Whetstone Mtn Loop (Opal Ck Wilderness) 27-Oct-08

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VanMarmot
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Whetstone Mtn Loop (Opal Ck Wilderness) 27-Oct-08

Post by VanMarmot » October 28th, 2008, 9:45 am

I had been trying to get to this hike all summer but circumstances didn't permit. I was inspired to get on with it by ElphabaNorthWest's 9/27/08 post. Finally, I was faced with going hiking (on what might be one of the last great days of sunny fall weather in Oregon) or going to work. Hmmm. Well, it was a great hike!

The hike starts at the locked gate on the road to Jawbone Flats in the Opal Creek Wilderness. The trail to Whetstone Mtn starts on the left about 1/2-mile up the road. It's initially an old road but quickly turns into a nice trail that climbs through a series of well graded switchbacks and traverses through vegetation and forests. There was some blow-down of various sizes but nothing to make the trail into a thrash.
Whetstone Mtn trail.JPG
Whetstone Mtn trail 2.JPG
After about 5 miles and 3000' of gain, a short spur trail leads to the old lookout site on Whetstone's summit. It was a sunny day but there was some haze that obscured truly clear views of the south side of Hood and the north side of Jefferson.
Mt Hood.JPG
Mt. Jefferson.JPG
Desending from the summit, I turned east and followed the 3369 trail to its junction with the 0546 trail. After about 1/2-mile on the 0546, I turned right on the 3369 for a fairly steep descent on pretty good trail to Battle Ax Creek. The crossing was uneventful due to low water but its got those rocks that look dry but are actually as slick as grease, so I didn't rush it.
After a short uphill section, the 3369 trail joins the Battle Ax Creek trail, which heads down to Jawbone Flats. At one point you can choose between two old roads, one level to the left, the other steep down to the right. I went right, which worked out OK but the other may be more scenic. Overall, this part of the hike along Battle Ax Creek was the least scenic. There is one point where you can see back up to Whetstone Mountain.
Whetstone Mtn.JPG
You then cross Battle Ax Creek
Battle Ax Creek.JPG
just before entering the little hamlet of Jawbone Flats.
Jawbone Flats.JPG
After that, it's about three miles along the road back to the locked gate and the cars. Normally walking along a road isn't all that interesting, but there are things to see along the way (such as Merten Mill and the Half Bridges) and, at this time of year you're engulfed in fall colors.
Road home.JPG
It was a excellent hike on a great day. Overall, 14.5 miles & 3000' of gain. If I felt any guilt about trading a day at work for this hike, I soon forgot it.
Last edited by VanMarmot on February 28th, 2016, 10:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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kelkev
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Re: Whetstone Mtn Loop (Opal Ck Wilderness) 27-Oct-08

Post by kelkev » October 28th, 2008, 10:27 am

You've inspired me to put this one on my list next year. I was on Triangulation Peak yesterday, for a close up view of Mt. Jefferson, but my view was hazy as well. Sounds like we both had great days in the forest, beats work anyday!!

Kevin
"Going to the mountains is going home."
— John Muir

VanMarmot
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Re: Whetstone Mtn Loop (Opal Ck Wilderness) 27-Oct-08

Post by VanMarmot » October 28th, 2008, 10:34 am

It's supposed to rain this coming weekend, so I knew I'd feel real bad if I didn't "sieze the hiking day" on Monday.

If the snows hold off for a bit, you might be able to do this hike this year.

- VM

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ghsmith76
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Re: Whetstone Mtn Loop (Opal Ck Wilderness) 27-Oct-08

Post by ghsmith76 » December 31st, 2020, 9:58 am

I wish this trail was still maintained
GHSMITH76
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greenjello85
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Re: Whetstone Mtn Loop (Opal Ck Wilderness) 27-Oct-08

Post by greenjello85 » December 31st, 2020, 9:27 pm

ghsmith76 wrote:
December 31st, 2020, 9:58 am
I wish this trail was still maintained
It's closed right now d/t fires but I think the trail is officially still maintained? Well, at least as maintained as any of the BOTW trails are.
Dan

RobFromRedland
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Re: Whetstone Mtn Loop (Opal Ck Wilderness) 27-Oct-08

Post by RobFromRedland » December 31st, 2020, 9:41 pm

Most or all of these trails got hammered by the Beachie Creek fire. Not sure what will be left of them now.

That loop has been on my to do list for a long time. I'm sorry I didn't do it before it burned.
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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rubiks
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Re: Whetstone Mtn Loop (Opal Ck Wilderness) 27-Oct-08

Post by rubiks » January 2nd, 2021, 11:16 am

I hiked the loop back in May, there was some blowdown and a number of spots that required some gymnastics to get under/over/around downed trees across the trail. But the tread itself was good and the trail was never hard to follow.

It's on my list of places to get back to when it reopens.
You know exactly what to do.
There's no need to be afraid.
Keep walking.

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