Eastern Gorge area - Deschutes & Cottonwood Canyon 11/4 & 11/9/20

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Location: Goldendale

Eastern Gorge area - Deschutes & Cottonwood Canyon 11/4 & 11/9/20

Post by arieshiker » November 14th, 2020, 10:53 am

Just to let you know the eastern Gorge area is alive and well, here are two reports of recent vintage from Deschutes River and Cottonwood Canyon, which are my go to areas for both conditioning hikes and endurance building.

The former being necessary due to most of the summer off from smoke or heat (I’m not a sun worshiper), then an infected wisdom tooth extraction. The latter as my hope for 2021 is an 8-10 day camping-backpacking-day hiking trip in the Beartooth Mountains of south-central Montana.

Deschutes hasn’t changed much from any of my previous dozen or more treks of various lengths, so lots of photos were not taken this time. Previous postings pretty much exhibit what Deschutes is all about, but I do toss a few in here anyway.

Cottonwood Canyon hike was on the Lost Corral Trail (LCT), mostly because I’ve done the Pinnacles Trail so much it just didn’t resonate.

The LCT has morphed over the years, in many good ways, a few not so good which seems mostly to have come from the John Day River breaching its banks in a few spots. Early on there’s a stretch of nearly a quarter-mile of ankle-twisting rocks covering the road (which is the trail), and it’s about as much fun walking over as having the tooth extracted was, although they at least had the kindness of heart to put me to sleep for the extraction.

I didn’t go all the way out to the corral, but close enough I could see the outline. The trail after mile three is in really good shape, and new campsites have been plotted left of the trail. If there are any sites to the right (south side) of the trail at that stage, I didn’t see them.

The LCT is still receiving only moderate hiking use as far as I can tell. Two cyclists were encountered as I was returning to the TH, and there was an abundance of horse droppings, which hopefully came from a train of horses rather than just one horse.

For me, the sun is still the deal breaker in the canyon. Give me a cloudy day and I’m almost a youthful trekker; put the sun on me and I’m a slogging geezer. And since my close-by trails are high desert in nature, shade is a luxury. The LCT does have a couple of well-spaced apart magnificent old Junipers which can be used as cooling stations, otherwise it’s just open terrain for the sky cooker.

This day the river was running quite low, which seems to be its approaching-winter level. The colors in the canyon are amazing any season.

I’ve never seen any wildlife beyond a few birds and dragonflies on the LCT, as opposed to Pinnacles Trail, which quite often has included deer, river otters and numerous large families of big horn sheep.

The first four images are LCT, the bottom four Deschutes. I included the train shot in case Brian is still active here. An earlier hike this year included a 100-car oil train heading north to join the Gorge tracks. All I could think about was several years back when an oil train derailed on a serious curve in a canyon south of Mount Shasta City, California, tumbling numerous damaged cars into the Sacramento River.
Calm, Reflective and Shallow John Day River.JPG

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retired jerry
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Re: Eastern Gorge area - Deschutes & Cottonwood Canyon 11/4 & 11/9/20

Post by retired jerry » November 14th, 2020, 12:37 pm

thanks, good idea, now is a perfect time, not so much rain, I'll probably do something in the next couple months

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