Augspurger Mt, alleged "Cascade Crest Trail", powerline loop

This forum is used to share your experiences out on the trails.
User avatar
Chip Down
Posts: 2416
Joined: November 8th, 2014, 8:41 pm

Augspurger Mt, alleged "Cascade Crest Trail", powerline loop

Post by Chip Down » September 12th, 2016, 7:25 pm

Looking for a break, a nice lazy summer stroll in the hills, no danger or excitement.

On my first trip up Wind Mt a few months ago, I noticed some nice scenery between Wind and Dog, accessible via a powerline road. Figured this would be a good day to check it out. Also, wanted to investigate the north end of Girl Scout Road, which Google shows as Cascade Crest Trail.

Started at the Grant Lake pullout on Hwy 14 and bushwhacked up and northeast, hoping I'd hit Augspurger Trail. I did. As I approached the Dog Mountain junction, at maybe 1800', the precip started. Forecast was chance of drizzle in Cascade Locks, dry in Hood River, so I figured the odds were in my favor. Stopped to don jacket and hat, and passed the Dog junction, dropping into the first of many brushy parts of Aug Trail. Soaked to the skin, at least on the front where I was brushing against wet leaves. Could be worse, at least it wasn't hot. The wind never really let up completely, it was with me nearly all day.

Had none of the routefinding problems others have reported in older TRs. The trail is in good shape, well marked, even featuring blue diamonds on trees in many places. But as I approached the summit I lost the trail. Went back down, tried again, no luck. This was around the girdled trees that others have observed. Okay, so I struck out on my own, not quite sure where to go, but knowing it had to be up. Soon found a tree signed "summit", so figured that was probably the summit. Noticed a trail and followed it back down to see how I missed it, but it never did connect with my ascent trail. So there's a spot around the girdled trees where it's basically pointless to look for the trail. You're almost at the top, so just go uphill a hundred yards.

A surprise at the summit: Aug trail actually bypasses the summit, which is accessed via a very short spur trail. That's weird. Even more surprising was the continuation of this trail to the east. I followed it down a ways to a rocky clearing (good rest spot) but then it started switchbacking steeply down to the north. I didn't think there was anything I cared about down there, so back to the summit, and down the Aug Trail to the northwest.

Enjoyed the views down the back side of Aug. The trail was less overgrown than expected, even recently defoliated in one stretch (Thanks, whoever you are). I expected the trail to end up here, but it just kept dropping and dropping towards the utility roads at the north base of Aug Mt. Maps and TRs didn't prepare me for this. I thought I'd be bushwhacking down to the road, so this was a luxury. At the bottom, in a jumble of utility roads, I saw a sign marking this "other" Aug trailhead.

Followed the powerlines west, looking for the top of Girl Scout Road, aka Cascade Crest Trail. Found a reasonable candidate. As I followed it, there were so many spurs that I wondered if I was where I thought I was. The roadside pond, and the funky junction at the next powerline crossing, reassured me. Was it a trail at this point? Absolutely not. I think this is a Google error (I know, shocking), unless the road was extended up the trail after the trail was resituated, but I doubt that.

I started east on the powerline road, expecting it to take me to the point where Aug Trail crosses, but Loop Anxiety set in. You know, that terrible realization that you're half way through your allotted time, which means if you keep going you're committed. I knew I didn't have a lot of distance to cover, but I also know powerline roads sometimes deadend at brushy canyons, rivers, various obstacles. Was I sure this road was continuous to Aug Trail? Nope. Damn. The prudent thing was to turn back, or I would run the slight risk of an unplanned night out here. When I got back to GS Road I was tempted to follow it down, but I had already seen that there were unmapped roads out here. There was a slim chance I'd get lost in a maze, and I couldn't risk that, so I went all the way back up GS Road, up the powerline road, up the back side of Aug Mt, and down to the empty Dog Mt TH.

This trip reinforced what I already knew: Don't trust aerial pics when planning routes on powerline corridors. They get damn steep sometimes.
Attachments
AugMtOverview.jpg
detail of Aug Mt, north of where the trail crosses the powerline road

User avatar
Chip Down
Posts: 2416
Joined: November 8th, 2014, 8:41 pm

Re: Augspurger Mt, alleged "Cascade Crest Trail", powerline

Post by Chip Down » September 12th, 2016, 7:37 pm

(I have to type something here)
Attachments
9.jpg
Yellow line is where Girl Scout Road goes into the forest. I was hoping this wasn't going to just loop back to this powerline a bit to the west.
8.jpg
North end of the Aug Trail, looking northish.
7.jpg
Looking west from the trail, showing the eastern part of the road untraveled.
6.jpg
Turnaround point, looking east
5.jpg
The back side of Aug Mt
4.jpg
Some craggy opportunities for exploration. But not today.
3.jpg
A fun spine to traverse.
2.jpg
Umm...what the hell is this? Better not be what it looks like.
1.jpg

User avatar
Chip Down
Posts: 2416
Joined: November 8th, 2014, 8:41 pm

Re: Augspurger Mt, alleged "Cascade Crest Trail", powerline

Post by Chip Down » September 12th, 2016, 7:44 pm

Wouldn't be a Chip Down TR without beer.
Attachments
IMG_20160911_174402890_HDR.jpg
Reminds me of Tree Number Three on Cabin Creek Ridge.
IMG_20160911_144919831_HDR.jpg
Steel and concrete aren't ideal, but a flat spot with a view is always welcome.

VanMarmot
Posts: 1922
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: Augspurger Mt, alleged "Cascade Crest Trail", powerline

Post by VanMarmot » October 3rd, 2016, 9:40 am

The Cascade Crest Trail hasn't existed (officially) since it was subsumed into the PCT in the mid-1970s but you can still find bits and pieces of it through-out WA - there's a very nice long section in Indian Heaven. It used to run past Dog Mountain and I spent some time looking for its remains - and think I found a piece or two (CCT explorations). But poor routing, weather, the passing of years, and the moving the PCT further west all took their toll on this last section of the CCT and I could only find a thin piece of tread before the brush closed-in.

beag
Posts: 347
Joined: April 6th, 2009, 2:30 pm

Re: Augspurger Mt, alleged "Cascade Crest Trail", powerline

Post by beag » October 6th, 2016, 7:36 am

CCT trail is alive and well from end of N Aug trail. We have been up there a dozen times and we have lopped section from N Aug to Triangle Pass. Trail is well designed and in good shape. The old trail used to come along the base of Augsburger until it hit the Quarry and road near Gas line and Powerlines. There the trail went around a hill N and W of the Quarry. We followed that section and it is in amazing shape. However it makes more sense now to ignore that section and access access the CCT from the N end of the Aug trail. Depending on the weather we will be going up there once or twice before roads close for Winter. We get to N Aug on road off Berge. Very easy to access N end trail from 100 paces West of Triangle Pass. PM me if you want more info.

VanMarmot
Posts: 1922
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: Augspurger Mt, alleged "Cascade Crest Trail", powerline

Post by VanMarmot » October 7th, 2016, 4:16 pm

beag wrote:CCT trail is alive and well from end of N Aug trail. We have been up there a dozen times and we have lopped section from N Aug to Triangle Pass. Trail is well designed and in good shape. The old trail used to come along the base of Augsburger until it hit the Quarry and road near Gas line and Powerlines. There the trail went around a hill N and W of the Quarry. We followed that section and it is in amazing shape. However it makes more sense now to ignore that section and access access the CCT from the N end of the Aug trail. Depending on the weather we will be going up there once or twice before roads close for Winter. We get to N Aug on road off Berge. Very easy to access N end trail from 100 paces West of Triangle Pass. PM me if you want more info.
Just to clarify, I was speaking of the CCT from the where it used to cross a tributary of Dog Creek N of Dog Mtn and then went up and around the east side of Dog Mtn and down to the old inn (today's well regulated parking lot). In 2013, I was only able to find a few pieces of this part of the CCT. Earlier (2011) I had traced the CCT - following the directions in Wills' 1962 guide - from N of Aug past Larson Lakes around to this tributary of Dog Creek. Back in the day this section followed several logging roads and it was the same in 2011, only now there are roads for gas lines and FO cables too. The confusion caused by all of these roads seems to have been part of the decision to redirect the CCT west once it became the PCT.

Sounds like the piece N of Trinagle Pass is still in good shape - as is the section at the S end of Indian Heaven. Folks should get out and enjoy these little pieces of WA hiking history!

cfm
Posts: 1050
Joined: June 18th, 2008, 6:49 am

Re: Augspurger Mt, alleged "Cascade Crest Trail", powerline loop

Post by cfm » April 26th, 2021, 5:01 pm

I've taken two recent trips exploring this area, namely trying to get to the cliffs and big scree field to the SW of Augsperger Mountain. It can be seen in Chip's GE image in the bottom left corner:
AugMtOverview.jpg
AugMtOverview.jpg (39.18 KiB) Viewed 427 times
I've always been intrigued by this low forested valley between Dog, Aug and Wind-flanked by those cliffs of hexagonal basalt. Here is a view of the scree field from the Augsperger trail, taken just above the powerlines:
SSF.jpg
I've been saying to myself "I've gotta get there" for years. Finally did it! I took Berge Road to FS 2700, and parked on a BPA road in the vicinity of Chip's "turnaround point".This is the start of an old road that leads south into the valley. There are many revegetating roads in here that invite exploring. Most are not driveable, but some seem to be lightly used by local dirtbikers or ATVs. Not many signs of "party pigs" (the folks who leave their trash, shotgun shells and fire rings behind). Very pleasant hiking, and absolute solitude.
road scene.jpg
I ended up bushwacking about a quarter mile to the scree field from the south. It's a mighty scenic spot!
southernview.jpg
The hexagonal basalt columns are incredible!
cliffsobasalt.jpg
basalty.jpg
crazy basalt.jpg
morecrazybasalt.jpg
As I was enjoying my lunch, I heard rockfall and watched geology in action as a large chunk tumbled down the cliff, taking more pieces with it. I wondered if a critter might have dislodged the rock. If you squint, it looks like there might be some goats up there! Do you see them?
possiblegoats.jpg
I wasn't sure, so on the return trip, I found another pleasant old road that took me up to the top, and I crept around on the top of the cliffs, stalking goat. It was hard to get a good view and sketchy in some areas. I stopped for a snack waiting for the goats, but none appeared today. Explored more old roads on my way out. Fun times!
oldroad up.jpg
top of cliff view.jpg
waiting for goat.jpg

User avatar
Chip Down
Posts: 2416
Joined: November 8th, 2014, 8:41 pm

Re: Augspurger Mt, alleged "Cascade Crest Trail", powerline loop

Post by Chip Down » April 27th, 2021, 8:28 pm

Nice! I too have wanted to check that out, although I've had my eye on a different road.

Another addition to my to-do list? Well, I guess it was already on my list, but now I'm thinking I should bump it to the top. I'm also wondering which of the roads up there connects with...well, no, I won't say, better to leave it a mystery to be discovered.

User avatar
Bosterson
Posts: 2160
Joined: May 18th, 2009, 3:17 pm
Location: Portland

Re: Augspurger Mt, alleged "Cascade Crest Trail", powerline loop

Post by Bosterson » April 27th, 2021, 9:41 pm

Jen, did you notice how the basalt blocks look like they were pushed into piles, like by a machine or something? I thought it was super weird, but I think it's the natural result of the ground under the field slowly sliding downhill. It's definitely an odd place.

Does anyone know roughly when the CCC was abandoned out there? I once found a bit of what I assume was CCC tread on the shoulder of Dog. Guessing all of that has been left to rot out there for 40+ years, or was it more recent?
#pnw #bestlife #bitingflies #favoriteyellowcap #neverdispleased

cfm
Posts: 1050
Joined: June 18th, 2008, 6:49 am

Re: Augspurger Mt, alleged "Cascade Crest Trail", powerline loop

Post by cfm » April 29th, 2021, 10:26 am

Hmmm I wonder what Chip's mystery thing is. My guess is (what I call) the basalt nubbin. Yes-a road leads close to it!
basalt nubbin.jpg
Nat- yes I did find the rubble configuration strange. Had my lunch on the highest rockpile, but it was far from the base of the cliffs- as if it had been pushed. I think you are right and Ma Nature is the pusher.

Post Reply