Angel's Rest (Nostalgia) Trip! (Dec 27)

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Splintercat
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Angel's Rest (Nostalgia) Trip! (Dec 27)

Post by Splintercat » December 29th, 2013, 4:31 pm

Had Friday afternoon free (sandwiched between seemingly non-stop holiday commitments this week... aieee!!), and the skies were blue by the time I reached the Gorge, so opted for my annual Angel's Rest hike. The trailhead was surprisingly uncrowded when I arrived at 1:30, too! Very cold at river level (still frost on the trail), but warmed up nicely (low 50s) on top, thanks to the inversion. The nostalgia part? I'll explain with pics:

Admired the beautiful stand of maples along Coopey Creek on the way up -- in many ways at their best in winter, and I liked this view in particular, and might head up there on a foggier day to try this with my big camera:

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Heading further, I passed something like 40 hikers on their way down (a tiny number for THIS trail!), and since this is one of my "Hello!" trails, I'm also pleased to report a 100% response rate on a per group basis (one stoic elderly woman just stared, but her hubbie was quite friendly). Soon, I reached the burn area -- and one of my favorite views -- looking through the standing sentinels from the Falls Fire of October 1991, when Multnomah Falls Lodge very nearly burned to the ground!

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...and now for some nostalgia (of sorts), as I reached a section of trail that was one of the first major Trailkeepers of Oregon (TKO) projects in early 2008. We built a completely new bypass of a horribly eroded, trampled section just above the burn, and here's what part of the new trail looks like today:

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...and what it looked like in April 2008:

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...and another new section a bit further up the trail as it looks today:

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...and with TKO volunteers building this section in 2008:

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The new trail sections are holding up fairly well under the Angel's Rest stampede -- but the decommissioned old section isn't faring so well. From this view taken on Friday, you'd hardly know the trail is closed (except that to reach this, rogue hikers have to climb around a huge log fence):

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How many rogues continue to cut through the closed trail? Well, enough to completely remove the two foot deep debris that TKO volunteers stacked on it back in July 2008, when it looked like this (I've keyed a tree and stump in both pictures, for reference):

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Wow! Always an ongoing battle with managing the hordes on this trail, that's for sure! (I posted one unconventional solution for this trail on my blog last summer)

Moving up the hill, I reached the "crux" scramble point at the summit, where one of my favorite trees in the Gorge has patiently helped hikers climb the first of two rock scrambles over the years:

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I love how this tree's knobby root has been polished by thousands of hands over the years -- reminds me of the worn stone steps and polished hands on sculptures that you see in European cathedrals:

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This tree really deserves a proper name -- I suppose it's the "guardian angel" of Angel's Rest?

Once on top, I realized that the predicted weather front was quickly rolling in -- so took a few photos of the amazing view...

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...and documented (once again) Foxglove Falls in its shadowy little alcove to the east:

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...then more nostalgia (apologies to FB friends for the rerun) -- a little ritual I have of standing in front of my camera in this spot every year or so, I suppose to celebrate the privilege of still being able to enjoy the Gorge on my own two feet, and of just being around! :D

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At this point, the clouds were rolling in with gusto - and even a bit foreboding - so I didn't linger for the sunset, and instead headed back down the trail.

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Ah, another lovely afternoon in the Gorge -- we are a lucky bunch to have this in our backyard, folks! :D

-Tom :)

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Peabody
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Re: Angel's Rest (Nostalgia) Trip! (Dec 27)

Post by Peabody » December 29th, 2013, 4:57 pm

What a great trip report. I really enjoyed it. I couldn't help but notice that 1981 Tom was standing a lot closer to the cliff edge that 2013 Tom. :P
"I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.”
― E.B. White

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Don Nelsen
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Re: Angel's Rest (Nostalgia) Trip! (Dec 27)

Post by Don Nelsen » December 29th, 2013, 5:35 pm

Tom,

Wonderful TR and I really like your "unconventional" solution to the (over?) use of the AR trail. I think the idea is great and that it would work very well.

dn
"Everything works in the planning stage".

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Splintercat
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Re: Angel's Rest (Nostalgia) Trip! (Dec 27)

Post by Splintercat » December 29th, 2013, 5:58 pm

Thanks Don & Peabody!
I couldn't help but notice that 1981 Tom was standing a lot closer to the cliff edge that 2013 Tom
...with age comes wisdom..! (...and a receding hairline, creaking joints and an expanding waistline...) :lol:

Tom :)

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kepPNW
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Re: Angel's Rest (Nostalgia) Trip! (Dec 27)

Post by kepPNW » December 29th, 2013, 6:20 pm

Fun read! Those clouds at the end are surprising. What a turnabout...
Karl
Back on the trail, again...

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gofastmonkey
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Re: Angel's Rest (Nostalgia) Trip! (Dec 27)

Post by gofastmonkey » December 30th, 2013, 9:21 am

Great post! I hope to be hiking up there for many years to come too!
“You're off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So... get on your way!” - Dr Seuss

VanMarmot
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Re: Angel's Rest (Nostalgia) Trip! (Dec 27)

Post by VanMarmot » December 30th, 2013, 9:49 am

Loved the then and now photos! Except for some color changes in the upper canopy, the you of 2013 doesn't look too much worse the wear from the '80s version! However, if you'd been wearing a leisure suit... ;)

The idiots who trampled that closed trail back "open" again are probably the same ones - either genetically or intellectually - who keep cutting switchbacks on the Multnomah Falls trail. Or on any trail for that matter. So while I like your idea of a one-way loop, I fear that it's no cure for such unbridled thoughtlessness. Sigh. :roll:

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Re: Angel's Rest (Nostalgia) Trip! (Dec 27)

Post by jdemott » December 30th, 2013, 10:48 am

Thanks for sharing the then-and-now photos of the trail work, Tom. I really enjoyed your story about the ritual of standing in the same place for a photo. My wife and I began taking our very little daughters out on the trails about the time of your first shot--a favorite hike was the Wahkeena trail which was then unpaved beyond the stone bridge. On the way up, we always stopped to give a pat and say hello to our favorite tree, named "Old Friend." I still give Old Friend a pat every time I go by.

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Splintercat
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Re: Angel's Rest (Nostalgia) Trip! (Dec 27)

Post by Splintercat » December 30th, 2013, 8:10 pm

That's cool, John! I'm glad I'm not the only one who talks to favorite trees out on the trail... ;)
Except for some color changes in the upper canopy, the you of 2013 doesn't look too much worse the wear from the '80s version!
Hmm... well, the limbs are more gnarled and creaky, too... not to mention some holes in the bark here and there... plus a bit of root rot, too... ah, to be a yougn sapling again..! :lol:

(...thanks, Van!)

Tom :)

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Roy
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Re: Angel's Rest (Nostalgia) Trip! (Dec 27)

Post by Roy » December 30th, 2013, 8:50 pm

Nice tr and an excellent tradition. I know sure enjoy returning to visit old friends its best on a quite day like this.
The downhill of the mind is harder than the uphill of the body. - Yuichiro Miura

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