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 Post subject: Catherine Ck / Coyote Wall loop
 Post Posted: March 11th, 2017, 9:11 am 
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Location: The Dalles, OR
I did a version of my big loop in that area yesterday. I started at the Catherine Creek trailhead, headed up the old road that is on the west side of the creek, crossed above the area on Atwood Road, dropped down Hidden Valley (Little Maui trail) and back via the Labyrinth. I saw my first grass widow of the season (just one, but probably some others I missed). Water levels in the creeks very high and some crossings were mandatory wet feet. I jumped one and didn't quite make it. Another had water running above the plank. Some mud and lots of running water on the trail, but only a little snow in the shady areas up high above Catherine Creek. Never done a track but I'm guessing 10 miles or so and total EG of about 2500 in two separate climbs.

Forest Service replaced this bridge last year, and a good thing
Image

Trail 4427 is brand new, built last year, a cutoff to upper Coyote Wall. It crosses and uses dirt roads and tends to be very slimy muddy in wet conditions, so I avoided it this time and took the older lower crossing.
Image

Grass is starting to green up and water running well
Image

That grass widow
Image

This pond had a cacophony or ribiting frogs until I walked up to it's edge and they all shut up
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The one mandatory wet foot crossing. I got wet elsewhere but for better leapers, this would be the only one. I looked and there is no alternative crossing nearby. Wood was not slippery.
Image

Above the labyrinth, the old voodoo tree where the skull used to hang
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 Post subject: Re: Catherine Ck / Coyote Wall loop
 Post Posted: March 11th, 2017, 1:48 pm 
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Looks like a great day in the sun.. I have not done this loop but was in the area yesterday. I found the frog pond to be an especially promising sign of spring! What a chorus... Also, noticed a few hundred grass widows blooming near the paved paths of Catherine Creek, but almost none on the N side of the road where you were. Certainly a slow start for the flowers :ugeek:


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 Post subject: Re: Catherine Ck / Coyote Wall loop
 Post Posted: March 11th, 2017, 3:39 pm 
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Location: Salmon Creek
Interesting! We found grass widows below Old 8 last Friday (3/3), and were impressed with the thousands we saw yesterday (3/10) in the Columbia Hills. I think some even higher than 1500'. Lots of yellow bells, and salt-n-pepper parsley, too.

Those creeks sure were raging, alright! That area must've gotten deluged, just like we did in the city, earlier this week?

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 Post subject: Re: Catherine Ck / Coyote Wall loop
 Post Posted: March 12th, 2017, 6:15 pm 
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kepPNW wrote:
That area must've gotten deluged, just like we did in the city, earlier this week?


We never get as much rain as you do in Portland, especially as we approach spring. Some of it is rain. some snowmelt, and some just water trickling through the rocks I guess. These creeks headwaters are very local, so the running water has to have fallen or melted from pretty close by.

Crawford Oaks has been really slimy muddy when I've been there this time of year, but you didn't mention that. And how did you connect the Crawford Oaks trail to Stacker Butte. Did you road walk between the two or just angle left up the hill from the top of Crawford Oaks?

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 Post subject: Re: Catherine Ck / Coyote Wall loop
 Post Posted: March 12th, 2017, 7:23 pm 
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drm wrote:
kepPNW wrote:
That area must've gotten deluged, just like we did in the city, earlier this week?

We never get as much rain as you do in Portland, especially as we approach spring. Some of it is rain. some snowmelt, and some just water trickling through the rocks I guess. These creeks headwaters are very local, so the running water has to have fallen or melted from pretty close by.

Crawford Oaks has been really slimy muddy when I've been there this time of year, but you didn't mention that.

There wasn't a whole lot of snow up top to still be melting and feeding all those creeks. Really something.

    Image
    Below the upper trailhead, cliffs on left of access road.


    Image
    Snow's almost gone!


    Image
    Only mud we encountered all day.


    Image
    Eight-Mile Falls

drm wrote:
And how did you connect the Crawford Oaks trail to Stacker Butte. Did you road walk between the two or just angle left up the hill from the top of Crawford Oaks?

Yeah, more the latter. Took the Vista Loop eastward, the north toward the road. From that picnic table, we just angled NNW. Came down the road later.

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 Post subject: Re: Catherine Ck / Coyote Wall loop
 Post Posted: March 13th, 2017, 9:18 am 
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Braved the wet conditions on Saturday. The creeks were running quite high and there was 8-12 inches of snow on the east faces of the two ravines east of the upper Labyrinth junction with Atwood Road. The creek crossings did involve submerged boots. The meadows are quite soggy in places...many places. Also, the creek that usually runs under the so-called "Indian pits" is actually running above ground and quite strongly. Difficult to find a spot narrow enough to get across without wet feet. The clouds were so thick that I could not see the electric towers on West Meadow until I was under them. Good thing I knew the lay of the land or would have had to wait until the clear skies of Sunday to find my way back.

Much better luck with the grass widows than earlier reported: I saw at least a hundred in bloom (compared to the tens of thousands that I normally see), and the salt-and-pepper and gold star were doing well. Saw two prairie stars, one Columbia lomation, and the buds of a couple of saxifrage.


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 Post subject: Re: Catherine Ck / Coyote Wall loop
 Post Posted: March 13th, 2017, 10:48 am 
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Waterproof boots will keep you dry on the soggy trail and meadows, but the creeks are too deep for that. Until those creeks go down a fair bit, probably better to just bring lighter shoes that won't absorb so much water. That might also enable you to jump a bit farther and make it across some of them. Though once you get soaked feet, does it even matter? Or of course you could bring water shoes, which usually only do for backpacks.

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 Post subject: Re: Catherine Ck / Coyote Wall loop
 Post Posted: March 13th, 2017, 11:50 am 
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drm: FYI - Waterproof boots do not keep my feet dry when I hike, especially on warm, sunny days. Unless I'm slogging though saturated foliage, the breathable boots shed as much as they take in. As you noted, when the creek goes over the top of the boot, nothing's waterproof. However, the breathable boots have the advantage of shedding with each compression.

I did okay with the first five stream crossings, but number six was just too wide. With snow on both sides, the run-and-leap approach would have had disasterous consequences.


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 Post subject: Re: Catherine Ck / Coyote Wall loop
 Post Posted: March 13th, 2017, 1:37 pm 
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Wonder if that's the same pond where I once found a surfboard?


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 Post subject: Re: Catherine Ck / Coyote Wall loop
 Post Posted: March 14th, 2017, 3:41 am 
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BigBear wrote:
drm: FYI - Waterproof boots do not keep my feet dry when I hike, especially on warm, sunny days. Unless I'm slogging though saturated foliage, the breathable boots shed as much as they take in. As you noted, when the creek goes over the top of the boot, nothing's waterproof. However, the breathable boots have the advantage of shedding with each compression.


Sure, waterproof makes sense when there is more water on the outside of the boots than inside. I think that applied for this late winter hike.

BigBear wrote:
I did okay with the first five stream crossings, but number six was just too wide. With snow on both sides, the run-and-leap approach would have had disasterous consequences.


I think I know the one you're talking about. I didn't take a running leap, I took a standing jump. Didn't make it.

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