Rudolph/Benson/Herman Loop 26-Dec-2013

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VanMarmot
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Rudolph/Benson/Herman Loop 26-Dec-2013

Post by VanMarmot » December 27th, 2013, 8:40 am

Christmas was great! Except that all the good food, spirited beverages, and easy living was heading for my gut. Needed...to...go...hiking...to...redeem...myself! What better route on the day after Christmas but Rudolph Spur. Combined with the PCT and the Benson Way trail it makes for a great loop. So, off to the Herman Creek TH for a sunny, early, but chilly start.

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The PCT heading toward Cascade Locks traverses some boulder fields which give full frontal views of Table (left) and Greenleaf (right).

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The Rudolph Spur trail leaves the PCT just past Dry Creek. It used to be easy to miss but a lot of recent use seems to have elevated it from a scrape in the dirt to an easy to follow use trail. Still steep though. A few hundred feet below the plateau, it breaks out into some open areas that provide excellent views of Table, Greenleaf, and the Bridge of the Gods below,

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and of the trifecta of St. Helens, Rainier, and Adams.

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The last bit of trail up to the plateau can offer some route finding challenges when there's snow but right now there's NO SNOW at all on the plateau. This is the junction with the Ruckel Ridge trail,

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and this is the Benson Way trail,

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and this is the campsite on the PCT.

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This is what Ruckel Creek looked like just this past April.

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While it's nice hiking without snow, the long-term consequences of no (or no appreciable) snow pack in December aren't good in terms of water for hiking in the summer and the flammability of brush and trees. Even with an early start, this short winter day had me heading back to the TH as the sun was setting,

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on the waters of Herman Creek.

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Having burned off a few calories on this fun loop (14.5 mi , 3800' EG), which has few but BIG views, it was time to head home and gorge myself on excellent leftovers (and possibly more spirits too). :D Which will, of course, need to be burned off with yet another hike and so it goes. ;)

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drm
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Re: Rudolph/Benson/Herman Loop 26-Dec-2013

Post by drm » December 27th, 2013, 9:00 am

VanMarmot wrote:While it's nice hiking without snow, the long-term consequences of no (or no appreciable) snow pack in December aren't good in terms of water for hiking in the summer and the flammability of brush and trees.
True, but really it's like one week into winter. I wouldn't start worrying too much about next year unless it's like this a month from now. It may be the weakest snow start in many years, but we've had a lot of years recently with slow starts where it all caught up in January.

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Peder
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Re: Rudolph/Benson/Herman Loop 26-Dec-2013

Post by Peder » December 27th, 2013, 9:03 am

Great loop Bruce! Jealous here...
Some people are really fit at eighty; thankfully I still have many years to get into shape…

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retired jerry
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Re: Rudolph/Benson/Herman Loop 26-Dec-2013

Post by retired jerry » December 27th, 2013, 10:10 am

I like the picture of Table, Greenleaf, and the Bridge of the Gods because you can see how the landmass slid into the river creating the cliff face on Table and Greenleaf.

Perfectly centered picture, angle, and clearness of day.

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kepPNW
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Re: Rudolph/Benson/Herman Loop 26-Dec-2013

Post by kepPNW » December 27th, 2013, 6:57 pm

retired jerry wrote:I like the picture of Table, Greenleaf, and the Bridge of the Gods because you can see how the landmass slid into the river creating the cliff face on Table and Greenleaf.

Perfectly centered picture, angle, and clearness of day.
Agreed. That really is a nice one!
Karl
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Sean Thomas
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Re: Rudolph/Benson/Herman Loop 26-Dec-2013

Post by Sean Thomas » December 27th, 2013, 8:31 pm

Awesome pictures, the last two are amazing!

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