Bull of the Woods / Welcome Lakes 10-Aug-2011

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VanMarmot
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Bull of the Woods / Welcome Lakes 10-Aug-2011

Post by VanMarmot » August 10th, 2011, 6:39 pm

Today’s hike was to the Bull of the Woods wilderness, with a loop past the Welcome Lakes. I’d originally planned to loop through the Mother Lode drainage, but time issues and the lure of being high on a ridge changed things. I took the Bull of the Woods trail (550),

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up to the lookout, passing some still blooming bear grass along the way.

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Another post suggested there might still be snow above 3500’ in this wilderness but, no, there was no snow (save for a few small patches) anywhere. All the trails I used were free of snow and in great to OK condition. After less than 3 mi, I came to the lookout,

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with its views of Jefferson,

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Three Finger Jack and the Sisters,

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and Hood and Rainier from its porch.

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I would have liked to give work as a lookout a try – even if just for one season so I could finally read War and Peace. But, alas, they started going out of service about the time I first discovered the outdoors and hiking. From the lookout, I headed down the Welcome Lakes trail (554) along the ridge. Just before the trail turns down toward the lakes, it enters a recent burn,

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which, unfortunately, has burned all around upper Welcome Lake, taking out the trees that once sheltered the campsite at the lake’s outlet. They’re all still standing, but once they start falling they’ll make a mess of trail 554 down to the lakes.

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Even with the burn, it’s still a pretty little lake.

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As I returned via Tr 556, it looked as though there might be a few trees left at lower Welcome Lake and up at West Lake. Interestingly, the Lowe’s 1969 hiking guide shows a trail to West Lake from Tr 556 but it doesn’t appear on the latest topo and I didn’t see one. I took the Big Slide Lake trail (555) back up to the lookout, catching a distance glimpse of St. Helens along the way.

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From there, it was back down the 550 to the TH. Very, very nice day for a hike. Others must have thought so too because I crossed paths with a Boy Scout troop, a large family backpacking group, two backpackers, and two groups of dayhikers - more people than I’ve encountered on one hike (exclusive of any involving Multnomah Falls) all season! 12 mi, 2500’.

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pablo
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Re: Bull of the Woods / Welcome Lakes 10-Aug-2011

Post by pablo » August 11th, 2011, 10:22 am

Nice report and pictures. I like the loop you had planned but did not do and have put that on my list. Starting at the 550 visit Dickey Lake, Pansy Lake, then Mother Lode drainage and up Geronimo Trail to finish.

BTW, you went by a 'lost' lake on the way to the lookout - there's a reference to a Beth Lake in the PH archives at:

http://www.portlandhikers.org/archive/view/19465

From the description it must be the largish lake to the east of the trail just beyond South Dickey Peak.

--Paul
The future's uncertain and the end is always near.

RobFromRedland
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Re: Bull of the Woods / Welcome Lakes 10-Aug-2011

Post by RobFromRedland » August 11th, 2011, 10:53 am

VanMarmot wrote: Image
Wow, compare that to a picture I took from just about the same place two years ago:
P7090048.JPG
Amazing....

It is too bad, but it will be interesting to see how the area regenerates itself over the next several years.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention to arrive safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: WOW-What a ride!

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backcountryhunter
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Re: Bull of the Woods / Welcome Lakes 10-Aug-2011

Post by backcountryhunter » August 11th, 2011, 11:52 am

I have never been in that wilderness and I live fairly close. Time for a visit.

Thanks for sharing the report.

Tony

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VanMarmot
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Re: Bull of the Woods / Welcome Lakes 10-Aug-2011

Post by VanMarmot » August 11th, 2011, 3:11 pm

pablo wrote:Nice report and pictures. I like the loop you had planned but did not do and have put that on my list. Starting at the 550 visit Dickey Lake, Pansy Lake, then Mother Lode drainage and up Geronimo Trail to finish.

--Paul
Thanks! My plan was the 550 to the ridge top, then down the Mother Lode trail and back up the ridge to Welcome Lakes - just didn't have time for all that.

I'll look in my collection of old guidebooks for Beth Lake.

I'm not seeing the Geronimo Trail on my current maps. Can you point me to it?

RobFromRedland
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Re: Bull of the Woods / Welcome Lakes 10-Aug-2011

Post by RobFromRedland » August 11th, 2011, 3:28 pm

VanMarmot wrote:
pablo wrote:Nice report and pictures. I like the loop you had planned but did not do and have put that on my list. Starting at the 550 visit Dickey Lake, Pansy Lake, then Mother Lode drainage and up Geronimo Trail to finish.

--Paul
Thanks! My plan was the 550 to the ridge top, then down the Mother Lode trail and back up the ridge to Welcome Lakes - just didn't have time for all that.

I'll look in my collection of old guidebooks for Beth Lake.

I'm not seeing the Geronimo Trail on my current maps. Can you point me to it?
The Geronimo trail is an abandonded trail, but you can still follow it (if you pay attention). It has been removed from many maps, but is on older topos (as well as the myTopoMap). It is rather steep, but it is passable. I hiked it last year:

Geronimo Trail Info
Map of Geronimo trail
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention to arrive safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: WOW-What a ride!

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VanMarmot
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Re: Bull of the Woods / Welcome Lakes 10-Aug-2011

Post by VanMarmot » August 11th, 2011, 4:33 pm

pablo wrote:
The Geronimo trail is an abandonded trail, but you can still follow it (if you pay attention). It has been removed from many maps, but is on older topos (as well as the myTopoMap). It is rather steep, but it is passable. I hiked it last year:

Geronimo Trail Info
Map of Geronimo trail
OK, it still shows on my map as the "Welcome Lakes Ridge Trail" but with the same # - 557. Would have been quite a loop.

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rogersjd74
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Re: Bull of the Woods / Welcome Lakes 10-Aug-2011

Post by rogersjd74 » August 25th, 2011, 12:32 pm

Great Trip Report!

Beth Lake, my first trip backpacking with my Father. I must have been 8 or 9 and we tried to go into Beth Lake in the early 80's. I fell down that darn bushwhack of a hill several times, getting scraped on the rock and brush. We ended up hiking back out and camping near Ripplebrook. Dad was pretty patient that day!

This going to a trip we do next year I am thinking. I plan on taking Dad and my now 9 year old son Cameron. Hopefully I have the patience Dad had.

Here is som more info I found on this hidden gem!
Beth Lake.jpg
Beth Lake Description in The Anglers Guide to Oregon Lakes.
Also found a link to more info on: http://www.cascaderamblings.com/cgi-bin ... &city=PORT

-Jason

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