Tag Archives: mt. eddy

The Hikes of 2017 – A Look Back

Once again it’s time for our year end review post. Each year has a bit of a different feel to it, but this year was especially so. This was by far the most challenging year we’ve faced in terms of being able to visit the trails we’d planned on. A heavy winter snow pack lingered delaying access to many areas. Then an unusually bad fire season closed much of the Mt. Jefferson and Three Sisters Wilderness areas as well as parts of the Columbia Gorge. Snow returned in mid-September causing more changes to our plans. In the end plans for 39 of our originally scheduled 63 days of hiking were pushed out to future years as well as 2 additional short hikes that were part of multi stop days. Plans for another 12 of those days were shifted around on the schedule which meant that only 10 of our originally planned days occurred as we had envisioned them in January. We had also planned on spending 18 nights backpacking but wound up with a measly 3 nights in the tent. Despite all the issues we actually managed to end the year having hiked on 64 days and covered 751.6 miles.

Here is a look at where we wound up. The blue hiker symbols denote trailheads and the two yellow houses are the approximate location of our two backpacking campsites.
2017 Trailheads

Due to the issues with access to so many locations the mix of hikes this year was very different. An example of this is the average high point of our hikes:

                     2013-2016                2017
Jan.-Apr.    1444′                        1776′
May             2718′                        2355′
June            4900′                        3690′
July             5553′                        6530′
August       6419′                        3048′
Sept.           6400′                        4175′
Oct.             4886′                        3484′
Nov.-Dec.   2042′                        750′

Another example is our mileage distribution:

                     2013-2016                2017
Jan.-Apr.    9.19%                       9.74%
May             13.57%                     14.14%
June            13.75%                      13.50%
July             13.75%                      19.15%
August       19.33%                      6.07%
Sept.           14.13%                      23.28%
Oct.             12.17%                      10.36%
Nov.-Dec.   4.11%                        3.75%

As you can see August was way off the norm with many of those miles coming in September this year. Several wildfires were burning by then and we also changed some plans due to work and family commitments. Finally we chose to stick close to home the weekend of the solar eclipse .

On many occasions we visited multiple trailheads in a single day. We had been slowly increasing the frequency of doing so but this year 25 of our 64 days included more than one stop. In fact we stopped at a total of 106 trailheads this last year.

None of that made it a bad year, it just felt very different. The 64 hiking days was the most we’ve managed in a single year and the 751.6 miles was second only to 2016s 792.8 We managed to make decent headway on our quest to visit all of Oregon’s 45 visit-able wilderness areas by checking 8 more off the list. Rock Creek (post), Spring Basin (post), Wild Rogue (post), Grassy Knob (post), Bridge Creek (post), Clackamas (post), North Fork John Day (post), and Cummins Creek (post).

This year we made use of guidebooks by four different authors as well as a few websites. Most of our destinations can be found in William L. Sullivan’s 100 Hikes in Oregon guidebooks (information) but we also made use of Scott Cook’s “Bend, Overall“, Matt Reeder’s “101 Hikes in the Majestic Mount Jefferson Region“, and Bubba Suess’s “Hiking in Northern California“.

A special thanks goes out to Bubba Suess and his Hike Mt. Shasta website for his suggestions and input on our visit to the Mt. Shasta area in July. On that trip we visited four of California’s wilderness areas: Russian (post), Castle Crags (post), Trinity Alps (post), and Mt. Shasta (post). Our visit the the Trinity Alps brought us to the most southerly point while hiking to date. We also reached our highest elevation on that trip when we hiked to the top of Mt. Eddy (post) and saw our first rattle snake along the PCT (post).

We also set a new mark for the western most point reached on a hike when we visited Cape Blanco in May (post).

One way that this year was no different than previous years was that we once again saw and experienced many things for the first time during our hikes. It’s not surprising that we saw new things given that 57 out of our 64 days were comprised of entirely new sections of trail and none of the other 7 were exact repeats. In fact only about 17.2 miles retraced steps from previous hikes which works out to less than 2.5% of our total mileage for the year.

Some new flowers for us included:
Butter and eggsButter and eggs – Yontocket

Possibly tomcat cloverTomcat clover – Rough and Ready Botanical Wayside

dalmatian toadflax along the John Day RiverDalmation toadflax – Cottonwood Canyon State Park

Heart-leafed milkweedHeart-leafed milkweed – Applegate Lake

California groundconeCalifornia groundcones – Jacksonville

GeraniumGeranium – Lost Creek Lake

GeraniumGeranium – Round Mountain

rockfringe willowherbRockfringe willowherb – Mt. Eddy

Leopard lilyLeopard Lily – Trinity Alps Wilderness

There were a few new critters too:
Bullock's OrioleBullock’s Oriole – Cottonwood Canyon State Park

Big Horn SheepBig horn sheep – Cottonwood Canyon State Park

Sheep mothSheep moth – Grasshopper Meadow

Pigeon guillemotPigeon guillemot – Yaquina Bay

EgretEgret – Cape Disappointment State Park

CaterpillarCaterpillar – Cape Disappointment State Park

As is often the case we started and ended our hikes at the coast.
Berry Creek flowing toward the PacificBaker Beach in January

Exposed rocks on Ona BeachOna Beach in December

In between we visited some pretty amazing places. Here are just a few of the highlights:
Clarno Unit - John Day Fossil BedsPalisades – Clarno Unit, John Day Fossil Beds, April

Hedgehog cactusHedgehog Cactus – Spring Basin Wilderness, April

Fern CanyonFern Canyon – Prairie Creek State Park, May

Tall Trees GroveTall Trees Grove – Redwoods National Park, May

Crack in the GroundCrack in the Ground, Christmas Valley, May

Wildflowers on Lower Table RockWildflowers on Lower Table Rock, Medford, June

View to the north from the Bridge Creek WildernessNorth Point – Bridge Creek Wilderness, June

Upper Linton FallsUpper Linton Falls – Three Sisters Wilderness, July

Deadfall Lakes from Mt. EddyView from the Summit of Mt. Eddy, July

Caribou LakeCaribou Lake – Trinity Alps Wilderness, July

Vista Ridge TrailFireweed along the Vista Ridge Trail – Mt. Hood Wilderness, August

Grey back whale seen from Yaquina HeadWhale – Yaquina Head, August

Mt. Adams from Horseshoe MeadowHorseshoe Meadow – Mt. Adams Wilderness, September

Bull elk at Clatsop SpitBull elk – Clatsop Spit, September

View from the Blue Basin Overlook TrailBlue Basin – John Day Fossil Beds, September

Mt. Ireland from Baldy LakeBaldy Lake – North Fork John Day Wilderness, September

Dead Mountain TrailDead Mountain Trail – Willamette National Forest – October

Mt. Adams, Mt. Hood and Mirror LakeMt. Hood from Tom Dick and Harry Mountain – Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness, October

Cummins Ridge TrailCummins Creek Wilderness, November

It is only a small sample of the amazing diversity that we are blessed with here in the Pacific Northwest. We are looking forward to discovering more new places next year, hopefully with less disruptions to our plans (including not tossing my camera into any rivers). Happy Trails!

Advertisements

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

Kangaroo Lake

We recently spent a week in Mount Shasta City to do some day hiking in Northern California. We drove down on 7/23/17 and on the way stopped at Kangaroo Lake.

IMG_4804

We walked down to the picnic area to eat lunch and look at the lake before walking a short distance back up the entrance road to pick up the Fen Trail.

IMG_4806

IMG_4809

IMG_4816

The Fen Trail climbed a hillside along a fen which was home to many wildflowers including Darlingtonia California, California pitcher plants.

IMG_4819

IMG_4826

IMG_4828

IMG_4825

In a half mile the trail came to a viewpoint overlooking Kangaroo Lake.

IMG_4842

The trail continued for another .9 miles passing more wildflowers before ending at the Pacific Crest Trail.

IMG_4857

IMG_4858

IMG_4862

IMG_4876

2017-07-23 11.05.02

IMG_4893

IMG_4910

We turned left (south) on the PCT and headed for Bull Lake. The trail here passed through ponderosa pines with wide open views.

IMG_4921

IMG_4913

<IMG_4915

IMG_4919

The ground along this stretch was covered with balloon pods.

IMG_4925

IMG_4926

IMG_4928

We passed several thru-hikers including a couple resting at a damp hillside which housed more pitcher plants.

IMG_4931

Beyond the pitcher plants the trail entered a drier meadow where we noticed a collapsed structure amid the wildflowers.

IMG_4938

IMG_4941

IMG_4939

As we passed through this area I spotted the final few inches of a rattlesnake slowly leaving the trail and disappearing into a manzanita bush. It was the first we’d seen while hiking and just from the small portion we saw it was a lot bigger than the garter snakes and rubber boas we usually see. We made a wide arc around the bush and continued on, now on high alert.

Just under a mile after turning onto the PCT we stayed left at a fork in the trail which would have taken us down to Robbers Meadow. We did the same in another 1.7 miles when that trail returned to the PCT at a four-way junction at a pass.

IMG_4960

IMG_4955

From the pass we could see Bull Lake below and Mt. Shasta on the horizon.

IMG_4958

We stayed on the PCT until we had nearly passed Bull Lake where we struck off downhill on a faint user trail to the lake shore.

IMG_4963

IMG_4966

IMG_4967

After a relaxing break at the lake it was time to head back. For our return trip we chose to follow a route suggested by Bubba Suess from Hike Mt. Shasta. Our plan was to follow his directions from Bull Lake up and over Cory Peak and back down to the PCT. We returned to the PCT from the lake and when we spotted what appeared to be a fairly open route so we left the PCT and headed uphill.

IMG_4977

The brush soon gave way to a rocky slope which made the cross country route fairly easy, just a bit steep.

IMG_4978

Using the track provided on the website we were able to compare our route shown on our GPS to make sure we were staying on the right track. It’s always interesting to see what is hiding back off the trails. We came to a small green bowl were a doe was grazing.

IMG_4985

She headed uphill on nearly the same route we were on so we saw here a couple more times before our route veered to the right at a saddle to climb up an even higher ridge.

IMG_4992

IMG_4994

IMG_4995

IMG_5000

We arrived at the ridge top just to the SE of a snow melt lake below Cory Peak.

IMG_5001

IMG_5006

IMG_5007

To the SW the snowy Trinity Alps lined the horizon.

IMG_5003

Mt. Shasta and Mt. Eddy rose to the east.

IMG_5008

They were all locations we had plans to visit during the week. After catching our breath we followed the ridge along the lake and scrambled up to the top of some rocks which looked from the lake like the summit of Cory Peak. Once on top we could see that the summit of Cory Peak was actually further along a broad ridge.

IMG_5022

We made our way along the ridge to another set of rocks with an old sign protruding from the top.

IMG_5028

Here we found a geologic survey marker and a summit register.

IMG_5030

IMG_5029

IMG_5034

After another short break we continued west dropping down to a saddle along the ridge where we had a nice view of Rock Fence Lake below to the north.

IMG_5035

IMG_5043

IMG_5039

We followed the ridge down picking up a mylar balloon along the way. Our route passed a nice bunch of wildflowers and below some melting snow before we bailed off the ridge and hooked back up with the PCT about a quarter mile from the junction with the Fen Trail.

IMG_5044Looking back up at Cory Peak.

IMG_5045Mylar balloon.

IMG_5054Looking back along the ridge to Cory Peak.

IMG_5062

IMG_5065

IMG_5067

IMG_5069

IMG_5075More of the ridge we descended.

IMG_5081Final stretch down to the PCT.

Once we were back on the PCT we returned to Kangaroo Lake on the Fen Trail and headed for Mount Shasta City. It had been a good start to the vacation and getting to see many of the areas we were going to be visiting was a great motivator. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Kangaroo Lake

Grizzly Peak and Beaver Dam Trail

Friday it was time to head home and we had originally planned a shorter hike up Grizzly Peak. The Grizzly Peak Trailhead is located off of Dead Indian Memorial Highway. From the Green Springs Inn where were staying we could take Hyatt Prarie Rd. between Hwy 66 and Dead Indian Memorial Hwy avoiding the windy drive back down into Ashland. We noticed the 2.1 mile Beaver Dam Trail was close to where we would come out on Dead Indian Memorial Highway from Hyatt Prarie Rd. so we decided to start our final day with that hike prior to Grizzly Peak. The trail started at the Daley Creek Campground which we surprisingly found gated closed. We could see a trail sign just on the other side of the gate so we parked on the shoulder and headed down.
IMG_3738

The first part of the trail clearly hadn’t been maintained for some time and it took a bit of searching at times to keep on it.
IMG_3744

After recrossing the creek, where a bridge had obviously been, the trail was in a little better shape. Then we came to a sign post that was set against a tree at a trail junction.
IMG_3746

The trail supposedly traveled .6 miles to the start of a .9 mile loop. The directions that this sign was giving made no sense. It indicated that the start of the loop was in the direction we’d just come. We disregarded the sign and took the path that seemed correct. We chose wisely and arrived at the signed start of the loop.
IMG_3748

IMG_3749

Here we tried taking the left fork toward the creek which brought us to a creek crossing with another missing bridge.
IMG_3750

Neither of us were in the mood for a fording and we weren’t sure what the trail would be like on the far side so we turned around and headed back to the confusing sign. When we got back to the sign post we took a moment to attempt to figure out where the sign should have been placed and when we did we noticed the pointer for Daley Creek CG was not pointing in the direction we had come from early but toward a different path. We decided to follow it to see where it took us and ended up at a different trailhead further down the closed campground road where we had parked. Here were additional signs including a notice that parts of the trail were closed due to missing bridges.
IMG_3753

Later I checked the Forest Service website but it hadn’t been updated since 2013 regarding the trail and said that the campground would be reopening in May 2015. We should have checked the website before visiting, but in this case that wouldn’t have made much of a difference. After returning to our car we headed for Grizzly Peak arriving at the empty trailhead under the first virtually cloud free skies we’d had on the trip.
IMG_3754

The first portion of the trail offered nice views to the NE of Mt. McLoughlin, Union Peak, Crater Lakes rim, Mt. Thielsen, and Mt. Bailey.

Mt. McLoughlin
IMG_3755

IMG_3756

Union Peak, Mt. Scott, Crater Lakes rim, Mt. Thielsen, and Mt. Bailey.
IMG_3759

Mt. Bailey
IMG_3760

Union Peak, Crater Lakes rim, and Mt. Thielsen
IMG_3761

Crater Lakes rim and Mt. Scott
IMG_3764

From the trailhead the trial travels 1.2 miles through open forest with wildflowers to the start of a 3 mile loop.
IMG_3772

IMG_3776

IMG_3788

IMG_3793

IMG_3777

IMG_3797

We took the loop counter-clockwise passing by the viewless summit first.
IMG_3810

Then the trail passed a broad meadow.
IMG_3821

IMG_3824

As the loop continued around the peak we came to another meadow with a view to the north.
IMG_3838

Here we could see the city of Medford and the Table Rocks.

Upper Table Rock
IMG_3848

Flowers here included camas
IMG_3846

and ookow which was very popular with a swallowtail butterfly.
IMG_3861

IMG_3868

As we continued on the views shifted to the SW. Here Mt. Ashland and Wagner Butte which we had climbed the day before were visible.
IMG_3869

Mt. Ashland
IMG_3871

IMG_3883

Wagner Butte
IMG_3885

We had entered an area burned in 2002 where the fire left open views and plenty of sunlight for wildflowers.
IMG_3894

IMG_3901

IMG_3904

IMG_3905

IMG_3907

IMG_3917

IMG_3921

IMG_3927

Further along the views included Mt. Shasta, Black Butte, Pilot Rock, and Mt. Eddy.
IMG_3974

IMG_3976

Mt. Shasta
IMG_3984

Black Butte and Pilot Rock
IMG_3980

Mt. Eddy
IMG_3978

and the distant Trinty Alps
IMG_3992

Just like all our other hikes in the area there were lots of birds happily singing along the way and here in the burnt trees they were easier to spot.
IMG_3880

IMG_3954

IMG_4000

IMG_4021

IMG_4001

Hummingbird going for the paintbrush
IMG_4024

We completed our loop and headed back down to the now packed trailhead. This was the first trail besides Lithia Park where we saw more than 5 other hikers on the trail but with views like this packed into only 5.4 miles we could see why it was a popular hike. Our first hiking trip to Southern Oregon had turned out well. We got to see new flowers, plenty of wildlife, and nice views along with a wonderful play. That’s the recipe for Happy Trails!

flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/9319235@N02/sets/72157653715322378