In early October I hiked Silver Star via Ed's Trail, then further on to the Pits. I was unaware of the Bluff Mt. approach, only finding it after seeing it cut across the ridge to Silver Star. Since I had no plans for Thanksgiving, I decided to attempt it.
I was up at 6am and made it to the Bluff Mt. trailhead about 8am. Encountered snow about 2 miles before the trailhead.
The temp was fine at 29, but the wind was incessant. Forecasts had predicted 20mph with 40mph gusts. After parking at the trailhead, I followed the jeep trail that appeared to have been used recently. After no more than a mile walking along the trail, the vehicle tracks stopped and I lost the trail in the snow. Having not done the trail before, and there being no sign of a trail, I decided to bail on Bluff Mt. and head over to the 4109 trailhead.
As I traveled to the next trailhead, I could see the Bluff Mt. trail highlighted by the snow as it traversed the exposed ridge. The majority of road 4109 was covered. Traveling the road with fine until the last turn before the parking area. Due to the ravines, ice, and steep angle, this turn took multiple attempts before I successfully cleared the icy slope.
The Silver Star trail seemed to have had a fair amount of traffic despite the snow. Ed's trail less so, so I stuck to the main trail.
The wind was brutal, I'm glad I had poles. I was constantly knocked off balance by gusts and would often stop and brace myself when it became exceedingly difficult to walk forwards.
The forested section of the trail offered a reprieve from the wind, but the snow depth was greater here.
I passed one group on my way to the summit, they were already heading back. At the summit I was able to take refuge from the wind where the old lookout was. Cloud cover was low and obstructed most of the views. Cover would break occasionally allowing for views of nearby landmarks like Sturgeon Rock, the Columbia, downtown Portland and Bluff Mt. Visibility to the South extended to Marys Peak, all other directions were obscured by cloud cover.
Heading back and out of the cloud cover yielded a nice view of Helens. Adams was nowhere to be seen. Only saw one other hiker the rest of the trip.
Quick hike, about 2 hours round trip. I wasn't too keen on spending anymore time in the wind. It was a nice day otherwise and certainly an exiting hike.
I hope y'all enjoyed the holiday.
This forum is used to share your experiences out on the trails.
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