Ape Canyon / Plains of Abraham - 4.20.15

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zombie
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Location: Clackamas, OR

Ape Canyon / Plains of Abraham - 4.20.15

Post by zombie » April 20th, 2015, 10:17 pm

We decided to enjoy this warm and bright day by heading up to the south side of Mt. Saint Helens and taking the Ape Canyon trail to the Plains of Abraham. Right from the get go it was evident that snow levels were not going to be an issue and that we were in for a treat as far as weather was concerned. Things on the mountain were gorgeous right from the trailhead.
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The Ape Canyon trail starts its climb on the lahar side of the ridge, offering awesome views of the volcanic mudslide that marks the landscape.
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Mt. Adams was watching over our hike the whole day and while we could also see Rainier and Hood they were both blurred by haze.
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The headwater of Ape Canyon Creek has cut deep scars into this landscape.
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Those waters have cut even an even deeper channel through solid rock to form the opening of Ape Canyon itself. This opening is only 8' wide in some places, and it was so dry today that we had no hesitation climbing down to view this slot from its base. An unsettling discovery was made of a half buried pack filled with broken and weathered gear. Seeing this pack crushed by surrounding rocks, we began to fear the worst, but further investigation showed the pack to be full of age old prospecting supplies.
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Back on the trail we soon found our way onto the Plains of Abraham, where only patchy snow impeded. The otherwise waterless trail gave us a small stream here to have lunch near. The stream itself was surrounded by pile after pile of mountain goat scat, and we would soon learn why!
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After watching the goats scamper about nearly half mile away, we continued out and through the plains before finally turning around and heading out for the day.
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As we began our decent, we found a bull watching us very closely on a small hill. He appeared to be on duty protecting a couple of young kids.
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Was a great day to be out today! Hopefully this report will prove useful to anyone visiting this side of the mountain soon...we could see Mt. Margaret peeking up now and then and she looked to still have a healthy amount of snow. Trip was 12 miles and about 2800' elevation...even on such a hot day this whole segment was nearly waterless.

-Aaron
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Peder
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Re: Ape Canyon / Plains of Abraham - 4.20.15

Post by Peder » April 20th, 2015, 10:26 pm

Nice TR, I am glad to hear that the gate is open!
Some people are really fit at eighty; thankfully I still have many years to get into shape…

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romann
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Re: Ape Canyon / Plains of Abraham - 4.20.15

Post by romann » April 22nd, 2015, 10:31 pm

Nice pictures! I never seen mountain goats up there (yet). Cool to know it's easy to get to the base of canyon's slot - did it look like it's possible to go through it to the other side?

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bobcat
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Location: SW Portland

Re: Ape Canyon / Plains of Abraham - 4.20.15

Post by bobcat » April 23rd, 2015, 9:48 am

Great report! Glad you got to see the goats. They will stay farther away from the trail when it gets busier in the summer.

greenjello85
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Re: Ape Canyon / Plains of Abraham - 4.20.15

Post by greenjello85 » April 23rd, 2015, 2:04 pm

Nice hike and photos Zombie. I love the guard goat picture :)
~Dan

mandrake
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Re: Ape Canyon / Plains of Abraham - 4.20.15

Post by mandrake » April 23rd, 2015, 3:21 pm

Interesting find on the old pack there... Any photos?
Guessing the pack can't be terribly old per the eruption in 1980.

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