Home  •   Field Guide  •   Forums  •   Unread Posts  •   Maps  •   Find a Hike!  •    Register  •   Search  •  
Jump to:  
Login  | 

Board index » Trips » Trip Reports




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 4 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Bull of the Woods Loop Backpack
 Post Posted: October 4th, 2017, 1:01 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
Posts: 1308
Location: North Portland
This fall, a friend and I hiked the Bull of the Woods Loop from Douglas Lorain's Backpacking Oregon guide. It's a 29 mile loop of the wilderness, visiting most of its high country, and one of its three major creek drainages. We spent the first night at Twin Lakes, and the second along Elk Creek. There are probably other practical ways of hiking this loop but starting at the Pansy Lake Trailhead allows one to see most of the area in a timely fashion. Approaching from Bagby Hot Springs or Dickey Creek would give one a longer trip; parking at Elk Lake would shave off mileage, and avoid a 3,000 foot climb on the final day. We saw one couple and a solo woman on the trail. That's excellent!
-
Before we left town, I checked three sources (a phone call to the Estacada Ranger Station, Mt Hood and Willamette National Forest websites) and determined that the route was open to travel. We were thus dismayed to find a sign telling us that the Elk Lake Creek trail was closed due to the presence of firefighters in the area. Since the rainy weather tamped down fires, though, we went on through, and of course had no trouble (the Whitewater Fire closure, not to mention the fire itself, was far to the south, and no fire entered the wilderness). When I got home, I checked the same websites and confirmed that it was all open. I know the Forest Service has a lot going on, but it would be nice if they update their on-trail signage, because that closure would have made our loop impossible. The real shame, though, is that this kind of inconsistency and apparent arbitrariness breeds the kind of casual disobedience that is going to be a real problem in the Gorge this winter. When out-of-date signs indicate that rain-doused, unburnt trails, miles from any fire, are just as closed as still smoldering landslides-in-waiting, people will start ignoring *all* the signage.
-
Anyway, here are some photos!

Our first views of the trip: Mt Jefferson from Trail 558.
Attachment:
IMG_2990.jpg
IMG_2990.jpg [ 428.94 KiB | Viewed 692 times ]


Despite Lorain's warning, there was a good bit of water in Mother Lode Creek.
Attachment:
IMG_2996.jpg
IMG_2996.jpg [ 769.05 KiB | Viewed 692 times ]


We saw so many Alaska yellow cedars! Lorain mentioned that some particular area had a great number of pacific yews, but I've rarely ever been able to find them in the wild, and this trip was no exception.
Attachment:
IMG_3004.jpg
IMG_3004.jpg [ 651.7 KiB | Viewed 692 times ]


View of Pansy Mountain and Mother Lode Mountain from Trail 558. I'm hoping to come back and do some scrambling here.
Attachment:
IMG_3011.jpg
IMG_3011.jpg [ 748.12 KiB | Viewed 692 times ]


The trail passed through a burned forest on the way to Twin Lakes. From what I can tell, parts of the Wilderness burned in 2008 and 2010 (Lake Lenore and View Lake Complex fires). This area had lots of fireweed to fly in the face, but also a good number of live trees, and few logs over the trail.
Attachment:
IMG_3029.jpg
IMG_3029.jpg [ 863.08 KiB | Viewed 692 times ]


The real reason I was interested in this route was the old growth. After all the wildfires this summer, I was jonesing to see a healthy, ancient forest. This tree is near Twin Lakes.
Attachment:
IMG_3039.jpg
IMG_3039.jpg [ 754.02 KiB | Viewed 692 times ]


We camped at one of the numerous, spacious camps at Upper Twin Lake (having somehow missed Lower Twin Lake entirely). This camp had a few tables built into live trees. I wouldn't ever build such a thing in a Wilderness, but I'm not above using one for an easy-on-the-back cooking table.
Attachment:
IMG_3049.jpg
IMG_3049.jpg [ 704.1 KiB | Viewed 692 times ]


Well, it's not the Enchantments, but it was pretty enough, and neither as far nor as crowded (we saw one lady camping there).
Attachment:
IMG_3072.jpg
IMG_3072.jpg [ 358.9 KiB | Viewed 692 times ]


Top 
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Bull of the Woods Loop Backpack
 Post Posted: October 4th, 2017, 1:06 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
Posts: 1308
Location: North Portland
Fall has definitely hit the high country; the vine maples, mountain ash, and huckleberry bushes were brilliant.
Attachment:
IMG_3113.jpg
IMG_3113.jpg [ 859.21 KiB | Viewed 688 times ]


Along the way up to Battle Ax, we passed a rock pillar, and I scrambled up to enjoy fine views of the Wilderness.
Attachment:
IMG_3119.jpg
IMG_3119.jpg [ 748.59 KiB | Viewed 688 times ]


The pathway up the ridge of Battle Ax is a great ridge walk.
Attachment:
IMG_3125.jpg
IMG_3125.jpg [ 801.88 KiB | Viewed 688 times ]


From the slopes and summit of Battle Ax, we had views of Mt Rainier, Mt Adams, Mt St Helens, Mt Hood, Mt Jefferson, Three Fingered Jack, Mt Washington, all Three Sisters, and Mt Bachelor. That's an eleven stratovolcano day! (Twelve if you count Ollallie Butte, which is a shield volcano.) Below us is our next destination: Elk Lake.
Attachment:
IMG_3127.jpg
IMG_3127.jpg [ 657.77 KiB | Viewed 688 times ]


We enjoyed many fine views along Trail 3340 down to Elk Lake. Much of the trail passes open slopes with big views and interesting rock formations.
Attachment:
IMG_3144.jpg
IMG_3144.jpg [ 515.11 KiB | Viewed 688 times ]


Elk Lake was really pretty, and the campground looked really nice, but I've heard it is usually very busy. Seems like the road closures down by Detroit Lake (due to the Whitewater Fire) might be keeping people away.
Attachment:
IMG_3157.jpg
IMG_3157.jpg [ 475.85 KiB | Viewed 688 times ]


Elk Lake:
Attachment:
IMG_3160.jpg
IMG_3160.jpg [ 532.99 KiB | Viewed 688 times ]


Along Trail 559, down Elk Lake Creek, there were many groves of giant old trees.
Attachment:
IMG_3173.jpg
IMG_3173.jpg [ 792.26 KiB | Viewed 688 times ]


We camped by Elk Lake Creek, at a large backcountry camp at the junction with Trail 558.
Attachment:
IMG_3178.jpg
IMG_3178.jpg [ 736.02 KiB | Viewed 688 times ]


Top 
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Bull of the Woods Loop Backpack
 Post Posted: October 4th, 2017, 1:15 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
Posts: 1308
Location: North Portland
The following day we negotiated three unbridged crossings of Elk Lake Creek. It was either a balancing act on downed trees...
Attachment:
IMG_3222.jpg
IMG_3222.jpg [ 403.35 KiB | Viewed 685 times ]


... or a tricky, cold crossing with bare feet.
Attachment:
IMG_3252.jpg
IMG_3252.jpg [ 726.48 KiB | Viewed 685 times ]


Along the way, more old growth:
Attachment:
IMG_3246.jpg
IMG_3246.jpg [ 964.88 KiB | Viewed 685 times ]


After our final crossing, the hardest work of the trip: a climb from 2,600' at Elk Lake Creek up to 5,523' at Bull of the Woods Lookout. We began in a partially burned forest and worked our way into a completely burned forest.
Attachment:
IMG_3268.jpg
IMG_3268.jpg [ 888.81 KiB | Viewed 685 times ]


We worked our way up into a completely burned forest. This section of trail is overgrown and covered with dozen of downed trees. It's marked in a few places with flagging, because it's not always clear.
Attachment:
IMG_3279.jpg
IMG_3279.jpg [ 885.49 KiB | Viewed 685 times ]


Lower Welcome Lake isn't easy to get to.
Attachment:
IMG_3272.jpg
IMG_3272.jpg [ 547.87 KiB | Viewed 685 times ]


Upper Welcome Lake, on the other hand, has a few campsites with views and easy water access.
Attachment:
IMG_3286.jpg
IMG_3286.jpg [ 932.44 KiB | Viewed 685 times ]


Still climbing.
Attachment:
IMG_3301.jpg
IMG_3301.jpg [ 846.17 KiB | Viewed 685 times ]


By the time we reached the Bull of the Woods Lookout, the weather had closed in. We hiked in a fine mist, and only had views of Big Slide Lake.
Attachment:
IMG_3307.jpg
IMG_3307.jpg [ 426.32 KiB | Viewed 685 times ]


Bull of the Woods Lookout was closed up. I spent the night up there with a friend, in late November 2007. I seem to recall the building being open to access; currently it would take a lot of work and maybe some tools to get in. It's a good thing we hadn't planned on camping in it!
Attachment:
IMG_3314.jpg
IMG_3314.jpg [ 415.35 KiB | Viewed 685 times ]


Down Trail 550 in a mist, and surrounded by fall colors:
Attachment:
IMG_3315.jpg
IMG_3315.jpg [ 970.44 KiB | Viewed 685 times ]


Class Northwest fall color!
Attachment:
IMG_3329.jpg
IMG_3329.jpg [ 798 KiB | Viewed 685 times ]


The final sightseeing was accomplished at Dickey Lake, which is is beautiful but doesn't have any campsites.
Attachment:
IMG_3349.jpg
IMG_3349.jpg [ 381.01 KiB | Viewed 685 times ]


Top 
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Bull of the Woods Loop Backpack
 Post Posted: October 4th, 2017, 1:30 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
Posts: 11515
thanks, I keep meaning to do a trip there some time, good beta here


Top 
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
 
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 4 posts ] 

Board index » Trips » Trip Reports


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Sarahsponda

 
 

 
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  

Disclaimer: This is a free, private forum and opinions posted by its members do not necessarily reflect those of Trailkeepers of Oregon. Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this forum is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this forum. All content posted on the forum becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.