A Small Loop at Catherine Creek 21-Feb-2014

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VanMarmot
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A Small Loop at Catherine Creek 21-Feb-2014

Post by VanMarmot » February 21st, 2014, 4:44 pm

A report that had to go out had me up well before oh-dark-30. By 7:00am I was mentally fried and in need of a restorative hike - which had to be short because of commitments later in the day. I knew it would be a lot of driving but my best shot at hiking in sunshine seemed to be out at Catherine Ck. So, away... The fog and overcast lifted around MP 28 [ODOT did an impressive job of cleaning up that slide at MP 61 - you could hardly tell it had blocked much of I-84] and there were only picturesque clouds above when mine became the only car at the TH.

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I had no goals other than to stretch my legs and to be NOT WORKING, so I headed W on CA2,

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then took the cutoff to CO7,

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following that through the oak forest,

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to where there's usually a view of Hood - but not today.

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Above Rowland Lake, I took CO8 up to Atwood Road and headed back E on that to complete the loop.

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I've long admired this tree growing on the crest of Rowland Ridge as a piece of natural sculpture.

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Rather than head back to the TH above Catherine Ck on the County Rd Tr, I went XC a little to the E of the road and followed the ridge down. This probably not something I would have done in the summer given the possibility then of poison oak and aggressive ticks. But today, not a problem.

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After about 0.5 mi, I intersected the end of an old road,

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followed that back to the County Rd Tr, then past the arch

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and a pretty active Catherine Ck

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to the TH. A good short, restorative hike - a little wind in the morning, a decent amount of sun, and only a few brief showers on the way back. Obviously too early for flowers - only saw a few remnant grass widows - but this area is hard to beat as a mid-winter hiking destination. 5.8 mi RT, 1000' EG.

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jdemott
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Re: A Small Loop at Catherine Creek 21-Feb-2014

Post by jdemott » February 21st, 2014, 5:10 pm

Nice trip report. I was just thinking that it is about time I got out to Catherine Creek, and you have given me some inspiration. I especially like the photo of the tree at the crest of the ridge and the photo before that as well. Over the years I taken many photos of trees at Catherine Creek--lots of interesting structures.

What map shows the trail numbers you refer to in the TR? I've wandered around that area a lot but never seen much in the way of numbering other than a few FS road numbers.

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VanMarmot
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Re: A Small Loop at Catherine Creek 21-Feb-2014

Post by VanMarmot » February 22nd, 2014, 7:18 am

jdemott wrote:What map shows the trail numbers you refer to in the TR? I've wandered around that area a lot but never seen much in the way of numbering other than a few FS road numbers.
The Green Trails Columbia River Gorge - East map (432S) has an insert for Coyote Wall - Catherine Creek which has these trail numbers. I believe this GT map is based on (and reflects the trail numbering used in) the Catherine Creek Recreation Plan (Building Trail). The GT map is pretty accurate - at least for the "main" trails - and does show private land (which is always my concern at the W end of Atwood Rd). But there are other trails - some still in use, others hopefully abandoned - that are not shown on the GT or Plan maps. For example, the easy crossing of upper Catherine Creek that allows you access to Tracy Hill is not shown.

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Of course, if you're Peder and Karl, you don't need no stinkin' map - you just march cross-country in a straight line (Wet Edge).
Last edited by VanMarmot on February 22nd, 2014, 8:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

Jesse
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Re: A Small Loop at Catherine Creek 21-Feb-2014

Post by Jesse » February 22nd, 2014, 8:38 am

Sad to see all of the dead ponderosas in that area.

Hopefully all of the cold weather in the Gorge this winter helped trim the beetle populations. Hiking through areas filled with rusty, dead pines isn't very picturesque.
Last edited by Jesse on February 22nd, 2014, 9:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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retired jerry
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Re: A Small Loop at Catherine Creek 21-Feb-2014

Post by retired jerry » February 22nd, 2014, 8:43 am

"Hiking through areas filled with rusty, dead pines is ugly.
Sad to see all of the dead ponderosas in that area."

Maybe that's just nature? Things change and each has it's own beauty?

Jesse
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Re: A Small Loop at Catherine Creek 21-Feb-2014

Post by Jesse » February 22nd, 2014, 8:56 am

retired jerry wrote:"Hiking through areas filled with rusty, dead pines is ugly.
Sad to see all of the dead ponderosas in that area."

Maybe that's just nature? Things change and each has it's own beauty?
Sure. I can see that logic holding with something (usually) natural like wildfire. As far as I can tell the bark beetles that are killing the ponderosa pines out there are introduced, though.

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retired jerry
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Re: A Small Loop at Catherine Creek 21-Feb-2014

Post by retired jerry » February 22nd, 2014, 9:11 am

I'm just saying it's great to get out there and see whatever's there, even if it seems ugly :)

I thought the beetles were natural, but because winters aren't quite as cold, they don't die off as much so there are more of them.

Jesse
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Re: A Small Loop at Catherine Creek 21-Feb-2014

Post by Jesse » February 22nd, 2014, 9:22 am

retired jerry wrote:I'm just saying it's great to get out there and see whatever's there, even if it seems ugly :)

I thought the beetles were natural, but because winters aren't quite as cold, they don't die off as much so there are more of them.
The sub-species of bark beetle that kills off lodgepoles and other higher elevation trees are native, I believe. I was doing some research on what is killing the ponderosa pines in the Central and Eastern Gorge and from what I could gather it is a different species of bark beetle that somehow migrated here from the east coast or somewhere along those lines.

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retired jerry
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Re: A Small Loop at Catherine Creek 21-Feb-2014

Post by retired jerry » February 22nd, 2014, 9:33 am

I wonder if that's because of climate change?

These are "interesting times" we're living in.

Jesse
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Re: A Small Loop at Catherine Creek 21-Feb-2014

Post by Jesse » February 22nd, 2014, 10:26 am

retired jerry wrote:I wonder if that's because of climate change?

These are "interesting times" we're living in.
No, not as far as I can tell. They blame the recent outbreak on a tree-stressing ice storm a few years ago and wildfire, but both of those things have always happened in the Gorge.

This is the best write-up I found yet. From OSU. It looks like the beetle that is attacking ponderosas is actually from California. I was mistaken on their origin.

http://oregonstate.edu/dept/mcarec/site ... beetle.pdf

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