Huffman Pk / Siouxon Ck Loop 05-Jul-2013

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VanMarmot
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Huffman Pk / Siouxon Ck Loop 05-Jul-2013

Post by VanMarmot » July 6th, 2013, 7:06 am

This was another loop hike that had been on my to do list for a while. The “low clouds” forecast wasn’t promising but you hike the days you’re given, so I set off in the hope that there’d be some afternoon clearing. From the Siouxon Creek TH – access is all on paved roads which have some surprise(!) axel-busting potholes – I headed W on the Huffman Pk trail,

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for a wet, brisk crossing of Siouxon Creek,

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at a shallow (18-24”), slow-moving ford.

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The climb up from the creek was on a great trail which recent maintenance had cleared completely of any fallen trees.

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Springboard notches in old, now decaying stumps were mute evidence of logging back in the day when crosscut saws were the tool of choice.

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I was trying to remain hopeful about the weather – daypack half full and all that – but there was no sign of a break in the cloud cover,

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as I trudged onward and upward toward Huffman.

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At the saddle SW of Huffman, it wasn’t actually raining, but the wind-driven mist was condensing in the trees and falling on me just like rain.

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Per the guidebook (Lorain 2nd edition), I climbed the peak up its SW ridge – through some brush, across wet, slick bear grass, and over a few rocky outcroppings – to arrive at the summit it the middle of a cloud.

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I took an extra long lunch in hopes that the clouds would open up just a little, but to no avail. The USFS put a lookout on Huffman in 1932,

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which lasted until the early ‘60s (?), when it was torched like so many other old lookouts, leaving only its original rock foundation.

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Judging from the map, it looked like I could descend back to the trail via the NE ridge, so I headed down that way. This turned out to be a shorter, much less brushy way to the summit. My guess is that this was original way up to the LO, as there seemed to be traces of trail across some of the open areas on the ridge. When I do this hike again, I’ll circle around Huffman and come up the NE ridge.

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Once down, I continued E on the Huffman Pk trail, only to be significantly startled by a thunder chicken (grouse) exploding out of the brush.

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My return was via the Wildcat Trail,

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which although it hadn’t seen recent maintenance, was in pretty good shape,

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with the exception of a 6’ in diameter log across it just before you reach the point where you can see Wildcat Falls.

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Yeeee, ha...

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The Falls are pretty spectacular from above, cutting as they do through huge rocky cliffs,

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before plunging 100’ into the creek bottom.

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After that it was another ford of the creek,

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then a pleasant ramble on a gentle trail alongside it back to the TH. Neat little hike (14.5 mi, 3000’ EG) with creek, falls, summits, and (weather permitting) views. I’ll definitely going to have another go at this one when the weather is the required degree of bluebird.

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Eric Peterson
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Re: Huffman Pk / Siouxon Ck Loop 05-Jul-2013

Post by Eric Peterson » July 6th, 2013, 7:55 am

Thanks for the ford report, looks nice and low.

Too bad about the non views, the man made Swift Lake/reservoir is pretty neat looking from up there.

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Peder
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Re: Huffman Pk / Siouxon Ck Loop 05-Jul-2013

Post by Peder » July 7th, 2013, 8:01 am

Bruce - Also thank you for the ford update. I actually almost went there to do exactly the same loop this week, but cancelled fearing the "difficult ford" (Sullivan) in a period where there was high snow melt. Now I know better. Too bad about the clouds obscuring the views.
Some people are really fit at eighty; thankfully I still have many years to get into shape…

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acorn woodpecker
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Re: Huffman Pk / Siouxon Ck Loop 05-Jul-2013

Post by acorn woodpecker » October 11th, 2013, 12:53 pm

Just did this exact loop yesterday and experienced the same conditions! No expansive views for me. The forests are full of mushrooms right now and the fords were knee to crotch high. I cleared what I could with the time I had coming down the Wildcat Trail. I was able to remove quite a bit with a folding saw. Unfortunately, that 6' monstrosity that fell across the trail just above the Wildcat Falls viewpoint is still there. I think a hatchet will be what's needed to make that crossable because I don't see anyone bringing crosscut saws up that way anytime soon! Like you, I'll have to return on a bluebird day to really savor the views, but the hike was great. Also, not a soul was seen the entire day.

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VanMarmot
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Re: Huffman Pk / Siouxon Ck Loop 05-Jul-2013

Post by VanMarmot » October 12th, 2013, 7:28 am

acorn woodpecker wrote:Just did this exact loop yesterday and experienced the same conditions! No expansive views for me. The forests are full of mushrooms right now and the fords were knee to crotch high. I cleared what I could with the time I had coming down the Wildcat Trail. I was able to remove quite a bit with a folding saw. Unfortunately, that 6' monstrosity that fell across the trail just above the Wildcat Falls viewpoint is still there. I think a hatchet will be what's needed to make that crossable because I don't see anyone bringing crosscut saws up that way anytime soon! Like you, I'll have to return on a bluebird day to really savor the views, but the hike was great. Also, not a soul was seen the entire day.
This is a fun loop. Had planned to get back to it on a clear day this summer but didn't. May have to wait until next year? That 6' monstrosity, perched as it is on the edge of a cliff, would be hard to remove. May have to just cut steps in it...

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