikes (Mt. Ireland & Catherine Creek Meadows) on our visit to Eastern Oregon Monday’s hike was set to be the longest in the trip, a visit to the Minam River via the Moss Springs Trailhead. We’d set our alarm for 4am in order to try and get as much hiking done during the cooler morning hours as possible. We’d left our motel at 5am and I started having abdominal pain as we drove to the trailhead. We think it was a side effect of my having preemptively taken some over the counter heartburn medication the previous nights since we had been eating richer foods than we typically do. Whatever the cause the my stomach seemed constantly cramped which was affecting my lower back and hips as well. I hoped that whatever was ailing me would subside soon as we set off on the Horse Ranch Trail (Trail 1908).
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IMG_6921Entering the Eagle Cap Wilderness.

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The trail descended from the trailhead 1.4 miles to a bridge over Horseshoe Creek. Going downhill was particularly painful for me as my cramped muscles protested each time I stepped down.
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IMG_6934Scarlet gilia along the trail.

20220711_062416Tapertip onion

20220711_062430Scarlet gilia

20220711_062551Lewis flax, we were hoping to see it opened up on the way back up to the car but somehow we both completely missed it.

20220711_062750Arrowleaf groundsel

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20220711_063552Bog orchid

20220711_063854False sunflowers

IMG_6958Paintbrush

20220711_064029Sticky geranium

IMG_6968Footbridge over Horseshoe Creek.

20220711_065308Horseshoe Creek

Shortly after crossing Horseshoe Creek the trail came close to the Little Minam River.
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The trail gradually descended along the river for approximately three miles to a bridge crossing it.
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20220711_071703Spotted coralroot

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IMG_6987Mountain lady slipper

IMG_6989Little Minam River

IMG_6992Coral fungus

IMG_6995Huckleberry Creek

IMG_6997Bridge across the Little Minam River.

IMG_7000Little Minam River

I had been forced to take a number of breaks due to the abdominal discomfort including several bouts of dry heaves. Other than my core though I felt good and being just a tad stubborn we continued on from the bridge. On the far side of the bridge we stayed left at a junction with the Jim White Ridge Trail.
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The Horse Ranch Trail briefly descended then climbed to a pass a little over 2 miles from the river crossing.
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IMG_7010The only area that we encountered showing signs of having burned in the not too distant past.

20220711_093724Elkhorn clarkia

IMG_7015Junction with the Little Minam Trail (left) just below the pass.

At the pass the trail turned left and began to descend along a ridge.
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Soon the trail left the ridge and began a steep descent to a meadow along the Minam River.
IMG_7022The meadow from the trail.

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IMG_7025Arriving at the meadow.

The U.S.F.S. owned Red’s Horse Ranch is located in the meadow. This historic ranch was acquired by the Forest Service in 1994 and still has a caretaker. Due to how I was feeling we didn’t actually visit the ranch but instead continued past it to the Minam River where we crossed on another bridge and took a long break across the river from the ranch.
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IMG_7034Horses at Red’s Horse Ranch.

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IMG_7037Minam River

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I was hoping the long break would finally help my stomach relax but alas it wasn’t to be; so after our break we began the 8 mile trek back up to the car. We stopped at a spring on the way up to the pass to top off our water. For whatever reason I felt way better going uphill than I had downhill or even on level trail which was nice.
IMG_7045Landing strip near Red’s Horse Ranch.

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IMG_7057A plane coming in for a landing at the nearby Minam River Lodge.

IMG_7060Lousewort

IMG_7063Diamond clarkia

20220711_115525Grand collomia

IMG_7066Millipede

The pain was back as we descended from the pass but alleviated again every time we climbed. It was the first time I was happy to be climbing on a trail. We missed the flax on the way back up to the car but we did spot several white mariposa lilies which we hadn’t noticed that morning as well as a large patch of broomrape.
IMG_7082Pink pyrola

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IMG_7089Little Minam River

IMG_7090Coral fungus

IMG_7092We saw a bunch of these black moths? but they seldom sat still long enough to get a photo.

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IMG_7130An Orobanche

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IMG_7137Penstemon

IMG_7163Butterfly

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IMG_7183White mariposa lily

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IMG_7192Large-flower triteleia

IMG_7204Arriving back at the trailhead.

We arrived back at the car around 3:15pm after the long hike. It was a nice hike but admittedly my issues were a distraction for both of us which kept us from appreciating it as much as we should have.

Heather drove us back to La Grande where I tried taking a bath and eating half a sandwich was the only thing other than water and Gatorade that I’d had all day. Neither helped immediately so I laid down in bed and soon fell asleep. We kept the alarm set in hopes that I would be feeling better in the morning but if I didn’t we’d have to delay our planned hike to Burger Pass. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Minam River via Moss Springs