Nick Eaton / Gorton Ck Loop 09-Dec-2011

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VanMarmot
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Nick Eaton / Gorton Ck Loop 09-Dec-2011

Post by VanMarmot » December 10th, 2011, 7:57 am

Friday I did the classic loop hike up Nick Eaton Ridge (tr 447) to Ridge Camp, with a return via Gorton Creek (Tr 408). Good exercise, plus I was curious about snow conditions. Conditions were sunny and clear, but with a slight haze. However, it was also very cold, particularly when I was exposed to a good cross-wind higher on the ridge. This is not a loop with a lot of views, but going up the 447 I caught a glimpse of Hood through the haze,

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and of Dog Mountain being enveloped by clouds that were trying to push in from the E.

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Except for a few icy patches on the trail around 3800' ( I used my microspikes here),

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there was no significant snow on the 447 until just before its junction with the 408.

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The Gorton Ck Tr (408) is on the NE side of the ridge and it was covered with 12-18" of hardpacked snow, with icy patches, from the 447/408 junction down to about 3200'. No snow on Nick Eaton at 4000' and only a little on the Gorton in early December? - this seems extra weird.

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Snow conditions were so walkable that I considered going out to Greenpoint Mtn. But that would have added 4 mi RT late in an already pretty cold day, so I headed down the 408 instead. There are only a couple of view points on this trail but one of them gave me a good look at Adams and Wind Mtn.

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It never warmed up enough, even at low elevations, to melt the hoar frost that had developed on small stems and leaves.

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As I passed through Herman Camp,

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I started obsessing about warm french fries from the East Wind Cafe in Cascade Locks. Holding that thought powered me to the TH (the gate is apparently going to be open all winter), my car, and then the cafe. And so another day of freedom from the cubicle came to an end ( :cry: ). Still, a solid hike providing good exercise on a clear (but cold day) - 13 mi, EG 3800'.

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weathercrazy
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Re: Nick Eaton / Gorton Ck Loop 09-Dec-2011

Post by weathercrazy » December 10th, 2011, 8:29 am

Nice report, and seems almost spring-like at the higher elevations. This will change obviously, but for the time time being, best to get out and enjoy some rare winter hiking at the higher elevation, without snowshoes etc.

Jesse
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Re: Nick Eaton / Gorton Ck Loop 09-Dec-2011

Post by Jesse » December 10th, 2011, 5:22 pm

weathercrazy wrote:Nice report, and seems almost spring-like at the higher elevations. This will change obviously, but for the time time being, best to get out and enjoy some rare winter hiking at the higher elevation, without snowshoes etc.
Spring would likely have more snow.

Let's say late-Fall like, but colder.

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