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Hunchback to Green Canyon -- 5/2/21

Posted: May 2nd, 2021, 3:29 pm
by smithsummit

I left the house Saturday morning intending to hike Image Creek in the Table Rock Wilderness, hoping that since the northern and eastern areas of Table Rock were out of the burn zone they might be accessible. A closed gate just beyond Hardy Creek left me roughly 13 miles short of the trailhead and looking for a new objective.

Wanting a strenuous outing and having recently hiked Cool Creek... I thought how bad can the trail be from Hunchback to Green Canyon? Surprisingly bad it turns out (at least for the last 3/4 to GC), but there was at least bonus excitement: a bear cub not more than 20 yards away calling for mama. More on that later.

Beginning from the "end" at the junction between Hunchback and Green Canyon. A modest amount of snow and few tracks coming up. It looked like one or two people had gone up toward Devils Lookout. I only saw one other set of tracks besides mine headed toward the Hunchback TH.

Following photos are trail carnage from the 3/4 mile or so heading back from the GC junction. This section had noticeable blockages when I hiked it in late May 2019 which I don't believe were removed, and it looks like last year's wind event added quite a bit more debris. On a happy note the devil's club was largely beaten down.

Hunchback is a fairly sharp ridge in places which makes for interesting hiking. Even better when not in the fog.

Fortunately, most of the trail is really in quite good shape:

There are a few sidehill sections with a very soft downhill edge:

This the area where I heard the bear cub calling; between the Great Pyramid viewpoint and the open views from the ridge in the two photos after. Seemed to be coming from amongst the furniture sized rocks. I listened for a minute and decided to move on since I had no idea where mama was.

I had been in clouds most of the day but they lifted in time for a 15 minute view break. From here I made a short call to a friend of two decades since the cell coverage was better than I get at home. I wouldn't pull out the phone if others were around. :-)

And... back at the trailhead. With current trail conditions I would say Hunchback is enjoyable to the Great Pyramid viewpoint. After that you lose elevation without much payoff in they way of views and the last 3/4 mile or so to Green Canyon is just a beating.

Somewhere near GC is a bright green Osprey pack cover I shed going under one of the log jumbles. Please PM if you find it.

Happy Hiking,


Re: Hunchback to Green Canyon -- 5/2/21

Posted: May 3rd, 2021, 8:16 pm
by Chip Down
I don't know that I would recognize a cub if I heard one.

Re: Hunchback to Green Canyon -- 5/2/21

Posted: May 3rd, 2021, 8:32 pm
by Aimless
I heard a bear cub crying in distress many years ago, on the Cape Lookout trail. It sounded almost exactly like the yowling of a cat.

Re: Hunchback to Green Canyon -- 5/2/21

Posted: May 4th, 2021, 5:21 am
by smithsummit
A friend asked me what the cub sounded like and I found a Youtube video. Sounds in the video for ~10 seconds are what the cub I heard was making:


Re: Hunchback to Green Canyon -- 5/2/21

Posted: May 4th, 2021, 8:21 pm
by Aimless
Last summer in the Elkhorn Mts I heard both a mountain goat kid and an elk calf loudly complaining about being weaned. They didn't sound quite the same as each other, but their plaintive, unhappy note was very easy to pick out and there was an amazing similarity between them. Those bear cub sounds in the youtube you linked have a definite pouty, whiny and frustrated sound which is less intensely upset than the weaning youngsters. The bear cub I heard on Cape Lookout sounded much more frightened and alone, much more like wailing than whining.

Anyway, it's amazing to hear such intimate vocalizations out in the wild.

Re: Hunchback to Green Canyon -- 5/2/21

Posted: May 5th, 2021, 5:07 am
by retired jerry
there's a similarity to human babies to my ear