Prospector ridge, 060921

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Don Nelsen
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Prospector ridge, 060921

Post by Don Nelsen » June 10th, 2021, 6:41 pm

The ridge that lies between Prospector Creek and Meander Creek shows a trail on the USGS map and I’ve wondered about it for years. In 2015, after exploring the ridge between the forks of Deer Creek and later, the ridge between Deer Creek and Prospector Creek I went as far as I could down the road that parallels Deer Creek. Back then, the road was closed and bermed near the junction of Prospector Creek and the Washougal River and I intended to go back when I had more time. Other projects got in the way and I pretty much forgot about it until now. There is no name for this ridge that I am aware of, so I'll call it Prospector Ridge.

Yesterday I went back and planned to hike a loop up the ridge and return via the ridge to the south.

Denied!

The bridge over Deer Creek was gone and now served as a very effective barrier:
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A few hundred feet more and this is what I found.
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I could have easily waded across but I knew that the road crossed Prospector creek about a quarter mile farther and with the added flow of Deer Creek, would likely be harder to get across. I still may do it, just because, but I’ll take a set of river shoes when I do.

Now to formulate Plan B. I could see on the map that a newer road that went a little ways up the ridge gets very close to the older road. Perhaps I could drive up, bushwhack down to the old road and take it from there. After cleaning up about a dozen shotgun shells, a few cigarette packs and a box from a short case of beer, I headed up the newer road. Surprise! The new road had been extended over a mile up the ridge and at its end, was the old road.
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This ridge is a real roller coaster of ups and downs but is in very good condition as far as abandoned forest roads/trails go.
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A few steep spots but not many and you could easily drive the whole thing with 4WD – of course, you would scratch the heck out of your vehicle!

Nary a tree down over the entire length and only one short rocky section. No recent evidence of dirt bike use or ATV use either. A delightful path through a mature second growth forest. The temperature stayed about 55 the whole time and though a few drops of rain fell, nothing to worry about.

90% of the route is like this:
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A few views along the way.
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After about 2.4 miles of old road, the real fun commenced. A final cat track up a steep grade, festooned with slide alder and vine maple:
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After another steep few hundred feet then this:
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Oh boy, I really wanted to top out on the next ridge and return that way but this thing looked more difficult than what I thought I could do. I took a lunch break, and steeled myself for what turned out to be a difficult though exciting climb.

Vine maple and slide alder is a pain in the uphill direction and I was on my knees a few times as I crawled under the worst of it. Nice scenery though.
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Finally on top of the rocks, the going got easier, except for a wall of vine maple. I made it through, reached the road on the next ridge and savored my victory.
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Now to decide: Do I return the way I came, or go down the planned way, adding about three miles and another 700’ EG to my trek. Nope, maybe next time! I took a slightly different route down the bushwhack section, a better one, as often happens and found this nice assortment of party balloons.
IMG_2393.JPG
I returned the way I came up the trail/road, very glad to see my car, and enjoyed a nice leisurely drive home.

5.7 miles, 1,887’ EG, hike # 49 – should have counted for double, though, maybe triple.

Oh, and BTW, I saw no one, not even another car or camper once past the 2070 road junction on 2000. So the forests are crowded? Not so much.
060921 B.jpg
Last edited by Don Nelsen on June 11th, 2021, 6:38 pm, edited 3 times in total.
"Everything works in the planning stage".

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TwoPaw
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Re: Prospector ridge, 060921

Post by TwoPaw » June 10th, 2021, 8:59 pm

Nice how Plan Bs work out sometimes. Today, I only saw one group camping on CG2000 next to Rock Creek, and another parked car up by Rock Creek on CG2070. Otherwise not a soul all day except the truck driver who waved at me. But it looked like you had the sunnier skies.

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Chip Down
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Re: Prospector ridge, 060921

Post by Chip Down » June 11th, 2021, 6:09 pm

reached the road on the next ridge
That's where I lost you. I don't see anything that corresponds to that description.

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Don Nelsen
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Location: Vancouver, WA

Re: Prospector ridge, 060921

Post by Don Nelsen » June 11th, 2021, 6:41 pm

Chip Down wrote:
June 11th, 2021, 6:09 pm
reached the road on the next ridge
That's where I lost you. I don't see anything that corresponds to that description.
a

Here's a map that should explain it showing some previous hikes and routes.
060921 B.jpg
"Everything works in the planning stage".

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

Re: Prospector ridge, 060921

Post by Chip Down » June 11th, 2021, 7:14 pm

Yep, that makes sense. I wasn't looking way up there, didn't realize you went that far. Thanks.

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