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

This forum is used to share your experiences out on the trails.
Post Reply
User avatar
VanMarmot
Posts: 1923
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

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.

User avatar
kelkev
Posts: 771
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
Location: McMinnville, OR

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

User avatar
VanMarmot
Posts: 1923
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

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

Post Reply