Foxglove Recon 12/9/18

This forum is used to share your experiences out on the trails.
User avatar
arlohike
Posts: 184
Joined: April 28th, 2014, 8:28 pm

Foxglove Recon 12/9/18

Post by arlohike » December 9th, 2018, 3:14 pm

After a simple out-and-back from Wahkeena to Devil's Rest last weekend, I wanted to make a loop today and check out some of the unofficial trails in the area. Since parking was tight last weekend, I arrived at 8 am to find that the lower parking area was open! So I could have slept a bit more. Oh well. I started up the paved switchbacks, moving fast to warm up in the roaring wind, then hit a thin layer of slippery snow just past the first viewpoint. Argh, I hadn't thought to bring microspikes. But I hoped the snow would turn to powder at a higher elevation. Between Fairy Falls and the Vista Point junction, I met a guy coming back down who said he went as far as the junction before giving up. We wished each other luck and I proceeded on, and then I felt bad for him, because just past that junction the snow did turn to powder and was no problem to walk on!

I turned west on the Angel's Rest trail, where I started catching more wind. This section of trail has many areas where the trees are burned all the way to the top, so they don't provide much shelter, and my ears were tuned for the sound of breaking branches. I stopped at the spot where the Primrose Path heads up to Devil's Rest, but I couldn't see the path among the fire debris and new undergrowth. Then I passed the first junction with the Foxglove network. I followed it up 10 yards or so, but it was pretty overgrown and not easy to see the path. Then I went back to the main trail and continued on to the final Foxglove junction, just above Angel's Rest.

Beyond some debris right at the junction, this trail was clear and easy to follow. I passed the first junction of another Foxglove heading east; this didn't seem too bad but was marked with an arrow made of logs directing people coming down from Devil's Rest to avoid it. Then I reached the old forest road that heads south to Palmer Mill Road, which I had wanted to take, but which has been aggressively decommissioned. So I continued toward the second Foxglove junction, in that low swampy area. In retrospect, I should have added a marking like the log arrow there, because its sign pointing to Wahkeena could lead someone into more of a mess than they want to deal with. I'm afraid these trails are in better condition at the top end, and progressively get worse as they pass down into the more fire-damaged areas. So if I were to try one of these, I'd start from the bottom.

I continued up the final, steep section to Devil's Rest, and took a few photos of the beautiful, frosty trees before continuing east toward the connector trail to Multnomah Basin Road. I wanted to see what shape Palmer Mill Road was in before heading home. There were fresh vehicle tracks in the snow, so I knew it must be clear east to Larch Mountain Road. But as I approached that junction, I saw more decommissioning work on the old east-west road grade that I'd walked a couple times in the past, and when I reached Palmer Mill I was surprised to find an excavator parked next to a new earth and stone barricade, emphatically closing off Palmer Mill to the west. Beyond the barricade, the road was torn up and covered with trees and branches. To be clear, this is not destruction from the fire, which hardly affected this area -- this is activity since the fire, apparently meant to fully end the use of these roads.

With mixed feelings, I sat down for a quick lunch, but the temperature was only 25 up here and I didn't want to sit still for long. The water was freezing in my water bottle, and the "smoothie filled" Clif Bar I ate was actually frozen like a smoothie! So I headed back up Multnomah Basin Road, back to the Devil's Rest Trail, and back down to Wahkeena.

On the way back, the roaring wind finally stopped, but was soon replaced by large sleet pellets. And the slippery section below the Vista Point junction was even worse going down, as I expected. I just took my time and used my trekking poles to shuffle down. When I returned to the trailhead at 1:00, the lower parking area was closed again, and the upper parking was only 2/3 full ... so I guess most people had the sense to stay home on this cold and windy day. But I had a good time and was happy to get a look at some of these areas for the first time since the fire.
IMG_8061.jpg
These berry clusters seem to have survived the fire! But in reality they must have grown since the fire and merely survived the autumn.
IMG_8065.jpg
This stump looked like a mini Mt Hood on the trail.
IMG_8070.jpg
Curiously, these trees were burned at the bottom and top, but not the middle.
IMG_8072.jpg
Looking across to Angel's Rest. I saw two people out there in the wind, but they didn't stay for long.
IMG_8075.jpg
Foxglove south from Angel's Rest was easy to follow.
IMG_8076.jpg
Some basic maintenance has already been done.
IMG_8077.jpg
A helpful navigation aid.
IMG_8084.jpg
This used to be a road leading to Palmer Mill.
IMG_8090.jpg
Plenty of green around Foxglove.
IMG_8091.jpg
Ice crystals on the trail.
Last edited by arlohike on December 10th, 2018, 9:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
arlohike
Posts: 184
Joined: April 28th, 2014, 8:28 pm

Re: Foxglove Recon 12/9/18

Post by arlohike » December 9th, 2018, 3:19 pm

IMG_8094.jpg
When hell freezes over.
IMG_8097.jpg
The view from the top.
IMG_8102.jpg
I felt like I was walking through a Christmas card.
IMG_8105.jpg
These trees are burned up, sadly, but look nice with a frosty coating.
IMG_8111.jpg
Another decommissioned road bed.
IMG_8116.jpg
The barrier at Palmer Mill Road.
IMG_8118.jpg
Hard to imagine I was considering taking a gravel bike up here two years ago.
IMG_8119.jpg
Ice in the water bottle ... that was a first for me.
IMG_8121.jpg
My smoothie bar really was frozen!
IMG_8123.jpg
At the top of the switchbacks, I noticed a new bird's nest.

User avatar
Chip Down
Posts: 1460
Joined: November 8th, 2014, 8:41 pm

Re: Foxglove Recon 12/9/18

Post by Chip Down » December 9th, 2018, 4:18 pm

Wow, surprised you've never had a water bottle freeze. It can really be a hassle if your caps freezes on, or if iced up threads make it difficult to get the cap back on. I had a beer freeze on me once. Not solid, but slushy. That was no fun, although it's a fun story to tell.

I'm eager to get into these reopened areas, as soon as the higher altitude hikes are shut down by deep snow. By then it will be pretty routine. Maybe I'll have to come up with some weird gimmick to make my TR memorable. Oh, I just thought of one, it's a hoot! I can't say more, don't want somebody to beat me to it.

mjanardh
Posts: 58
Joined: September 8th, 2015, 8:56 pm

Re: Foxglove Recon 12/9/18

Post by mjanardh » December 9th, 2018, 7:57 pm

great report, with a sprinkle of snow the trails wear a whole new look.

User avatar
arlohike
Posts: 184
Joined: April 28th, 2014, 8:28 pm

Re: Foxglove Recon 12/9/18

Post by arlohike » December 9th, 2018, 8:09 pm

mjanardh wrote:
December 9th, 2018, 7:57 pm
great report, with a sprinkle of snow the trails wear a whole new look.
Yeah, up on that top section the wind died down and I didn't see anybody for a long time, and it was quite lovely.
Chip Down wrote:
December 9th, 2018, 4:18 pm
I'm eager to get into these reopened areas, as soon as the higher altitude hikes are shut down by deep snow. By then it will be pretty routine. Maybe I'll have to come up with some weird gimmick to make my TR memorable.
I'm sure you won't let us down. :lol:

Ron Goodwin
Posts: 110
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: Foxglove Recon 12/9/18

Post by Ron Goodwin » December 10th, 2018, 10:00 am

Thanks for the information on the Foxglove. Was the sign still at the junction heading up to Devils Rest still on the Alder tree? Ah, that wet spot. Actually it had been worked on a few years ago but never lasts as it is so flat. Where are rocks when we need them.

User avatar
arlohike
Posts: 184
Joined: April 28th, 2014, 8:28 pm

Re: Foxglove Recon 12/9/18

Post by arlohike » December 10th, 2018, 11:59 am

Yes, at the flat, wet spot, the signs were still there and in good condition. Starting there and heading back down, there was a sign where the Foxglove meets the decommissioned forest road, and at the junction where someone had built an arrow, although that was hard to read. I don't think there is a sign where the Foxglove starts, just north of Angel's Rest. I was talking with another hiker coming up at that moment, so I didn't look carefully, but I didn't see one on an initial look around.
IMG_8080.jpg
At the junction with the decommissioned forest road. Another tree opposite this one has a painted arrow pointing up to Devil's Rest.
IMG_8078.jpg
At the first junction north of the Angel's Rest trail.

User avatar
bobcat
Posts: 1898
Joined: August 1st, 2011, 7:51 am
Location: SW Portland

Re: Foxglove Recon 12/9/18

Post by bobcat » December 10th, 2018, 6:44 pm

I came down from Devils Rest to Angels Rest three days before arlohike and posted this report:

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=27925

Most of that way was unburned or only lightly burned (lower down) and the signs are still all there.

Lurch
Posts: 1252
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
Location: Aurora
Contact:

Re: Foxglove Recon 12/9/18

Post by Lurch » December 11th, 2018, 11:05 am

Pro-tip, if you're in those kind of conditions where you bottle is freezing up, pack it upside down. The ice will form on the top, so when you flip it to drink you don't have to battle the crust to get to the liquidy goodness.. And if you've got a hydration pack instead, (and you're good about cleaning it) 1: have an insulated hose, and 2: blow air back in after drinking to keep the hose from freezing solid

User avatar
retired jerry
Posts: 12334
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: Foxglove Recon 12/9/18

Post by retired jerry » December 11th, 2018, 1:28 pm

that's a good tip, I'll have to remember that

I have had top freeze and be difficult to get to the water. Difficult to unscrew the top

Post Reply