Harry's Ridge / Mt. St. Helens

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Harry's Ridge / Mt. St. Helens

Post by Boozeman » October 5th, 2013, 6:06 pm

I decided to round out my regular hiking season by heading out to the one major hiking area that I haven't hiked yet...Mt. St. Helens. I'd been out to the observatory and hiked around the Gifford Pinchot area , but I've never been hiking in the actual MSH park. I opted for the Harry's Ridge hike as my inaugural foray into that region. I'm sure a lot of people have been out there for wildflower season in the summer, but I gotta say a fall hike is not without it's merits. The weather was fantastic. Sunny with blue skies and a nice cool temperature. There wasn't the normal throng of people crowding the trails. Once I hit the top of the ridge it was just two other people there and they headed back soon after my arrival and I had it to myself for about an hour. Oh, and the colors are really pretty spectacular. Reds, Yellows and Oranges of the changing foliage and still some tenacious wildflowers hanging in until the bitter end.

I will also hand out a few cautionary "Heads Ups". 1) It's hunting season and apparently a few of the trails out there intersect with hunting areas, so wear some bright colors unless you want to risk getting mounted on some hunters' wall. 2) The recent storms have caused some erosion to the already narrow sections of the Boundary Trail, so be prepared for a few precarious yet passable spots. 3) This one didn't affect me, but apparently the Johnston Ridge road is closed for some reason. Not the road up to the observatory, but another side road. Other than that, I'd encourage everybody to go check out the colors and amazing views. :D
Harry's Ridge Panarama2.jpg
This one's out of sequence, because I just uploaded it off of my phone. Panarama from atop Harry's Ridge.
This was one of the tricky parts on the trail that was partially washed out.
Even the areas without a lot of vegetation on them were showing off some cool colors. This place reminded me of the "Painted Desert" in Arizona.
This was right around the area where the old metal bridge was on the trail. I kept looking for elk, but had no luck.
The stumps of the long gone trees on the back side of Harry's Ridge.
I think this was where the Johnston Ridge trail continued on, but I'm not positive of the trail name. Nice color show up there.
When I came up to this point on the hill my jaw just dropped. I thought there might be a pretty nice view, but had no idea it would be this gorgeous.
On my way up to the top of the ridge.
Mt. Adams and Spirit Lake from Harry's Ridge. I can see why Harry didn't want to leave his home. If you had to go, I couldn't think of a more beautiful area to do it in.
MSH from the top of Harry's Ridge. I wasn't really sure what to expect from this hike, but the end result exceeded anything I had imagined.
More cool autumn colors. It's amazing to me that an area famous for volcanic devastation is so alive and vibrant.
Some interesting fall colors. I loved the crazy yellowish green lichens/moss on the ground.
A fresh dusting of snow made me obsessed with these peaks. Thanks to the knowledgeable folks here, I now know the tallest peak on the left is The Dome and not Coldwater Peak. I tried to I.D. it from a blurry pic I took of one of the park signs. My thanks to everybody for their help on correctly identifying the surrounding landmarks.
Last edited by Boozeman on October 6th, 2013, 1:44 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Harry's Ridge / Mt. St. Helens

Post by BrianEdwards » October 5th, 2013, 7:22 pm

Stunning area. Nice that only the peaks had snow on em
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Re: Harry's Ridge / Mt. St. Helens

Post by K.Wagner » October 5th, 2013, 7:32 pm


We were up to Harry's Ridge on Saturday also. Was a beautiful day for sure! Were you the guy in the tan shorts & blue tights? We need to come up with a magic balloon that is only visible to other Portland Hiker members with the special decoder glasses.

In one of your pictures, you have a wrong name. You identified the volcanic peak across Spirit Lake as Mt Rainier. It is in fact, Mt Adams. Rainier would have been a little east of north, and not visible.
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Re: Harry's Ridge / Mt. St. Helens

Post by Boozeman » October 5th, 2013, 8:04 pm

Oops...I asked another hiker who was up there about that peak and they must have been mistaken. Wasn't entirely sure myself . Thanks for the correction. :lol:

I actually wasn't that particular hiker. I was wearing an orange jacket and jeans. I agree that we should have some kind of Portland Hiker Secret I.D. I've seen tons of people on the trail and wondered if they were on here and who they were. :D

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Re: Harry's Ridge / Mt. St. Helens

Post by Peder » October 5th, 2013, 8:12 pm

I think the tallest one on the left is Coldwater Peak, but does anybody know if the others have specific names?
The Dome on the left and Mt Margaret on the right. So some more peaks to explore for you in the future!
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Re: Harry's Ridge / Mt. St. Helens

Post by Steve20050 » October 5th, 2013, 8:14 pm

The peak on the left in your last picture is The Dome. That line across the base is the Boundary Trail as it heads to the east to cross over Mount Margaret seen on the right. I had hoped to camp up there on Friday, but a bit much too much workout for me. The view up there is one of the best in the Northwest as far as I'm concerned. You beat me to it Peder. Thanks
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Re: Harry's Ridge / Mt. St. Helens

Post by romann » October 5th, 2013, 8:55 pm

Great pictures. It's really good timing for Boundary Trail, with mountain in white, good fall colors, and the road still open. As a bonus, there's lots of elk, especially for the first person to hike this trail on that day.

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