Indian Heaven - CCT/PCT Loop 29-Sep-2011

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VanMarmot
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Indian Heaven - CCT/PCT Loop 29-Sep-2011

Post by VanMarmot » September 29th, 2011, 6:23 pm

I’m on travel in Canada all next week and used that as an excuse to grab a weekday for a “last gasp of summer” hike. So it was back to Indian Heaven. In the 1970’s, the old Cascade Crest Trail (CCT) - that went around the E side of Berry Mtn - was replaced by a new section of PCT directly over the mountain. It was a good move as the views are now wonderful but I wondered if a loop was possible N on the CCT with a return S on the PCT? So I headed N from the Crest TH, past Sheep Lakes,

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to an obscure “junction” about 100’ S of the Tr 171A/PCT junction, then struck right (follow the arrow).

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It didn’t look like much for the first 100’ or so, but, after 40 years, the old tread is still there under the bushes. It was sketchy in a few spots, but at no time was it difficult to follow or required heroic route finding. Under the forest canopy it was pretty obvious and got better as I went N.

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After about 1.5 mi, the trail passes by a huge meadow, watered by multiple water courses coming off Berry Mtn.

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The day was beyond bluebird, sunny but crisp and not a bug of any consequence in sight.

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This was the one place where the trail was a little confusing, but it soon became obvious that it skirted the meadow just inside the trees.

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After about 3.5 mi, I came to Tr 55 (which blended seamlessly into the old CCT) and Tombstone Lk, which was amazing in the late morning calm.

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Next up was the junction of Tr 55 and the PCT at Blue Lk, which is a popular destination for folks coming in from the Thomas Lk TH.

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The journey back on the PCT was effortlessly smooth – hiking it is so not bush whacking – with views of Hood,

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St. Helens,

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and the perky little lookout on top of Red Mtn.

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Equally amazing were the things still blooming and growing, as though it was June and not the day before October!

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Once again, Indian Heaven didn’t disappoint (and neither did the weather) – a great day with great memories to carry me through the La Niña winter ahead :cry:. This is a good loop – the old CCT is easy to follow once you get started, it’s not crowded, and the views are expansive from the PCT S of Gifford. 14.4 mi, 2280’ gain.

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Crusak
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Re: Indian Heaven - CCT/PCT Loop 29-Sep-2011

Post by Crusak » September 29th, 2011, 7:05 pm

The last 80° day of the year, and a bluebird VanMarmot day as well! Great loop. Great description of the hike, with excellent tips on your route-finding success. Nice!

Best part of Indian Heaven for me is the ease with which you can make your own way around the area, bushwhacking and using the trails, to create a unique route.

Thanks for sharing. Yet another trip I enjoyed vicariously to the extreme.
Jim's Hikes

Solvitur Ambulando

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mayhem
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Re: Indian Heaven - CCT/PCT Loop 29-Sep-2011

Post by mayhem » September 29th, 2011, 9:48 pm

Dude! Marmot man or woman You rock !! I just cannot understand how you can do this stuff, You know trail finding & exploring without getting lost like DN, EP, & others, but I sure apperciate it when you share.
Shoe Shine Boy Has Left The Building!

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VanMarmot
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Re: Indian Heaven - CCT/PCT Loop 29-Sep-2011

Post by VanMarmot » September 30th, 2011, 11:04 am

mayhem wrote:Dude! Marmot man or woman You rock !! I just cannot understand how you can do this stuff, You know trail finding & exploring without getting lost like DN, EP, & others, but I sure apperciate it when you share.
Marmot guy. And thanks! I learned to read maps & navigate pre-GPS - its just that much easier now that I have a GPS and "dead-reckoning" just doesn't mean what it used to. Exploring and seeing new stuff is my major motivation (but probably not in the same league as Don or Pablo). I enjoy reading your TRs about your multiple summits, zillion mile, and WOW! gain days - totally amazing!!

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mayhem
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Re: Indian Heaven - CCT/PCT Loop 29-Sep-2011

Post by mayhem » September 30th, 2011, 3:14 pm

VanMarmot wrote:
mayhem wrote:Dude! Marmot man or woman You rock !! I just cannot understand how you can do this stuff, You know trail finding & exploring without getting lost like DN, EP, & others, but I sure apperciate it when you share.
Marmot guy. And thanks! I learned to read maps & navigate pre-GPS - its just that much easier now that I have a GPS and "dead-reckoning" just doesn't mean what it used to. Exploring and seeing new stuff is my major motivation (but probably not in the same league as Don or Pablo). I enjoy reading your TRs about your multiple summits, zillion mile, and WOW! gain days - totally amazing!!
Yes I did not mean to leave Pablo the super Bushwacker out :)
I also learned to read maps & compass & got all the buttons and badges in the Scouts 30 years ago, but it just does not stick :(. Even when DN was point stuff ou and Gps maps I struggle :). I'll keep trying, so, I can eventually do super loony Bushwacker hikes :)
Shoe Shine Boy Has Left The Building!

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bobcat
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Re: Indian Heaven - CCT/PCT Loop 29-Sep-2011

Post by bobcat » September 30th, 2011, 6:32 pm

Good job, VanMarmot. Sounds like you nailed this loop. You caught a fine day while the rest of us have to wait for the drizzly weekends.

John

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drm
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Re: Indian Heaven - CCT/PCT Loop 29-Sep-2011

Post by drm » October 1st, 2011, 7:30 am

So in the southern part of Indian Heaven, the Cascade Crest trail is east of the PCT? Because farther north it is west of it. One of my remaining goals this season is to do a loop of the Cascade Crest Trail between Chenamus Lake and where it meets maintained trails on the south (Rock Lake?) from them Cultus Creaak trailhead.

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bobcat
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Re: Indian Heaven - CCT/PCT Loop 29-Sep-2011

Post by bobcat » October 1st, 2011, 8:48 am

@drm: The trail from Chenamus Lake (not on any map) leaves from the lush meadow at its southwest corner and winds up to Rush Creek, then along it to meet the CCT just south of Acker Lake. From there, it's about 1 1/2 miles south to the Rock Lake area. It's also a short connect from Acker to Bear and then north along the PCT to make the loop down to Placid Lake.

John

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Grannyhiker
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Re: Indian Heaven - CCT/PCT Loop 29-Sep-2011

Post by Grannyhiker » October 1st, 2011, 9:27 am

Or you can go in at Thomas Lake, hike up to Rock Lakes, and then take the unmaintained trail that heads north at the 4-way junction. This (part of the old Cascade Crest Trail) takes you to Acker Lake from whence you can hike to the PCT at Bear Lake and then south to Blue Lake.

Or, from about halfway between Rock Lakes and Blue Lake, there's an unmaintained trail going north through meadows to Junction Lake for a shorter loop.

These trails are shown in the older (2nd edition) of Sullivan's Oregon and SW Washington guide. That's one reason I've kept the older editions!

I believe that the PCT was re-routed to get people out of the fragile grass and heather meadows. If you want to take these old trails, I strongly recommend that you stay on the path and make a concerted effort not to walk on the vegetation.
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.--E.Abbey

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VanMarmot
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Re: Indian Heaven - CCT/PCT Loop 29-Sep-2011

Post by VanMarmot » October 9th, 2011, 4:29 pm

drm wrote:So in the southern part of Indian Heaven, the Cascade Crest trail is east of the PCT? Because farther north it is west of it. One of my remaining goals this season is to do a loop of the Cascade Crest Trail between Chenamus Lake and where it meets maintained trails on the south (Rock Lake?) from them Cultus Creaak trailhead.
In the '60s, the CCT went from Sheep Lk along the E side of Berry Mtn to Blue Lk and from there N along the W side of the divide. So the only real difference between the CCT then and the PCT now is that the PCT now goes over Berry Mtn and by-passes Spring Camp.

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