Boulder Ridge - Plaza - Bonanza Loop

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bobcat
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Boulder Ridge - Plaza - Bonanza Loop

Post by bobcat » January 16th, 2012, 5:23 pm

On Saturday, the snow began falling, and I drove to the trailhead for the Bonanza Trail in Welches, chained my bike to a tree, and then motored back to the Wildwood Recreation Area to park outside the closed gate. It was relatively balmy as I began, but this was not to last for long. I strolled down the road into the Wildwood area and then took the big footbridge over the Salmon River.
Footbridge over Salmon River, Wildwood Recreation Area.jpg
To head up the slope, I kept right along the river to the beginning of the Boulder Ridge Trail. The forest is mostly coniferous (hemlock, Douglas-fir, red-cedar) but with big-leaf maples and alders in gullies near watercourses. The tread switchbacks before reaching an old road bed, which carries the trail for a while before it switchbacks up to a rocky viewpoint of Mt. Hood. By this time, however, the weather had rolled in and the light snowfall that was to accompany me all day had started to fall. Thus, there were no views on a trail with a number of good panoramas. The trail travels below a ridge crest before reaching the junction with the Plaza Trail.
Hemlock woods, Boulder Ridge Trail.jpg
View to Mt. Hood, Boulder Ridge Trail.jpg
Rhododendrons in the snow, Boulder Ridge Trail.jpg
Plaza - Boulder Ridge Trail junction.jpg
The Plaza Trail leads right up to the crest of Huckleberry Mountain (Left would take you down on the old tread of the Plaza, which intersects with the Arrah Wanna Trail; both of these abandoned sections begin on private land and are no longer easily accessible). Gusts of 40 mph were blasting snow across the several openings on Huckleberry Mountain’s ridge. The old lookout telephone wire lies alongside the trail and in the openings there were snowdrifts of up to 30 inches. Under the trees, however, there was only the morning’s slight accumulation. Tracks of snowshoe hare were the only signs of warm-blooded occupancy. After passing over Huckleberry’s 4,300’ summit, I dropped down along the ridge to the junction with the Bonanza Trail.
Summit ridge, Huckleberry Mountain.jpg
The Bonanza Trail traverses down and descends a ridge, passing mossy outcrops and delivering occasional views across the valley on a good day. In a gully, one reaches the 100-foot adit of the Bonanza Mine. This venture was one of the 100 or so claims staked in the Chena Mining District around the turn of the 20th century. Gold was what drew the miners, this being its northernmost occurrence in the Cascades; copper, lead, and zinc were also found, the largest mine in the district being near the confluence of the Salmon and Sandy Rivers. However the cost of providing access to the rugged country far outweighed the take, and the activity was abandoned in less than five years.
Down the ridge, Bonanza Trail.jpg
Adit, Bonanza Mine.jpg
The Bonanza continues its descent and fetches up above Cheeney (formerly Chena) Creek, undulating along among mossy old growth hemlocks, cedars, and Douglas-firs. Eventually, one reaches an old road bed, fords a wide creek and continues, along a soggy avenue of alders, to the junction with the old Bonanza. To take the current Bonanza, you have to switchback up to the left on another road bed and then drop to where it joins East Grove Lane in Welches.
Cheeney Creek, Bonanza Trail.jpg
Cheeney Creek, Bonanza Trail_2.jpg
I unlocked my bicycle and rode out, eventually turning into the headwind that was bringing in the weather. As a final joy, I experienced the giddy pleasure of sleet peppering my cheeks like buckshot and sliding down my collar as I pedaled down Highway 26 back to Wildwood.

Notes:

1. Trails were generally in good condition. On the Plaza between Huckleberry’s summit and the Bonanza junction, there were parts getting overgrown with rhododendrons. The top half mile of the Bonanza is being colonized by bear-grass and sliding down the slope, but on the rest of the trail, the trail bench has been restored with some extensive maintenance being done in the past year.

2. Parking at the Bonanza Trailhead right in front of the cable-blocked road bed seems to be no problem. At the old Bonanza Trailhead (closer to Cheeney Creek), there are No Trespassing signs.

3. These trails are a splendor of blooming rhododendrons in early July.

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geographics
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Re: Boulder Ridge - Plaza - Bonanza Loop

Post by geographics » January 16th, 2012, 5:47 pm

=
Last edited by geographics on April 6th, 2012, 8:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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bobcat
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Re: Boulder Ridge - Plaza - Bonanza Loop

Post by bobcat » January 16th, 2012, 6:14 pm

@geographics: You've got it! It's the old 783A - 783 - 786.

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Waffle Stomper
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Re: Boulder Ridge - Plaza - Bonanza Loop

Post by Waffle Stomper » January 16th, 2012, 6:26 pm

The lack of snow is amazing considering how long it lasted into spring last year. Thanks for sharing.
"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe." - John Muir

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Guy
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Re: Boulder Ridge - Plaza - Bonanza Loop

Post by Guy » January 16th, 2012, 8:26 pm

Great Report Bobcat amazing you can do that in January this year!!
hiking log & photos.
Ad monte summa aut mors

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mayhem
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Re: Boulder Ridge - Plaza - Bonanza Loop

Post by mayhem » January 17th, 2012, 12:48 am

Nice TR bobcat! Amazing stuff I have never heard of. Thank you for sharing.
Shoe Shine Boy Has Left The Building!

Thum

Re: Boulder Ridge - Plaza - Bonanza Loop

Post by Thum » January 17th, 2012, 8:56 pm

wow, this is amazing bobcat. I wanted to do the same loop with a bike shuttle last summer. Im not brave enough to do it with all that snow though. thanks for the historical references as well, it really adds to the tr:)


edit: were the spots near the wildwood gate not blocked off with cable?

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bobcat
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Re: Boulder Ridge - Plaza - Bonanza Loop

Post by bobcat » January 18th, 2012, 7:37 am

@Thum: Snow wasn't really an issue on Saturday as I was on the edge of the front. I got blasted on top of the ridge, but coming down I was on the Bonanza, which was on the lee side: light snow falling but not sticking, less wind, positively fall-like.

The Wildwood spaces at the gate were open; I had seen them open the week before when I went skiing. Don't know why they had been taped off for a short while.

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