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Blowdown on Elk Cove Trail

Posted: July 2nd, 2019, 2:51 pm
by TwoPaw
As of 8/18/2017 Trail has been maintained.

I can only assume the Elk Cove Trail #631 had quite the winter. Over two decades hiking Mt. Hood Forest Trails and no maintained path has ever served me up so much blowdown.

So if you’re not up for constant rigamarole - climbing around this, getting scratched by that (in shorts was I) perhaps avoid this path for a bit. It’s no walk in the park.

On the other hand the trail is doable. And what’s more, my ascent raised my spirits. Six years ago I looped Elk Cove with Pinnacle, taking in aftermath of the 2011 Dollar Lake fire.

Nature has been hard at work. The first “tedious” mile on the former road is much less so as flowers, natural ground covers and understory foliages now brighten the way. Further up, entire slopes are filled with children trees, so many that I wondered if there’d be room for them all. And more flowers, including rampant lupine.
Up to Coe Overlook the blowdown is persistent but mainly consists of small trunks and snags. Continuing on, the density of debris increases markedly, and after crossing Cove Creek its pretty much nonstop until Elk Cove itself, where a few mosquitos added to the effort.
The meadow - how long until trees fill it in? (like Jefferson Park) - is already a wonder of wildflowers, including the western pasqueflower in various stages.
After lunch I felt revived, and threw on my snowshoes (yes!) and headed up to the ridge overlooking Coe branch leading up to the glacier.
This actually was the easiest (or least nettlesome) part of the day.
After soaking the views in, I descended just in my boots on what might have been the remnants of a small avalanche hurtling into the cove, judging from debris.

Extra pics

Re: Blowdown on Elk Cove Trail

Posted: July 3rd, 2019, 9:11 am
by woodswalker
Thanks for posting about the blow down and conditions above in the meadow.

Re: Blowdown on Elk Cove Trail

Posted: July 3rd, 2019, 5:21 pm
by sgyoung
Cool trip report. Thanks for this. At least the views seem worth the effort to get there. It also looks like there is still a lot of snow on the mountain for July, which is nice to see (although probably not so nice for higher elevation hikes).

Re: Blowdown on Elk Cove Trail

Posted: July 4th, 2019, 8:23 pm
by Splintercat
Thanks! Nice report! Tough blowdown to clear -- mostly in wilderness, so requiring crosscut crews. I believe the USFS has contracted with Northwest Youth Corps to do some work on Mount Hood this summer, so this one might be on their list..?

Tom :-)

Re: Blowdown on Elk Cove Trail

Posted: July 5th, 2019, 5:12 am
by retired jerry
exacerbated by Dollar Lake fire