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 Post subject: Eagle / PCT / Ruckel Ck loop
 Post Posted: June 16th, 2013, 7:17 am 
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Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
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Location: The Dalles, OR
Lots of people have been doing some variation of this hike - dayhike or backpack though it may be. Sometimes I skip posting reports for popular trips, but I'm doing this one. The beargrass is in strong bloom on the PCT on the ridge between Chinidere and Smokey Camp, though nary a one in the ocean of beargrass on Benson Plateau. I can't conceive of what it would look like to see a strong bloom there. But the ones I saw were just coming into peak. Next weekend should be the peak.

Camp was at 2 Creek, the spot a couple miles below Wahtum Lake on the Eagle Creek trail. Temps were perfect - mid 60's in the shade, mid-70's to maybe 80 in the sun. I got some mosquito bites on top of Chinidere, but saw none at Wahtum.

One other postscript. Last year I did what I called the Fat Wahtum Loop and did it clickwise, which meant going up Ruckel Creek. This year I did a skinnier Wahtum Loop and went down Ruckel Creek. Normal thought says that the downhill is worse for the knees. But last year I injured my right knee going up it and it took half the summer for it get back to 100%. [For the uninitiated, Ruckel Creek has some really extended steep section. This year, going down, no real problems. I've always thought that for me, I am more likely to injure my knees on steep ascents. Maybe I'm just real diligent at using my poles on the downhill. I almost got a blister on one of my hands yesterday.

Entering the tunnel
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Light at the end of the tunnel
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Twister Falls is at the perfect level now to emphasize the X crossing of the two streams of water. At higher levels, it gets washed out.
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Burned out remnant of a tree in a small burn not far from the Indian Mtn junction on the Eagle Creek trail
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First beargrass bloom - just above Two Creek
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A lazy day at Wahtum Lake (for somebody)
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Classic Hood from the top of Chinidere
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Flowers were in bloom at Chindere's summit
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Mt. Saint Helens hangs out above the very flat Benson Plateau
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More beargrass blooms line the trail in profile of Mt Adams
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Here's an oddity: beargrass bloom in conjunction with vine maple that are turning red already. Is it typical for some of them to turn red now instead of in October like normal?
Image

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 Post subject: Re: Eagle / PCT / Ruckel Ck loop
 Post Posted: June 16th, 2013, 7:39 am 
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That's interesting about going up or down steep hills injuring your knee. I've always heard that too - going downhill is the problem.

My knee got really sore going down Herman Creek Trail which is pretty gradual, but I think I injured it previously, I don't remember any specific incident.

Maybe it's just one step - landing at a weird angle or something. Going downhill I'll be going at faster speed, and picking up speed as I go. Converting potential energy to real energy that has to be dissipated. Going uphill, if I am approaching a case where I'm going out of control, I just quit doing anything and I'll slow up so it's easier to control.


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 Post subject: Re: Eagle / PCT / Ruckel Ck loop
 Post Posted: June 16th, 2013, 7:45 am 
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Great report, drm. I like your looking out of the tunnel shot. That is a great loop!


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 Post subject: Re: Eagle / PCT / Ruckel Ck loop
 Post Posted: June 16th, 2013, 7:49 am 
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Location: The Dalles, OR
I think that going uphill I'm pushing my pace as well as I can to push the aerobic workout. But going down is not aerobic at any speed so I tend to really slow down. That combined with the poles means that downhill is actually less injurious for me. I do not let gravity take me on the downhills. And I take TINY steps - that is a key part of it. Ruckel Ck may be steep, but it only rarely forces larger steps.

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 Post subject: Re: Eagle / PCT / Ruckel Ck loop
 Post Posted: June 16th, 2013, 4:42 pm 
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Nice pics - that red vine maple is strange. I don't think I've ever seen that this time of year.

dn

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 Post subject: Re: Eagle / PCT / Ruckel Ck loop
 Post Posted: June 17th, 2013, 5:53 am 
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drm wrote:
Here's an oddity: beargrass bloom in conjunction with vine maple that are turning red already. Is it typical for some of them to turn red now instead of in October like normal?
Don Nelsen wrote:
Nice pics - that red vine maple is strange. I don't think I've ever seen that this time of year.

I saw the very same thing, exactly one year to the day earlier :!:, up on Silver Star...

    Image
    June 15, 2012

I wonder if it's some sort of weird variation? It definitely struck me the same way, as I recalled it instantly seeing that other photo.

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 Post subject: Re: Eagle / PCT / Ruckel Ck loop
 Post Posted: June 17th, 2013, 6:21 am 
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Maybe they're unhealthy, dieing or whatever. Leaves lose chlorophyl.


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 Post subject: Re: Eagle / PCT / Ruckel Ck loop
 Post Posted: June 17th, 2013, 6:55 am 
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Joined: August 25th, 2011, 6:51 am
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As a professional horticulturist, it is common for vine maples growing in full dry sun to show coloration and stunted growth. They much prefer the cool humid understory. I was up there this last friday/saturday; I probably ran into you on the trail and didn't even know it!

-b


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