Herman Creek, PCT and Rudolph Spur/Benson Platter 11-10-12

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Eric Peterson
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Herman Creek, PCT and Rudolph Spur/Benson Platter 11-10-12

Post by Eric Peterson » November 11th, 2012, 11:01 am

It was dry! Finally!

I dried out from having to hike wet the last 4 weekends in a row, boo hoo, and decided
to get one done off the bucket list too.

Started from the Herman Creek TH where I met and talked to Jon from the USFS, he was meeting
some PCTA'rs for some trail maintenance this day along the PCT.

Thanks again guys for all that work you do! :)

Parking lot was filling up at 8:00 am I imagine since it was a free day this weekend for
Veterans Day at Forest Pass locations.

Headed up to Herman Bridge to hike a portion of the PCT. Hadn't noticed a trail sign being swallowed
at the junction before you head down to Herman Bridge -

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Love this section of trail that splits off from 406, Herman Creek, and joins up with the PCT.
According to a Green Trails Gorge map I have it is numbered 405E! Whoa, dudes, hold up!
405 is Ruckel Creek trail and the Benson Plateau has a few 405's up there but this little
spur trail isn't anywhere close enough to have a 405 extension. So there must be some
history involved what with trail re alignments and what not when the PCT was routed
through this section after or before the name of the Sky Line Trail was removed from
Herman Creek trail. Just guessing that before the 2000 was extended to Cascade Locks
where it currently splits up to the Benson Plateau, that whole length of trail must have
had a 405 extension.

Anyway, here are a few pictures of the short 405E spur trail -

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Bumping along the trail after connecting into the PCT there is a pretty cool slot style
canyon with a waterfall, sorry the picture is kind of crappy, was playing around with
the settings too much this day -

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Silly me, I thought this was Dry Creek already and was on the look out for the unsigned
junction of Rudolph Spur :? Good thing I had my GPS simulator with me, whoa another
mile and half or so to get to Dry Creek. Another odd thing, it seems this part
of the PCT was rerouted as I was off the GPS red lines by at least 600' until I got to Dry Creek.

Bridge at Dry Creek -

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Road going up to Dry Creek Falls -

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Not having a existing track of Rudolph Spur, and part of the reason I went for this classic hike, I
only had a vague idea of where Rudolph started. Just knew it was somewhere VERY close
to Dry Creek RD and the PCT. Almost went up Dry Creek RD. but decided to go towards
Cascade Locks on the PCT and literally 10' or so from Dry Creek Rd., Rudolph Spur Trail appears!

Sometimes I even manage to fake myself out, checked my GPS and had already hiked
4 miles to this point and for some odd reason I thought the whole day would be about
a 10 mile romp.

Headed up the very nicely maintained Rudolph Spur and would say it is maybe 1 degree
below the Rock Of Ages trail as far as upkeep goes. It is definitely traveled by people
and game to keep it viable as a minor trail. Route finding towards the upper end
wasn't bad at all, I think I sub consciously got off trail and followed a game trail
as a very small short cut and popped out at the first major view point to get some
pictures.

On the way up -

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Pretty neat log that has some hand holds notched out as well -

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From the viewpoint that marks the end of the steepest part of Rudolph Spur -

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No rain but getting up over 3000' it did start to sprinkle some snow and I was on the brink
of feeling cold as I got closer to Benson Plateau.

The Benson being it's normal brooding self -

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Something else I thought interesting is Rudolph Spur is very nicely, or not nicely, depending on your
point of view, marked with blazes and yellow painted dots. The yellow dots are very
similar if not indeed exactly the same as the red and yellow dots that line the upper
reaches of Defiance Trail 413! Someone has gone completely ape shit with the pink
flagging up there too.

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BTW, here is the extent of the snow on the trails I traveled -

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Up to this point I only saw 1 trail runner down on the PCT and 2 guys with no jackets on
that looked to have just come up Ruckel Ridge. They did have gloves on though. I must
have looked strange with my pants, jacket, winter hat and gloves on :lol:

Jetted across the rim of the Platter using the Benson Way trail and connected into the
PCT for the return leg of the hike.

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Super nice campsite for PCT through hikers towards the very edge of the Platter rim -

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Tomlike was a bit shrouded and looks to be pretty snowy up there -

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Nick Eaton not so much -

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Thought I was doing about a 10 mile hike today and turned out to about 16 miles
and almost 4800' of EG since I went the longer way from Herman Creek TH.

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The PH field guide might want to be edited as Rudolph Spur starts right next to Dry Creek Rd.

Even though this trail is abandoned and steep it is still fairly easy to navigate without a
GPS track loaded and there is quite a bit of flagging all along the route.

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Chase
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Re: Herman Creek, PCT and Rudolph Spur/Benson Platter 11-10-

Post by Chase » November 11th, 2012, 11:41 am

I love TRs like this because the photos look very real to me. Don't get me wrong; I like looking at pretty pictures, too. This is what hiking is like 95% of the time. Thanks for presenting it that way.

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Born2BBrad
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Re: Herman Creek, PCT and Rudolph Spur/Benson Platter 11-10-

Post by Born2BBrad » November 11th, 2012, 7:02 pm

Hey EP, I just missed you!

I got to HC TR at 7AM on Saturday. No other cars there at that time. Made it up to Mud Lake for an easy 20ish miles. Your trip sounds funner.

On a side note, on the way back, I ran into a couple near where the Casey Creek Trail meets the Herman Creek Trail and they asked me which way Indian Point was. I gave them my map and guided them to back to the trail that goes to Indian Point.

Good hiking,
Brad
Make now always the most precious time. Now will never come again.
- Jean Luc Picard

Thor the Deer

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Eric Peterson
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Re: Herman Creek, PCT and Rudolph Spur/Benson Platter 11-10-

Post by Eric Peterson » November 11th, 2012, 7:10 pm

I had a feeling that was your car in the lot too!

I parked right next to you.

Too bad we didn't coordinate for a TFF hike!!

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Jack
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Re: Herman Creek, PCT and Rudolph Spur/Benson Platter 11-10-

Post by Jack » November 11th, 2012, 7:24 pm

Great pics, EP! I agree with Chase, you caught the essence of the hike. The “slot” falls are the Pacific Crest Falls, one of my favorites.

Rudolph, too, is a favorite although I got a good dose of poison oak in 2008 going along the notched log (pictured below with my son), before crossing over it. Someone is doing a good job of keeping this a viable trail, as the P.O. has since been removed and route finding is minimal these days, and my thanks to them. I’m not a big fan of the ribbons and paint, though!
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Thanks for the report, Eric!

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Sean Thomas
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Re: Herman Creek, PCT and Rudolph Spur/Benson Platter 11-10-

Post by Sean Thomas » November 11th, 2012, 8:24 pm

Nice dude, you've been talking about doing this one for a long time. Im glad you got it done before the snow piles up too much. You scared jojo and I off with the rudolph ascent and off trail tomlike exit, that would have been crazy, but would make for a great trip on the longer days :)


and im sorry brad but did you say something sounded more fun than mud lake :?: :D

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Eric Peterson
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Re: Herman Creek, PCT and Rudolph Spur/Benson Platter 11-10-

Post by Eric Peterson » November 11th, 2012, 8:33 pm

Sean that's funny since I was mentioning the Tomlike exit thing and as I was leaving going down
the PCT and stopped to test my Mayhem woooo hoooo skills, I looked up at Tomlike and
said to myself, or out loud, that I must have sounded totally crazy thinking I could get over to
Tomlike and exit out of CH/Thum meadow down to Herman Creek! :lol:

pablo
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Re: Herman Creek, PCT and Rudolph Spur/Benson Platter 11-10-

Post by pablo » November 11th, 2012, 11:08 pm

Eric,

Nice report & photos on a great loop, thx.
Eric Peterson wrote:
[...]
The PH field guide might want to be edited as Rudolph Spur starts right next to Dry Creek Rd.
[...]
The FG entry does mention the start of Rudolph being close to Dry Creek Rd. but there is room for improvement in the language.
Field Guide wrote: Continue south on the PCT, at 1 mile crossing a power line road and another 0.75 mile to just before Dry Creek Road. Rudolph Spur branches off to the right and is a light path easily overlooked.
I'll try to make a bit clearer, I think the post mentioned in the Field Guide is gone now so some edits are in order.

--Paul
The future's uncertain and the end is always near.

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potato
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Re: Herman Creek, PCT and Rudolph Spur/Benson Platter 11-10-

Post by potato » November 11th, 2012, 11:58 pm

Too funny... I parked at Herman Creek at about 9:30 yesterday, and also went over to the PCT... went straight up to the Platter though where I set up my hammock and chilled (literally?) for a few hours. Almost surprising that none of us saw each other. I also saw 1 trail runner dude, and that was all for the day.

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View from my hammock
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self observing universe (main blog)
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Eric Peterson
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Re: Herman Creek, PCT and Rudolph Spur/Benson Platter 11-10-

Post by Eric Peterson » November 12th, 2012, 7:17 am

Hi Pablo, I came from Herman Creek I think the FG assumes everyone is coming from
Cascade Locks via the PCT. I thought I read in the FG something about a PCT mileage
marker that if you passed it you went to far and would need to back track and the only
PCT marker around there is on Dry Creek bridge -

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Hey Joe - awesome pictures, please tell me that's not your Panasonic DMC or I'm going to need
some serious training on mine, I seem to always take out of focus pictures on the right.

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