PCT Trail Magic Hike from Panther Creek South Past Wind River

Hike Distance: 8.3 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 980.3 miles

Elevation Gain: 1079 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 122589 feet

Another sunny and warm day, and another chance to provide some PCT Trail Magic!  We headed out toward Panther Creek (WA) and hiked a section between it, and just past Wind River.  We really didn’t expect to see many thru-hikers, but thought we’d give it a try anyway.

We first walked down to Panther Creek before heading south on the PCT.  We were carrying  plenty of Oreo Cookies and Starbucks Via coffee packets.  Our packs were heavy but it’s a small price to pay for the enjoyment we get.  As we walked south it was evident that this section needs to be brushed out.  The vegetation had encroached upon the trail, and it felt like we were pushing through a thick jungle.  I trimmed many overhanging branches but the impact seemed minimal.  At least we cut everything that would have slapped you in the face!  There were also two downed trees, but they were easily scooted under.

Crossing the Wind River Hwy, to stay on the PCT, we noticed some containers for garbage and goodies.  They were chained to the trees, which I understand.  A very nice gesture, although the fruit in the container was all gone.:(  We crossed over the Wind River bridge but didn’t linger long due to a very noisy (screaming and loud music) group of people that were along the shore.  It wasn’t until we were almost about to turn around that we bumped into a section hiker named “Treemon”.  He was a very nice older gentleman that was completing the last section of his PCT journey, by completing the state of Washington.  He didn’t want the Oreos or coffee, and my wife gladly gave him the apple she brought along!

We turned around, near Bunker Hill, and headed back towards the trailhead.  We again bumped into “Treemon” and also into two other section hikers, that were also hiking the state of Washington.  They had no trail name.  The other two hikers mentioned that we were the first Trail Angels that had ever met!  We gave them Oreos, and they were on their way.

Although we didn’t see any thru-hikers, that had flipped up here to avoid the snowy Sierra’s, it was a productive day.  We did meet some nice section hikers, were on our favorite trail and it was a beautiful day. 🙂

 

Devil’s Rest Failed Hike with Alternate Route Investigation

Hike Distance: 6.6 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 972.0 miles

Elevation Gain: 1318 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 121510 feet

My son and I bumped into a gentleman on a previous hike to Devil’s Rest, a couple weeks ago.  He mentioned that he took an alternate route to get there, and that nobody was on the trail.  He mentioned how he got to the TH, and we noted this info for a future alternative hike to Devil’s Rest.  My son wanted to try this alternate route, and so we headed out there.

To begin, the road to this alternate TH was horrible.  In fact, it was on a cliff, and turned into a single lane road.  The road felt sketchy enough that we parked a few blocks before the intended destination, and it was on a cliff next to a big dropoff!  I’ll mention the spoiler now, instead of at the end of the trip report.  As we drove back home, along this one way road, another car came up it.  That car moved as close to the cliff as possible, and my son barely had room to get by.  Unfortunately, there was so little room that my son’s right tire went into the shallow wet drainage ditch and hit a log, that was dragged along the side of the car! 😦  Suffice it to say, the log scratched along the right door panels and popped out the front bumper guard.  Thankfully, the car is a Subaru Forester, and he easily got out of the ditch.  Kudos to my son for being so calm and cool about it, as it was the car’s first damage ever done. 🙂  We later found out that there was a better, and safer, road to get to this trailhead.  Ugh.

This hike didn’t go much better than the drive.  We walked up the road and the trail the guy mentioned wasn’t there.  We walked around an old abandoned road and found a very steep trail, and it appeared to go where we wanted.  This trail was also old and abandoned, but we followed it anyway.  It soon became an old overgrown and abandoned road.  The high point of this hike was the lack of people and the enormous amount of flowers.  The Daisies and Foxglove were in profusion, and beautiful!

There was a slight path that wormed through this old road, and there was also evidence of an old trail system that was long gone.  Shockingly, we bumped into two other hikers that were also here, Don Nelson and his friend Jeff.  We talked for a long while, and discussed the area.  Suffice it to say, the trail system here is long gone but there are some people that still enjoy getting out here.  We continued on this old road but the vegetation got so thick that we ended up turning around.

We ended going up another forest road, which may have gotten us to Devil’s Rest, but it was getting late and we had to turn around.  I would say that this area is definitely not for people looking for a nicely groomed trail with plenty of views.  All I can say is the man we met at Devil’s Rest made this seem like an easy alternate route to Devil’s Rest ….. and it’s not!  I’m sure we’ll come back here when the majority of the vegetation dies off, in the winter, but it’s too thick and with plenty of trip hazards.  However, for us, we enjoyed the adventure and like to explore other out of the ordinary hiking opportunities!

 

Vacation Day 1 – Deschutes River Trail Loop Hike

Hike Distance: 7.2 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 921.3 miles

Elevation Gain: 516 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 114777 feet

This was the first day of a five day vacation to the Central Oregon Cascade Mountains.  Our home base for this vacation was in La Pine, Oregon, at the Best Western Motel.

Being a driving day, our first hike was shorter due to a long commute to La Pine.  We’re trying to complete the entire length of the Deschutes River Trail, and today we did the section between Benham Falls and Sunriver Resort.

We parked at one of the Benham Falls parking areas, off of Benham Falls Road.  Walking across a long bridge, which spanned the Deschutes River, we headed for Benham Falls.  This falls feels more like a steep rapids, but the sheer volume of the water is impressive!  It was very crowded on this section of the trail, but we expected that.  We didn’t stay long as there were too many people, and we wanted some solitude.

Heading south back over the bridge, we took a right and headed through what seemed like an abandoned self-guided trail.  It was overgrown but still easy to follow.  We soon intersected the Deschutes River Trail and continued SW for a while.  The views of the Deschutes River, along this section, were breathtaking.  There were very few people on this section, which met our goal of some solitude.  There were, however, some people riding bicycles here.

After some distance the trail turns south towards the Sunriver Resort.  This section of the trail was abandoned forest roads and level terrain.  We saw some people on bikes, presumably from the Sunriver Resort?

We soon reached E. Cascade Road, and an asphalted trail begins there, that took us back to the Benham Falls parking area.  The asphalted road wasn’t particularly interesting, and the surface is hard on the body.  That said, it was a quick path to return to our starting point.  Also, we found another long trail, that spawned from this trail, that leads to the Lava Beds Visitor Center.  We’ll come back another time to do that trail.  🙂

A wonderful first day of our vacation, with plenty more days to head out into the wilderness areas.

 

Battleground Lake State Park Loop Hike

Hike Distance: 6.7 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 914.1 miles

Elevation Gain: 945 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 114261 feet

The usual fun hike around the Battleground Lake State Park trail system.  It looks like they’re making more progress on improving the lake area, but I’m sure it won’t be completed for a while.

The highlight of the hike was when I came around a corner and some cute fuzzy little raccoons playing on the trail.  It took about two seconds before mom reared up and hissed aggressively at me!  The hissing was definitely scary, and aimed at me, and not a pleasant experience.  To tell the truth, it was quite a shock and I backed off quickly but didn’t turn my back and show fear!  I’m fortunate that mom raccoon didn’t attack as I was only about 10 feet from her four young ones!

I wanted to complete this loop, and end my hike, so I started making plenty of noise before proceeding.  I also gave them an easy way out so I was no threat.  Mom and her little ones slowly moved away but were still visible.  It was then that I was able to take some pictures.   Another story to tell on my hiking journey!

Hiking at Frenchman’s Bar in Vancouver Lake area

Hike Distance: 7.7 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 907.4 miles

Elevation Gain: 455 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 113316 feet

Such a bad habit I have to get out late, which makes it impossible to go to the Oregon side of the river.   I was originally going to test my Salomon running shoes, for the PCT,  but my right foot no longer fits well into the shoe since I got the leg lifts.  I’ll just end up returning the shoes at REI which is where I bought them. 😦

Since I no longer have any time to break in running shoes from Pacific Crest Trail I will just be wearing my low up high top boots. They are very warm but they’re also extremely comfortable and a great fit, and I’ve never had any blisters or with them, and this is very important.   They also weigh quite a bit, but I’ve been used to this for the better part of seven to eight years.   I guess you can’t have everything you want and I’ll just have to make do with shoes that are comfortable but probably not the best fit for the Pacific Crest Trail!

Gorgeous day with some wind, which  is keeping it on the cooler side.   I parked at Vancouver Lake and took the Frenchman’s Bar Trail to Blurock Landing, and there’s access to the beach there.   I walked along the beach as far north as I could and had to turn around due to high water.  There’s an Osprey nest along this beach section and I stopped to watch them a bit.

I then walked back to Vancouver Lake and headed north on the North Trail.  Being under the canopy, it was much cooler and enjoyable.  There was a huge amount of Blackberry shoots and Stinging Nettle draped over the trail, so I spent some time cutting them back.  It’s always fun to give back to the trail!

A fantastic day and a pleasant temperature.  This area will get very busy when the Vancouver School District  starts the summer recess tomorrow.  I will try not to come here to avoid the crowds.