Into the mist: Trapper Creek - Dry Creek Loop: 9/15/13

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Sean Thomas
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Into the mist: Trapper Creek - Dry Creek Loop: 9/15/13

Post by Sean Thomas » September 17th, 2013, 7:18 pm

What was originally meant to be a large marge hike up north of St Helens turned into a great day out in the Trapper Creek Wilderness. Jojo has wanted to visit Mt Margaret for a while now but with the cloudy skies we decided to take a long walk in the woods instead and save old Marge for another day. The "Visitors Guide to Ancient Forests of Western Washington" says Big Hollow is the, "largest unfragmented ancient forest between the Lewis River and the Columbia River". Big Hollow Creek and Dry Creek converge on the edge of the Bourbon Roadless Area, which boasts some exceptional evergreen specimens of Western Hemlock, Doug-fir and Western Red-Cedar as well as lots of towering deciduous trees like Cottonwoods and Big Leaf Maples. For our hike, we parked at the Trapper Creek TH and hiked over to the Trapper Creek Trail/Soda Peaks junction:


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There are tons of nurse logs to admire throughout the wilderness and the adjacent roadless area that are ripe with a plethora of plant species:


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Ofcourse, the giants that are still standing tall are the most amazing, but it's humbling to think that everyone of these trees started as a small sapling on the forest floor:


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Before long we ran into a ranger checking for wilderness passes who wouldn't budge out of the trail. Seriously though he/she wasn't ready to give up whatever mid-trail morsel it was chewing on:


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When we demanded that we didn't need any old stinky piece of paper to hike on public lands he/she ran for cover ;)


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On the section of the Trapper Creek Trail in between the deer cutoff junctions we had a nice breakfast by the creek. I was still wearing my Friday the 13th mask, which is much prettier than my usual mask(my face)


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Devils Rest legend and Trapper Creek extraordinaire Basil Clark constructed and put up tons of signs in the Trapper Creek Wilderness. Here is a compilation picture of 16 of them I took on Sunday, although there are many more out there:


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It's easy to see why he loved the area so much and put so much effort into his endeavors. The area is spectacular for hiking and exploring and it's a real treat that an area so close to the river wasn't logged or burned completely:


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It was also easy to see why we sagged out of the large marge hike and headed for the woods instead :D


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Pretty soon we reached the large bridge at the Trapper Creek crossing at Hook Creek:


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The view from the bridge is really beautiful and creates a feeling of being in an area more remote than a wilderness that has similar acreage to Portland's Forest Park:


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Another equally epic spot on the Trapper Creek Trail is the viewpoint of Trapper Creek Falls and eventually the upper crossing of the creek itself. I think the viewpoint needs some long range Splintercat/Metlako style pruning as the trees are really getting in the way up there :D The upper crossing is just as beautiful as the falls, only in a different way:


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With me sagging behind, the next mile or so seemed to drag on forever as we hiked toward Berry Camp and the junction with Big Hollow. The sign for Berry Camp has been ripped down for some reason but all the other signs in the area looked to be intact. There are lots of interesting things to see on the way down Big Hollow:


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After a little over 3 miles on the Big Hollow Trail we reached the junction with Dry Creek. There are some enormous Douglas-firs in the vicinity that demand a hikers respect as they walk through a forest full of giants, some of which have been alive since before Lewis and Clark explored the Columbia over 200 years ago. This pictures was taken a few years ago with me sitting at the base of a large Doug-fir:


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The next 4 miles of our hike was spent on the Dry Creek Trail as we made our way back to the Trapper Creek TH. The Dry Creek Trail is one of the best in SW Washington and is extremely well maintained. Sometimes it runs right next to the crystal clear waters of Dry Creek(Jojo in upper right)


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The Big Leaf Maple leaves are already several inches thick on some sections of the trail, with lots more to come. Someone forgot to tell this leaf it's not St Paddy's Day and that he was safe from pinching:


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drm
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Re: Into the mist: Trapper Creek - Dry Creek Loop: 9/15/13

Post by drm » September 18th, 2013, 6:36 am

I try and do some version of this loop late in the season every year, and almost always either see (or hear) elk as they apparently migrate south that time of year. Last week I was on Observation Peak and heard them, but they took off with their nearly thunderous hooves before I saw them.

I was through Berry Camp last week and the sign was there. Thanks for the ode to this underappreciated wilderness.

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rainrunner
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Re: Into the mist: Trapper Creek - Dry Creek Loop: 9/15/13

Post by rainrunner » September 18th, 2013, 6:51 pm

Wow! What a beautiful place to hike. The compilation of trail signs is a cool photo.
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bobcat
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Re: Into the mist: Trapper Creek - Dry Creek Loop: 9/15/13

Post by bobcat » September 19th, 2013, 4:12 pm

That's a great loop, especially when the weather is like that. The compilation of the signs is a great tribute. Has anyone done the West Rim Traverse? When I'm at that sign, it's also been on a wet day and I'm not up for some soaking bushwhack.

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Guy
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Re: Into the mist: Trapper Creek - Dry Creek Loop: 9/15/13

Post by Guy » September 19th, 2013, 4:20 pm

Thanks for this TR Sean,

I haven't been to trapper creek wilderness yet but your report means I'll be heading there for my next rainy day hike!

Love the Basil Clark Tribute Photo, I'm going to have to make one of them
hiking log & photos.
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Crusak
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Re: Into the mist: Trapper Creek - Dry Creek Loop: 9/15/13

Post by Crusak » September 22nd, 2013, 3:52 pm

Guy wrote:I haven't been to trapper creek wilderness yet but your report means I'll be heading there for my next rainy day hike!
Just what I was thinking! Some huge trees in that lush forest. Great TR and excellent rainy day choice.
;)
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Waffle Stomper
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Re: Into the mist: Trapper Creek - Dry Creek Loop: 9/15/13

Post by Waffle Stomper » September 22nd, 2013, 4:57 pm

What a great hike. Glad to see the little ranger is working hard. :)
"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe." - John Muir

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OneSpeed
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Re: Into the mist: Trapper Creek - Dry Creek Loop: 9/15/13

Post by OneSpeed » September 25th, 2013, 10:54 am

Great report, thanks! Who was/is Basil Clark?

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Re: Into the mist: Trapper Creek - Dry Creek Loop: 9/15/13

Post by Rustygoat » September 25th, 2013, 12:17 pm

Looks like a great day out even if it wasn't what you were planning. Usually when that happens to me I look just like your mask picture for a bit before I realize I'm out having fun. Thanks for sharing Sean. :)
Tim

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Sean Thomas
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Re: Into the mist: Trapper Creek - Dry Creek Loop: 9/15/13

Post by Sean Thomas » September 25th, 2013, 5:26 pm

Thanks everybody. Trapper Creek is a great place for a rainy day or a sunny summer day hike too. We did see a few Elk in the upper reaches and usually see them in that area tromping about. It seems if you drive up Wind River in the morning you are guaranteed to see something good.


I haven't done the west rim traverse either but it sounds like fun. A lot of interesting options up there to switch things up a bit.


Splintercat has a nice article from the 80's on his website about Clark:


http://www.splintercat.org/BasilClark/BasilClark.html

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