Whipple Creek Regional Park Hike

Hike Distance: 6.0 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 821.8 miles

Elevation Gain: 852 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 99641 feet

I got out late due to physical therapy on my back and having to deal with Comcast on my internet lines! The physical therapy was very good and I’m hopeful of getting some great exercises to increase the strength of my core. I think this will help with knee stabilization because of the leg lifts in my shoes.

There’s a really creepy guy in a horrible car that is parked at the Whipple Creek parking area.   Kind of creeps me out to leave my vehicle behind, and I wonder whether or not  there’s going to be a smash and grab.   I took down his license plate and all the other information, without being obvious, but I certainly can’t imply that he would do anything if I didn’t see it.

I’m abandoning my PCT 500-mile permit because of the high snow that is all along the central Cascades of Oregon.   I really don’t have snow skills and wouldn’t be prepared.   It pains me to no end giving up the permit but I just picked too early of a date for the PCT this year, given this is a very high snow year!   That said, I’m still going to backpack from Ashland to Crater Lake later in the summer.   Hopefully this will get rid of any snow issues as well as any mosquito issues.   Seems to me that either way I’m so screwed but that’s just the way it is. 😦   I don’t need a permit for the Ashland to Crater Lake section because there’s nothing I’m passing through that requires one.   This at least will give me a little time on the trail and maybe get it out of my system until next year?  I might also backpack through Three Sisters and Mt. Washington Wildernesses, which also don’t need a permit, at least this year.  Next year the Central Oregon permit system will be a ClusterF—!

I will still be doing a lot of hiking during the summer and in fact, my son wants to go backpacking with me, so that will be a good experience!   We still have two vacations planned this summer and they should be wonderful ones. What’s even more exciting is next year we have scheduled a vacation to Yellowstone National Park and that’s always a thrill. 🙂


Forest Road Hike South of Silver Star Mtn

Hike Distance: 7.1 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 815.8 miles

Elevation Gain: 1004 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 98789 feet

A brand new hike area for me and the drive was scary in the last mile.  The last mile of the drive was on a single lane road, and I ran into a loaded logging truck that was going downhill!  Once I got to the trailhead, the parking area was on level ground and out in the open.

This area had been logged recently and so isn’t very worthy of much discussion or photos. 😦  I don’t know that I’ll go back to this area.  The best part about this area was that I found a small waterfall, that was partially obscurred, and there was a pretty good view of Mt. Hood.

Other than those high points, the walk was okay, with an occasional clump of trees that provided shade.  I only saw one vehicle, and they stopped to offer a ride, which I politely declined.  Still nice to get out and get some exercise!

Burnt Bridge Creek Hike East from Stewart Glen TH

Hike Distance: 5.2 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 808.7 miles

Elevation Gain: 510 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 97785 feet

I really don’t have much time today to hike so Burnt Bridge Creek offers little bit of variety from what I’ve been doing, but without driving quite as far. It’s not too great of a sign when I park and broken glass is on the ground.   Looks like this area is now subject to break-ins and that concerns me.

Walking east, I took a short spur trail that goes over to Burnt Bridge Creek, and it’s mostly very tall grasses about 6 feet high!  I cleared the Scotch Broom along the trail, but then just turned around and went to the main trail.

There’s a fair number of people on the trail with their dogs and there’s still plenty of  Solitude.   I stopped and talked to this one couple for a little bit and that was nice. I also showed a father and his very young son how to get back to one of the streets by using  one of the trails in the forested area.  They were very thankful for my help!

I was surprised when two people on bicycle passed me and they turned out to be the Vancouver Police Department!   I didn’t know that they scouted this area and it certainly made me feel better.   I would think this would be one of the better tasks if I were a policeman?  At least they get some exercise and are outside.

Very warm out but the wind really made it a pleasure, especially under the canopy. This section of the trail is mostly shaded so the cover was appreciated.

Forest Road Hike West of Mt. St. Helens

Hike Distance: 8.9 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 803.5 miles

Elevation Gain: 678 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 97275 feet

A new forest road for us to investigate!  This area was nice but these younger trees didn’t offer much refuge from the intense sun and warmth.  We explored around and found a whole bunch of dead ends.  The road map we had showed the roads going through, but in actuality they all seemed to terminate on streams/creeks.

The biggest highlight was seeing a deer on the road.  We froze in place long enough to take some pictures.  We also saw an elk and young one but they quickly moved back into the forest, and no photos could be taken.  We really love seeing the animals, and they seem to be coming out more in the late spring/early summer, probably due to large amounts of food!

It turned out to be a nice long hike and I felt pretty good today!  An enjoyable day for some exercise.

PCT Scouting Hike from Crest Camp – North Towards Indian Heaven Wilderness and South Along Lava Flows

Hike Distance: 7.4 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 794.6 miles

Elevation Gain: 927 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 93123 feet

Our first foray on the PCT in a while, and this area is certainly under snow for much of the winter and spring.  We parked at the Crest Camp parking area off of NF-60 in Skamania County.  Going north will lead you into Indian Heaven Wilderness, and south will lead you towards Cascade Locks, Oregon.

I wanted to see if Indian Heaven was accessible, as snow tends to linger there for much of the summer.  So, we filled out a permit to enter Indian Heaven Wilderness and headed north.  We bumped into a group of three people that were looking for mushrooms.  These were the only people we saw while hiking north.  There were patches of snow on the trail but not bad.  The trail continuously ascends and is an easy climb.  We had to cross two streams, and there were plenty of rocks to make this simple.

As we ascended the snow became more frequent.  We reached a switchback and the snow just disappeared!  After the second switchback we just climbed.  At about 3800 feet the snow just came up and was everywhere!!!  The snow was also deep but consolidated, so it was easy to walk upon.  We decided to continue but got to a dip in the trail, where a large pool had formed from a small seasonal stream.

This large pond was deep and we decided not to cross it, as we didn’t want wet boots.  It’s true that it was warm (about 75degF) but I hate wet high-top boots.  We could see Sheep Lake between all the trees, and it was very high (there is normally a small campsite at a small shore area) and flooded the camping area!

Turning around we headed back toward NF-60, and crossed it to head south on the PCT.  We noticed a huge number of Trillium flowers all around the trail.  They’re just blooming at this high elevation, and all were very small (don’t know what that means).  Going south of NF-60, on the PCT, follows an old lava flow.  It’s very interesting to see the lava either on the trail or just east of it.

We bumped into a PCT backpacker named Dan (trail name: Lieutenant Dan).  We talked quite a while before parting ways.  He has lived in Taiwan for 20 years and came back to hike the PCT for a few weeks.  He hiked about 200 miles in southern California before flipping up to Cascade Locks.  He will be ending his backpack tomorrow, and hitch back to town from the Crest Camp area.

We continued south until we reached about two miles from our car.  Heading back we met Dan, once more, while he was camped at Crest Camp.  We left him with a few Powerades and wished him well.  A very nice person and this is why we provide Trail Magic on the PCT!

The PCT appears to be in very good shape for the 3.7 mile length we scouted.  Only two downed trees were seen and all were easily avoided.  The level of complete snow cover is at about 3800 feet, and therefore Indian Heaven Wilderness will be difficult to access for at least another month or more, especially on the higher elevation north end.  We cleared many small branches there are no impediments for the trail section we saw.  Our two stream crossings were easy.  Where we stopped, at the deep seasonal pool, is easily crossed, but we had no interest in doing so.  Minimal mosquitoes early in the hike but they were coming out before we left.  It doesn’t have the alternate name “Mosquito  Heaven” for nothing, and it will be brutal in this area until August. 😦

A fantastic day and a nice change from local hikes and forest road hikes!