Horseshoe Ridge

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Chip Down
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Joined: November 8th, 2014, 8:41 pm

Horseshoe Ridge

Post by Chip Down » December 8th, 2018, 10:24 pm

This was my final nostalgic attempt at recreating the hikes I did in the Zigzag Mtn area many years ago. Again, nothing familiar today. Maybe things have changed, or maybe my memory is corrupted.

Parked at the RD1825 Sandy Bridge (gated) and headed up in the dark, in wind-driven snow and freezing rain. Fun! Found Horseshoe Ridge trail. Disappointed that it went down down down, but it wasn't steep, so no big deal. Further disappointed when I reached the bridgeless Lost Creek crossing. A dark crossing on snowy logs wasn't fun. No risk of injury, but I knew if I fell in I would have to run back to the car before hypothermia set in. Trail was slightly hard to follow in spots. Lots of social trails. It went okay though. Once I was across Lost Creek and the surrounding marshy spots, it finally launched up, and I knew I had it.

Seemed like it took way too long to reach the Rd 382 crossing. I had considered hiking the road to this point, but just noticed yesterday (on our field guide page) that the road is decommissioned. It was quite a mess, so I was glad I hadn't hiked the road. (violently decommissioned, to keep peds as well motorized vehicles out).

Passed the wilderness boundary, then a second bonus road, then another wilderness boundary. I suppose the wilderness must have been expanded.

Passed a rocky peak (3600') that I vowed to climb on the way back down. (It proved to be challenging. I found a breach in the east cliffs, and got up it with help from an ice axe. My first time cutting steps in frozen dirt. Wouldn't have gone up if not for the rope I packed, which assured me I could get down safely. Not necessary though; turned out the north side featured a gentle ridge, so I went down that way.)

Between 3600-4400' I passed through a warm layer. Yesterday's snow was melting and dropping out of the trees. Around 4400' it abruptly cooled again, and it wasn't as soggy/sloppy anymore. The damage was done though: I was damp and discouraged. Hard to believe it can be this warm in December.

Just above 4400', found myself on a crisp ridgecrest, then an open area with views to West ZZ, then the WZZ trail junction. Very cold/windy. Soon headed back down, staying on ridgerest when the trail left it. Ridge was pretty easy to follow, until an abrupt cliffy dead end, so I backtracked up a bit and then dropped to the trail.

When the sun dipped behind the next ridge to the west, it got cold. By the time I arrived at Old Maid Flats, anything that had picked up moisture was now stiff, in particular pack and gaiters. It felt good though. I was tired of the soggy slush and dripping. At at Old Maid Flats, it was crisp and dry and windy, as it had been when I started, as December should be.

I'm severely sleep deprived. I hope this made some sense.

As usual, pics of man-made stuff will follow in a couple minutes.
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1.jpg
That must be West Zigzag.
2.jpg
An easy stretch of the off-trail Horseshoe crest descent.
3.jpg
dead end on my off-trail Horseshoe ridge descent.
4.jpg
Some scrambling fun.
5.jpg
lots of work, little reward
6.jpg
I wonder if that's my original goal (circle at upper right.
7.jpg
The creek I had to cross in the dark.
8.jpg
I wonder what that is. Viewed from the Riley area.

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Chip Down
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Joined: November 8th, 2014, 8:41 pm

Re: Horseshoe Ridge

Post by Chip Down » December 8th, 2018, 10:30 pm

manmade stuff
Attachments
b6.JPG
Righ oval was my original off-trail goal, but it was too wet and sloppy, so settled for the circle at left.
b5.jpg
Wow, that was a tough 11 miles.
b2.jpg
a couple weeks ago
b1.jpg
today
b3.jpg
b4.jpg

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retired jerry
Posts: 12514
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: Horseshoe Ridge

Post by retired jerry » December 9th, 2018, 6:19 am

Nice

You've used up a couple years worth of trails in one month :)

My pet peeve is they decommissioned that road, used to be a nice alternative for a loop. And you could hike uphill on those two roads a bit, great in the winter. There was sort of a homeless camp though, so I can see why they wanted to close it.

I was hiking on a use trail from Riley Camp downstream along Lost Creek. I bet it would be easy to continue to Horseshoe Ridge trail and thus avoid the crossing of Lost Creek. I'll have to check that out.

They already closed the gate at the Sandy River bridge? Bummer. I can see why they do it though, to reduce vandalism, or maybe reduce people that get lost. But, it seems like the Forest Service solution is to close everything off as much as possible to manage use.

The only trail you have left is Zigzag trail uphill from East Zigzag/Burnt Lake Trail. That's a nice trail, not so many people.

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Chip Down
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Re: Horseshoe Ridge

Post by Chip Down » December 9th, 2018, 9:15 am

retired jerry wrote:
December 9th, 2018, 6:19 am
My pet peeve is they decommissioned that road, used to be a nice alternative for a loop. And you could hike uphill on those two roads a bit, great in the winter.
Pretty sure I used to drive up that road, although as I've mentioned I might have the ZZ diamond confused with someplace else.Glad I saw the field guide description of the hike. It would have been miserable following that snowy overgrown road in the dark.
retired jerry wrote:
December 9th, 2018, 6:19 am
I was hiking on a use trail from Riley Camp downstream along Lost Creek. I bet it would be easy to continue to Horseshoe Ridge trail and thus avoid the crossing of Lost Creek. I'll have to check that out.
I think I saw that last weekend. I don't think it connects, and you'd probably have to bushwhack a ways. Maybe worth checking out, but I think a creek crossing might be less trouble. [edit: just noticed, you'd also have to cross Cast Creek, so it's almost certainly better to use the standard route]
retired jerry wrote:
December 9th, 2018, 6:19 am
They already closed the gate at the Sandy River bridge? Bummer. I can see why they do it though, to reduce vandalism, or maybe reduce people that get lost. But, it seems like the Forest Service solution is to close everything off as much as possible to manage use.
Yep, Dec 1. When I arrived 12/2 I was disappointed, but not surprised. I think the main reason for the closure is an exhibition of authority.
retired jerry wrote:
December 9th, 2018, 6:19 am
The only trail you have left is Zigzag trail uphill from East Zigzag/Burnt Lake Trail. That's a nice trail, not so many people.
Will I be able to hike that next weekend, or will there be too much snow? Also, I haven't done West ZZ, or Burnt Lake between Devil's Tie and ZZ Mtn Trail.
Don't really want to though. Kinda pointless trails.
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20181202_170758.jpg

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retired jerry
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Re: Horseshoe Ridge

Post by retired jerry » December 9th, 2018, 10:06 am

Zigzag Trail stays below 5000 feet, the elevation of East Zigzag, until a bit before it ends at the Paradise Park Trail, so you should be okay. And that last bit before Paradise Park Trail is in the trees and not particularly interesting. Unless you continue up to Paradise Park.

Except there's probably snow happening right now, and in the next week so there could be quite a bit of snow by the time you get there

Yeah, West Zigzag and Burnt Lake between DT and ZZ aren't all that interesting.

I like how you do as a day hike what I spend several days doing:)

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