Eagle Creek - Herman Creek Loop: 1/3/21

This forum is used to share your experiences out on the trails.
User avatar
Bosterson
Posts: 2119
Joined: May 18th, 2009, 3:17 pm
Location: Portland

Re: Eagle Creek - Herman Creek Loop: 1/3/21

Post by Bosterson » January 8th, 2021, 2:00 pm

retired jerry wrote:
January 8th, 2021, 12:26 pm
I wonder if Ruckel Creek trail is open? That would be a good alternate. Easier to safely pass people
Check the map, it's still closed.
#pnw #bestlife #bitingflies #favoriteyellowcap #neverdispleased

User avatar
bobcat
Posts: 2187
Joined: August 1st, 2011, 7:51 am
Location: SW Portland

Re: Eagle Creek - Herman Creek Loop: 1/3/21

Post by bobcat » January 8th, 2021, 2:31 pm

drm wrote:
January 8th, 2021, 11:53 am
So looks like they haven't done any work above the Tanner junction.
Originally, the whole trail was cleared by the PCTA from both ends (it took two years). However, it's just been sitting there for more than a year. Some (re)clearing of the lower trail happened in 2020, but I suspect that the upper trail wasn't checked before the opening.

A lot of trail work has been inefficiently duplicated in the Gorge, keeping crews from working on trails that haven't been touched yet (Ruckel Creek, Bell Creek, Horsetail, upper Oneonta, etc.). They wouldn't open Eagle Creek last spring because of COVID and now, with record numbers of deaths, it is deemed appropriate. (I actually agree with the opening, however; being out in the fresh air, following certain guidelines, is very safe; the most dangerous part of a hike, COVID-wise, are the confines of a trailhead restroom.)

User avatar
retired jerry
Posts: 13294
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: Eagle Creek - Herman Creek Loop: 1/3/21

Post by retired jerry » January 9th, 2021, 8:26 am

"Check the map, it's still closed."

Yeah, but I just got you to do it for me :)

(and many examples of maps being wrong, people on this site have knowledge of future changes to the map,...)

User avatar
drm
Posts: 5430
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
Location: The Dalles, OR
Contact:

Re: Eagle Creek - Herman Creek Loop: 1/3/21

Post by drm » January 9th, 2021, 8:49 am

bobcat wrote:
January 8th, 2021, 2:31 pm
They wouldn't open Eagle Creek last spring because of COVID and now, with record numbers of deaths, it is deemed appropriate.
Last year, that was late winter or spring when they kept it closed. I don't know exactly what date they anticipated opening it, but I think the assumption was spring.

So now it is midwinter and though it is indeed very crowded now, imagine if this had been done months later with longer days and better weather. Short of regulating day usage there was never going to be a way of keeping the opening uncrowded. Midwinter was the best option they had.

Cascade
Posts: 9
Joined: December 20th, 2013, 5:17 pm

Re: Eagle Creek - Herman Creek Loop: 1/3/21

Post by Cascade » January 13th, 2021, 5:13 pm

bobcat wrote:
January 8th, 2021, 2:31 pm
Originally, the whole trail was cleared by the PCTA from both ends (it took two years). However, it's just been sitting there for more than a year. Some (re)clearing of the lower trail happened in 2020, but I suspect that the upper trail wasn't checked before the opening.
The upper section of Eagle Creek Trail, from Wahtum to below the Indian Springs junction, was logged out this past summer. The Labor Day windstorms blew down over 50 trees in that section, though, so yep, it's messy again. We need longer days and no snow on the road up to Wahtum before those can be cleared.

It's also a bit messy from Wy'east Camp (about 5 miles from the gorge TH) to the Indian Springs junction, as we were unable to get there this year. 2020 was...challenging...for the Eagle Creek volunteers.

A bit of background: the lower part of the trail, up to High Bridge, can be worked on year-round. We have to cancel projects due to heavy rain or high wind, for safety reasons -- the burn area is a dodgy place in bad weather. But we can get out there in the winter. And we do.

To do projects from the top, we go in from Wahtum Lake. Some years, that's only possible from June through maybe October. So, more of a seasonal thing.

The middle? That requires overnight trail crews, due to the distance from the trailhead. In 2018 and 2019, there was no High Bridge -- it burned in the fire. So to do the trail restoration after the fire, we came in from the top, from Wahtum Lake, camping at 7 1/2 Mile Camp and working our way down to High Bridge. It was hard work! Landslides and trees and debris, oh my! But very satisfying.

2020 was going to be a great year! The new bridges were in, we could hike in from the bottom! Yay! We could get the brush beaten back before it got huge! Yay! We could haul our gear out downhill at the end of the projects! Yay! So we worked through last winter, keeping up on clearing the new slides and downed trees off the trail, so it would be ready when the days got longer, and we could tackle the middle earlier in the season. (That's a very dynamic landscape, down in that canyon! Every time we went in, new stuff to work on. One slide in February took us three work parties to clear.)

Then came the pandemic. All volunteer work was canceled. It was July before we had clearance to do work parties again. And we did. We cleared debris and new slides and prodigious amounts of vegetation as far as we could reach with one-day crews. We logged out both ends. And in August, we did an overnighter and were able to clear the trail down to about 5 miles below Wahtum. (From the top again, as the bottom was closed for bridge construction on the 400 Trail! Drat!) We only had the middle to go.

Then came the fires. The forests closed. Volunteer work was canceled, including our crew to clear the middle section of the trail. And then the days were too short, the weather too bad, to get an overnight crew in. So, that middle section is still pretty scruffy.

But I can tell you for sure that the trail has not "just been sitting there for more than a year." :)
bobcat wrote:
January 8th, 2021, 2:31 pm
A lot of trail work has been inefficiently duplicated in the Gorge, keeping crews from working on trails that haven't been touched yet (Ruckel Creek, Bell Creek, Horsetail, upper Oneonta, etc.).
Eagle Creek trail crews do not take away resources from other trails. Most of the crews are PCTA volunteer crews. One might consider that by having dedicated volunteer crews on Eagle Creek, USFS crews are freed up to work on other trails. I am PCTA's trail caretaker for the Eagle Creek Trail: my role is to provide the volunteer crews needed to maintain that trail, specifically. Eagle Creek trail work is "inefficiently duplicated" because it is...my trail. It's my (volunteer) job to help keep that specific trail in good shape. The USFS also work on Eagle Creek Trail, yes, building rock structures, cutting logs, etc. Check out their awesome rock work in that first mile! But they have put in huge amounts of effort on all those other trails that have recently re-opened. Give them a "thank you" next time you see them out there.

Want to see what all the USFS is working on in the Gorge? Check this out: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/crgn ... width=full

Webfoot
Posts: 1363
Joined: November 25th, 2015, 11:06 am
Location: Troutdale

Re: Eagle Creek - Herman Creek Loop: 1/3/21

Post by Webfoot » January 13th, 2021, 5:32 pm

Thanks for your hard work.

User avatar
drm
Posts: 5430
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
Location: The Dalles, OR
Contact:

Re: Eagle Creek - Herman Creek Loop: 1/3/21

Post by drm » January 14th, 2021, 8:19 am

Cascade - From my days doing trail volunteer work, the thing I liked least was carrying in the tools, especially since the use of trekking poles is important for me, and you are required to hold all but the smallest tools in your hands. And I can only imagine what it's like to carry tools on those narrow and exposed trails in lower Eagle Creek in order to reach the middle section.

Thanks for your details descriptions. This forum gets a lot of assumptions about how that al works without really any direct actual information.

User avatar
retired jerry
Posts: 13294
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: Eagle Creek - Herman Creek Loop: 1/3/21

Post by retired jerry » January 14th, 2021, 9:15 am

"This forum gets a lot of assumptions about how that al works without really any direct actual information."

Hmmm...

You could extend that to more subjects and to the entire internet

I plead guilty myself :)

Post Reply