2013-02-08 Some trouble with Hardy

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Peder
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2013-02-08 Some trouble with Hardy

Post by Peder » February 10th, 2013, 6:37 pm

Ominous beginnings
Not wishing to invest in a Discover Pass, I started out for Hardy Ridge from the Kuffner Road trailhead at around 1,600’. This seemed auspicious, as it was exactly at this level where the first snow (closer to blocks of ice) was encountered on the road. My plan was to ascend Phlox Point, then descend to the Equestrian TH, cut across under the power lines to the upper end of the main trailhead and the follow the complete Hardy Ridge back to Phlox Point. All went well for about 20 minutes until I came to the little unnamed stream that is easy to cross in summer:
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The troublesome stream
The log was slippery as wet soap and the rocks little better. After three attempts, I gave up rather that end up with wet feet or a dunking and turned back.

Hardy shows his good side
I decided to start from Kuffner Road outside of the access road leading to the Equestrian TH. I gleefully passed the large “Discover Pass Required Here” sign as I went down the access road - there is no better feeling than beating the system! Before the trail head, I cut east under the power lines, passed the water tank at the upper end of the main trailhead to join the connection trail that passes Little Beacon Rock on its way to the well-known Hamilton Mountain Trail. I made a detour to Little Beacon Rock before heading over toward the Hamilton Mountain trail. Just before the junction, under the power lines, I cut north heading up the ridge. According to Roman, there should be a shelter in this area but I did not see it. The forest was agreeable to travel in and at around 1,400’; I popped out on the logging roads/trails. I continued straight up the ridge. After a few hundred feet of dense vegetation, the ridge opened up beautifully.
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The ridge opens up
Not long thereafter, lunch was partaken on a sunny spot with great views:
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Tanner Butte, Mt Hood, Wauneka, Nesmith and Beacon Rock from my lunch spot
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Mt Hood
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Archer Mountain
After lunch, the ridge continued in a marvellous manner and I was wondering why this ridge is not a popular excursion:
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Looking down the ridge
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The saddle north of Hamilton Mountain and Table Mountain
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All is still well!
Hardy shows his darker side
Suddenly, at around 2,200’, there was some bush around. Initially it was not overly troublesome, but matters gradually degenerated, especially as a couple of feet of snow were added to the hassles. The last 0.6 miles of ridge to the junction with the Hardy loop trail took about 1.5 hours.
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Par for the course
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That is why we carry snowshoes...
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The Hardy loop trail is visible! (on the left-hand side of the ridge in the center of the picture)
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It just keeps on.
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The last 500' are open enough to snowshoe.
The terrain did open up just below the junction with the Hardy loop trail and I could finally don my snowshoes. Something quite welcome, as on the pack, my snowshoes had spent a considerable amount of time snarled in branches. After about 500’ of snowshoeing, I encountered the trail, dismounted from my snowshoes and headed on foot down the west side toward my car. I had no desire to tag Phlox Point.

Hardy’s final deceit
I arrived back at my car to see a $100 fine under my windshield wiper for not having a Discover Pass. I was not thrilled and reminded of my earlier run-in with a Park(ing) Ranger. Even more frustrating, the citation had been issued at 3.30 pm, just 10 minutes before my arrival. :(

I look around and sure enough, there was a barely visible “Discover Pass Required” sign! Can you see the sign in the picture below? If not, look under the arrow!
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Discover Pass sign
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Seen with a magnifying glass!
I will add a couple of more pictures shortly.
Some people are really fit at eighty; thankfully I still have many years to get into shape…

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Peder
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Re: 2013-02-08 Some trouble with Hardy

Post by Peder » February 10th, 2013, 6:42 pm

I decided to go visit the Ranger Station by Beacon Rock. Naturally, at 3.45 pm it was “closed.” I took a picture, so that I could later “prove” that it was closed.
DSC02705.jpg
Ranger Station
As I was fiddling around, a Park Ranger vehicle turned up. I talked to the Ranger; he was professional and courteous. I explained that I had not seen the sign, as I would otherwise not have parked there and the Ranger stated that all larger signs keep being pulled down. These small plastic (?) stick signs are far more difficult to remove and remain in place. The Ranger said that I could pay $10 for the parking fee or $30 for a yearly pass. I was greatly relieved, paid $10 and went on my merry way.

Regrets
I should have forked out another $20 and taken the annual pass, now that I was $10 out of pocket anyhow.

Conclusion
The last stretch of this ridge, up to where it joins the loop trail, is so densely vegetated that it cannot be recommended. I may go back in future, but in that case, I will just go as far as the dense vegetation before turning back.
Hardy Ridge.jpg
The ridge in Google Earth. The blue section is the bushwhack and the red line the user trail from the Hardy loop trail to Phlox Point.
7 miles, 2,300' EG and about 5 1/2 hours not including my false start.
Last edited by Peder on February 10th, 2013, 11:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Some people are really fit at eighty; thankfully I still have many years to get into shape…

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Eric Peterson
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Re: 2013-02-08 Some trouble with Hardy

Post by Eric Peterson » February 10th, 2013, 7:59 pm

Peder, 'Hamilton Cabin' is right here in the Gorge Mapset -
Capture.GIF
Also, in reality to avoid the DP you need to park outside of any DNR land. I think those signs
are only a courtesy as anyone parked inside DNR boundaries are required to have DP or
pay the 10 dollar day use fee.

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Eric Peterson
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Re: 2013-02-08 Some trouble with Hardy

Post by Eric Peterson » February 10th, 2013, 8:45 pm

BTW, I hope I caught the movie connection on the TR title -

The Trouble With Harry

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kepPNW
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Re: 2013-02-08 Some trouble with Hardy

Post by kepPNW » February 10th, 2013, 10:08 pm

Interesting! I've only done the loop trail, with the diversion up to Phlox Pt from there. But looking down from that junction, I wondered if there might be a way straight up the ridge. I've still got a lot more exploring to do in that park, it seems. :)
Karl
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Peder
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Re: 2013-02-08 Some trouble with Hardy

Post by Peder » February 10th, 2013, 11:16 pm

kepPNW wrote: I wondered if there might be a way straight up the ridge. I've still got a lot more exploring to do in that park, it seems. :)
Well, the message is to skip the exploring straight up that ridge (at least the last 0.7 miles up to the Hardy loop trail)!
Some people are really fit at eighty; thankfully I still have many years to get into shape…

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kepPNW
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Re: 2013-02-08 Some trouble with Hardy

Post by kepPNW » February 11th, 2013, 6:10 am

Peder wrote:
kepPNW wrote: I wondered if there might be a way straight up the ridge. I've still got a lot more exploring to do in that park, it seems. :)
Well, the message is to skip the exploring straight up that ridge (at least the last 0.7 miles up to the Hardy loop trail)!
Heh, yes, perhaps. I wonder if it might've worked better in reverse -- the more traveled trail up, then just bombing the ridge on the way down? Then again, to what point... :)
Karl
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VanMarmot
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Re: 2013-02-08 Some trouble with Hardy

Post by VanMarmot » February 11th, 2013, 7:51 am

Peder,

I've looked at lower Hardy from Hamiliton and always thought it was a possible alternative route to Phlox Point. Guess not - unless one really likes thrashing through brush!

Before North Lake was chosen, I was also thinking about a reverse loop over Phlox to Hamilton - but your travails with the creek crossing mean putting that off for a bit.

Bruce

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bobcat
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Re: 2013-02-08 Some trouble with Hardy

Post by bobcat » February 11th, 2013, 1:43 pm

Some years ago, there was an (illegal) trail cut through all that brush down the nose of the ridge. Washington State Parks disapproved of it and it was allowed to grow over once a more formal system on Hardy Ridge was established. I don't know if you came across any old prunings or not.

As Eric says, it is safe to assume that all state park/DNR land is subject to the pass, even places where there are no trails (They have signs in the trackless woods between Trout Lake and the Gifford Pinchot boundary south of Mt. Adams!). Also, people keep trashing the signs; at North Siouxon Trailhead, for example, there are no signs visible from the road. The signs are down the trail and not visible to cruising vandals!

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Peder
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Re: 2013-02-08 Some trouble with Hardy

Post by Peder » February 12th, 2013, 10:14 pm

Thank you for the kind comments and the advice on the Discover Pass - now I really kick myself for not buying the discount $20 version! :(

Eric - Yes, I see the cabin on your Gorge Mapset+! Why is hindsight always so much better? :shock:

Bobcat - That trail cut down the nose of the ridge must have been a labor of love. To cut through all that must have taken forever.
Some people are really fit at eighty; thankfully I still have many years to get into shape…

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