Old School: Bull-of-the-Woods Backpack - Sept 1981

This is a forum for trip reports that pre-date the Portland Hikers forum, trail photos from pre-digital era, or any other discussions that focus on trail history.
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Splintercat
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Old School: Bull-of-the-Woods Backpack - Sept 1981

Post by Splintercat » November 23rd, 2012, 3:45 pm

Okay, here's another from the vaults! This is from a trip I took at the start of sophomore year in college with my roommate and old buddy David. Bull of the Woods was not designated as wilderness, yet, and the Clackamas district was becoming one giant clearcut, with a tangle of hastily built roads. It was literally dangerous to drive them, as the log trucks were coming off the mountains by the hundreds in those days -- and there weren't too many hikers.

I was very much caught up in the wilderness battles of the day, volunteering for the Oregon Wilderness Coalition (now Oregon Wild) on behalf the various proposals in the MHNF. One was for the "Hidden Wilderness", and you can still find the excellent trail guide that was published by one of the "coalition" members -- the Central Cascades Conservation Council:

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It had a neat fold-up topo map in the back, as I recall, though my current copy has parted ways with the map. Hmmm...

So, we started at the Dickey Creek side and did a 3-night/4-day trip traversing the backcountry. Here's a map of our route:

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We took Dave's handy Toyota wagon up there, and as I recall, it wasn't a kind gesture to this poor car -- a rather rough ride! Here's David getting ready to saddle up:

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On the descent into Dickey Creek -- and the BIG, BIG trees..!

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The first night was at Big Slide Lake -- here's me drinking "something" from my Sierra Cup:

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On the second day we started with the climb up to Bull-of-Woods. This is yours truly in the standard short-shorts that were the uniform of the day. I spent YEARS cultivating these cut-offs (which have since been immortalized in Arrested Development, of course..!) :D

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The view south toward Battle Axe Mountain -- thanks to the 1984 wilderness bill, this view hasn't changed much, with the possible exception of wildfires...

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The view east toward Big Slide Lake and mountain -- also protected from logging and roads, but not fire:

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Me doing my best impression of Rodin's "The Thinker"... there might have been some inhaling going on at this point, not that I'm going to 'fess up to anything... :lol:

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The second and third nights were at "base camp" at Upper Twin Lake -- I think I've hooked a sunken log in this picture... ;)

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Day Three, and we made a day-trip to Battle Ax Mountain. I can't believe we didn't have packs (or water!?!) along for this little trip, but at 19, I think I was probably young and dumb enough to pull a stunt like that... hmm... :roll:

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Oh, and by the way, kids -- we didn't have a Hipstamatic app for the Kodak Instamatic used in these photos... wasn't necessary at the time... :lol:

Not positive what we're looking at, here, but I think it's the ridge running NW from Beachie Mountain, as viewed from the crest north of Battle Ax:

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Heading up the north side of Battle Ax -- see? No pack..! Idiots! :roll:

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Looking south from Battle Ax at Mount Beachie -- one of my favorite views anywhere:

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Hmm... thought about not posting this last pic... but what the heck... :lol: Yup, a very skinny version of yours truly looking all "mountaineery" on the summit of Battle Axe. Those are my super-great Vasque boots -- had them for years. The shorts..? Well, we were just emerging from the 70s, so don't blame me..! :lol: Mount Jefferson in the background, of course:

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(...hmm... posting this could make for a loooong night at the Meet 'n Deet...) :?

I was kind of hoping for a tent photo -- I had an orange 2-man North Face tent that was my first real backpacking tent. I have no idea where it ended up... I also don't see it on my pack (the orange one, of course) in the earlier photo. I generally was able to stuff it in the top of the upper compartment.

This was also the trip where we had a long and terrifying second night at Upper Twin Lake -- awoke to hear some sort of LARGE animal grunting and breathing very loudly outside our tent on a moonless night... we just lay there with our teeth chattering...

We also made the poor choice of following the Geronimo Trail on part of this trip -- despite warnings to the contrary in the Hidden Wilderness guide! David never quite forgave me for that one...

- Tom :)

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Swede
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Re: Old School: Bull-of-the-Woods Backpack - Sept 1981

Post by Swede » November 23rd, 2012, 5:42 pm

Tom, thanks for sharing these photos. It sort of reminds me of my overnight trip in that area in early June 1980. We camped at Welcome Lakes and made a side trip to the Bull of the Woods lookout. I say "sort of" because the whole area was socked in with low clouds, and the view from the lookout was...well, there wasn't any. Had it been sunny and warm, I'm sure I would have been dressed very much as you were.

Just for comparison, here are a couple of more recent photos of the views that you saw back then. Forest fires in 2010 and 2011 have made some changes.
2012-08-01 017a.jpg
View from BOW lookout across Mother Lode Creek drainage.
Looking toward Battle Ax mountain across the Mother Lode Creek drainage. The Mother Lode trail runs below most of the burnt area on the hillside across the drainage. It was not much affected by the fire in that location.
2010-10-20 071ab.jpg
Big Slide Mountain from BOW lookout.
Big Slide Mountain. The burned trees are in the Lake Lenore basin, which was totally burned.

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Splintercat
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Re: Old School: Bull-of-the-Woods Backpack - Sept 1981

Post by Splintercat » November 23rd, 2012, 7:00 pm

Thanks, Swede - great comparison shots! Hard as it is to see the forests burn, in the end, that's always what makes for all those open ridges and huckleberry fields in the Bull-of-the-Woods area that we love... if I live long enough to see them..! Hmm... :D

-Tom :)

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Koda
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Re: Old School: Bull-of-the-Woods Backpack - Sept 1981

Post by Koda » November 23rd, 2012, 7:31 pm

excellent report Tom, reminds me of my only backpacking trip and visit in the BOW maybe 12 years ago. We did a loop hike starting at Elk Lake camping at Twin Lakes the first night then Welcome Lakes the second night. I remember the trail segment 557 was overgrown then pretty much lost.... for a while we lost it giving me concern but then it appeared again.

Highlights from that trip was we hit it in full Rhododendron bloom.... which has never left my memory, trail 573 from Twin Lakes to 558 was so thick we were swimming in them. Beautiful area, I have a few off trail lakes in my bucket list for someday to explore I would love a return trip to the BOW. Ironically, not many pics to share... if I can find them I have only a few left from a disposable 35mm film camera. Was also one of the last trips with my faithful canine companion who accompanied me on my first trip to the Wallowas.

thanks for posting this.
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Eric Peterson
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Re: Old School: Bull-of-the-Woods Backpack - Sept 1981

Post by Eric Peterson » November 23rd, 2012, 8:22 pm

On my to do list for 2013 for sure!

That's awesome work for 19 years old too :)

RobFromRedland
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Re: Old School: Bull-of-the-Woods Backpack - Sept 1981

Post by RobFromRedland » November 23rd, 2012, 10:36 pm

Unfortunately, a lot of that area has burned. I was up there earlier this year and saw the Welcome Lakes area, and it is completely burned - as someone else said - Charcoal. It burned all the duff even - the fire was very hot. The edge of the Geronimo trail was burned as well. Here is a photo of the campsite at upper welcome lake:
P7210073.jpg
I'm not sure about Twin Lakes, but I don't think the fire made it that far. It is still a beautiful area - just much different than what some of those photos show.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention to arrive safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: WOW-What a ride!

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Swede
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Re: Old School: Bull-of-the-Woods Backpack - Sept 1981

Post by Swede » November 24th, 2012, 10:36 am

I'm not sure about Twin Lakes, but I don't think the fire made it that far. It is still a beautiful area - just much different than what some of those photos show.
The Mother Lode fire did make it to Twin Lakes and the Twin Lakes trail. It didn't burn close to Upper Twin Lake, but it did make it to Lower Twin.
2012-10-10 109ab.jpg
Lower Twin Lake
The trail approaching the lakes from the east passes through an extensive burned area.
2012-10-10 088ab.jpg
Twin Lakes trail
There are more photos on my flickr site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] ... 755298438/

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Re: Old School: Bull-of-the-Woods Backpack - Sept 1981

Post by RobFromRedland » November 24th, 2012, 1:50 pm

Wow, that looks eerily similar to the Welcome Lakes trail above upper Welcome Lake:
P7210072.jpg
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention to arrive safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: WOW-What a ride!

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Re: Old School: Bull-of-the-Woods Backpack - Sept 1981

Post by texasbb » November 24th, 2012, 5:35 pm

Thanks for another most enjoyable trip through your time machine, Splintercat!
Splintercat wrote:Day Three, and we made a day-trip to Battle Ax Mountain. I can't believe we didn't have packs (or water!?!) along for this little trip, but at 19, I think I was probably young and dumb enough to pull a stunt like that... hmm... :roll:
You forgot invincible. Young, invincible, and dumb. When I was 21 I bagged 10 peaks around Crested Butte, CO, wearing a cotton tee shirt, shorts a lot like yours, :oops: a pair of Chuck Taylor high-top Converse All Star basketball shoes, and no jacket. I carried a one-quart canteen and occasionally a sandwich. I'm still here, by the grace of God.

I do hope you (and others) keep digging up old pics. These are a lot of fun! :)
Last edited by texasbb on November 24th, 2012, 11:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Splintercat
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Re: Old School: Bull-of-the-Woods Backpack - Sept 1981

Post by Splintercat » November 24th, 2012, 6:31 pm

You forgot invincible. Young, invincible, and dumb.
That's right! Plus, you know everything - so, there's not a lot of time spent worrying about whether you might be on the wrong track...! Well, until you discover that you are, of course... :lol:

As the saying goes, "youth is wasted on the young!"

-Tom :D

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