Tag Archives: black butte

Black Butte, Horse Camp, and McCloud River Falls

We’d spent five days hiking in the greater Mount Shasta area but it wasn’t until the sixth day that we made it to the mountain that we’d been seeing every day during our hikes. In truth we were holding out hope that the Everitt Memorial Highway might be opened by the end of the week so that we could drive up to the Panther Meadow Trail but that wasn’t in the cards this trip as there was just too much snow still left over from this past winter.

Our plan had always been to do multiple hikes on the day we visited Mt. Shasta and with our other two hikes a go we looked to Hike Mt Shasta for ideas for another trail on the mountain and chose the Horse Camp Trail.

We started our day at the Black Butte Trailhead where we found a caution sign posted by the Forest Service.
IMG_6308

IMG_6390

The slide referenced in the notice was said to be a mile and a half up the the 2.6 mile trail so we figured we could at least get most of the hike in and if it didn’t look too dangerous we could do the whole thing.

The trail began in a the forest climbing steadily as it wound around the cinder cone.
IMG_6309

We’d gotten an early start which was nice not only for the views but for the temperature as well since we’d be gaining over 1800′ feet if we made it to the summit.

IMG_6311

As we emerged from the trees we had a front row view of Mt. Shasta over our shoulders.
IMG_6314

While Mt. Eddy lay straight ahead partly covered by the 14,180′ volcanoes shadow.
IMG_6325

It was a little late in the year for many flowers along the trail but there were still a few as well as some other interesting plants.
IMG_6319

2017-07-28 06.22.39

IMG_6330

2017-07-28 06.25.40

After 1.3 miles the trail came to a switchback revealing a small rocky gorge in the butte.
IMG_6340

IMG_6343

Mt. Eddy was now behind us as we continued to climb with the summit of Black Butte in the sunlight above.
IMG_6345

IMG_6347

Our timing was good as we were in a great spot to watch the Sun rise over Mt. Shasta.
IMG_6346

IMG_6350

IMG_6353

As neat as that was to see the Sun was soon directly on us and things heated up quickly as we clambered over the rocky trail.
IMG_6359

We were beginning to wonder if the Forest Service had made up the slide because we’d been hiking long enough that we were sure we’d gone further than a mile and half and hadn’t seen anything yet. It turned out that the slide was closer to 2 miles along the trail.
IMG_6360

With a little caution it was passable but it didn’t look like it would take much for it to get a lot worse. After passing the slide we came to a second switch back where the trail began to climb more aggressively toward the summit.
IMG_6362

After a third switchback the trail began a series of shorter switchbacks up to the summit where the foundation remains of an old lookout tower.
IMG_6370

Mt. Shasta’s shadow had been replaced by that of Black Butte, but the 6358′ butte couldn’t reach Mt. Eddy.
IMG_6372

Meanwhile the position of the sun made it nearly impossible to look at Mt. Shasta.
IMG_6374

There was a nice cool breeze at the summit and we lingered there awhile before heading down. After completing that hike we hopped in the car and drove to the Bunny Flat Trailhead which is where the Everitt Memorial Highway was gated closed.
IMG_6391

We had several options from this trailhead including Horse Camp, Green Butte, or a loop visiting both. Given the heat and the fact that we were beginning to run out of gas in our legs we opted for the short (1.6 mile) trail to Horse Camp, the site of the Sierra Club Foundation’s Shasta Alpine Lodge.

After filling out a wilderness permit we set off on the trail heading directly toward the mountain.
IMG_6392

IMG_6394

After a short distance we turned left following a pointer for Horse Camp.
IMG_6395

The wide trail passed some patches of wildflowers as it climbed for a mile to a junction with another trail coming from Sand Flat.
IMG_6401

IMG_6399

IMG_6402

IMG_6403

IMG_6405

IMG_6406

IMG_6411

IMG_6413

IMG_6417

The trail steepened as we entered the Mt. Shasta Wilderness but leveled out some as we arrived at the Shasta Alpine Lodge.
IMG_6419

IMG_6428

IMG_6429

We sat in the shadow of the lodge for a moment then explored the area a bit.
IMG_6431

IMG_6433

Behind the lodge climbers were getting last minute instructions before heading up the summit trail.
IMG_6434

Next to the lodge was a spring and spigot for water.
IMG_6437

We declared victory here deciding to leave any other hiking on the mountain for our next visit. We returned to Bunny Flat and headed for our final stop of the day at the Lower McCloud River Falls picnic area.

For this hike we were using a recently obtained guidebook written by Bubba Suess from Hike Mt. Shasta, “Hiking Northern California A Guide to the Region’s Greatest Hiking Adventures”. The book covers all of Northern California and has some amazing looking hike which we hope to get to at some point.

The picnic area is located off of Highway 89 about 15 miles east of Mount Shasta City. Similar to our visit to Castle Lake we were getting a late start due this being our third hike of the day and we found the parking area packed with people trying to escape the heat. We walked over to a signboard with a map and then set off towards a viewpoint of the Lower Falls.
IMG_6447

IMG_6450

A little creative camera work produced a human free photo of the falls.
IMG_6454

We left the crowds at the falls behind and followed the River Trail upstream toward the Middle Falls.
IMG_6455

IMG_6456

We passed by Fowlers Camp which was busy with campers as well as a doe searching for edibles.
IMG_6469

At the end of the camp was a pointer for Middle Falls.
IMG_6470

The Middle Falls were quite impressive and although there were a number of people around it wasn’t nearly as busy as the Lower Falls had been.
IMG_6473

IMG_6477

IMG_6481

From the base of the Middle Falls the trail climbed via switchbacks above the river.
2017-07-28 12.26.07

The next .3 miles were level offering a somewhat obscured view of Mt. Shasta.
IMG_6493

After a total of 2 miles we arrived at the Upper Falls.
IMG_6497

IMG_6502

We continued on a short distance to admire the narrow gorge the river passed through above the Upper Falls.
IMG_6508

2017-07-28 12.35.56

IMG_6513

IMG_6510

We returned the way we’d come and drove back to Mount Shasta City having completed 10 hikes in 6 days in California including visiting 4 wilderness areas that we had not previously been to. We’d seen our first rattlesnake, a bear cub and its mom, several deer and lots of other wildlife. We had experienced amazing scenery on all of the hikes and really couldn’t have asked for a better trip. The one negative happened after we’d showered and changed and headed out for an early dinner.

We chose a small Thai restaurant (the food was excellent) and when we were greeted we were informed that they couldn’t serve us any water. It turned out that the city had issued a boil water warning the day before due to some tests of the city’s drinking water that came back positive for E-coli. We’d been drinking the water all week, lots of water. It’s been five days since our last drinks and so far we seem to have escaped unscathed but we could have done without that scare. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Black Butte, Horse Camp, and McCloud River Falls

Flatiron Rock – Oregon Badlands Wilderness

We thought our hikes were done for the year after visiting Chip Ross Park and Dimple Hill earlier this month, but a rare opportunity to hike with our Son on Christmas Eve couldn’t be passed up.  We were heading to Bend to celebrate Christmas with our families and after driving over Santiam Pass  we met up with Dominique and drove to the Flatiron Rock Trailhead on Highway 20 east of town.

Flatiron Rock Trailhead

Our plan was to repeat part of a 22.6 mile hike we had done this past May. This time around we were shooting for a 7 mile hike out to Flatiron Rock and back.

We followed the same course as on our previous visit starting out on the 1.9 mile Ancient Juniper Trail. Unlike last time there was a few inches of snow on the trail and more along side it.
Trail sign in the Oregon Badlands Wilderness

Ancient Juniper Trail - Oregon Badlands Wilderness

It was a beautiful day with temperatures just below freezing. The sagebrush and junipers were covered in snow and robins sang as they gobbled up juniper berries.
Ancient Juniper Trail - Oregon Badlands Wilderness

Snow covered sagebrush

Robin catching snow?

When we arrived at the Ancient Juniper Trail junction with the Flatiron Rock Trail things were a litter whiter than last time.
Trail junction in the Oregon Badlands Wilderness

Trail junction in the Oregon Badlands Wilderness

At the junction we turned left onto the Flatiron Rock Trail and followed it 1.6 more miles to Flatiron Rock at a junction with the Castle Trail.
Flatiron Rock from the Flatiron Rock Trail

Flatiron Rock from the Flatiron Rock Trail

Flatiron Rock Trail junction with the Castle Trail

The number of hikers who had been through the snow before us had been dwindling and at Flatiron Rock it appeared that no one had ventured up into the rock itself since the last snow.
Flatiron Rock

I reached the rock first and headed inside its passageways to get a birds eye view of Heather and Dominique coming up the trail.
View from Flatiron Rock

View from Flatiron Rock

Flatiron Rock Trail

Although a few clouds limited the views from Flatiron Rock they were better than they had been on the cloudy day in May as both the Middle and North Sister appeared on the horizon.
Middle and North Sister from Flatiron Rock

Middle and North Sister from Flatiron Rock

In addition to those 10,000′ peaks Black Butte, Gray Butte, and Powell Butte rose above the high desert.
Black Butte

Gray Butte

Powell Butte

Several passages on Flatiron Rock allow for a nearly half mile loop past colorful lichen and interesting rock formations including a couple of arches.
Inside Flatiron Rock

Lichen on the rocks

Rock arch in Flatiron Rock

Rock arch in Flatiron Rock

Various animal tracks could be seen in the snow but the only ones we saw were the robins which seemed to particularly like the rock.
Robins (at least 14) at Flatiron Rock

After completing the loop we retraced our steps to the junction with the Ancient Juniper Trail where we remained on the Flatiron Trail for 1.2 miles to the trailhead. Between the passing clouds and the lowering of the Sun the light began to soften along this final stretch sometimes leaving the snow with a beautiful blueish color.
Flatiron Rock Trail

Flatiron Rock Trail

Flatiron Rock Trail

After finishing the hike we drove to my parents house and relaxed waiting for them to return with my brother and his family. It was the perfect way to kick of Christmas weekend and to cap off our 2016 hiking year all in one. Happy Trails (and Holidays)!

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/9319235@N02/albums/72157674546328223

Crescent Mountain

Our wildflower adventure in the Old Cascades continued on our way home from Bend on July 6th. The hike we’d chosen was Crescent Mountain which is less than five miles from Iron Mountain as the crow flies. A 4.5 mile trail climbs up the SE ridge of this crescent shaped mountain through a series of meadows to another former lookout site.

The first 2.5 miles climbed through a nice forest with a crossing of Maude Creek at the 1.3 mile mark.
DSC00434

The trail then entered the first meadow which was full of bracken fern and some wildflowers.
DSC00480
DSC00496
DSC00498
DSC00502
DSC00504

The ferns gave way to more wildflowers as the trail continued to climb. Then we spotted a field of beargrass ahead. It turned out to be the most densely packed we’d ever seen.
DSC00539
DSC00719
DSC00720

Butterflies and birds could be seen flying about in all directions. Behind us a view of Mt. Washington and The Three Sisters opened up across the open hillside.
DSC00551
DSC00555
DSC00557
DSC00560
DSC00718
DSC00724
DSC00564
DSC00721

There was a nice variety of flowers in bloom.
DSC00727
DSC00744
DSC00741
DSC00714
DSC00694
DSC00693
DSC00559
DSC00574
DSC00579

The meadows lasted for about a mile before the trail reentered the forest and climbed a ridge to a trail junction. Taking the uphill fork to the right we quickly popped out on the rocky summit where the former lookout had stood. The view here was better than Iron Mountain with Three Fingered Jack unobstructed and Crescent Lake below nestled in the curve of the mountain.
Mt. Jefferson
DSC00591
Mt. Washington and The Three Sisters
DSC00592
Three Fingered Jack and Black Butte
DSC00593
Diamond Peak
DSC00594
Mt. Hood & Mt. Adams
DSC00619
Crescent Lake
DSC00634

There were more flowers, butterflies and birds up at the summit and despite a brief encounter with mosquitoes when we left the meadows we were left alone to enjoy the scenery.
DSC00651
DSC00645
DSC00653
Hummingbird enjoying the paint
DSC00672
DSC00642
DSC00652
DSC00658

Coming down we ran into a pair of hikers passing through the meadow who were equally impressed with the flowers. We agreed that we’d probably timed it as well as could be hoped. It was a great way to end the holiday weekend. Happy Trails!

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/9319235@N02/sets/72157645550800815/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10204403365071385.1073741892.1448521051&type=1

Black Butte

For the final hike of our vacation we decided to say farewell to the mountains for the year. Black Butte provided us the opportunity to get one last good view of the Cascades and a nice bit of elevation gain to boot. We had been checking the weather forecast as often as possible to see if it would be worth the effort and when we went to bed the night before our hike the forecast was for clear sunny skies all day long. They were wrong. lol

My first inkling that something was amiss was when I was loading the car in the morning and there were no stars visible in the sky. As we began our drive to the trailhead occasional sprinkles of rain were falling, but we were committed now and figured that it was early and maybe the clear skies were just a little late.

We arrived at the lower Black Butte Trailhead under cloudy skies but at least there was no rain. The trail set off through pine trees and a carpet of orange ferns.
198
We caught several glimpses of Black Butte on the lower portion of the trail and at least it was cloud free (it had not been on the drive earlier).

Black Butte from the lower trail
Black Butte from the lower trail

The lower portion of the trail passed through a variety of forest types. The ever changing makeup of the trees and plants was very interesting.
208

Cedars
Cedars

213

215

There would have been some mountain views on a clearer day along this portion as well but on this day all we could make out was the snow line at the base of Mt. Washington and Three Fingered Jack. We were still hoping that the cloud cover would burn off by the time we reached the summit so we continued to climb to the upper trailhead.

From the upper trailhead we climbed out of the forest to the more exposed upper slopes of Black Butte. Here the view was virtually unobstructed by trees but the clouds were a different story. There was a thick layer of clouds above our heads but low enough to hide the taller Cascade Peaks. Below us were smaller patches of clouds passing by and sometimes over us.

Mt. Washington
Mt. Washington
Looking down past the clouds
Looking down past the clouds

As the trail wound up and around the butte we got our first good look at the lookout tower. We also noticed that the summit appeared to be a bit snowy or at least frosty.
242

We had been overly warm as we climbed so far and had taken most of our layers off but as we entered the “white” zone we were met with much colder air. As we worked our way around the north side of the butte a slight breeze brought even colder air to us and kept this side of the butte wintry white.
264

272

283

To the north we could see the edge of the upper cloud layer as sunlight reflected off the lower clouds.
271
To the NE we spotted the top of a snowy mountain against blue sky – Mt. Hood!

Mt. Hood
Mt. Hood

Further around we found ourselves staring at the base of Mt. Jefferson. The view was strangely reminiscent of the view we’d had on Double Peaks on the opposite side of the mountain just 3 days earlier with clouds covering the upper 2/3rds of the mountain and blue sky apparently above and behind the mountain.

Mt. Jefferson hidden again
Mt. Jefferson hidden again

At the summit the snow/ice created some interesting scenes.
286

287

288

We explored the area on top of the butte where the lookout tower is not the only structure. A 1924 cupola that was the former lookout and a log cabin where the lookout staff lives were also present.

1924 cupola
1924 cupola

302

Signs on the summit listed the mountain peaks that would be visible on a clear day from Broken Top to the south to Mt. Adams to the north. We were mostly left with our imaginations. 🙂 Looking out over the log cabin we could see a good portion of Three Fingered Jack and some of Mt. Jefferson.

Three Fingered Jack
Three Fingered Jack

We hung around for a little over half an hour hoping that the clouds would break up but the lower clouds just kept coming up from behind us and the upper clouds didn’t seem to be budging. Just as we started to leave though we noticed the upper layer was breaking up to the north and there seemed to be some breaking up near Mt. Jefferson. We turned around and headed back toward the cabin but the low clouds were rising up just in front of us so we again headed back down. I kept looking back though hoping for something when we finally got a little break and the summit of Mt. Jefferson made an appearance over a ribbon of clouds.

Mt. Jefferson
Mt. Jefferson

As the upper clouds retreated south we suddenly had blue sky above us and the frosty coating quickly melted from the trees and plants.
As we came around to the south side of the butte Mt. Washington was a bit more visible.

Mt. Washington
Mt. Washington

 

The upper layer of clouds retreating south
The upper layer of clouds retreating south

Just as quickly as the blue sky had appeared one of the larger low clouds enveloped the side of Black Butte and we were once again without a view.

When we got down past the upper trailhead we finally got back out of the cloud and could once again see out to where the mountains would be. Even though the upper layer of clouds had mostly retreated the lower clouds were quickly replacing it and many of them clung to the taller peaks. We did manage to get a good view of several small peaks and buttes though.

Belknap Crater and Little Belknap
Belknap Crater and Little Belknap
Black Crater
Black Crater
Hayrick Butte & Hoodoo
Hayrick Butte & Hoodoo

We even got a brief glimpse of North Sisters summit.
363

This time on the lower trail we spotted a decent amount of wildlife including chipmunks, douglas squirrels, golden-mantled squirrels, and various birds. Some were more willing to have their pictures taken than others.
351

368

369

376

We were supposed to meet my parents at the trailhead at 2:00 so they could drop off Dominique (who had chosen not to accompany us on the hike). A series of mishaps led to a bit of an adventure but while we were waiting a group of deer came by the parking area.
384

We eventually met up with my parents and reclaimed Nique and headed home. With that the bulk of our 2013 hikes were behind us. We’ll hopefully get out a couple more times this year, but our activities have now shifted to running for the next several months. It’s the beginning of our race season and we are all starting to train for a 15 mile trail run in a couple of months. Happy Trails.

Facebook photos:https://www.facebook.com/deryl.yunck/media_set?set=a.10202390873000341.1073741863.1448521051&type=1
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/9319235@N02/sets/72157636523907403/