St. Helens: Hummocks to Harry's Ridge, Mar. 7, 2015

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RobinB
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St. Helens: Hummocks to Harry's Ridge, Mar. 7, 2015

Post by RobinB » March 8th, 2015, 2:51 pm

Took a quick (summer?) stroll with my dad through the St. Helens blast zone yesterday, from the Hummocks TH past JRO to the high point on Harry's Ridge and back. The short story is that 504 is still gated just after Hummocks but there's absolutely no snow anywhere on the Boundary Trail. There looked to be a little snow over in the Mount Margaret Backcountry, but really not much.

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We got a late-ish start, leaving Portland around ten and hitting the Hummocks TH around noon. There were maybe thirty cars there, but we didn't see many people on the trail. I think we counted seventeen all day.

From Hummocks, we took the shorter segment of the loop trail to the Boundary Trail. This was my first time there, and I was really surprised by all the ponds (and frogs!) around.

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The nice things about this hike - or: one of the many nice things about this hike - is that the views are excellent pretty much from the outset, and just get better as you go.

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Looking down at... the North Fork Toutle?

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I loved the stream-cut canyons through the mud, ash, and lava in the blast zone.

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In short order we hit the massive, empty parking lot for JRO, and walked through to the continuation of the Boundary Trail. A histrionic sign informed us that we were on a "Fee Trail." But they haven't put the summer turnstiles in yet, so we decided to risk it.

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Anyone know if the small ponds down in the blast zone have names? Are they seasonal? In any case, they're gorgeous.

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I'd been a little nervous about the generally washed out trail across Devil's Elbow, but it wasn't a problem at all. If there were wind or rain, though, I'd probably think twice.

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More blast zone canyons.

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We unknowingly blew by the Truman Trail junction (on the way back, we noticed the sign lying a few feet down a steep hill), and in short order were through The Spillover and climbing the short trail to the top of Harry's Ridge, with gorgeous views over Spirit Lake to Mount Adams.

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Looking back toward Coldwater Peak. Another day...

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We ate a quick, late lunch at the high point, with excellent views of Hood and, of course, St. Helens.

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We started walking back around 4:30, hoping to get past Devil's Elbow by sunset. We made it almost all the way back to the car before needing headlamps, and in the interim were treated to a gorgeous, long sunset.

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Does the big cup on the upper left have a name?

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Pretty sure I know the name of this one :)

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Peder
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Re: St. Helens: Hummocks to Harry's Ridge, Mar. 7, 2015

Post by Peder » March 8th, 2015, 3:47 pm

Looking down at... the North Fork Toutle?
Yes! Regarding the ponds and the "big cup" (it is about 1 mile SW of the Windy Ridge TH), I think they are unnamed, so feel free to pick a "Robin's Pond" or a "Robin's Cup" - though you may already have a cup named for you! Great pictures! I think that I will be in that area tomorrow with my daughter...
Some people are really fit at eighty; thankfully I still have many years to get into shape…

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kepPNW
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Re: St. Helens: Hummocks to Harry's Ridge, Mar. 7, 2015

Post by kepPNW » March 8th, 2015, 4:46 pm

Wow, so much for a "golden hour." You seemed to have hit the Golden Afternoon! What a day you picked to be up there. Just gorgeous. :)
Karl
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RobinB
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Re: St. Helens: Hummocks to Harry's Ridge, Mar. 7, 2015

Post by RobinB » March 8th, 2015, 9:55 pm

Thanks guys! It was my first time up in that corner, and I was just blown away by the scenery.
Peder wrote:I think they are unnamed, so feel free to pick a "Robin's Pond" or a "Robin's Cup" - though you may already have a cup named for you!
I think Pablo's the only one who deserves that sort of power. Plus, "Robin's Cup" already exists - it's a large sippy cup from which I drink coffee in the morning, before I've gained proper motor skills for the day :)

neilsonw
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Re: St. Helens: Hummocks to Harry's Ridge, Mar. 7, 2015

Post by neilsonw » March 9th, 2015, 2:44 am

Spectacular photos! The views are so expansive. JRO opens in May, right? I really want to visit Mt. St. Helens this spring break but I'm not sure if there's a viable option for a 4-8 mile hike. How long was yours?

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kepPNW
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Re: St. Helens: Hummocks to Harry's Ridge, Mar. 7, 2015

Post by kepPNW » March 9th, 2015, 4:52 am

neilsonw wrote:JRO opens in May, right? I really want to visit Mt. St. Helens this spring break but I'm not sure if there's a viable option for a 4-8 mile hike. How long was yours?
They generally try to re-open JRO in time for the May 18 anniversary. Harry's Ridge is right about 8 miles round-trip from JRO. It's very popular, and highly recommended, for a first visit. (And there's a floral explosion in late-June and July, too.)
Karl
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RobinB
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Re: St. Helens: Hummocks to Harry's Ridge, Mar. 7, 2015

Post by RobinB » March 9th, 2015, 9:24 am

What Karl said.

Also, if JRO isn't open yet, it's probably around 9 miles round trip on the trail from Hummocks to JRO, or I'd guess around 8 from Hummocks to the Loowit Viewpoint. Either would make a great hike. You won't get much in the way of views to Spirit Lake or Mount Adams, but the blast zone and crater will be there almost continually.

I suppose one could also bicycle up the closed road from Hummocks, then hike from JRO to Harry's Ridge, though I'm not sure what the road grade's like (never driven it). In any case, I'd guess it would be more fun on the way down. :)

neilsonw
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Re: St. Helens: Hummocks to Harry's Ridge, Mar. 7, 2015

Post by neilsonw » March 9th, 2015, 12:28 pm

Thanks for the info! I think I'll wait until June and do JRO to Harry's Ridge.

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rainrunner
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Re: St. Helens: Hummocks to Harry's Ridge, Mar. 7, 2015

Post by rainrunner » March 9th, 2015, 1:36 pm

Gorgeous photos! We have yet to spend much time up there, but it looks so inviting.
The mountains are calling and I must go.
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RobinB
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Re: St. Helens: Hummocks to Harry's Ridge, Mar. 7, 2015

Post by RobinB » March 9th, 2015, 1:42 pm

neilsonw wrote:I think I'll wait until June and do JRO to Harry's Ridge.
Nice! If the road's open, you might also consider Norway Pass. It's around 4 miles round trip to the pass and viewpoint. If you can manage a few more, you can get to Mount Margaret, and jaw dropping views:
Margaret.jpg

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