Herman-Casey-Nick Eaton Loop 2-12-11. Oh My.

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OneSpeed
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Herman-Casey-Nick Eaton Loop 2-12-11. Oh My.

Post by OneSpeed » February 12th, 2011, 8:27 pm

The basics: up Herman Creek to Casey Creek Trail, up to Nick Eaton Trail, back down that way. No snow other than the east side of the ridge above about 3,500 feet. A few blowdowns, noting major. No photos this time.

The stats, near as I can figure: 11 miles, 3,800 feet, 6.5 hours.

And now the report.

I am typing this in a prone position on my couch, under a blanket, and at some point I might muster the energy to get to my bed. Just now I combined tasks on a trip up six steps because I am walking like a 134-year-old man and am trying to limit my elevation gain and loss. If I could feel my body, it would probably hurt.

The other day I told my buddy Jim let's go hike Herman Creek. He said let's check out that Casey Creek Trail, maybe we can get up it a little ways. I'm thinking a creek trail sounds nice. On the drive out, I get out his map (some guy named Sullivan) and notice the trail goes to 4,000 feet; we'd hit snow before that and turn around, anyway. Sure, Jim, let's check it out.

Please ignore any suggestion that I might have written a hiking guidebook or two.

Off we go up the Herman Creek trail, four or five miles to the Forks in about two hours or less. Feeling good. Have a snack. Sure, let's check out that Casey Creek Trail, see how far we can get. Off we go.

Let's discuss the word "steep" here for a moment. Dog Mountain is steep. That's 2,700 feet in three miles. Nick Eaton Way is steep; 1,800 feet in just under two, I think. (I am too tired to go check my book). Casey Creek is 2,500 feet in 2.1 miles. It is utterly without relent. It occurs to us, about 40 minutes and 1,000 feet up, that we're now hiking in the sun, that the other side of Herman Creek's valley has almost no snow, which means we're not hitting snow, and that neither one of us wants to go down the uber-steep crap we just came up. This is when the Macho Gene kicks in, and we decide, "We're in this thing for keeps."

At some point, I begin to drift off into various fantasies, of Hawaii and football and sex and being rich. Of flying to Hawaii to have sex with football cheerleaders. Of hot tubs. The Wind Rivers. Bacon. Of ANYTHING except what my body is going through, which by this time involves calf cramps and low back pain. The only words spoken are things like "Jesus" and "this is steep" and "please don't tell me our elevation" and "you don't want to know."

We top the ridge, 4,000 feet -- no snow. Well, none on the west-facing side we had come up. None on top. A fair amount on the east side. Then we start going UP again. I tell Jim that if I could catch up with him and raise my arms, I would strangle him.

We eat lunch at a rock slide on the east side, out of the now-howling west wind. We can see OVER the top of Dog Mountain across the way. This should be inspiring but is somehow annoying. How did we get into this?

Then we start down -- basically going down a little more than Dog Mountain. Fatigue is replaced by pain. Jim gets a charley-horse in his achilles tendon. When we stop for rests, my legs wobble. We consider going down Gorton Creek instead of Nick Eaton because it's less steep. It's also a mile longer. We decide to get this thing over with.

We pound down Nick Eaton -- something I said I'd never do -- and at least get the cool views up Herman Creek and straight down the Columbia. Hood even pops out. When we get to the bottom, I tell Jim I've never been so happy to see a boring, flat trail. We slog down the rest of the way -- I've never been so happy to see power lines, either -- and for a little perspective, if you've ever hiked with me or Jim Chase, just know that neither of us was speaking for the last mile and a half.

We were passed by two people who were way too happy and young and going way too fast. We made it a point to tell them where we'd been. Dude said "That's a steep one," and we felt better. (This is the Macho Gene once again)

We collapse into the car, get coffee in Cascade Locks, and when I get home, my landlords are over for a visit. God bless 'em, they have ham and scalloped potatoes and asparagus waiting for me. After that and a shower, I feel darn near human again. The couch is nice.

The lessons: 1, try to do something less intense (like Dog, I guess) before you go up Casey Creek. Might help to be in some kind of shape. 2, We live in an amazing place where we can do this kind of thing in between breakfast and dinner at home. And 3, Keep an eye on that Macho Gene.

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Crusak
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Re: Herman-Casey-Nick Eaton Loop 2-12-11. Oh My.

Post by Crusak » February 12th, 2011, 8:39 pm

OneSpeed wrote:...At some point, I begin to drift off into various fantasies, of Hawaii and football and sex and being rich. Of flying to Hawaii to have sex with football cheerleaders. Of hot tubs. The Wind Rivers. Bacon. Of ANYTHING except what my body is going through, which by this time involves calf cramps and low back pain. The only words spoken are things like "Jesus" and "this is steep" and "please don't tell me our elevation" and "you don't want to know."
:)

Your trip report made my knees ache just reading it. OOOOoOoo that sounds like a steep climb. But in a week or two you'll only remember your fantasies and the rest will melt away.

Your landlords sound like amazing people! They must have sensed that you were in need. Or you just lucked out maybe.
Jim's Hikes

Solvitur Ambulando

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OneSpeed
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Re: Herman-Casey-Nick Eaton Loop 2-12-11. Oh My.

Post by OneSpeed » February 12th, 2011, 8:50 pm

Crusak wrote:Your landlords sound like amazing people! They must have sensed that you were in need. Or you just lucked out maybe.
Lucked out all around. Great house, great people, and they just happened to be up for dinner tonight.

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Don Nelsen
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Re: Herman-Casey-Nick Eaton Loop 2-12-11. Oh My.

Post by Don Nelsen » February 12th, 2011, 9:25 pm

Good work, OneSpeed,

Too early in the year to beat yourself up like that, but you don't need me to tell you that! LOL.

Don
"Everything works in the planning stage".

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AlexanderSupertramp
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Re: Herman-Casey-Nick Eaton Loop 2-12-11. Oh My.

Post by AlexanderSupertramp » February 12th, 2011, 10:11 pm

Awesome report Paul. I felt the same way after deciding to do Mt. Defiance on a "whim" a couple years back.

joerunner
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Re: Herman-Casey-Nick Eaton Loop 2-12-11. Oh My.

Post by joerunner » February 13th, 2011, 7:24 am

That was a painful report but some great early season conditioning.

I went up Casey Creek on a whim not knowing what I was getting into. Quite the eye opener.

VanMarmot
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Re: Herman-Casey-Nick Eaton Loop 2-12-11. Oh My.

Post by VanMarmot » February 13th, 2011, 8:35 am

Nice report - photos wouldn't have conveyed the suffering nearly as well. Ouch! I try to hike DOWN Casey Creek once a season but the thought of hiking up it is, well, painful. If your friend Jim ever says "Hey, let's check out the Eagle-Benson" just strangle him in the car...

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OneSpeed
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Re: Herman-Casey-Nick Eaton Loop 2-12-11. Oh My.

Post by OneSpeed » February 13th, 2011, 8:54 am

VanMarmot wrote:I try to hike DOWN Casey Creek once a season but the thought of hiking up it is, well, painful.
I think going down stuff like that is more painful than going up it. Up wears me out, down beats me up.

Anyway, I said I was gonna get in shape this year! Next up may have to be Elk-Kings. Let's do this.

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Jane
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Re: Herman-Casey-Nick Eaton Loop 2-12-11. Oh My.

Post by Jane » February 13th, 2011, 2:34 pm

sorry I missed all the fun, guys.... NOT! Lemme know if I need to overnight a jug of Bio-freeze to you ;)

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Splintercat
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Re: Herman-Casey-Nick Eaton Loop 2-12-11. Oh My.

Post by Splintercat » February 13th, 2011, 3:53 pm

Brilliant report! Classic!
We decide to get this thing over with.
I know that moment! That's how I first "discovered" that going down the Starvation Cutoff is a fairly bad idea -- also how I first hiked the Geronimo Trail in the Bull of the Woods (perhaps the worst trail I've ever slid/stumbled/tripped/fallen down while taking a "shortcut") :lol:
Up wears me out, down beats me up.
Put a melody to that, Paul, and I think you might have a little hiker's ditty..!

Tom :D

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