Tag Archives: Crab spider

Bear Point – 7/22/2019

We had passed the Bear Point Trail twice when hiking into Jefferson Park on the South Breitenbush Trail, most recently last August. (post) It was finally time to tackle that trail which gains almost 1700′ in just over one and three quarters of a mile to the site of a former fire lookout.

We set off from the South Breitenbush Trailhead a little after 6am hoping to get the climb over before the day heated up too much.
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We followed the familiar South Breitenbush Trail for 2.2 miles to a signed junction.
IMG_3870Lots of spent beargrass along the trail.

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At the junction we went left on the Bear Point Trail.
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At first this trail continued the gradual climb that we’d been making on the South Breitenbush Trail as we passed around a spring set in a green forest.
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IMG_3886Thimbleberry bushes near the spring.

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IMG_4179Spring near the trail.

Shortly after passing the spring the trail began to climb in earnest via a series of swithbacks. The hillside below Bear Point was covered in talus slopes, the perfect spot to see a pika.
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IMG_3901Spotted the first pika of the day at this switchback (it’s on one of the red rocks)
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The hillside was pretty dry and the trees began to give way to manzanita, chinquapin and snowbush which allowed for some excellent views of Mt. Jefferson and the surrounding area as we trudged up the switchbacks.
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IMG_3921The Three Pyramids, Bachelor Mountain, and Coffin Mountain in the distance with Triangulation Peak in a cloud shadow along the near ridge to the right.

IMG_3928Mt. Jefferson with Three Fingered Jack now fully visible.

IMG_3935Three Fingered Jack

IMG_4169Grouse in the brush to the left of the trail.

IMG_4171Grouse

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As we neared the top the trees began to reappear in larger numbers and the beargrass was still blooming.
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We spotted the second pika of the day in a talus slope just below the summit.
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Despite the 3000′ of elevation gain to reach the summit the climb wasn’t particularly steep until the final 100 yards or so.
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IMG_3981Almost to the top.

IMG_3989Bear Point summit.

The views from the summit were amazing and there were a few wildflowers scattered about. We would have loved to have spent quite a bit of time relaxing there but the mosquitoes were a nuisance and there was no breeze to keep them at bay.
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IMG_4018The Three Sisters and Three Fingered Jack

IMG_4009Mt.Jefferson

IMG_4013Park Ridge (post)

IMG_3991Bear Lake, Dinah-Mo Peak, and Park Ridge

IMG_4146Triangulation Peak and Devils Peak

IMG_4148Boca Cave below Triangulation Peak (post)

IMG_4147Devils Peak (high point to the right of the ridge), which we had just hiked to a couple of weeks earlier (post)

IMG_4152Mt. Hood and Olallie Butte (The Breitenbush Cascades are also out there amid the trees.)

IMG_4137Mt. Hood with Slideout and Mildred Lakes in the forest below.

IMG_3986Fleabane

IMG_3996Columbine and fleabane with Bear Lake in the background.

IMG_4022Snow patch near the summit.

The round trip to Bear Point is just 7.6 miles so we had some energy left and with the early start coupled with not stopping for very long due to the bugs we also had some time so we decided to tackle another challenge and visit an off trail lake. Due to the lake being off-trail I’m not going to go into much detail although it probably wouldn’t take a lot of detective work to figure it out. This was a challenge to reach and required route finding and navigational skills.
IMG_4031Typical terrain, it’s hard to tell here but this was a steep hillside.

IMG_4023There were tons of these butterflies around.

IMG_4028Paintnbrush

IMG_4045Crossing a talus slope.

IMG_4050More typical conditions.

IMG_4053Pond near the lake.

IMG_4055Bird at the pond.

IMG_4058The lake

IMG_4076Spirea and shooting stars

20190722_094856Crab spider with a bee

IMG_4080The lake

IMG_4102Aster

IMG_4104Lupine and beargrass

There were of course mosquitoes here too, being July and near water, so we didn’t linger and were soon attempting to follow our route back. It was slow going but we managed to get back just fine. It was a fun and challenging day and it felt good to be able to practice our off-trail skills a bit. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Bear Point

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Lookout Creek & Carpenter Mountain

We found ourselves doing some last minute schedule rearranging due to an ever changing weather forecast. After deciding against a possibly wet overnight trip along the Salmon River we chose a pair of hikes we had originally planned on doing in early June. We picked these because they gave us options. The Lookout Creek Old-Growth Trail wasn’t view dependent so it didn’t matter if it was raining or partly sunny. We did however want at least partly sunny skies for the shorter hike to the lookout tower atop Carpenter Mountain so our plan was to decide on our way to Blue River, OR which hike to start with. Worst case scenario was that it showered all day in which case we would just hike the Lookout Creek Trail and save Carpenter Mountain for another time.

It was a misty drive south to Eugene and more of the same as we drove east from there on Highway 126 to Blue River so we headed to the Lookout Creek West Trailhead. The trail passes through the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest, a 16,000 acre portion of the Willamette National Forest supported by Oregon State University and the U.S. Forest Service. The trail begins and ends on Forest Road 1506 making a car shuttle possible.

From the west trailhead the trail descended quickly down to Lookout Creek.
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A small footbridge crossed a marshy area just prior to reaching a much longer bridge spanning Lookout Creek.
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The trail then climbed steeply away from the creek up a ridge for about a mile then began traversing the hillside several hundred feet above the creek. The old-growth forest was the star of the hike.
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Several types of wildflowers were either blooming or preparing to bloom along the way.
IMG_3722Red flowering currant

IMG_3723 Large solomonseal

IMG_3739Oregon grape

IMG_3804Vanilla leaf

IMG_3791Violets

IMG_3774Trillium and bleeding heart

IMG_3803Bunchberry

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IMG_3752Beargrass

Wildlife was confined to the smaller varieties.
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Crab SpiderCrab spider on trillium

IMG_3729Rough-skinned newt

A mile and a half from the west trailhead was the only real viewpoint along the trail. A rock outcrop there looked out over the Lookout Creek Valley.
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From the viewpoint we could see that the clouds seemed to be breaking up which gave us some hope that by the time we were finished with this hike it might be clear enough to warrant the visit to Carpenter Mountain.

Beyond the viewpoint the trail crossed several small seasonal streams. Only one of these crossing was a little tricky. The log over the stream was angled down which made it a little awkward to cross.
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The trail dropped back down to a second crossing of Lookout Creek before climbing back up to Road 1506 at the eastern trailhead. The bridge and the creek where much smaller at this end.
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Our guidebook had described the trail in part as “A woodsy 6.3-mi trail….” (since corrected in subsequent printings) so we had been thinking that hiking the entire trail out-and-back would be 12.6 miles but a sign at this trailhead indicated that the trail was only 3.5 miles one way.
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We returned the way we’d come passing a handful of hikers on the way back to our car. Since the hike wound up only being 7 miles instead of 12.6 we made it back to the car at a quarter after eleven. The sky above seemed clear enough to give Carpenter Mountain a try. The trailhead for Carpenter Mountain is located on Forest Road 350 which we had passed on Road 1506 less than a quarter mile from the Lookout Creek West Trailhead. We drove back to Road 350 and turned onto it heading uphill (north) for approximately 5 miles to a pullout at a saddle. Even though the snow pack is below normal this year, we weren’t entirely certain that we would make to the trailhead which was at an elevation just over 4400′. We knew from our Patterson Mountain outing just two weeks prior that there was still some snow present in areas starting around 4000′ feet and we had even seen one very small patch of snow along the Lookout Creek Trail around 3400′.
IMG_3770Snow in the bushes along the Lookout Creek Trail

The road was in pretty good shape, it appeared that the Forest Service had taken care of the trees that had fallen over the winter and aside from a few rocks here and there the drive was fine. Near the trailhead there was some snow present along the shoulder of the road but that was it. We parked at the saddle which had a decent view east to several mountains.
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A short walk up the road brought us to the signed trail.
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The trail climbed up through huckleberry bushes just beginning to get their leaves.
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It wasn’t long before we hit the first section of snow covered trail.
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For a short while the trail occasionally popped out from under the melting snow.
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We had micro spikes with us but never needed them. The trail actually became snow free after about four tenths of a mile and at the half mile mark passed through a hillside meadow with a few yellow glacier lilies.
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The meadow allowed for views SSW to Diamond Peak.
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Beyond the meadow the trail wound its way up Carpenter Mountain through a forest that had lots of debris down from the winter.
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A little under a mile from the car the trail passed an opening where we could see the basalt cliffs of Carpenter Mountain’s summit and the lookout tower atop them.
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The trail took us around to the east side of the mountain where we climbed up the rocks to the lookout tower.
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IMG_3924Looking back down at the route up

The tower wasn’t staffed yet for the season so we had the summit to ourselves. There were still some clouds in the sky but overall the views were pretty darn good. Mt. Jefferson was a little obscured and Mt. Hood was completely hidden but the rest of the Cascades from Three Fingered Jack to Diamond Peak were on full display.
IMG_3884Mt. Jefferson, Three Fingered Jack and Mt. Washington

IMG_3888Belknap & Black Craters, The Three Sisters & The Husband, and Mt. Bachelor

IMG_3886Diamond Peak

View from the Carpenter Mountain LookoutPanorama

One of the most interesting sights from the lookout is Wolf Rock, a monolith just to the north.
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We took a nice long break at the tower and tried to identify as many of the visible peaks as possible. Starting to the north:
IMG_3908Iron Mountain and Cone Peak (post) with Battle Ax Mountain (post) between in the distance.

IMG_3910Browder Ridge (post)

IMG_3883Mt. Jefferson

IMG_3893Maxwell Butte (post) and Three Fingered Jack

IMG_3894Mt. Washington

IMG_3896Belknap Crater (post) and Black Crater (post)

IMG_3897The Three Sisters and The Husband

IMG_3898Mt. Bachelor

IMG_3904Fuji Mountain (post) and Diamond Peak

IMG_3919Tidbits Mountain

The thought of an actual meal finally tore us away and we headed back down. It was a great reward for a relatively easy two mile hike. Even though the trail gained over 900′ of elevation over the course of the mile it was a fairly gradual climb. The old-growth trail had also been very nice, it was a pretty forest with lots of bird song. All in all not a bad way to spend a day. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Lookout Creek & Carpenter Mountain