Life already returning to the gorge on Archer Mountain

Discussions and Trip Reports for off-trail adventures and rediscovering lost trails
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Don Nelsen
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Location: Vancouver, WA

Re: Life already returning to the gorge on Archer Mountain

Post by Don Nelsen » November 22nd, 2017, 8:59 pm

Chip Down wrote:Oh!
I too assumed this was Oregon, which is strange considering that I was also thinking about checking out Archer (as now identified in the OP). I have to disagree with Don's assertion that experienced hikers will look at the pics and know where he was. But I also acknowledge it's not as hard to figure out as I initially assumed. :oops:
Splintercat wrote:...remember that entering the closure area is illegal, like it or not.
I imagine that must be true, but I've wondered. It certainly isn't publicized much. It's assumed hikers would need to access the closure zone by parking illegally and hiking on a closed trail, so naturally that's what the authorities focus on.
I suppose I should have id'd exactly where I was - my bad ;)

Chip, thanks for the comments.

Here are a few comparison photos from earlier hikes and ones taken Sunday:

The hanging meadow area on the SW face of Archer:

Before:
Image
After:
Image

In the same area - before:
Image
After:
Image

On the trail to the SW side:
Before:
Image
After:
Image
"Everything works in the planning stage".

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Bosterson
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Location: Portland

Re: Life already returning to the gorge on Archer Mountain

Post by Bosterson » November 22nd, 2017, 10:22 pm

Nice before & afters, Don. Glad to see some of it is still alive out there, though Archer was hit much less hard than the Oregon side. Waiting to see an equivalent spread of B&As for major Oregon formations like Horsetail Ridge, Tanner Ridge, Munra Point, etc.

Pretty amazing how fast those ferns have come back! After seeing that (charred stump with a new sprout growing out of it), I wondered if sword ferns have rhizomes, and it turns out they do, so that explains it. It'll be interesting to see how the understory progresses as it grows back - light grass and ferns and other fast growing plants are one thing, but I think it'll be a while before we have lush moss carpets again, and the trees won't be covered with moss again for years.
Will hike off trail for fun.

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Peabody
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Re: Life already returning to the gorge on Archer Mountain

Post by Peabody » November 23rd, 2017, 1:39 pm

Don Nelsen wrote:No rocks, trees or branches fell on me.
:lol: :lol: :lol:


Thanks for the trip report. It was really interesting. For what it's worth, below is a picture of Archer Mountain taken on 9/23 during a flight over the gorge.
Archer.jpg
"I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.”
― E.B. White

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Guy
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Re: Life already returning to the gorge on Archer Mountain

Post by Guy » November 23rd, 2017, 10:22 pm

Don Nelsen wrote:
I suppose I should have id'd exactly where I was - my bad ;)
Nice one Don, I bet that made "Big Brother" sit up and take notice ;)
hiking log, photos & maps.
Ad monte summa aut mors

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Charley
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Location: North Portland

Re: Life already returning to the gorge on Archer Mountain

Post by Charley » November 24th, 2017, 1:38 pm

Bosterson wrote: Pretty amazing how fast those ferns have come back! After seeing that (charred stump with a new sprout growing out of it), I wondered if sword ferns have rhizomes, and it turns out they do, so that explains it. It'll be interesting to see how the understory progresses as it grows back - light grass and ferns and other fast growing plants are one thing, but I think it'll be a while before we have lush moss carpets again, and the trees won't be covered with moss again for years.
A quick tangent about sword ferns:
Contractors removed a 2 foot tall retaining wall in my backyard as part of a fence replacement. I was concerned about the new fence toppling onto my yard, so I created a "retaining slope" where the wall had been. My wife and I used our truck, wheelbarrow, shovels and rakes to add about 4 yards of topsoil in a sloped profile to make a hill up to the higher ground.

When we finished building the slope, we figured the slope would need perennial plantings, to reduce erosion and slumping. After a small amount of research, we found that sword ferns, because their dense network of roots, are one of the best plants to stabilize slopes. After transplanting several in our yard, we can see why: the wad of roots is large and hairy.

So, the Gorge has a native plant ready to stand up and help!

Ron Goodwin
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Re: Life already returning to the gorge on Archer Mountain

Post by Ron Goodwin » December 3rd, 2017, 12:14 pm

We were still getting soot off the burned trees from the '91 Falls Fire this summer. One of the first native plants to recover after that fire were the Sword Ferns. You can dig them up and throw them off the trail and they grow. One of the first invasives to show at Wahkeena after the 4" of moss was burned off in '91 was the stinky geranium (robertsi) which had not been there before. No one knew there were so many rocks under all that moss. Just when a lot of natives were coming back, we get this fire.

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