Hardy Ridge via Kueffler Road: 11/17/13

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Born2BBrad
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Hardy Ridge via Kueffler Road: 11/17/13

Post by Born2BBrad » November 17th, 2013, 8:17 pm

What: Hike from Kueffler Road TH to Phlox Point (Hardy Ridge) and then some
Who: Brad (Born2BBrad), Don Nelsen, Jeremiah (miah66), Rachelle (hike4fun), and Gene (Gene Mc), Buddy & Timmy (dogs)
When: November 17, 2013

TFF group shot at the trailhead (Timmy: black dog, Brad: lower left, Jeremiah: upper left, Don: top right, Rachelle: the girl, Gene: bottom right)
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There are many of us who are not happy about not having a Discovery Pass to hike within Beacon Rock State Park, but there is a way around that. That is to drive 3 miles up on Kueffler Road, park on the side of the road (which is on Gifford Pinchot N.F. forestland), and follow some old logging roads into the the state parkland. I was fortunate to be shown this back route a couple of years ago and have been trying to share it with others.

Right as we were preparing to depart on the hike, we heard some gunshots. Then, right afterwards, a truck drove up and stopped. The driver wanted to let us know that we knew that it was hunting season. We acknowledged that it was and thanked him for the heads up. After that, we were wondering what the animal bones were which were right next to where we parked.

Animal bones at the trailhead:
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It used to be that you could tell someone, after you started out from the trailhead, to take a left at the couch, which was an abandoned furnishing that has been there for years. However, today, I almost missed the turnoff because the couch wasn’t there

This couch is no longer there (picture by Guy on a previous trip):
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As we began the hike, Don asked me what was the plan for the creek crossing, referring to East Woodward Creek. It was then that I realized that I had forgotten to mention to the others who had never been on this hike that there was a creek crossing that might prove to be difficult. The past 2 times I had done this hike and made the crossing, it was later in the season and the water flow wasn’t too tough. But with recent rains and snow in higher elevations, I began to worry.

I had brought my Crocs but others weren’t informed or prepared. Sorry guys! 

As we approached the creek, I could hear that it was flowing really well and higher than previous crossings. It was confirmed upon arriving at the bank.

The first view of East Woodward Creek:
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We were pleased to see that there was a log across the creek which could be used for crossing purposes. However, it was only 8” wide and slippery as snot due to not having any bark. Jeremiah was the first to attempt the crossing.

Jeremiah crossing the creek on a log (almost all the way!):
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He was doing great up until the very last step, where the log bent upwards slightly. Since the log was so slippery, he couldn’t make it up the slope. It was at this point, he lost his footing, and went foot-first into the creek. Which, of course, was the deepest part of the crossing. Bummer.

Whoops! Jeremiah ending up in the drink:
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Next up was Gene. After seeing what happened to Jeremiah, he inched his way across the log, nearly falling himself several times due to the slippery surface. With Jeremiah’s help, he made the final stretch without incident.

Gene making it across - but just barely:
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The last time Don had made this crossing, he also slipped and fell, but not quite into the creek, which caused a pretty bad injury. However, that didn’t faze him this time from crossing, even though he slipped several times. He made it across just great today, though.

Don showing off how easy it is:
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After seeing one person fall in, and two others slipping their way across, Rachelle and I decided it was better to take off our boots and walk across. I used my Crocs, but she went barefoot.

Rachelle crossing barefoot, exclaiming how cold it was:
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Timmy was the last to cross. Despite being such a timid dog, he crossed after being coaxed a little bit.

Timmy was the last to cross. What a good boy!
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The trail shortly after crossing the creek:
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Once across the creek, the trail, which is actually an old logging road, levels out and soon meets the turnoff bushwhack trail up to Phlox Point on Hardy Ridge.

Cairn identifying where to turn off to go up to Phlox Point:
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The group on their way to Phlox Point:
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The trail is somewhat overgrown and confusing due to the numerous game trails. Even so, as long as you head mostly straight up and follow the flagging, it is easy to reach Phlox Point.

There is flagging along the way to help keep you on track (sorry Bosterson):
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Once at Phlox Point, the wind was really whipping. It was constantly blowing with gusts up to 30 mph. Fortunately, it was not raining, otherwise it would have been miserable.

Group shot on Phlox Point:
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No view today:
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Since there were no views and it was cold/windy, we promptly descended Hardy Ridge heading towards the East/West Hardy Ridge Trail.

Coming down Hardy Ridge:
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Timmy and Buddy posing during a break:
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Which way do we go? East is the answer:
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Rachelle modeling the rock boot:
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Cool looking rock feature. Don wanted to climb it:
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We turned off to Upper Hardy Creek Trail that crosses Hardy Creek on the recently built mega-bridge over the water.

Mega-bridge over Hardy Creek, built to withstand a hurricane and floods of biblical proportion:
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After crossing the bridge and meeting up with the Hardy Creek Trail, we decided to head over to the saddle via Don’s Cutoff Trail.

Don, you never told us you had your own trail:
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Once at the saddle, we split up with part of the group going to Hamilton Mountain, and the other finishing the loop back to the car.

Parting group shot. This is what we think of the DNR and their Discover Pass:
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Jeremiah and I headed back to the car using an old railroad grade. This “trail” is rarely used and somewhat overgrown, and is getting more so as time goes on. Fortunately, since it was a rail grade, it was never steep.

Turning off onto the old railroad path:
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Good thing there is a gate there to stop traffic from getting through:
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Where the old railroad path meets the logging road:
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Once the old rail grade meets a current logging road, it’s just a matter of following it to the next turnoff.

Early Christmas tree ornament on the logging road:
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It's hard to see, but this is the headwaters of Hardy Creek:
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Debris barrier blocking vehicular traffic:
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Logs across the road in case the debris barrier didn't work:
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The famous bullet car, quite a fixer upper:
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Just as I was looking for the abandoned car full of bullet holes to point out to Jeremiah, I looked up and saw 2 creatures on the road walking in our direction, which turned out to be 2 deer. All at the same time, the deer, dogs, Jeremiah and I saw each other. The deer took off, bolting instantly into the woods, with the dogs quickly following suit. Not wanting to lose sight of the dogs, I yelled at them to stop, which they did. Good boys!

The turnoff to the road that leads back to the trailhead:
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The rest of the way was uneventful back to the crossing of the creek. It was there that both Jeremiah and I decided to remove our boots and walk across. Once again, Timmy had to be coaxed to cross.

Timmy being brave and crossing back over East Woodward Creek:
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However, for the first time in his life, Buddy balked at crossing, clearly saying he didn’t want to jump into the water. He stood on the other side of the creek, looking scared. He soon began to bark, as only he can do, as if to say “There’s no way I am going to cross this!” I dreaded having to take off my boots to go back and get him. After 10 minutes of this, I finally got him excited about chasing sticks in the water which is a great trick to get him to jump in. That worked.

Buddy was hesitant to cross. That's never happened before:
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Back at home after a bath and dinner, Buddy relaxes in front of the heat on his princess and the pea bed:
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GPS tracks in NatGeo:
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GPS tracks in Google Earth:
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Trip stats from GPSFly (I think they are fairly accurate :)
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Elevation profile:
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Link to the GPS tracks on Google Docs:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7SKP5 ... sp=sharing

All in all, even though the weather was not that great, it was a fun time and met some new PH’ers.

Hike on!
-Brad
Last edited by Born2BBrad on November 17th, 2013, 10:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Splintercat
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Re: Hardy Ridge vie Kueffler Road: 11/17/13

Post by Splintercat » November 17th, 2013, 9:22 pm

Timmy and Buddy posing during a break...
That's such a classic photo, Brad -- the caption possibilities are endless! :lol:

Great report - thanks for posting!

Tom :)

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miah66
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Re: Hardy Ridge vie Kueffler Road: 11/17/13

Post by miah66 » November 17th, 2013, 9:33 pm

I love that Buddy and Timmy pic too! Hilarious! All in all a great trip, even though i ended up in the drink.
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Don Nelsen
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Re: Hardy Ridge vie Kueffler Road: 11/17/13

Post by Don Nelsen » November 17th, 2013, 9:35 pm

Brad,

A hearty thanks for organizing the hike today! Always a pleasure to hike with you and glad to meet Jeremiah and Gene for the first time and hike with Rachelle again. great report and nice photos, too. sorry I can't add any since for once I forgot my camera.

Gene, Rachelle and I went on up to the top of Hamilton Mountain after we split up and saw another dozen or so hikers along the way - popular even in the wind, rain and cold today! We ended up with ~3,600' vertical and 14.3 miles. We stopped and bagged about 3 to 4 pounds of Chanterelles too, so took a little longer to finish, getting back at exactly 4 pm so our time on the trail was about 7:42 +/-.

-Don
"Everything works in the planning stage".

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Peder
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Re: Hardy Ridge via Kueffler Road: 11/17/13

Post by Peder » November 17th, 2013, 10:59 pm

As we began the hike, Don asked me what was the plan for the creek crossing, referring to East Woodward Creek. It was then that I realized that I had forgotten to mention to the others who had never been on this hike that there was a creek crossing that might prove to be difficult. The past 2 times I had done this hike and made the crossing, it was later in the season and the water flow wasn’t too tough. But with recent rains and snow in higher elevations, I began to worry.
I gave up on the creek crossing last winter and relocated the start of my hike to Kueffler Road outside the campground. This was, as I discovered, a Discover Pass area. You guys are brave to cross that stream twice, but I guess that is what group pressure is for!
Some people are really fit at eighty; thankfully I still have many years to get into shape…

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Re: Hardy Ridge vie Kueffler Road: 11/17/13

Post by justpeachy » November 18th, 2013, 8:29 am

miah66 wrote:I love that Buddy and Timmy pic too! Hilarious!
Agreed! :D

Those who chose the log for the creek crossing are brave for trying. I'd have taken a dunk within seconds of getting on that thing, I think.

mandrake
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Re: Hardy Ridge via Kueffler Road: 11/17/13

Post by mandrake » November 18th, 2013, 8:31 am

Nice loop there on the Hardy-Hamilton Traverse! That stream crossing can definitely be a little gnarly in high flow. Curious where that rock spire is at... looks like one of those near the East Fork Woodward Falls.

Random sidebar note: there may be another way to get over to Hardy Ridge -- an extension of the RJ north trail system. Basically it starts at the same trailhead and leads over to the East Fork of Woodward Creek. I have followed it that far, but the creek was too high for crossing that day. Rumor says it picks up on the far side and traverses over to link into the main trail ascending the west side of Hardy Ridge. May allow for some other loop options. (Forgive my slightly annotated copy of your map.)
map.jpg

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Sean Thomas
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Re: Hardy Ridge via Kueffler Road: 11/17/13

Post by Sean Thomas » November 18th, 2013, 8:35 am

Bummed I missed out on this awesome TFF adventure. Buddy and Timmy are brave dogs to manage those creek crossings. I've got one that will jump in the ocean in sub zero temps while the other is more scared of getting wet than the cat.

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ForestPanther
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Re: Hardy Ridge via Kueffler Road: 11/17/13

Post by ForestPanther » November 18th, 2013, 9:38 am

As someone who took a spectacular backward splash into ZigZag Canyon Creek after feeling pretty darned cocky rock-hopping (that is, until I landed on a rock that rolled and I went down), I feel Jeremiah's pain. Sorry it happened. Lesson learned: it's better to take your shoes off and have wet, cold feet for a few minutes than take a tumble and be completely soaked!! :lol:

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Don Nelsen
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Re: Hardy Ridge via Kueffler Road: 11/17/13

Post by Don Nelsen » November 18th, 2013, 10:05 am

mandrake wrote:Nice loop there on the Hardy-Hamilton Traverse! That stream crossing can definitely be a little gnarly in high flow. Curious where that rock spire is at... looks like one of those near the East Fork Woodward Falls.

Random sidebar note: there may be another way to get over to Hardy Ridge -- an extension of the RJ north trail system. Basically it starts at the same trailhead and leads over to the East Fork of Woodward Creek. I have followed it that far, but the creek was too high for crossing that day. Rumor says it picks up on the far side and traverses over to link into the main trail ascending the west side of Hardy Ridge. May allow for some other loop options. (Forgive my slightly annotated copy of your map.)
map.jpg
Mandrake,

That route still crosses the creek and I've not found a better spot along it. I have schwacked up the creek bed from where Kueffler first crosses it about a half mile south of where we parked all the way to where we crossed yesterday. There are some spots where you could jump across - but with wet rocks, a miscalculation could be dangerous. I will go check it out, though - finding an extension of Russ's old trail would be nice.

I did not benchmark that spire but have noted its approx. position on the following map:

Image
Last edited by Don Nelsen on November 18th, 2013, 10:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Everything works in the planning stage".

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