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Herman Creek 012924 Not ready for prime time!

Posted: January 29th, 2024, 7:32 pm
by Don Nelsen
This is my second try to recon the gorge and particularly the Herman Creek Trail system this past week. Last Tuesday it was way too icy and dangerous, so I didn't get the job done. (but I still managed a couple of miles on sketchy ice) Today, though, just enough melt-off made it doable, at least enough to get a look at conditions farther up the trail. It might have been nice and warm in the metro area, but the gorge is not warming up much. Once on the trails, the temperature never got above 40.

On the way, I made a quick stop at Multnomah Falls to see how far the road clearing had progressed. Last week, I saw heavy equipment working from the east, but they had only progressed a short distance from Ainsworth Park. Today, I could see they had made it all the way to a couple of hundred feet west of the lodge:

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I walked a few hundred feet more to see what the road looked like past this blockage. This may take some time to clear:

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I then headed over to Herman, using an alternate TH to access 400 east of the four-way junction (where the Gorton Creek trail starts): The 400 is a little sketchy, but not too bad with spikes:

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Once at the next junction, I worked my way up Herman Creek. The section on the old roadbed was fine, but once past that it got more interesting:

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I wanted to at least get to the first waterfall, and managed that but past it, looked like too much effort for the benefit:

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Past the falls, it looked like this, and I turned back. One set of tracks led upwards from here:

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A fun day, but a lot of work.

dn

6.1 miles, 984' EG

Re: Herman Creek 012924 Not ready for prime time!

Posted: January 30th, 2024, 8:23 am
by bobcat
Glad we've got someone like you, Don, to go out there and check everything so others don't have to!

Re: Herman Creek 012924 Not ready for prime time!

Posted: January 30th, 2024, 3:44 pm
by squidvicious
I can affirm, I absolutely LOVE that you are providing this info and answering some of the exact questions I have been wondering about.

Re: Herman Creek 012924 Not ready for prime time!

Posted: January 30th, 2024, 9:04 pm
by Charley
Yikes!

What a difference a few dozen miles makes. The avalanches (or drifts?) down on the roads are huge. What a mess!

Re: Herman Creek 012924 Not ready for prime time!

Posted: February 1st, 2024, 8:29 pm
by wnshall
Ha! Those are my tracks. I was there on Sunday 1/28. I didn't bring microspikes because I wasn't expecting that much snow and ice (having been lulled by the ridiculously warm temps in the Portland area), but I was still able to navigate. I made it to Camp Creek where I was stopped by a very swollen creek. The trail on the other side was more of the same, so I didn't look too hard for a crossing. I noticed that the trail seemed to have attracted the most snow, so I decided to try returning by going off trail and climbing a bit higher along the ridge. I ended up climbing ~500' then contouring, which carried me above the first waterfall, then scrambled back down to the trail. This mostly avoided the worst of the trail where the snow was a hard packed surface at a 45 degree angle. I don't think it really saved time or effort, but it was much more fun. Among the more exhausting 6 miles I've done for so little elevation gain. (I actually thought about climbing up the ridge from Camp Creek to the Nick Eaton trail, because tracks indicated someone had gone up there, but decided I really didn't need to climb 1800' in uncertain snow cover with no spikes.)

Re: Herman Creek 012924 Not ready for prime time!

Posted: February 1st, 2024, 8:40 pm
by Don Nelsen
wnshall wrote:
February 1st, 2024, 8:29 pm
Ha! Those are my tracks. I was there on Sunday 1/28...
Excellent! That's an impressive hike you did. Now I see why there was only one set of tracks. Getting back the way you did must have been a real workout.

My ankles are still a bit sore from so much hiking at an angle. Thanks for the help, too - I used your tracks where I could.

dn

Re: Herman Creek 012924 Not ready for prime time!

Posted: February 2nd, 2024, 7:02 pm
by Splintercat
Some things never change, Don... 1922 on the (then) brand new Columbia River Highway... :)

Wahkeenah Falls:
1922SnowColumbiaRiverHighway01.jpg
East Multnomah Viaduct (I think):
1922SnowColumbiaRiverHighway02.jpg
-Tom :)

Re: Herman Creek 012924 Not ready for prime time!

Posted: February 3rd, 2024, 7:58 am
by Don Nelsen
Tom, thanks! Great photos!

Looking back at the weather stats for 1922, there were 3 cold snaps that year, one starting on 12/17 of 1921 that we never really recovered from then another on 1/14 1922 and yet another two weeks after that. Dec. '22 there was another one too. Our weather used to be much more interesting back in the day, not that this January wasn't interesting in its own way.