Tracy Hill-Catherine Creek-Coyote Wall 02-15-18

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bobcat
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Tracy Hill-Catherine Creek-Coyote Wall 02-15-18

Post by bobcat » February 20th, 2018, 8:01 pm

We’d set our sights on the Catherine Creek area for a wander, but the Gorge drizzle was mildly disconcerting. True to form, however, Hood River was dry with swaths of blue occasionally unveiling themselves during the day. The new $2 toll for a replacement bridge was a nasty shock, but we’d recovered sufficiently by the time we arrived at Tracy Hill to be in decent hiking fettle.

We headed up along the Major Creek rim with grass widows, gold stars, and saxifrage in bloom and bitterroot in full leaf. Then it was into the oak woods, flitting with acorn woodpeckers, and out to Bathtub Spring. It was decided to take the one-mile diversion on the FR 3110-324 road, where they’ve been doing lots of thinning. We noted a smattering of snow here, and also a mad flock of turkeys that kept stalking us behind the cover of the oaks. We peeled off to follow Michael’s GPS and search out the summit of Tracy Hill, but banged up against a barbed wire fence that denoted private property.
Mt. Hood in the clouds, Tracy Hill.jpg
Grass widow, Tracy Hill.jpg
Forking ponderosa, Tracy Hill.jpg
Mt. Hood from Tracy Hill.jpg
Entering oak woods, Tracy Hill.jpg
FR 3110-324, Tracy Hill.jpg
Boundary with private property, Tracy Hill.jpg
Then it was a trundle back down to what I call the Ponderosa Nursery (two mature pines with a dense brood of offspring clustered about). We turned down from here towards Catherine Creek itself, taking the steep slope upstream on the braiding deer trails. It was a steep skitter down through the poison oak to the creek crossing where Old Stove Road makes its encounter. The convenient alder is still there, and it was just a mossy stepping stone across.
Rowena Gap from Tracy Hill.jpg
Oak bench above Catherine Creek.jpg
Columbia desert parsley, Catherine Creek.jpg
The crossing, Catherine Creek.jpg
Then we took Old Stove to Atwood Road across the top of the area. We ate lunch at the collapsed homestead watching various parties of mountain bikers looping it down the Upper Labyrinth. After crossing Labyrinth Creek, we chose the Traverse Trail, which loops up mountain-bikewise past a rock dam to reach Coyote Wall.
The ponderosa nursery, Catherine Creek.jpg
Old stove, Old Stove Road, Catherine Creek.jpg
The collapsed cabin, Burdoin Mountain.jpg
Falls on Labyrinth Creek, Burdoin Mountain.jpg
Rock dam, Traverse Trail, Coyote Wall.jpg
Farm pond, Traverse Trail, Coyote Wall.jpg
View up Coyote Wall.jpg
Ponderosas and Rowena Gap, Coyote Wall.jpg
Heading down the Wall, the views were windy and cold but still fairly blue looking east. We took winding Little Maui down the creek to the old highway, then launched ourselves upward again through the Labyrinth. We hiked the old Shoestring (now the Desert Parsley Trail) down into the Rowland Basin and through the Indian Pits area. Then it was up the scree past the pinnacle on the Rowland Wall.
Old Ranch Road-Little Maui Trail Junction, Coyote Wall.jpg
Pungent desert parsley, Little Maui Creek, Coyote Wall.jpg
Little Maui Creek, Coyote Wall.jpg
Coal train, Labyrinth.jpg
Piper's desert parsley, Labyrinth.jpg
Upper Labyrinth Falls, Labyrinth.jpg
Columnar basalt, Labyrinth.jpg
Old stone enclosure, Desert Parsley Trail, Indian Pits.jpg
Rowland Pinnacle, Rowland Wall, Catherine Creek.jpg
The dying ponderosas here are now very dead and mostly keeled over from the California ips beetle infestation. We paid our homage to the arch, and then, with a gray and sleety-looking squall on the way, we cut our losses and indulged in Compost Toilet Way (or Maybe Compost Toilet Way or another name if someone can tell me what this contraption is). It is not for the fainthearted: the poison oak is not leafing out yet, but we were armpit deep in places. Back on the open slope, we cut across to Tracy Hill and got done just as the drizzle set in.
Infested ponderosa, Catherine Creek.jpg
Western saxifrage, Catherine Creek.jpg
Vernal pool, Catherine Creek.jpg
Looking up at the arch, Catherine Creek.jpg
Hiking Compost Toilet Way, Catherine Creek.jpg
Deer skull, Compost Toilet Way, Catherine Creek.jpg
Compost toilet (maybe), Compost Toilet Way, Catherine Creek.jpg
Michael’s GPS says it was 16.6 miles and 2,930 feet elevation again.
Catherine-Coyote-Hike.jpeg

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VanMarmot
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Re: Tracy Hill-Catherine Creek-Coyote Wall 02-15-18

Post by VanMarmot » February 21st, 2018, 7:59 am

You sure squeezed almost the entire Catherine Creek area experience into one trip! Nice! Interesting to see that the old stove is still there.
Boots on the Trail (vanmarmot.org)

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acorn woodpecker
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Re: Tracy Hill-Catherine Creek-Coyote Wall 02-15-18

Post by acorn woodpecker » February 22nd, 2018, 11:45 am

What a late winter delight! Did you actually see acorn woodpeckers and, if so, where in the oak woodlands were they between the Major Creek rim and Bathtub Spring? There have been sightings around that area over the years.

Those new $2 bridge tolls smart alright. You can get a 20 ticket book for $20 for the Bridge of the Gods, which gets all the pain out at once, and is a 50% savings, to boot!

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adamschneider
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Re: Tracy Hill-Catherine Creek-Coyote Wall 02-15-18

Post by adamschneider » February 22nd, 2018, 12:37 pm

acorn woodpecker wrote:Those new $2 bridge tolls smart alright. You can get a 20 ticket book for $20 for the Bridge of the Gods, which gets all the pain out at once, and is a 50% savings, to boot!
Apparently you can get $1 crossings in Hood River if you sign up for the "BreezeBy" system, but then you have to have their transponder in your car.

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bobcat
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Re: Tracy Hill-Catherine Creek-Coyote Wall 02-15-18

Post by bobcat » February 22nd, 2018, 5:38 pm

acorn woodpecker wrote:What a late winter delight! Did you actually see acorn woodpeckers and, if so, where in the oak woodlands were they between the Major Creek rim and Bathtub Spring? There have been sightings around that area over the years.

Those new $2 bridge tolls smart alright. You can get a 20 ticket book for $20 for the Bridge of the Gods, which gets all the pain out at once, and is a 50% savings, to boot!
We saw acorn woodpeckers in the oak woods between the Major Creek rim and Bathtub Spring and then again in the oak woods near the Burns Ranch (over near Coyote Wall). Didn't see any acorn caches, though.

The new toll on the Hood River Bridge took effect this month. They don't have the handy coupon books like the Bridge of the Gods, just the BreezeBy as Adam said. The bridge is entirely supported by the toll, and they need to replace it!

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woodswalker
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Re: Tracy Hill-Catherine Creek-Coyote Wall 02-15-18

Post by woodswalker » February 25th, 2018, 11:48 am

The item that is labeled as, maybe a composting toilet,is actually a wood stove. We used to call them Tin Wonders. Fast to heat, cheap, you could cook on them, plenty of room for fuel and if you put bricks in the bottom and let the ash build up, you mostly reduced your risk of the bottom burning through. :lol: I've lived with a few of those and actually loved them, although they are not the safest. It made me smile to see one. I still hope to make a bigger loop, by crossing Catherine Creek form the Tracy Hill side someday.
Colette Grace

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bobcat
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Re: Tracy Hill-Catherine Creek-Coyote Wall 02-15-18

Post by bobcat » February 25th, 2018, 5:18 pm

woodswalker wrote:The item that is labeled as, maybe a composting toilet,is actually a wood stove.
A stove was my first thought, but I couldn't find any examples of a stove with just the one opening (the toilet seat-like lid) and a vent. This contraption is completely enclosed with a floor, so everything would have to be loaded in and taken out from the top. Are you saying you'd put bricks in the bottom, and then load the wood from the top (which means you couldn't cook and load at the same time like most normal stoves)?

Edit a little later: O.K. I think I've found it. It's really an air tight heater, which you could also probably use as a stove. Easy to pack in somewhere as opposed to a cast iron wood stove. So the official name of that route now changes to "Heater Lane"!

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woodswalker
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Re: Tracy Hill-Catherine Creek-Coyote Wall 02-15-18

Post by woodswalker » February 26th, 2018, 7:14 am

Hi, Yes! We did load wood from the top and yes, if you were cooking at the moment the pot had to be lifted off. But it's deep enough, that if you load it up with hardwood and shut down the vents, it burns for awhile. Many people down in Applegate Valley, where I lived, had these. I figured these were off the market, since they are not anywhere near safe. Fun to see it.
Colette Grace

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