Castle Canyon, 15-July-2012

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kepPNW
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Castle Canyon, 15-July-2012

Post by kepPNW » July 20th, 2012, 12:27 pm

We spent a nice four-day weekend up near Zigzag, taking mini-excursions every day. Last Sunday, I woke up early and found the skies to be gray, and a persistent drizzle-mist. So I decided to take a quick run up somewhere I hadn't been in over 25 years, as I recalled it would be the perfect "non-view" hike for this sort of day. Plus, it'd leave the afternoon free to do something else, should the weather take a turn for the better.

The info sheet you can pick up at the Ranger Station for the Castle Canyon Trail (#765) says it's 0.8 miles long (one-way) and rated "Most Difficult." Love their little symbols - "Most Difficult" has an EKG linegraph through it. Anyway, that was a bit of an underestimate on distance, but the hill would give a lot of folks who just looked at the distance some pause. It turned out to be about 2.7 miles round-trip and elevation ranging from 1600-2500 feet.

While I was up there, a couple arrived in a state of some consternation and exhaustion - each had an energetic dog on leash. Not a very good place for them, unless you trust the furry ones with their own lives.

The trailhead is just up the road behind the "Mt. Hood Foods" market in Rhododendron.

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Castle Canyon is named for a number of pinnacle formations found there. Eroded columns of unconsolidated pyroclastics, I think. The first mile or so is just switchbacks through the woods, ...

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... but then you start following this odd ridge that's essentially a linear outcropping.

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Then, there's a stretch where with these pinnacle-like monoliths start protruding up through the trees.

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Along the way, there's a little scrambling. Poles really get in the way on much of the upper portion of the trail. This little guy was lucky I was looking down, as he was just crawling across the perfect foot hold on one incline.

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Finally, you reach a few outcroppings with trails out along them, and nice places to sit should you feel so inclined.

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From one of these outlooks, there's a view of what's probably the most photographed of all these pinnacles...

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One spine had a flower growing on it that I'm not sure I've seen too often, and have no idea what it is...

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Don't know what these are, either, but they were out there clinging to the sides of the rocks...

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One more shot of one of the steeper spires...

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The track, such as it is.

http://gpsfly.org/gps_map.php?gps_id=1667&w=645&h=440

All in all, a pretty cool way to kill a foggy morning on Mt. Hood! I'm sure that good photos up there would be all that much more difficult if the sun was out. But beware that the trails are steep and mostly dirt - it'd probably be a real mess after or during a persistent rain.
Last edited by kepPNW on August 7th, 2012, 4:42 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Karl
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weathercrazy
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Re: Castle Canyon, 15-July-2012

Post by weathercrazy » July 20th, 2012, 12:35 pm

Wow...never knew there was anything like that near Mt. Hood! Thanks!

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potato
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Re: Castle Canyon, 15-July-2012

Post by potato » July 20th, 2012, 1:53 pm

Pretty pics of the trail. Thanks
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bobcat
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Re: Castle Canyon, 15-July-2012

Post by bobcat » July 20th, 2012, 8:28 pm

Castle Canyon is a great little trail to explore. Those pinnacles are quite fantastic!

IDs: Herald-of-summer (Clarkia amoena) and broad-leaf stonecrop (Sedum spathulifolium).

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kepPNW
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Re: Castle Canyon, 15-July-2012

Post by kepPNW » July 21st, 2012, 6:55 am

Thanks, folks! Especially for the IDs, bobcat! You're so good at that, mind if I ask about one other I saw out there?

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Last edited by kepPNW on August 7th, 2012, 4:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Castle Canyon, 15-July-2012

Post by HikerFam » July 24th, 2012, 6:00 pm

I must have just missed you! My son,dog and I went up that same day. We recently moved from sandy to rhody and the trailhead is only 1/4 mile from our front door lol. It's a great short hike and has been wonderful for my conditioning, I was in a car accident in April so just the last few weeks I have been able to get back out. Excellent pics BTW

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kepPNW
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Re: Castle Canyon, 15-July-2012

Post by kepPNW » July 25th, 2012, 5:51 am

HikerFam wrote:I must have just missed you! My son,dog and I went up that same day. We recently moved from sandy to rhody and the trailhead is only 1/4 mile from our front door lol. It's a great short hike and has been wonderful for my conditioning, I was in a car accident in April so just the last few weeks I have been able to get back out. Excellent pics BTW
Oh wow, what a place to live! I spent a summer up on Lolo Pass as a kid. There's soooo much to do there. Having this one right in your backyard would be pretty cool. Good to hear you're making a comeback from the accident. I'm in a somewhat similar situation. I'm trying to recover from nearly 30 years of sitting at a damned desk and all the other assorted rigors of "being responsible." :lol:

I'm curious, would this trail be slick as slug slime in the rain, as I imagined? Thanks!
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HikerFam
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Re: Castle Canyon, 15-July-2012

Post by HikerFam » July 27th, 2012, 12:48 pm

oh for sure it would be, heck its slick without any rain lol, just be sure footed and stay close to a partner and it shouldnt be too bad.

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Re: Castle Canyon, 15-July-2012

Post by Webfoot » June 22nd, 2020, 12:30 am

Images, in case photobucket pulls them again.
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Webfoot
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Re: Castle Canyon, 15-July-2012

Post by Webfoot » June 22nd, 2020, 12:30 am

Second part.
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