Rainy-Wahtum To Benson Plateau

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Rainy-Wahtum To Benson Plateau

Post by MarkInTheDark » September 3rd, 2020, 11:17 am

Hoping for a non-crowded solo hike, I arrived early at Wahtum Lake, only 2 other cars in the lot, on a Tuesday morning... excellent weather for a Gorge Hike on some classic trails!

Started at my new fave trail, the Rainy-Wahtum Trail, which is really an old road. You can just feel the history of this cool area, as you cruise around Wahtum Lake.
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Soon, I switched to the Herman Creek Trail just for a moment, which took me almost to Chinidere Mountain, where I connected with the Pacific Crest Trail, and hiked north to Benson Plateau, about 6 miles total, one way. There's a burn area north of the Mt Chinidere area... but the trail is not bad. Actually it's a pretty amazing area to see.
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The burn area, just north of Chinidere Mt
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In the distance Mt St Helens and Mt Adams
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Cool lichen mannnnn...
Saw just a few hikers, mostly thru-hikers. One guy was hiking solo, to the California/Oregon border. Some women were hiking north and yelled, "Good Bye Mt. Hood!" as they looked back from Benson Plateau!
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Benson Plateau
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These are the trees that spook hikers out...
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Ruckel Creek, cold. Butterflies and frogs too! At Benson Camp.
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Ruckel Creek on Benson Plateau
I camped overnite at one of the unofficial rim campsites on the east side of Benson Plateau. It's an excellent view of Mt. Hood.
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Rocks on the east side of Benson Plateau, campsites and the Pacific Crest Trail are just above the rocks...
Bugs? A few mosquitoes at sunset, but not enough to deet. Excellent, cold water at Ruckel Creek near Benson Camp, complete with frogs and butterflies. Saw lots of bird action, especially along the eastern rim of the plateau. As usual on the plateau, I heard owl calls, right around sunset. Talk about a cool Pacific NorthWest vibe!

The leaves have not turned yet, but it looks like they're close. Saw lots of wildflowers still.
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When I hiked back to Wahtum Lake Wednesday morning, it appeared I was the only person there! If you go, watch out for forest road 1310, it's got serious, surprise pot holes.

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Re: Rainy-Wahtum To Benson Plateau

Post by drm » September 3rd, 2020, 12:59 pm

Ruckel Creek at Benson Camp can often get pretty stagnant and slimy by late summer. Nice that it is still flowing well.

I usually go up the PCT to get there, is that trailhead still closed?

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Re: Rainy-Wahtum To Benson Plateau

Post by Bosterson » September 3rd, 2020, 1:43 pm

Cool to see a TR from you, Mark! The burn on the Benson isn't too bad as long as you stay on the PCT side. There are some pretty nuked spots between Chinidere and the Benson though. I always shed a tear when I pass the old Camp Smokey site.
MarkInTheDark wrote:
September 3rd, 2020, 11:17 am
Ah, I do love to climb up on that rock stack on the PCT.... 8-)
#pnw #bestlife #bitingflies #favoriteyellowcap #neverdispleased

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Don Nelsen
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Re: Rainy-Wahtum To Benson Plateau

Post by Don Nelsen » September 3rd, 2020, 2:14 pm

Thanks for the TR, Mark. Nice pics, too. I've been thinking about getting up there again so good timing.

"Everything works in the planning stage".

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