Timberline Trail 7/20 - 7/23

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Timberline Trail 7/20 - 7/23

Post by mmbate » July 26th, 2018, 6:25 pm

7/20-7/23 Trip Report, Timberline Trail loop

Span: 4 days, 3 nights
Direction and starting point: Counterclockwise from Timberline Lodge
Weather: Sunny and clear
Temperature range: low 40s - low 80s
Hazards: small landslide on west side of mountain, river crossings, some downed trees but nothing uncrossable, biting flies, a few small ice fields on east side of mountain (well packed and easy to walk on).

Thanks to Born2BBrad for his 6/27 trail report, it was very helpful in our own planning!

Top things of note
Small landslide between Muddy Fork and Ramona, pictures included below. A friend who recently checked in at one of the ranger stations said they were in the process of sending a trail crew up. Until the trail is repaired, might want to detour. To detour, take the PCT at Bald Mountain, reconnecting with the Timberline Trail at the Sandy River.

Biting flies from Muddy Fork onward, particularly bad at and after the Sandy. Enough to drive you mad. Snack while moving and wear long pants and sleeves.

Dry stretches, fill ‘er up!
Newton Creek on to one or so miles past Lamberson Spur, where some small creeks fed by glacial melt remain.

No water at Cloud Cap Campground (spigot removed), so I wouldn’t choose it as an overnight camp spot. You’d have to hike down to Elliot and back up just to refill. If thru hiking, refill at Elliot. No water directly after.

No water from Sandy to Paradise Park, we took the lower trail at the junction for the Paradise Park and found water not long after. Not sure how the water is on the upper half of the loop, we didn’t find it in the first quarter mile when we decided to scout ahead, but imagine the same melt that fed the stream we found does begin higher.

River crossings of note
White River: Crossed in early afternoon with poles. We kept our boots on and crossed going just above where the river split, choosing to ford it in two smaller sections. It was challenging to pick up the trail on the opposite side, but heading slightly downstream and further in stumbled across some cairns that guided us to where the trail picks back up, steeply leaving the ravine in a tree covered area.

Clark Creek: Late afternoon with poles. Kept our boots on and crossed without too much difficulty

Elliot: Late afternoon with poles and river shoes. Elliot was rough! Our party crossed 15 feet or so upstream from the trail where there are three large boulders to hop from (the trip report linked above has some good pics). More difficult to cross counterclockwise, as we did, than clockwise because of some low to high jumps. We put out our river shoes, tied up our boots, and used our poles to wade in some parts and rock hop in others.

Coe Branch: Mid morning, boots and poles. Also not a fun crossing. The current directly in front of the trail is narrow and swift. A challenging low to high boulder jump is required if you are traveling CCW. We walked slightly upstream and used two sets of fallen logs to cross. Picture below.
Muddy Fork: Late afternoon, boots, poles and river shoes. We were tired and decided we preferred to feel the rocks under our feet that risk hoping. We put on our river shoes and forded without too much difficulty.

Sandy: Late afternoon, boots, poles and river shoes. River high. We crossed just upstream of larger cairn, visible in the picture below.

Campsites, weather and other notes

Day 1: Timberline to Newton Creek, 8 miles. Temperature reaching the high 70s, possibly even 80 (I had a thermometer I’d glace at occasionally, but wasn’t very good at jotting the temp down). Few mosquitoes, no flies, tons of wildflowers!

Night 1: Newton Creek. Temperatures estimated in the low 40s. We passed a few campsites to the west of Newton, one by a small stream that seemed particularly lovely. We chose a spot just across Newton, in the trees to the right side of the trail. There was one more spot on the left side. We arrived around 5:30, the first to set up camp in the area. Not long after over a dozen others arrived looking to set up camp. Most camped in the open area on the east side of Newton, and by dusk 8 or so tents dotted the landscape.

Day 2: Newton Creek to Elk Cove, 10.5 miles. Temperatures reaching high 70s. A few remaining ice fields, but relatively easy to cross (picture of one below). No flies, no mosquitoes, stunning vistas of Hood and clear visibility to Adams, Rainier, Jefferson and Helens.

Night 2: Elk Cove. Temperatures estimated in the low 40s. We continued past the trail labeled “campsites” to a historic site just over a small creek that had room for a few tents.

Day 3: Elk Cove to Paradise Park, 17 miles. Highs in the low 80s. The flies began to pick up as we dipped into lower elevations, and by Muddy Fork were noticeable. By Sandy they were driving us mad. Long pants and sleeves made my morning much more pleasant than my companions, and I deeply regret switching to shorts and a tank top later in the day. They bite and just hang on!

Night 3: Paradise Park. Estimated lows in mid to high 40s. We had intended to camp just over the Sandy, but the wind had picked up, turning what may have been a pleasant little site into dusk choked misery. And those flies!!! We wanted nothing more than to get out of there. We continued on to a small creek on the PCT just past the 2000/757 junction, camping at a hidden-from-view site above the stream.

Day 4: Paradise Park to Timberlines, 5.5 miles. Highs in low to mid 80s. Nothing of note other than a few downed trees and those flies.

Happy hiking!
Last edited by mmbate on July 31st, 2018, 4:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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retired jerry
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Re: Timberline Trail 7/20 - 7/23

Post by retired jerry » July 30th, 2018, 2:01 pm

nice trip, nice report, thanks

I walked over to that washed out place between Muddy Fork and Ramona Falls a month ago. It seemed similar to how it's been in the past. It looks very sketchy. If you fell, you would go down a chute quite a ways. But, the trail seemed fairly stable. I didn't feel like I was at risk of sliding down, but it looks scary.

Probably better to take that detour.

If someone is adventurous they could cross at the slide, unless it's worse than it was.

A couple years ago there was a worse slide and it was officially closed.

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