Crescent Lake and the imminent destruction of Bonneville Dam

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Chip Down
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Joined: November 8th, 2014, 8:41 pm

Crescent Lake and the imminent destruction of Bonneville Dam

Post by Chip Down » January 3rd, 2020, 10:26 pm

Everybody known about the Bonneville Landslide, in which a big wedge of Table Mountain slid into the Columbia River. Its lesser-known neighbor, Red Bluff Landslide, dumped a big wedge of Greenleaf Peak into the Columbia (but apparently didn't dam the river). More recently, a good sized part of the Red Bluff Landslide territory has started creeping again, very slowly. I went exploring today, not because I expected to see evidence of creep, but only because I want bragging rights. Decades from now, if I'm still around, I want to tell people I stood on the Crescent Lake Landslide before it wiped out Bonneville Dam. Also, I wanted to see Crescent Lake, because of its unusual shape and color.

Finding the lake was just slightly tricky. There's no outlet creek to follow, and the surrounding terrain is rugged. Didn't take too long though. My route wasn't ideal, but almost. As expected, the water was turquoise, like a glacial tarn. Other nearby lakes are also colorful, e.g. Gillette Lake along the PCT.

From the lake, I climbed out of the basin and explored NE. Great scenery. Heard a waterfall to the east. Went in search of it. It was just a braided set of cascades, not all that great. Downstream from the cascades, the creek very abruptly dumps into a flat muddy basin, where it braided. Later in the day, I looped under that basin, and found no outlet, so I guess all that water must seep underground. I returned upstream, past the cascades, and discovered the creek is nearly level above the cascades. I followed it up until it passed through a canyon. That's where I decided I should gain higher ground so I could get my bearings and plan a route. I climbed up the right/east canyon wall. Any steeper and it would have been scary.

At the top of the slope, I found myself on a beautiful mossy rocky ridgecrest, which I followed up until it ended abruptly (big step down, then brush). It was a very satisfying place to call it quits.

I returned down the ridgecrest, but soon it became very narrow, and there were some trees on crest, so I dropped east and followed a scenic gully a ways, then popped over the ridge westbound, crossed my creek, and returned to Crescent Lake.

Still had lots of time, so ascended the ridge west of Crescent. I was here last weekend, but it was nice to see what the views were like (it was cloudy last time).

Poison Oak was moderately dense. It really wouldn't have been a problem, but it was mixed in with other species, so all day I was watching for it closely. I think I escaped unscathed. We'll see.

Weather was amazing. I never wore my jacket. Not at the car when starting out, not when sedentary on exposed ridgecrests. I have no doubt there were trail hikers in the gorge today wearing shorts!
Attachments
00.jpg
The light tan zone in the middle is where I went wandering.
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Offtrail ridge hiking in the gorge doesn't get much better. Just west of the lake.
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Looking down on Crescent Lake.
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The apex of Crescent Lake.
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Crescent Lake detail.
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My no-name creek where it abruptly fans out and seeps underground.
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End of my ridge East of lake and creek. Ahead is Greenleaf Peak, and the Red Bluff cliffs.
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It was neat to see Table Mountain from this perspective, looking straight up the east ridge.
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Longest break of the day. I was surprised to see the Greenleaf Slide and waterfalls from here.
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NYD weather wasn't conducive to hiking, so this is a little late.

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retired jerry
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Re: Crescent Lake and the imminent destruction of Bonneville Dam

Post by retired jerry » January 4th, 2020, 7:01 am

you didn't find any crack in the ground that was separating?

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Chip Down
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Joined: November 8th, 2014, 8:41 pm

Re: Crescent Lake and the imminent destruction of Bonneville Dam

Post by Chip Down » January 4th, 2020, 3:18 pm

retired jerry wrote:
January 4th, 2020, 7:01 am
you didn't find any crack in the ground that was separating?
I don't think there is one. I haven't done much research on this, but my understanding is you can't spot the creep without instruments. I didn't see anything all day that exhibited obvious instability. Oh, hey, maybe that's where my creek mysteriously disappeared, swallowed up by a huge breach. Tip: If you visit Crescent Lake and discover a dry lakebed, run! :shock:

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