Timberline Trail July 23-26 2020

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benguernsey
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Timberline Trail July 23-26 2020

Post by benguernsey » July 31st, 2020, 4:07 pm

Overall:
Amazing trip. Highly recommended. Standard 4 days, 3 nights CW from Timberline Lodge. Left on Thurs and went CW to try and avoid weekend crowds on the W side. Stayed at Rushing Creek. Elk Cove Meadow. Newton Creek.

Trail is in good condition. Few easy snow crossing on E side after Cooper Spur. Water was flowing great.
Lots of day hikers around Ramona Falls to McNeil Pt area. Lot of people running around Cooper Spur.

Logs:
Had to go over about a dozen per day. The worst was descending to Rushing Creek. And the Burn zone descending to Eliot. Nothing crazy, pretty standard wilderness stuff IMO.

Water Crossings:
Sandy was probably the worst, two rather small, wet logs over the river. But nothing dire, could have easily waded up stream if it seems intimidating. Newton was also a bit sketchy as it was just a bit wide and have to transition to different log sets. Eliot and White River were easy to cross but getting down to the river is very sketchy, you could easily dislodge a big rock or slide down the gravel. Eliot has a big log that is like a highway compared to the other rivers. If you take your time and find a good spot you can get down, jump the creek and walk to a spot up creek to pretty easily get up without getting gravel in your shoes.

Words to the wise:
Travel light and find a good spot early. We had no trouble finding spot but usually by the time we set up and started dinner people were poking around to find a spot.

From a before Cooper Spur till after Newton Creek there is only some small glaciers putting out VERY small streams of water. Best to fill up for this section, there very little shade. But some fun little snow crossings. Also pro tip Newton is rather silty, but there is a tributary right after it (W side) that is clear.

Also a bandana makes a great trail mask (and generally handy to have). I'd say over 80% of people utilized a face covering for passing.
Last edited by benguernsey on July 31st, 2020, 4:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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retired jerry
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Re: Timberline Trail July 23-26 2020

Post by retired jerry » July 31st, 2020, 4:16 pm

I'm not ashamed to admit it, I crossed Sandy on all fours, just easier. You don't know if your next step's going to be slippery.

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Chip Down
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Re: Timberline Trail July 23-26 2020

Post by Chip Down » July 31st, 2020, 5:22 pm

retired jerry wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 4:16 pm
I'm not ashamed to admit it, I crossed Sandy on all fours, just easier. You don't know if your next step's going to be slippery.
Or maybe you are ashamed, but you're ashamed that you're ashamed, so you pretend you're not ashamed. ;)

Funny, I don't recall ever having trouble with any Hood creek crossing in the summer. I don't claim to be some super brave skilled hiker, maybe just a bit of luck.

As Benguernsey noted, getting to Eliot can be as sketchy as the actual crossing. A huge amount of work went into that new trail, but I hate it so much that I would rather cross up high, where it's probably no more difficult, but more scenic and fun. Add this to the list of failed U$F$ projects.

Incidentally, I've had the pleasure of doing the sanctioned Eliot crossing by headlamp. Not fun. :?

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retired jerry
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Re: Timberline Trail July 23-26 2020

Post by retired jerry » July 31st, 2020, 7:44 pm

This is still pretty early in summer for streams on hood. In a few weeks flow should be less.

If a rock or log is wet you don't know if its slippery or not until you step on it.

I used to have better balance

Some pct thru hiker came through and just hopped across without skipping a beat

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OregonSurveyor
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Re: Timberline Trail July 23-26 2020

Post by OregonSurveyor » July 31st, 2020, 8:42 pm

Yesterday, Thursday 7/30, there were 3 SAR operations on the Timberline Trail, kinda gives you an idea how many people are doing the loop.
All three were attempting the loop. One with heat exhaustion was talked down the Elk Cove Tr. One with heat & asthma issues was met and assisted by Crag Rats down through Elk Meadows. And my team CSAR packed out a lady with a broken ankle in the braided Muddy Fork islands, out to Top Spur. It was hot!!!
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Jerry King
Oregon Land Surveyor (Retired)
SAR Volunteer - CSAR (Clackamas County Sheriff)

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huckleberries
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Re: Timberline Trail July 23-26 2020

Post by huckleberries » August 2nd, 2020, 4:33 am

Thank you for the report... very interesting.

You mention the timing and direction being chosen to avoid weekend crowds on the west side. So even though there is a huge disruption going on right now, you find there are still weekend crowds on Mt. Hood?

...

I have to admit, of all the Timberline segments (4 out of 6) I've done so far, the Muddy Fork was where I had the closest call with rocks. I had already crossed all the water portions on the way back to Top Spur from Ramona Falls, and as a result of being tired and letting my guard down post-water-crossing, slipped off a rock coming up an embankment or slope from the North side of the final thread. I nearly fell on some other pointed rocks and could have easily incapacitated myself--very scary.

I'm curious if the people who did get rescued/assisted by SAR were trail-in-a-day people or backpackers? The photos are a bit sobering.
Re-entering the Stone Ephemera of Codex Monolithiopia

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retired jerry
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Re: Timberline Trail July 23-26 2020

Post by retired jerry » August 2nd, 2020, 5:51 am

I was at Ramona Falls tralhead on the weekend, very busy, about the same as pre pandemic

Hiking in the wilderness is a fairly good pandemic activity, easier to keep social distance

johnspeth
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Re: Timberline Trail July 23-26 2020

Post by johnspeth » August 2nd, 2020, 6:45 am

huckleberries wrote:
August 2nd, 2020, 4:33 am
You mention the timing and direction being chosen to avoid weekend crowds on the west side. So even though there is a huge disruption going on right now, you find there are still weekend crowds on Mt. Hood?
Two of my family did the Mississippi Head loop yesterday (Sat Aug 1). The Mountaineer trail all the way up to the 8000 foot traverse to below and west of Mississippi Head were hiker free except for us. The PCT was uncomfortably crowded for us. I noted some 40 people or so congregating around the PCT Zigzag River crossing while we were soaking our feet downstream at about 1 pm. At the end of our soaking almost all of the crowd moved on at the same time. Most were backpackers. I would not do that again on a weekend. Also the through hikers are starting to come through adding to the load.

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retired jerry
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Re: Timberline Trail July 23-26 2020

Post by retired jerry » August 2nd, 2020, 6:53 am

I saw a lot of PCT thru hikers a week ago

People congregating at Zigzag overlook? Why do people do that in a pandemic? It's hard to tell from a distance, maybe they were maintaining social distance. People in one family unit don't need to social distance.

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OregonSurveyor
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Re: Timberline Trail July 23-26 2020

Post by OregonSurveyor » August 2nd, 2020, 10:11 am

For Huckleberry:
The lady with the broken ankle was part of a trio of reasonably well experienced hikers on day 2 of a CWise hike from Timberline Lodge. Her fall sounds like it was just 100’ south of yours as she descended to the final thread of the Muddy Fork.
And yes, the Timberline Trail is heavily traveled this week!!!
Jerry King
Oregon Land Surveyor (Retired)
SAR Volunteer - CSAR (Clackamas County Sheriff)

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