Dalles Ranch / Weldon Wagon Road 30-Apr-2014

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VanMarmot
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Dalles Ranch / Weldon Wagon Road 30-Apr-2014

Post by VanMarmot » April 30th, 2014, 4:07 pm

For years, I've missed the bloom from Catherine Creek to Dalles Mountain Ranch (Columbia Hills). So when a day between business trips to the E Coast amazingly appeared on a wildly sunny day while the bloom was still on, I went for it - and also cajoled the loved into leaving the corporate grind and joining me for a day in the wild. Yeah! :D Miracles all around! We got an early start and were the 2nd car at the Dalles Mtn Ranch TH parking lot (it was full when we got back). Happy to be here and not at her desk...

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We walked up the road through fields of balsam root - at little off their peak - but still impressive in their sheer numbers.

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We went on up to the 1st microwave repeater station, through lots of meadow larks and a hummingbird,

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to where we had a view over into Swale Canyon (Klickitas rail to trail),

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and of Jefferson, Ollalie, and Hood.

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Then it was back down to the TH (we were passed by a tour bus on its way to Stacker Butte),

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and farewell to the flowers of the Columbia Hills.

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We had lunch in the car as we drove over to the Weldon Wagon Trail, a new destination for both of us.

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It is definitely Spring in the Gorge and every plant along the trail was sprouting something (even the considerable fields of poison oak had bright, shiny new leaves).

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We went off trail through some well-flowered meadows in hopes of getting a view of Mt Adams, but no luck.

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Going up on the ridge above the trail did give us a nice panoramic view of the trail's upper half.

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Eventually we came to an informative sign (Why here? Do you have to earn your signage with an uphill hike? Pretty vandal proof though.),

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and a view of Hood. The fields of balsam root started about this point too.

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Since this was a day in the sunshine and not a heroic hike to heck, we decided to turn around at the sign and head back. It was also - and I'm embarrassed to say this after having hiked all winter - getting kind of HOT in the sun. So down we went,

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generally marveling at the concepts of sunshine and blue skies.

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All in all, a great day outside the cubicle or not in seat 75F on a transcontinental flight. :D On the way back, we went by the Dog Mtn TH parking lot, which was full - so we weren't the only corporate asylum seekers out in the woods today!

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miah66
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Re: Dalles Ranch / Weldon Wagon Road 30-Apr-2014

Post by miah66 » May 1st, 2014, 9:10 am

Great pics! I read about Weldon Wagon Road in Sullivan's book. Good to see a report on it. The wife & I were also asylum seekers on Monday. We also went to Dalles Mountain for the second time in 3 days. I love it out there!

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We also got to see some film crew @ Rowena Crest filming car commercials. They had quite the setup. Even a remote control drone in the back of one of their trucks.

Porche Cayenne w/ a camera boom
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Giant RV w/ catering table
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"The top...is not the top" - Mile...Mile & a Half

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Splintercat
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Re: Dalles Ranch / Weldon Wagon Road 30-Apr-2014

Post by Splintercat » May 1st, 2014, 7:08 pm

Nice report, Van! I was on the opposite side of the river yesterday after a meeting that ended around 4 PM in Corbett (bolted for the East Gorge). Thought about trying to make it to Dalles Mountain, but decided not to push my evening light, and opted for some Rowena Plateau ramblings, instead. The hot weather this week isn't doing the balsamroot any favors there, but the lupine is really just coming into its own, and should be quite nice for another week or two (at Rowena).

@Miah: ditto on the commercial filming, although it was Harley Davidson up there yesterday. I only hope ODOT is charging them a pretty penny for the privilege! :roll:
Eventually we came to an informative sign (Why here? Do you have to earn your signage with an uphill hike? Pretty vandal proof though.)
Hmm... my guess is that the sign marks where the trail crosses form the Land Trust to Washington DNR..? Bonus points for being vandal proof, of course... however unintended!

Tom :)

SonOfTamarack
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Re: Dalles Ranch / Weldon Wagon Road 30-Apr-2014

Post by SonOfTamarack » May 2nd, 2014, 12:06 pm

We climbed up the Weldon Wagon Road on Tuesday and yes, it got hot. Each shade pool from the oaks was welcome. I love how the oaks have a sort of blue bark--perhaps that's the sky reflecting? Looked at heading uphill for Adams views at same area you did, but noticed the prolific poison oak shoots everywhere and figured maybe not. We got up to the switchback at the top of the trail and followed the winding trail past several houses till we reached a grove of firs and old dirt roads leading to the upper trailhead, right after a tree marked with a survey marker, "the bearing tree."

On the way up we noticed a very plain side trail a few minutes before the end of the trail so we went and explored. It heads north along the ridgetop and seems quite groomed. Eventually it takes you to an old road heading northeast (you get good enough signal to look at Google Maps satellite view up there), but just before the road we noticed a faint trail/old road leading downhill along the back of the ridge that the legit trail climbs. Down we went, pushing through some fallen trees and quickly gained the ridgetop. We were right at the top of the balsam-covered hillside, which is steeper than photos look. A well-trod deer path went down the ridgeline and we followed, hoping we'd be able to rejoin the main trail at the draw where the balsamroot fields begin. We got close, and got some views of Adams through the oaks and trees, then followed more deer paths to the next section of ridge. As soon as the balsam stopped the poison oak began. It was beautiful the way the grassy meadows beneath the oaks had a red tinge, but i knew this was not going to get better.

My wife found a PO-free route down to the trail and we headed back. It would be nice if there was an official loop here, but I think a lot of this is private land.

Many many lizards scampering around in the grass alongside the trail. Got a good shot of this fellow on a dead tree beside the trail. I think this is a Western Fence Lizard, which wikipedia notes may have an anti-Lyme disease factor in their blood!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_fence_lizard
Attachments
weldonroad.jpg
bearingtree.jpg
the bearing tree
balsambeebutt.jpg
bee butt balsam
image-2.jpeg
The mystery trail splits off. This is looking back towards the lower trailhead, so you'd see this a few minutes after reaching the "bearing tree" if coming from the top.
fencelizard.jpg
Western Fence Lizard?

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Roy
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Re: Dalles Ranch / Weldon Wagon Road 30-Apr-2014

Post by Roy » May 2nd, 2014, 4:26 pm

Wow nice tr Its pretty amazing the change up there since I limped around Horse thief but a few weeks back it was pretty drab in that area then.

Your Better half looks pretty happy you did good.

As always the some of the best photos on this site.
The downhill of the mind is harder than the uphill of the body. - Yuichiro Miura

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Roy
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Re: Dalles Ranch / Weldon Wagon Road 30-Apr-2014

Post by Roy » May 2nd, 2014, 4:32 pm

[quote="Splintercat"]
@Miah: ditto on the commercial filming, although it was Harley Davidson up there yesterday. I only hope ODOT is charging them a pretty penny for the privilege! :roll:
[quote]

I doubt they charged, these guys fly into PDX with an Army and stay at the best hotels eat well every night. The downtown businesses embrace this stuff.

If they did pay well ad a penny to the sticker on a new Harley :lol:
The downhill of the mind is harder than the uphill of the body. - Yuichiro Miura

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woodswalker
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Re: Dalles Ranch / Weldon Wagon Road 30-Apr-2014

Post by woodswalker » May 8th, 2014, 6:06 am

I've been up on Rowena crest when they were shooting cycling commercials.
Woodswalker

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