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 Post subject: Timberline Lodge to Paradise Park 15 July
 Post Posted: July 16th, 2017, 9:39 am 
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Joined: May 2nd, 2012, 10:26 am
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I just got back from an overnight from Timberline Lodge to Paradise Park.

Here's a run down of everything in case anyone else is looking to make that hike soon.

Trail conditions: Fine until a little past Zigzag. You will hit some snow drifts en route. Some drifts are still up to 5 or 6 feet high. But you won't lose the trail.

Crossing Zigzag is fine. There are some boards over it right now to help with crossing.

After Zigzag is another story.

A couple of sections of the trail are narrowing due to the underlying rock giving way or tree roots tearing out the trail. You will come across a few trees down before the Paradise Park loop trail. Most you can limbo under or crawl over easily. Just before PP loop trail (east side), there are 2 or 3 big trees collapsed on each other and directly on the trail. This will take a couple of minutes to clear, but it shouldn't inhibit you from going further.

PP east trail. Don't take it. The Zigzag Ranger Station said there were blowdowns on the trail (Timberline/PCT back to the Lodge). I also asked some people who were eastbound on the trail what route the took. The ones that took the PP east trail regretted it. I took trail 778. At the 778/Paradise Park Loop Trail junction I met up with 4 hikers that were cursing the PP east trail.

After the 778/PP Loop Trail junction, just a few more big snow banks remain. Again, you shouldn't lose the trail. The only treacherous spot would be on the east side of Lost Creek. I headed back around 5:30am and this snow bank had re-frozen overnight. This was the only spot that I wished I had my crampons. I got past by collapsing my trekking poles down, digging them in and going very slow. I think the ~100 foot iced over section took me 7-8 minutes. If you slip down, you will drop into mushy stuff.

During the afternoon hours, all the snow banks were slushy and easy to traverse.

At Paradise Park itself, it was all easily accessible. The drawback was that there are still some snow banks there and some of the better camping spots are covered by a snow bank.

Again, don't take the PP east trail until Zigzag Ranger Station says it is cleared. The 4 guys I met at the junction said it took them over an hour ... maybe an hour and a half, to go from the PCT/PP East Trail junction to the 778/PP Trail junction.

Flowers: Purples and whites are blooming a little. From what I saw poking out of the ground, I would say 2-4 weeks off from massive flowers.

Bugs: Low to none. Maybe light mosquitoes near Zigzag crossing and a little beyond (westbound) but that was it. My shirt and pants are permethrin treated, but I certainly didn't see many mosquitoes. Some flies, but none bit me. I didn't put any DEET on.


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 Post subject: Re: Timberline Lodge to Paradise Park 15 July
 Post Posted: July 16th, 2017, 5:33 pm 
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Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
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So just to clarify for those of us a bit directionally impaired.... the section you are talking about would be the section you would come straight up into if you were coming to Paradise Park from down by Kiwanas Camp and Highway 26 and not from Timberline Lodge?
Thanx!


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 Post subject: Re: Timberline Lodge to Paradise Park 15 July
 Post Posted: July 16th, 2017, 6:37 pm 
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Joined: May 2nd, 2012, 10:26 am
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pdxgene wrote:
So just to clarify for those of us a bit directionally impaired.... the section you are talking about would be the section you would come straight up into if you were coming to Paradise Park from down by Kiwanas Camp and Highway 26 and not from Timberline Lodge?
Thanx!


Yes


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 Post subject: Re: Timberline Lodge to Paradise Park 15 July
 Post Posted: July 27th, 2017, 7:39 am 
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Joined: May 11th, 2015, 8:41 pm
Posts: 145
I did this yesterday and can provide some more detail.

Lodge to Zigzag
Between the lodge and Zigzag there are two minor logs down, a small, easy stepover and a larger easy climb over. No issues on this part of the trail, other than tourists.

Zigzag crossing is even easier than I remember last year--in addition to the board, there's a small log along side. It's practically a bridge.

Zigzag to Paradise Park Loop #757 junction

Shortly after crossing, I ran into the people who had just crossed ahead of me, coming back. This was my first clue to problems.

The trail between the crossing and the junction with the loop trail was much more of a mess than I had been expecting. I didn't notice the issues with narrowing trail mentioned above (beyond right at the crossing where it's always messy), but there was a *lot* of major blowdown. I recall: two easy duck-unders, one bit that was mostly bypassed by a path across the unpleasantly-loose hillside, one pretty easy climb-over through a rootball (I think that was a rootball--it's already going blurry in my mind), and the worst, a pile of multiple big trees lying lengthwise down the trail that put me in mind of the Oneonta logjam. I generally enjoy the challenge of a little blowdown, in the right circumstances, but that was not "a little." It's all passable if you're prepared for a little gymnastics, but it's definitely not something I'd want anyone to head out there without expecting.

Paradise Park Loop #757 junction to Paradise Park trail #778
I really wanted to do the full loop, since I probably won't be up there again this year and hate to shortcut it. I'd seen some reports that that first part of the loop trail had been stomped out enough that it wasn't too bad to get through now, but didn't encounter anyone on the trail who could give me info. But just looking up from the junction I could see the first obstacle, and it was branchy and messy--just what I don't like. I decided to continue straight and cut across on Paradise Park trail 778 as recommended above. I had the impression that this choice meant a relatively clear trail, but I was surprised again.

This was where I did encounter a rootball that had taken out the tread. There was room to get around, but again on that super-loose sandy stuff that you feel isn't going to hold you. Then there was a downed tree that managed to fall near a switchback end, so it was blocking the trail twice. It was high enough to scoot under, but not with a pack of any size on. Finally, two big ones down lengthwise on the trail. This was a balance beam walk down the trunk and then dropping down through the rootball. Some of these obstacles were more challenging from the opposite direction on the way back.

Paradise Park trail #778 to Paradise Park Loop #757
Once I was on the Paradise Park trail, there was only one tree down, a big one that would have been a pain if there weren't a few branches in just the right places for footholds. But by the time I hit this section I was miserable. I was mentally and physically tired from the unexpected extra effort, I noticed there was blood running down my leg and I had absolutely no idea why, and worst of all I couldn't stop and collect myself because the flies were killing me even when I was moving, never mind stopped. This was when I started to regret my trip.

Fortunately, once I finally hit the junction with the loop trail I caught a breeze that gave me a respite from the flies and cooled me down. I very quickly started to feel human again and was back to enjoying myself. There were no more obstacles on the trail (still some small areas of snow, but more "Whee, snow!" than obstacle), the flies never got to that severe level again, even in the wooded sections, and I had the place pretty much to myself.

I'm not a flower hiker and so can't report what was out or where it stands relative to peak bloom, other than I did see a lot of flowers, they seemed very nice, but I imagine there will be more coming.

I never did get any details on the current state of the lower part of the loop trail. On the way back I encountered some people coming down from there, but they were speaking russian, and I figured that would be a challenging conversation. I'd still love to hear how many and what types of trouble spots there are through there.


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