On the Lookout for Badger Creek Loop 24-Oct-2013

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VanMarmot
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On the Lookout for Badger Creek Loop 24-Oct-2013

Post by VanMarmot » October 25th, 2013, 5:50 pm

I had sketched out some loop trips in the Badger Creek Wilderness, figuring I wouldn't be able to get to them until next summer. Then no snow, some excellent Flag Point-related TRs from awildman and kepPNW for encouragement, a day off, and I was out-bound for the Fret Creek TH (#456A) near Fifteenmile Camp. That's on the E side of Mt. Hood, which was still cast in morning light as I drove in.

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Then it was up Trail 456A, past Oval Lake,

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to a junction with the Divide Trail (# 458), which I took E to the top of the divide, for views of Jefferson and Olallie,

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and Adams and Rainier (these would be obscured by smoke later in the day).

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Then it was further E on the Divide Trail toward Flag Point,

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and a junction with the Badger Creek Cutoff Trail (# 477). I followed that down toward Badger Creek, catching a few more glimpses of Hood along the way.

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My old topos and the Green Trails map #463 show a few trails connecting with the 477 but I could find no trace of these. If they ever existed, they may now be lost under the considerable deadfall in the area. The 477 cuts through this as it descends gently but steadily toward Badger Creek and a junction with the creek trail (# 479).

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I got up close and personal with a tamarack,

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then took the 479 W to its junction with the Gumjuwac Trail (#480) and followed that as it ascended gently but steadily toward Gumjuwac Saddle.

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At the saddle, the 480 just popped out of the bushes (arrow) on to the road, with no signage that I could see.

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At this point I was re-connected with trail 458, which I used to reach the summit of Lookout Mtn, with its stellar views of Hood,

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and of smoke-shrouded Jefferson (J), Olallie (O), and Badger Lake (B) due to fires (arrow) in the area.

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By this time, I’d put more miles and gain into this project than expected and I still had a 2 h drive back to Portland. So, with a fond farewell to the tamaracks,

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I took the 458 and 456A trails back to the TH. A long (16.5 mi RT, 4,400’ EG) but satisfying bluebird day wandering through an excellent wilderness. :D Saw just one other person the whole day.

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kepPNW
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Re: On the Lookout for Badger Creek Loop 24-Oct-2013

Post by kepPNW » October 25th, 2013, 6:16 pm

Isn't it nice up there?! That's a great looking loop. I was originally (until a carpool option opened up :)) thinking of doing essentially the same one, except coming in and out at the Gumjuwac TH on US35 rather than along Fret Creek. You mentioned a lot of blowdown; is it very bad over the trails (south of Divide) you were on, or...?
Karl
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Splintercat
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Re: On the Lookout for Badger Creek Loop 24-Oct-2013

Post by Splintercat » October 25th, 2013, 7:46 pm

Thanks, Van - nice report! But your Gumjuwac Saddle pic startled me. Here's why:

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That's all I found up there last July. So, apparently the USFS had the sign down..? The top half has been gone for awhile, now, so I assumed the rest had been destroyed, too. Nice to see it back up!

Tom :)

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justpeachy
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Re: On the Lookout for Badger Creek Loop 24-Oct-2013

Post by justpeachy » October 25th, 2013, 8:50 pm

Ah, our beautiful mountain on a clear fall day. :D

Smoke? Wildfires? It's late October...how can this be possible?
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-Q-
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Re: On the Lookout for Badger Creek Loop 24-Oct-2013

Post by -Q- » October 25th, 2013, 9:03 pm

Splintercat wrote:Thanks, Van - nice report! But your Gumjuwac Saddle pic startled me. Here's why:

Image

That's all I found up there last July. So, apparently the USFS had the sign down..? The top half has been gone for awhile, now, so I assumed the rest had been destroyed, too. Nice to see it back up!

Tom :)
Agreed!!
I was saddened to see the sign down when I was last in that area on 8/3/13.
great sign.

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-Q-
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Re: On the Lookout for Badger Creek Loop 24-Oct-2013

Post by -Q- » October 25th, 2013, 9:05 pm

justpeachy wrote:Ah, our beautiful mountain on a clear fall day. :D

Smoke? Wildfires? It's late October...how can this be possible?

i would also very much like to hear an update on this as i am planning on camping/hiking in the ball point/little badger creek area this weekend.
where is this fire located at??
any closures??
thanks!!

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VanMarmot
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Re: On the Lookout for Badger Creek Loop 24-Oct-2013

Post by VanMarmot » October 26th, 2013, 5:37 am

kepPNW wrote:Isn't it nice up there?! That's a great looking loop. I was originally (until a carpool option opened up :)) thinking of doing essentially the same one, except coming in and out at the Gumjuwac TH on US35 rather than along Fret Creek. You mentioned a lot of blowdown; is it very bad over the trails (south of Divide) you were on, or...?
Badger, like Trapper, is one of those charming little pocket wilderness areas that might be a little under-appreciated but which has a lot to offer. :)

It's old blowdown - mostly on the S side of the divide. The 477 has been cleared right through it and is fully open. All the trails I was on were in good shape.

If I do this again, I'll probably drive up to the Lookout Mtn TH and start the loop there, rather than add 5 mi getting to and from the start of the loop.

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VanMarmot
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Re: On the Lookout for Badger Creek Loop 24-Oct-2013

Post by VanMarmot » October 26th, 2013, 5:39 am

justpeachy wrote:Ah, our beautiful mountain on a clear fall day. :D

Smoke? Wildfires? It's late October...how can this be possible?
Most of it seems to be from agricultural burning around Hood River and on the Warm Springs. Getting last year's biomass out of the way, laying waste to soil nematodes, the usual.

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VanMarmot
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Re: On the Lookout for Badger Creek Loop 24-Oct-2013

Post by VanMarmot » October 26th, 2013, 5:40 am

-Q- wrote:
justpeachy wrote:Ah, our beautiful mountain on a clear fall day. :D

Smoke? Wildfires? It's late October...how can this be possible?

i would also very much like to hear an update on this as i am planning on camping/hiking in the ball point/little badger creek area this weekend.
where is this fire located at??
any closures??
thanks!!
The fires are controlled and elsewhere - no closures, no threats to the Badger Creek wilderness. You should have a great weekend up there (if the weather holds).

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kepPNW
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Re: On the Lookout for Badger Creek Loop 24-Oct-2013

Post by kepPNW » October 27th, 2013, 7:23 am

VanMarmot wrote:
kepPNW wrote:Isn't it nice up there?! That's a great looking loop. I was originally (until a carpool option opened up :)) thinking of doing essentially the same one, except coming in and out at the Gumjuwac TH on US35 rather than along Fret Creek. You mentioned a lot of blowdown; is it very bad over the trails (south of Divide) you were on, or...?
Badger, like Trapper, is one of those charming little pocket wilderness areas that might be a little under-appreciated but which has a lot to offer. :)

It's old blowdown - mostly on the S side of the divide. The 477 has been cleared right through it and is fully open. All the trails I was on were in good shape.

If I do this again, I'll probably drive up to the Lookout Mtn TH and start the loop there, rather than add 5 mi getting to and from the start of the loop.
Good to hear on the trail conditions! That loop will be high on my list for next year. We did start at Lookout a couple weeks ago, after hearing the Fret Creek approach was "nothing special," and that was a very nice way in. But I think, if the days are long enough, I might extend the loop by coming in/out at US35 and taking another 8 miles or so off the drive! :)
Karl
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