9/2/13 Bull of the woods via Pansy Lake

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12XU
Posts: 21
Joined: April 17th, 2012, 10:28 pm

9/2/13 Bull of the woods via Pansy Lake

Post by 12XU » September 2nd, 2013, 8:38 pm

My wife and I had previously hoped to get a quick bike tour in this weekend, but a friend's wedding left us with only today for outdoor activities, so we decided to head past Estacada for the first time and check out the Bull of the Woods peak via Pansy Lake Loop.
We got a late start and arrived at a somewhat busy trailhead, although we maybe saw only one car on the drive up the forest service roads to the Pansy Lake Trailhead.
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It was mostly sunny and quite warm with a few cartoon white clouds in the sky when we got started. We enjoyed the old growth wood on the easy way up to Pansy Lake, which was very peaceful.
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From Pansy Lake, the trail kicked up a few degrees and we crossed several sections of scree before coming to the junction with the Mother Lode trail. We met the only other person we saw on the trail today who was in front of a group coming back from camping down that trail at Twin Lakes. We pushed on quickly to avoid busy quarters in a tight junction and had our first view of the bottom half of Mt. Jefferson.
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Some magnificent old growth further down the trail.

We kept walking through the next junction and after a few switchbacks, we got our first glimpse of the old Lookout tower.
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We headed up and sat out on the old deck and enjoyed some lunch. Unfortunately the clouds had picked up so we didn't see anything too spectacular, but we were blessed with surprising solitude on labor day.

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After lunch, we were hanging out for a few minutes when we saw some very ominous, fast clouds descending on a ridge a few miles to the west, coupled with the wind picking up where we were. I got pretty concerned that whatever the system was might blow east and come down on top of us, so we started moving down the trail pretty quick to get off the ridge. We settled a ways down and took a quick peek at Dickey Lake before heading back to the car and calling it a day.
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justpeachy
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Re: 9/2/13 Bull of the woods via Pansy Lake

Post by justpeachy » September 3rd, 2013, 7:48 am

Nice! I've been wanting to do this hike so I can visit the old lookout tower. Is it in pretty bad shape? I know it's not used by the Forest Service anymore but I don't know if volunteers are working on maintenance or if it's just slowly deteriorating.

12XU
Posts: 21
Joined: April 17th, 2012, 10:28 pm

Re: 9/2/13 Bull of the woods via Pansy Lake

Post by 12XU » September 3rd, 2013, 9:27 am

It's not in terrible shape, but it looks to be in ongoing decline. We were able to look past some of the shutters and the interior is still somewhat organized, with a cot or two and some cans of fuel. The exterior paint is mostly gone and we stepped lightly the first time we walked around the deck. In the photo with the dog coming up the stairs, you can see some very minor, recent repairs to the side.

It'd be an excellent spot to spend some time on a clear day, and there were a couple of firepits up there if you don't mind ridge camping.

RobFromRedland
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Re: 9/2/13 Bull of the woods via Pansy Lake

Post by RobFromRedland » September 3rd, 2013, 4:57 pm

justpeachy wrote:Nice! I've been wanting to do this hike so I can visit the old lookout tower. Is it in pretty bad shape? I know it's not used by the Forest Service anymore but I don't know if volunteers are working on maintenance or if it's just slowly deteriorating.
I had heard a couple of years ago that there were new shingles inside the lookout, just waiting to be installed, but the FS would not let them be done. I never heard a reason except rumor - the FS doesn't want ANY buildings inside wilderness areas. The sandstone society (I think that is their name - they did the Gold Butte lookout restoration) has agreed to restore it, but the FS keeps dragging its heels for some reason. If they keep dragging them, the lookout will fall down eventually. Last time I was up there one of the shutters had fallen off - it kind of looks like it is still off (I think you can see the window in that photo with the dog coming up the stairs).

It is really a shame - that would make an awesome rental....
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention to arrive safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: WOW-What a ride!

justpeachy
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Re: 9/2/13 Bull of the woods via Pansy Lake

Post by justpeachy » September 4th, 2013, 5:48 pm

RobFromRedland wrote:I had heard a couple of years ago that there were new shingles inside the lookout, just waiting to be installed, but the FS would not let them be done. I never heard a reason except rumor - the FS doesn't want ANY buildings inside wilderness areas. The sandstone society (I think that is their name - they did the Gold Butte lookout restoration) has agreed to restore it, but the FS keeps dragging its heels for some reason.
You're thinking of the Sand Mountain Society. I don't know about Bull of the Woods, but they were trying to restore the Olallie Lookout in the Three Sisters Wilderness a few years back and were prevented from going any further because of the lawsuit in Washington state about the Green Mountain Lookout (more here).

Buildings like the Bull of the Woods Lookout and the Upper Sandy Guard Station that are on the National Register of Historic Places but also sit inside wilderness areas fall into a void, it seems. The Mount Hood National Forest told me that any laws regarding upkeep of National Register buildings are trumped by wilderness laws so the Forest Service is stuck.

RobFromRedland
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Re: 9/2/13 Bull of the woods via Pansy Lake

Post by RobFromRedland » September 4th, 2013, 7:05 pm

Yes, that is the place. Thanks for the correction. I was close! :lol:

I don't think they are really stuck - there are exceptions that CAN be made - they just have to go through some hoops to justify it (like using chainsaws in wilderness areas). The FS doesn't want to "go the extra mile" to save these structures - it is easier to just let them rot, which is a complete waste, IMO.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention to arrive safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: WOW-What a ride!

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