various Beacon Rock wanderings

Discussions and Trip Reports for off-trail adventures and rediscovering lost trails
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Chip Down
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various Beacon Rock wanderings

Post by Chip Down » March 18th, 2018, 8:06 pm

Weather forecast was a bit sketchy, so decided to play it safe and poke around Beacon Rock, exploring a few places I haven't been. Some on trail, some off, some on pavement.

Started at Hamilton Trailhead. Gate was open before dawn. Yay! It seems so random. I'm accustomed to being the first there, but on this trip I was maybe about #7. Weird. I had no need to use either of the two portable toilets provided at the trailhead, which is good, because they were both marked full, with a sign explaining the park had seen more visitors than expected the weekend before. Well, so then empty them. What's the big deal? Just do it. Isn't that what I paid for with the $30 permit and $99 fine they slapped me with last spring? Anyway, I headed up the paved-but-gated road past the trailhead to the upper picnic area, where I discovered a great view of Beacon, and then continued up to the campground, which I came to realize offers an easier start for Hamilton hikers. Took the trail to Little Beacon Rock. Charming trail, recommended (I mean the little spur trail that heads to Lil Beacon). Poked around the utility roads, hoping to go west, but the road isn't maintained very far. Nothing left to do, so back to the car and over to Equestrian Trailhead.

After parking at Equestrian, tried to follow the utility road west, but again it dead-ended, so followed it east until a dead end. The eastbound road was really charming in spots though. It would be a pleasant stroll if it continued like that for a considerable distance. Back up to Equestrian TH and to the picnic area, then down to Little Creek, which I planned to follow as far as possible, and maybe even an off-trail route to Phlox Point, although that seemed doubtful. The creek was way too brushy, so after fighting it a while I veered east to follow the mossy boulder fields that lie NW of the Equestrian TH. After climbing for a while, I was surprised to find myself at a high point, which forced me to drop if I wanted to continue up. Grumbled, but did it. Heavy brush turned me back. Had I known where I was and where I was going, I would have persisted, but I'm not going to put up with heavy brush just on speculation/exploration. Followed openings in the general direction of Equestrian, with a little side exploring here and there.

Drove down to Beacon to follow the Ridell Lake Trail, which was new to me. It doesn't curve around the lake as shown on maps. Instead it ends at a junction of paved roads near the Beacon Rock Boat Ramp. Oh, so I just hiked an ugly loud trail along SR14 to get me to a place I could drive to? Great. Since I was there I followed a pointless paved loop through state park territory. Along the way I encountered a touristy couple looking for Pool of the Winds. I gave them directions.

Got back to my car pretty early, but too late to go anywhere else, so headed home. And then the rain finally started in earnest, so that helped me feel better about the decisions I made.
Beacon Rock from Little Beacon Rock.
Yep, half full.
Climbing up that rubble was a slight hassle, but so much better than following Little Creek.
This is where the off-trail portion of my day came to an end. I'd been fighting through this for a while, but enough is enough.
I pondered the meaning of this rock art for a while, and finally decided to take it as a sign that I should drink more beer.
A pleasant surprise along the Ridell Lake Trail.
This bench affords a fine view of...well, some trees.
We live in a post-literate society.
A little chainsaw whimsy.
Sitting on a plastic bench alongside a paved trail in the drizzle. Not quite the way I pictured my day ending.

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Re: various Beacon Rock wanderings

Post by bobcat » March 20th, 2018, 7:22 pm

The River to Rock Trail (That's what it's called) does loop around Riddell Lake, but you wouldn't really recognize it as the "lake" is choked with vegetation. In the summer, you're fighting nettles and blackberries on that trail.
Beacon Rock from Riddell Lake, Beacon Rock State Park.jpg
View to Yeon Mt. and Nesmith Point from Ridell Lake, Beacon Rock State Park.jpg

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