Eagle Creek devastation zone - Feb. 17th, 2017

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Don Nelsen
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Eagle Creek devastation zone - Feb. 17th, 2017

Post by Don Nelsen » February 17th, 2017, 8:44 pm

Peder and I gave the EC trail a go today, hoping a few folks had tramped down a route through the snow and ice so we could do a leisurely stroll up the canyon. Didn't turn out that way!!

First let me say: Do not attempt this trail beyond the second set of cables-about 3/4 miles in. The going is relatively easy to that point but beyond is seriously dangerous. I mean seriously!! There is hardly a spot on the trail where you will not be badly injured should you fall and most places you simply would not survive. Period. We wished we had taken mountaineering crampon as our micro spikes barely got the job done. Ice axes would have helped too, but we foolishly left them behind thinking the snow and ice had melted back enough to make them unnecessary. Bad move, but, since you see I am writing this report, we made it.

That being said - we had a great day in the woods and enjoyed wonderful vistas of waterfalls, epic piles of snow and ice and great weather to boot. We also got one of the best workouts of our lives kicking steps 90% of the way and four off-trail jaunts to skirt really bad spots.

The EC trail will need a lot of work once the ice melts. A lot of mud and a few rocks have been pulled loose from the terrain above that will have to be shoveled off. A lot of branches litter the trail and about 20 large trees have fallen across the trail in the short 3.7 miles we hiked as far as High Bridge. There is only one place where there is a little damage to the actual trail tread and it is relatively minor.

Photos:
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This was the "easy" part!
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A huge tree had come down the slope here but luckily, it had kept going and did not block the trail.
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Peder taking a shower. Beyond this, it got really sketchy.
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We kicked really good steps along this section! This is where we met two other hikers - without spikes! Yipes!
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This is the only spot we saw that will need some trail tread work: About a mile and half in.
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The water was too fast and deep at Tish Creek so we opted for a work-around. We walked across one of the newly felled trees and went up and over to get around the problem.
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It just got better and better the farther we went.
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The next bridge is intact but nearly was taken out by a huge tree.
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This old-growth giant missed the bridge by only about 50 feet or so - maybe less.
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We nearly wussed out here but decided to press on:
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Just before High Bridge we were presented with this. We opted to go high and bypass this section bushwhacking through the brush and trees. Way safer!
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This was the stopper today. Too narrow, too icy and way too far to fall. We could see High Bridge and we can report it has survived.
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Peder on the way back about to get his third shower for the day.
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On the way back we met two young men hiking in at about the 1 1/2 mile mark and they were only wearing regular hiking boots. No spikes. I hope they survived.

7.4 miles, 7 hours, 38 minutes (!) 880' vertical =/-
-dn

BTW, on the way back I spotted a really nice looking knife in Sorenson Creek and picked it up. I googled the model and brand when I got home and found it cost more than most folks earn in a day! If anyone reading this lost a knife on the EC trail, describe it and I will get it back to you.
Last edited by Don Nelsen on February 21st, 2017, 8:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Everything works in the planning stage".

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Peder
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Re: Eagle Creek devastation zone - Feb. 17th, 2017

Post by Peder » February 17th, 2017, 10:48 pm

Don is correct: Smart people do not leave their ice axes in the car on a day like this...

A few more pictures:

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Don

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The former Metlako Falls viewpoint

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One could use a bridge here...

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Punchbowl Falls sported lots of water and no kayaks

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Our biggest bypass

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Coming down the same bypass on the way back (I think). Note Eagle Creek at the bottom of the fall line!

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The cables were generally thoroughly buried under the snow

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The snow was softer on the way back

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Crossing the new Tish Creek bridge

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Don inspecting the old Tish Creek bridge

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Not surprisingly we averaged under 1 mph for the outing
Some people are really fit at eighty; thankfully I still have many years to get into shape…

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DouggieFir
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Re: Eagle Creek devastation zone - Feb. 17th, 2017

Post by DouggieFir » February 17th, 2017, 11:18 pm

Oh man this trail got hammered this winter! Anyone know someone i can talk to and help with the repairs? More than willing to help out.

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Bosterson
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Re: Eagle Creek devastation zone - Feb. 17th, 2017

Post by Bosterson » February 18th, 2017, 5:09 am

Peder, did you get NEW GAITORS? :shock:
Will hike off trail for fun.

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Guy
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Re: Eagle Creek devastation zone - Feb. 17th, 2017

Post by Guy » February 18th, 2017, 6:54 am

Bosterson wrote:Peder, did you get NEW GAITORS? :shock:
Made of cotton?
hiking log, photos & maps.
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woodswalker
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Re: Eagle Creek devastation zone - Feb. 17th, 2017

Post by woodswalker » February 18th, 2017, 8:31 am

In one of the posts here someone suggested guessing dates for gorge melt out. I remember Don suggesting March 10. I had no idea how hopefully I was clinging to that date, like the light at the end of the tunnel, :) until I saw this report. In theory I knew the trails had taken a beating and I know they will get cleared out, and yes I have had some awesome adventures this year, but I miss having a few easy longer mileage stroll hikes. Well, life is supposed to be an adventure. Thanks for posting this. I loved seeing this post and the pictures of how Eagle Creek is doing. So glad you posted it.
BTW how were the giant ice tapestries doing? Gone?
Woodswalker aka Colette Grace

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Eric Peterson
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Re: Eagle Creek devastation zone - Feb. 17th, 2017

Post by Eric Peterson » February 18th, 2017, 9:45 am

2 things:

I wish I was off yesterday and I wish I was off yesterday hiking with you guys!

:mrgreen:

Awesome update you guys!

Looks like a few more weeks of mild weather to erode those snow drifts, then back to normal flip floppers with unleashed dogs...

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Don Nelsen
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Re: Eagle Creek devastation zone - Feb. 17th, 2017

Post by Don Nelsen » February 18th, 2017, 9:52 am

Eric Peterson wrote:2 things:

I wish I was off yesterday and I wish I was off yesterday hiking with you guys!

:mrgreen:

Awesome update you guys!

Looks like a few more weeks of mild weather to erode those snow drifts, then back to normal flip floppers with unleashed dogs...

Thanks Eric!

Wish you were with us too. It's been a long time - too long!

dn
"Everything works in the planning stage".

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Don Nelsen
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Re: Eagle Creek devastation zone - Feb. 17th, 2017

Post by Don Nelsen » February 18th, 2017, 9:58 am

woodswalker wrote:In one of the posts here someone suggested guessing dates for gorge melt out. I remember Don suggesting March 10. I had no idea how hopefully I was clinging to that date, like the light at the end of the tunnel, :) until I saw this report. In theory I knew the trails had taken a beating and I know they will get cleared out, and yes I have had some awesome adventures this year, but I miss having a few easy longer mileage stroll hikes. Well, life is supposed to be an adventure. Thanks for posting this. I loved seeing this post and the pictures of how Eagle Creek is doing. So glad you posted it.
BTW how were the giant ice tapestries doing? Gone?
Woodswalker aka Colette Grace
Thanks for the compliment Collette. All of the ice formations are gone so any danger from falling ice is done. I think most rocks that were loosened by the ice have also fallen. (But rocks may fall at any time so there is always some potential.)

I think my earlier guestimate was too optimistic. It all depends on how much "warm" rain falls but we seem to be in a colder-than-normal pattern. Hence: My updated guess: March 25th. There will still be plenty of snow and ice but the trail should be hikable without undue danger. I hope I don't have to update my update!

dn
"Everything works in the planning stage".

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woodswalker
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Re: Eagle Creek devastation zone - Feb. 17th, 2017

Post by woodswalker » February 18th, 2017, 10:00 am

Don Nelsen wrote:
woodswalker wrote:In one of the posts here someone suggested guessing dates for gorge melt out. I remember Don suggesting March 10. I had no idea how hopefully I was clinging to that date, like the light at the end of the tunnel, :) until I saw this report. In theory I knew the trails had taken a beating and I know they will get cleared out, and yes I have had some awesome adventures this year, but I miss having a few easy longer mileage stroll hikes. Well, life is supposed to be an adventure. Thanks for posting this. I loved seeing this post and the pictures of how Eagle Creek is doing. So glad you posted it.
BTW how were the giant ice tapestries doing? Gone?
Woodswalker aka Colette Grace
All of the ice formations are gone so any danger from falling ice is done. I think most rocks that that were loosened by the ice have also fallen. (But rocks may fall at any time so there is always some potential.)

I think my earlier guestimate was too optimistic. It all depends on how much "warm" rain falls but we seem to be in a colder-than-normal pattern. Hence: My updated guess: March 25th. There will still be plenty of snow and ice but the trail should be hikable without undue danger.

Thanks Don!! I was really wishing I had wings so I could safely watch those ice tapestries melt and fall.
Woodswalker

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