Bald Butte loop 3/31/18

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romann
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Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
Location: Vancouver, WA

Bald Butte loop 3/31/18

Post by romann » April 5th, 2018, 11:50 pm

Hiked the loop over Bald Mountain & Oak Ridge trail on Saturday. Trail was 95% snow-free, even the top at 3779' was bare (didn't expect that!). 3-6'' of snow in the trees as you get on Surveyors Ridge, but lots of tracks from hikers before me. Flowers were just starting here and there on the lower trail, maybe a month before full bloom - but views were great over Parkdale and Upper Hood River Valley.

Probably first time I saw more hikers than bikers on this trail. Weather started overcast but became more sunny as the day went on. I started pretty late ~2:30 pm and finished in the dusk, didn't use flashlight until 5 minutes to the car.

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First flowers (I think avalanche lilies)
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Before long, started seeing snow on Surveyors Ridge. Thought I'd encounter more on the trail, than I actually did.
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Lots of bright yellow lichen on the trees
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As I often change hike plans on the go, looking at this view I decided to descend on the bare ridge to the left of Bald Butte.
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On top of Surveyors Ridge, I hiked a bit of road where it intersects the trail 2 times. Less than 1/2 mile of true snow.
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Coming across the powerlines, I could hear quite a bit of shooting from east side of the ridge, but didn't see anyone. And no motorcycles this time :)
There was just a bit of snow off east side of the ridgeline
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And the view was hard to beat from the summit
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Some cherry-like brush on the top, was shining like copper
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As I started down the west ridge, saw something unusual ahead.
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The ridge was steep in the beginning and the end, but very easy in the middle. Lots of balsamroot blooms (freeze dried variety)
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So much better than hiking down powerline road
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Looking back at Surveyors Ridge
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What good hike without seeing wildlife?
(deer @arrow)
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three more deer
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Towards the bottom, the ridge steepened and entered pine/oak mixed woods. I thought it's how Hood River Valley may have looked like back in the day, before the orchards
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Following what I thought deer trails, I noticed it could be human trail many years ago. Saw these logs at creek crossing, and a few more cut logs, but almost no trail thread except maybe 100 yards down into a ravine
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Some ladder-like structure at the springs. This place, surrounded by tall cedars, devils club, and down trees, was dark and a bit creepy
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??
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Looking uphill, saw possibly fresh bear tracks that I missed earlier? Almost my step size, but I couldn't have walked into this 4-5' high fir. And I usually walk in straight line ;)
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I believe tall ridge on the left is where I went down
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Parting shot of Wyeast
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