solstice celebration: Wyeth to Herman Creek

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Chip Down
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solstice celebration: Wyeth to Herman Creek

Post by Chip Down » December 22nd, 2019, 8:10 pm

Woke at 4am. Chance of rain now 70% (was 60% when I went to bed, revised up from 50%). Forget it, I'm staying home. But then I remembered: Solstice! Can't celebrate solstice in the city, right? Picked a close easy hike, suitable for rain.

Arrived at the new Wyeth TH a little before dawn. Followed the utility road down. Felt weird...Wyeth is so low, but the road goes down and then up to the power lines. Unlike Trail 400, which is fairly flat and follows contour lines, the utility road is pretty straight, so it undulates, sometimes steeply. When I finally reached the road's high point between Wyeth and Herman, I discovered it was foggy to the west, and I plunged into it. Poked around on spurs, explored a little, somehow stumbled right into Herman Campground. Desolate.

Back to the powerlines, continued west, past the Herman Creek Trail crossing, looked for remnants of the old wooden water pipe that used to carry domestic water from a dam on Herman Creek (I think it was originally for industry, but later repurposed). As expected, the wood fell victim to Eagle Creek fire. Only steel hardware remained. Was going to follow the pipe route higher than I did last time, in search of the dam. Kinda rough going though, so I popped up to the trail to cheat a little. Never dropped down to the pipe route again, distracted by the lovely ridge parallel to Herman Creek Trail.

Followed the ridge up until I came to a saddle where a road used to cross over the ridge. I had previously dropped left down to the powerline road; today I dropped the other way to Herman Creek. The road faded, I bushwhacked to the creek, to the bridge, back up on the trail.

Continued offtrail on the same ridge I had been on earlier, now above the road-crossing saddle, until it flattened and got brushy. I knew if I persisted, I'd hit Trail 400 east of Herman Creek Trail. I did, and followed it to the Gorton Creek bridge. Along the way, I encountered more people than I have on all previous trips combined. This used to be a desolate trail, even in summer. My suspicion is that people have been lured out of curiosity to see the new TH.

At Gorton Creek, eastbound progress was halted by a fence. You know, fire and all that. Followed the creek down toward the campground, and back to powerlines on a safe legal route. Looked for Wyeth Trail where it crosses the powerline road. Couldn't spot it. It crosses Harphan Creek, so I followed the creek up, figuring I might spot the bridgeless crossing. Did. Nature is quickly reclaiming this trail. Without maintenance and signs, I suspect it will soon cease to exist except on maps. Speaking of maps, Google's rendition of the Wyeth area is horrible. Bring another source, or prepare for some fun confusion.

It was warm and dry all day, except some sprinkles as I approached Wyeth. Opposite of last weekend, when NOAA said it might possibly be a little damp, and it rained all day. Turns out I could have done my Plan A hike today. That's okay, I'll just leave it there in my to-do bucket.
Attachments
1.jpg
Transition from big wooden pipe to little steel pipe.
2.jpg
Future explorers will find this and scratch their heads.
3.jpg
On my offtrail ridgecrest.
4.jpg
Oops, no way down that step. Backtracked a bit, found a way down.
5.jpg
This is how easy offtrail travel can be in the gorge, when you get lucky.
6.jpg
It's all downhill from here.

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Bosterson
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Re: solstice celebration: Wyeth to Herman Creek

Post by Bosterson » December 22nd, 2019, 9:29 pm

All of the alignments in the Herman area are awful - the USGS/FS map (and thus, Google) even has lower Nick Eaton on the wrong ridge. Gorton Creek and 400 alignments are almost as bad.

Is that little ridgelet worth doing? Were all the people you saw on the 400, or down by the new Wyeth TH and bike path? (My expectation is that the bike path will now overwhelm Gorge parking at all OR THs every summer.) Too bad about the Wyeth trail disappearing, does anyone even know how/where the damage is, and whether they have plans to fix it? It cannot be as bad as Oneonta, and there is no reason for the FS to waste time and effort working on Oneonta, and then working on it again and again when it predictably collapses in the future, when they could fix something like Wyeth once and then reopen it to spread out the crowds.

Also, isn't a "hazy" CDA, like, redundant?
#pnw #bestlife #bitingflies #favoriteyellowcap #neverdispleased

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aiwetir
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Re: solstice celebration: Wyeth to Herman Creek

Post by aiwetir » December 23rd, 2019, 12:02 am

Bosterson wrote:
December 22nd, 2019, 9:29 pm
All of the alignments in the Herman area are awful - the USGS/FS map (and thus, Google) even has lower Nick Eaton on the wrong ridge. Gorton Creek and 400 alignments are almost as bad.
I think we've done a pretty good job on OSM though. At least the trails are in the right place, not sure about the names though.
- Michael

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Chip Down
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Re: solstice celebration: Wyeth to Herman Creek

Post by Chip Down » December 23rd, 2019, 5:17 am

Bosterson wrote:
December 22nd, 2019, 9:29 pm
All of the alignments in the Herman area are awful - the USGS/FS map (and thus, Google) even has lower Nick Eaton on the wrong ridge.
I don't see how that's possible. It's not a scenario where there are multiple parallel ridges. There's no other "candidate" ridge in the area that would make sense. Can you mark up a map and post it?
Bosterson wrote:
December 22nd, 2019, 9:29 pm
Is that little ridgelet worth doing?
Yes, but only as an add-on, not as your destination hike. My first time visiting the pipe, before it burned, I took the trail to where it crosses the ridge, and followed the ridge down, then followed the pipe both ways. Yesterday I did the whole thing, bottom to top. Would be more fun if there wasn't a damn trail so close by, even in sight a few times. In addition to the step, there was another fun stretch where I kept wondering if I'd be able to continue up, but it was pretty easy.
Bosterson wrote:
December 22nd, 2019, 9:29 pm
Were all the people you saw on the 400, or down by the new Wyeth TH and bike path?
On 400. Funny, couple weeks ago I walked the new HCRH from Lindsey to Wyeth, saw one person.
Bosterson wrote:
December 22nd, 2019, 9:29 pm
Also, isn't a "hazy" CDA, like, redundant?
Oh, I hadn't thought to compare it to CDA. I'm not an IPA guy, I just liked the solstice theme.

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retired jerry
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Re: solstice celebration: Wyeth to Herman Creek

Post by retired jerry » December 23rd, 2019, 5:44 am

ah yes, the new Wyeth TH

very artistic and aesthetic. opportunity for solitude because they put in half as many parking spaces as they could have. Or one third.

permanent concrete outhouse so they can require NWFP

until they implement the quota system with required online permits to limit use

:)

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