The main point of this exploration was to complete a route on public land between the Memaloose Hills, just east of Mosier, to The Dalles. Last year, I got as far as Gardner’s Point, a central prominence of Sevenmile Hill. Here the property boundaries are not marked by signs and the way was nebulous, so I decided to take it from the east side.
When I got to the narrow sliver of USFS land that meets Sevenmile Hill Road, I noticed that the gate had been removed and a dirt track led up the slope. Such unsigned openings always present (to me) an opportunity, so I motored up the slope about 0.4 miles to a lovely, graded flat, graveled area of about 400 square yards which would hold a couple dozen cars or more. I did notice that the creek crossing, which may have made this access impossible until recently, had been repaired; thus, I am assuming this is a trailhead of sorts? (I also found bullet-riddled targets placed in one of the rusting barrels here, showing that more than one kind of visitor accesses these slopes).
Everything was cross-country from here. I angled up the slope towards the southwest corner of the USFS property. Sevenmile Hill is a fairly popular destination for flower aficionados and the slopes were swimming with balsamroot and lupine with dabs of popcorn flower, big root, milk-vetch, paintbrush, rabbit leaf, tarweed, and so on. From the fence corner, I walked due north along the broken down boundary fence which periodically had No Trespassing signs posted. This took me to an oak copse, with its usual comfort cover of poison oak. I keep walking through this along an even more broken fence line to Sevenmile Hill’s steep north rim on the Rowena Gap.
My various maps show a sliver of USFS land connects with larger USFS property that runs past McCall Point. There were no signs or fences from this point near the rim. The property line seems to run mostly on flat land along the rim near its edge. I hiked up through oaks and a Douglas-fir grove to a vast farmer’s field which slopes down gently to the Ortley area. A vehicle track runs along the edge of this field, with a dense thicket of bitter cherry and little oaks on the rim side. I had no idea at this point whether I was on private property sometimes or not, but it is clear that at some points, including at Gardner’s Point, the field itself impinges quite substantially on USFS property, so the field boundary itself doesn’t tell you anything. Well, it was about a mile to the Point, where I was able to admire views to Lyle and the Rowena Plateau. I dug up a Splintercat post about this area.
I returned the way I had come and began my way down the east side of the Sevenmile Hill property. I tracked my way through oaks and began to meet other hikers, all of whom had parked on the narrow shoulder of Sevenmile Hill Road not knowing about the access above. At a break in the oaks, there’s a splendid view of the Devils Hole and the Ortley Pinnacles. Then I hit the eastern fenceline of the property. There were great views of the wide bend in the Columbia at The Dalles, Chenoweth Tableland, and the Columbia Hills.
I also noted "the great balsamroot divide” (On the east side of the fence, cattle graze and the pastures had a pretty sprinkling of rusty popcorn flower, but nary a balsamroot nor lupine was in sight). I reached the trailhead by crossing a couple of steep, poison oak infested draws and rattled my way down the slope.
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Looks like the flowers are out at Mosier! Nice. The fence photo is interesting. I like a hamburger as much as any, so I guess I can't squawk
Last edited by BrianEdwards on April 30th, 2013, 7:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Clackamas River Waterfall Project - 95 Documented, 18 to go.
Beautiful photos! You got the timing just right for the flowers to be in bloom on your hike. You TR sure make me wish to go back and explore some more. Thank you!
Some people are really fit at eighty; thankfully I still have many years to get into shape…