5/4/13 Mt. St. Helens Cinnamon Trail Connect Attempt

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mileagemike25000
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5/4/13 Mt. St. Helens Cinnamon Trail Connect Attempt

Post by mileagemike25000 » May 4th, 2013, 7:45 pm

The amazing weather forecasted for today inspired me to try and attempt (again) to connect to a previous hike on the Mt. St. Helens Cinnamon Trail. It was another failed attempt, but an outstanding hike none the less, with amazing views! :D We parked at the Kalama Horse Camp, but noticed that NF-81 was gated, even though there was no obvious snow at this altitude. :shock:

The start of this hike is at the Toutle Trail #238 TH.
1 Toutle Trail #238 TH_(1).JPG
We hiked down the Toutle Trail and quickly reached a stream crossing.
2 Stream Crossing_(1).JPG
We reached an intersection where we continued straight onto the Cinnamon Trail. Descending on the trail we reached a sturdy wooden bridge that crossed the Kalama River.
3 Kalama River Bridge Crossing_(1).JPG
4 Kalama River_(1).JPG
The Cinnamon trail ascends for most of its length. We met one group of hikers (only people on the entire trail system) that mentioned they turned around at the second snow field. Based on what they were carrying (no backpack, water or other gear) we expected to see the snow at a relatively low elevation. At about 2000ft, we saw the snow the hikers were talking about, and it was all in the exposed terrain with no tree cover.
5 First snow at about 2000ft_(1).JPG
There really wasn't very much snow during the first two miles of the hike, and we didn't know what to expect at the higher elevations. :? We were glad that the trail was relatively clear of debris, except for this one that remained from the previous season. There were many smaller branches that we helped off the trail, but more trail maintenance is required.
6 Some debris from wind damage but overall not bad_(1).JPG
And there were a few nice streams along the initial ascent, before the first switchback.
7 Some nice stream crossings!_(1).JPG
We finally broke out from the forest onto a forest road, after the 1st switchback, and were amazed at the amount of snow at the 3000ft level. :o I would estimate 3-5+ feet of snow, and there was only one bare spot for the remainder of the hike! The snow was like mashed potatoes and we rarely post-holed.
8 Break out of forest at about 3000ft - Continuous snow field from here on out!_(1).JPG
Here is the first view we saw, looking west at the 2nd switchback.
9 First view from forest road_(1).JPG
And we saw this fantastic view of Goat Mt. and Mt. St. Helens during our ascent of the 2nd switchback. :D
10 First exceptional view of Goat Mt. & Mt. St. Helens!_(1).JPG
A closeup of Goat Mtn!
11 Goat Mt.!_(1).JPG
A closeup of Mt. St. Helens!
12 Awesome Snow Covered Mt. St. Helens!_(1).JPG
We finally arrived at the intersection with NF-8022, and crossed the road to continue on the Cinnamon Trail. We reached a small stream, and didn't know where the trail went? :x We would normally continue to explore the area, but we knew there would be no signs along the trail, and everything looks the same. We also weren't too keen on crossing the thin snow bridges. :roll: I guess we would live to hike this trail another day. :)
13 Where is the trail past the snow bridge!_(1).JPG
So we turned around to find lower elevation trails to explore. On the way down we enjoyed the solitude and beauty before us. :D
14 Heading back from failed connection_(1).JPG
We did spend some time exploring some of the lower elevation trails (ie kalama falls trail, fossil trail, horse camp area trails) after we got down below the snow level. The hike was 7.2 miles with an elevation gain of about 1400ft.
Kalama Horse Camp to Cinnamon Trail.JPG
Last edited by mileagemike25000 on May 5th, 2013, 6:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Crusak
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Re: 5/4/13 Mt. St. Helens Cinnamom Trail Connect Attempt

Post by Crusak » May 4th, 2013, 7:52 pm

The Cinnamon Trail! I hiked a short portion of that with Vince and his brother last year. Unfortunately deep snow completely covered the area and we weren't able to get very far.
Do you plan to go back up there later in the year and give it another shot? I'd like to do so. It looked like a great hike.

Nice shots of St Helens and Goat Mtn.

Thanks for sharing your day, and giving us a snapshot of current conditions on that trail!
Jim's Hikes

Solvitur Ambulando

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mileagemike25000
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Re: 5/4/13 Mt. St. Helens Cinnamon Trail Connect Attempt

Post by mileagemike25000 » May 6th, 2013, 6:57 pm

Jim - I remember the TR on the hike you took with Vince and his brother. I can now completely relate to the high snow and having to turn back. :x We are planning to go back there sometime this summer (or fall), but I want to make sure I connect with the hike from Redrock Pass this time! Perhaps you could meet with my wife and I, when the time comes, assuming you don't mind a couple of old slow hikers that stop to take photographs. :lol: But seriously, I know you have quite a healthy pace and we typically average about 1.5-2.0 mph, because of the picture taking and snacks, so we understand if it's too slow for you!

I'm glad you enjoyed the pictures! It was a lot of fun taking them. :)

By the way, I really enjoy your TR's, but have been pretty poor about responding because of my long work days and being tired. :oops: I'll have to learn how to start submitting short replies instead of trying to wordsmith them. :roll:

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Re: 5/4/13 Mt. St. Helens Cinnamon Trail Connect Attempt

Post by Crusak » May 7th, 2013, 5:30 am

This time of year the forums just explode with so many amazing TRs I have a hard time responding to all of the ones I want to (like you said, it takes some time). Heck, I usually don't have time to even read them all lol.

That'd be fantastic, Mike. I don't mind hiking at a leisurely pace, especially in a new area. Good to soak it all in on the first trip. ;) We'll have to see about planning a "return to Cinnamon Trail" hike.
Jim's Hikes

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