Rudolph Spur - Ruckel Ridge Loop 03-Apr-2013

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VanMarmot
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Rudolph Spur - Ruckel Ridge Loop 03-Apr-2013

Post by VanMarmot » April 4th, 2013, 5:21 pm

After the Wauneka-Munra adventure last weekend (Wauneka-Munra), and with the promise of a near bluebird day for Wednesday, I impetuously went for another classic ridge walk. The day started out graybird interior as I left the outer Eagle Ck TH, but was going bluebird by the time I reached the start (arrow) of the Rudolph Spur trail near Dry Falls.

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This trail used to be pretty obscure but now the dimmest part is right at the start - after that it's almost a real trail all the way to the plateau. After contouring for a bit, it starts climbing relentlessly toward the plateau.

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Mercifully, it's not festooned with flagging, except for this one discrete little stake (arrow) which guides you up and left out of the first clearing.

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Views are skimpy until you reach a "bald" at about 2700'. Here the "official" trail (the old Mazamas trail, with some of the original trail markers still in evidence) contours off to the E but I kept going up the ridge (something Peder had suggested) - turned out to be easier than the trail. Higher up the bald, I got great views of Adams and Rainier,

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St. Helens and downtown Ft. Rains,

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and Silver Star, Hamilton, and Table.

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There was no snow until I topped out on the plateau and then it was old, crunchy, and lumpy - one warm rain and its toast.

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After a quick crossing of upper Ruckel Ck,

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it was down the Ruckel Ridge trail for a mostly sunny lunch at the ledge at 3200'. But then the bluebird started to leave, high clouds began moving in, and it was time to keep on moving down the ridge and back to the car. Enroute, I caught another glimpse of a snake,

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and of Mt. Hood (arrow).

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A fun, steep (both ways) hike (11.2 mi, 3700'). Rudolph Spur isn't the navigation challenge it once was except at the top if there's snow obscuring the Ruckel Ck trail or the start of the Ruckel Rdg trail. It's real easy to get a bit confused on the plateau when it's just snow and trees. When I got back to the TH and was getting my boots off, I thought the guy standing two cars over was Bosterson. It was! :) - he'd been mucking about on Tanner Butte. We had a good chat and it was nice to finally meet the person who had endured so many sodden adventures with EP and the other loonies.

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Eric Peterson
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Re: Rudolph Spur - Ruckel Ridge Loop 03-Apr-2013

Post by Eric Peterson » April 4th, 2013, 5:31 pm

Eek, you down hiked Ruckel Ridge? :D Nice job! I think going down Ruckel Creek is bad enough, heh.

Did the Mazama's reflag the obvious Rudolph tread with pink ribbon again?

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Peder
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Re: Rudolph Spur - Ruckel Ridge Loop 03-Apr-2013

Post by Peder » April 4th, 2013, 9:13 pm

Eric Peterson wrote:Eek, you down hiked Ruckel Ridge? :D Nice job! I think going down Ruckel Creek is bad enough, heh.
So which is better: Going down Ruckel Ridge or Rudolph Spur? I always go down Rudolph Spur and I love it... I must admit that I have never done Ruckel Ridge going downwards. Even worse: I have never set foot on the Ruckel Creek trail between the Epiphany Falls junction and the Benson Plateau. :oops:

PS: Great loop and TR Bruce!
Some people are really fit at eighty; thankfully I still have many years to get into shape…

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Bosterson
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Re: Rudolph Spur - Ruckel Ridge Loop 03-Apr-2013

Post by Bosterson » April 4th, 2013, 9:34 pm

I'm glad you got to enjoy some of that blue sky while it lasted! I got a late start and then had to keep stopping to mess with my shoe, and by the time I turned around it was graying over, so the views on Tanner would have been lame anyway.

It was good to finally meet you too, Bruce! You don't look anything like your avatar... :D
Will hike off trail for fun.

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VanMarmot
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Re: Rudolph Spur - Ruckel Ridge Loop 03-Apr-2013

Post by VanMarmot » April 5th, 2013, 5:30 am

Eric Peterson wrote:Eek, you down hiked Ruckel Ridge? :D Nice job! I think going down Ruckel Creek is bad enough, heh.

Did the Mazama's reflag the obvious Rudolph tread with pink ribbon again?
After going down Munra, down Ruckel seemed OK. I've been down the creek trail innumerable times and this was a good change. Up to the "bald" there's no flagging on the Rudolph Spur trail (other than that little stake). Maybe a flag or two might have helped back in the day, but the Rudolph is so obvious now that flagging it would just be littering.

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VanMarmot
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Re: Rudolph Spur - Ruckel Ridge Loop 03-Apr-2013

Post by VanMarmot » April 5th, 2013, 5:33 am

Peder wrote:
Eric Peterson wrote:Eek, you down hiked Ruckel Ridge? :D Nice job! I think going down Ruckel Creek is bad enough, heh.
So which is better: Going down Ruckel Ridge or Rudolph Spur? I always go down Rudolph Spur and I love it... I must admit that I have never done Ruckel Ridge going downwards. Even worse: I have never set foot on the Ruckel Creek trail between the Epiphany Falls junction and the Benson Plateau. :oops:

PS: Great loop and TR Bruce!
Thanks! I'd say down Ruckel Ridge is easier on the knees than down Rudolph. I really liked your suggestion to just stay on the ridge above the bald - pretty much a direct shot to the plateau. You should experience the creek trail at least once - try to do it (soon) when the meadows at around 2000' are in bloom.

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VanMarmot
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Re: Rudolph Spur - Ruckel Ridge Loop 03-Apr-2013

Post by VanMarmot » April 5th, 2013, 5:35 am

Bosterson wrote:I'm glad you got to enjoy some of that blue sky while it lasted! I got a late start and then had to keep stopping to mess with my shoe, and by the time I turned around it was graying over, so the views on Tanner would have been lame anyway.

It was good to finally meet you too, Bruce! You don't look anything like your avatar... :D
Good to finally meet you too. Reminds me that I haven't been to Tanner Butte lately - so it goes on the list.

Actually, I look just like my avatar unless I shave regularly... ;)

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Eric Peterson
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Re: Rudolph Spur - Ruckel Ridge Loop 03-Apr-2013

Post by Eric Peterson » April 5th, 2013, 6:43 am

I don't mind going down Elk Mountain over next to Kings and can't imagine Ruckel Ridge being
any worse than that but longer ;)

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Don Nelsen
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Re: Rudolph Spur - Ruckel Ridge Loop 03-Apr-2013

Post by Don Nelsen » April 5th, 2013, 10:49 am

Bruce, nice photos - I'll have to do your variation next time and hike up that bald. I've always just used the old trail and looks like I'm missing the best views. thanks,

Don
"Everything works in the planning stage".

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awildman
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Re: Rudolph Spur - Ruckel Ridge Loop 03-Apr-2013

Post by awildman » April 5th, 2013, 7:41 pm

Wonderful! How much longer until the flowers start on Ruckel? Another 3 weeks or so?
Rambling on at Allison Outside

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