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Nick Eaton / Gorton Creek 12/24/18

Posted: December 24th, 2018, 4:36 pm
by arlohike
Today I hiked from the Herman Creek trailhead up the Nick Eaton Trail, then took the Deadwood Trail over to the Gorton Creek Trail and from there back to the trailhead. I'd never been on any of these trails before, so didn't know what to expect.

As an acrophobe, I found long stretches of the climb up Nick Eaton to be fairly uncomfortable, so I just kept my head down and kept climbing. The return trip wasn't as steep, and heavy fog obscured any big drops, so I had no issues there. No part of this route was untouched by fire, but the Gorton Creek side still had most of its canopy intact. The trees were burned all the way to the top on large stretches of the Nick Eaton side, including most of the second half of the climb. The trails were in good shape, with brush and debris cleared after the fire, and only a few small freshly fallen trees to step over.

On both sides, there was no snow until just below the cutoff trail, above the steepest grades. The only place I had trouble with traction was the descent on the Deadwood Trail, which I practically skied down in spots. If I had done the loop the other way, it might have been difficult to climb up that section. The snow depth was 1-3" and it was all pretty wet and slushy -- no ice.

My destination was Deadwood Camp, which I knew nothing more about than its location on my map. When I got there I saw nothing resembling a camp. Looking at the field guide now, I see that it was "obliterated" by the Eagle Creek Fire. Indeed, I think that area had more large fallen trees than anywhere else I passed through.

I expected more people out for the holiday, but I only saw two people in the first mile and a third person near the cutoff trail. On the snowy sections, the only other footprints were from deer. So it was a pretty quiet day!
Looking up Herman Creek from a viewpoint on the Nick Eaton trail.
New signs at the junction of Nick Eaton and Deadwood.
Old signs at the junction of Deadwood and Gorton Creek.
Hiking right along the top of the fog.
This little ravine was one of the few lush, green areas.
Just a few feet away, it looked like this.
On the way back, I looked across Herman Creek to what I think is the PCT. I'll have to head over that way next time.

Re: Nick Eaton / Gorton Creek 12/24/18

Posted: December 24th, 2018, 6:45 pm
by Chip Down
Looks like another 6" of snow would make for some tough routefinding. I can't wait! :D

Re: Nick Eaton / Gorton Creek 12/24/18

Posted: December 24th, 2018, 6:59 pm
by retired jerry
I've camped at Deadwood Camp before, I fear that won't happen again, I'll have to check it out, thanks for the report and pictures

Re: Nick Eaton / Gorton Creek 12/24/18

Posted: December 24th, 2018, 10:46 pm
by mjanardh
I was there the week they reopened the trails, devastation is severe!

Re: Nick Eaton / Gorton Creek 12/24/18

Posted: January 20th, 2019, 8:07 pm
by Word Nerd
My first ever backpacking trip was from the Eagle Creek trail head, over the area you are mentioning, to an overnight at Deadwood Campground. It is so sad to see it like this, but there is some beauty with the fog and little bit of snow. Thanks for the pictures.