Devil's Rest: Fog, Snow and Charcoal

This forum is used to share your experiences out on the trails.
Post Reply
User avatar
arlohike
Posts: 169
Joined: April 28th, 2014, 8:28 pm

Devil's Rest: Fog, Snow and Charcoal

Post by arlohike » December 2nd, 2018, 9:11 pm

Wahkeena trailhead to Devil's Rest is probably my favorite and most frequent hike. I've enjoyed so many good moments absorbing the ambience at Wahkeena Spring or Devil's Rest, or exploring the old logging roads up on the plateau. So I was nervous with anticipation to get back there today.

I got to the trailhead at 8:40 this morning (Sunday) and the parking lot was already full. I must have missed a "real" parking spot by only a few minutes, because hikers were unloading from several cars when I arrived. After driving past the big "park in designated spots only -- others subject to tow" sign near the Bridal Veil freeway junction, I was nervous to park on the shoulder. But in past years I've only seen cars towed that were hanging over the white line onto the roadway, so I took the first spot on the north shoulder. Unfortunately there's only room for about 8 cars here before the shoulder narrows enough to make this unsafe ... and the south shoulder is taken up by the new debris barrier.

There was no visible fire damage around the trailhead area, or headed up the trail to the upper falls, so I suppose that popular casual destination could have been opened earlier. But past the upper falls, singed trees were everywhere, plus a big slide that had been repaired with a hefty load of rocks. All the ground cover had burned off the paved switchback section, making the zig-zag up the hillside more visible than before.

At the top of the switchbacks I entered fog that I'd be in for the next 1500 feet or so of elevation gain. I love hiking in the fog, and the combination of the neat lighting effects plus the fire damage plus seeing all my favorite landmarks for the first time in over a year made for lots of photo stops.

At the last creek crossing, I went up the west side toward Wahkeena Spring, which to my relief was almost untouched by the fire. I lingered there for a bit before heading east to the Devil's Rest junction. Another of my favorite parts of this hike is the section of tall, straight trees on that hillside above the junction. They looked great gazing up from the junction to the south, but after climbing up a few switchbacks and looking back down, I could see the burn damage on the south sides of the trees, and the thick fields of ferns replaced with low foliage and a few baby ferns poking up.

Not long after topping out on this climb, I exited from the fog, and I felt like I was putting on a new pair of prescription glasses. Everything was so crisp after being in the fog for an hour. Then just moments after that, snow started falling, to add to the light dusting that must have come down last night. I re-entered the fog shortly before the summit, and had a mixture of fog and snow there. I checked out the shortcut over to Multnomah Basin Road when I want past, and it was pristine.

After a brief chat, a friendly runner who reached the summit just before me headed back down and left me to look around and enjoy some warm chana masala from my thermos. (I only recently discovered the pleasure of packing a warm meal on a winter hike!) I went a few yards down the Primrose Path to see that the "devil sledding" sign was still intact, then went a few yards down the Foxglove to see that it seemed clear ... although the steep, muddy trench further down and the flat, swampy areas below that are probably where any problems would lie.

Although the Nov. 23 trail map clearly shows the area west of Larch Mountain Trail as open again, comments on this forum have said the areas outside the official trails are still closed, or at least not advisable to travel. So I had planned to return the way I came, and stuck to that plan. But I'd be up for a Foxgrove loop next time, if it is in fact not forbidden. For what it's worth, there were no indications of closures or "off limits" signs at the Foxglove or Multnomah Basin junctions, like the one at the Franklin Ridge junction on the Larch Mountain trail.

Actually I took the Vista Point trail from the Devil's Rest junction, for a slight variation on the way back. This segment is the only place I saw trees that were burned all the way to the top, with all the needles burned off. When I reached the uppermost creek crossing, it looked like a trail crew had moved or added rocks to direct the creek through a narrow channel, so it can now be crossed in one hop rather than picking your way through a five foot wide spread of water.

Almost everyone on the trail was doing the Wahkeena/Multnomah loop, with only a handful of people on the Devil's Rest section. Two parties asked me for info and I recommended they take the short detour over to the spring, because I love that place. Everyone was friendly and happy to be there. With the snow falling and some beloved trails re-opened, it felt like Christmas came early!

Oh, and when I got back to the trailhead, a lot of cars were parked far more questionably than mine, plus a few cars just idling, waiting for someone to leave. With the pent-up demand for these trails, it sure would be nice if that lower parking area could be opened.
IMG_7928.jpg
Looking up from the north shoulder.
IMG_7931.jpg
Moss on the wall was a good sign.
IMG_7936.jpg
Fog started at the top of the paved section.
IMG_7939.jpg
Most live trees seemed superficially singed, but this one's bark was pretty deeply scarred.
IMG_7940.jpg
The first bridge was unchanged, including the big tree that's been lying across here for years.
IMG_8040.jpg
The second bridge has been rebuilt with much more heft.
IMG_7943.jpg
But the third bridge has been slimmed down to just one board!
IMG_7946.jpg
The junction for Angel's Rest was undamaged...
IMG_7960.jpg
...as was Wahkeena Spring. Whew!
IMG_7964.jpg
Hello, old friend.
IMG_7968.jpg
This shows how dead versus live trees resisted the fire.
IMG_7970.jpg
This poor thing was burned to within a few inches. I'll be curious to see how long it takes to blow down.
IMG_7972.jpg
Pretty good view looking up!
IMG_7979.jpg
Damage is more obvious looking down.
IMG_7977.jpg
Some new earthworks on a switchback.
Last edited by arlohike on December 3rd, 2018, 5:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
arlohike
Posts: 169
Joined: April 28th, 2014, 8:28 pm

Re: Devil's Rest: Fog, Snow and Charcoal

Post by arlohike » December 2nd, 2018, 9:19 pm

IMG_7988.jpg
The remaining branches on this log reminded me of rock cairns.
IMG_7989.jpg
This is the only tree I noticed where the fire reached the lower branches, but didn't go higher.
IMG_7991.jpg
At the fog line: looking back...
IMG_7992.jpg
...and looking forward.
IMG_7995.jpg
A few items have already been stashed under the Devil's Rest rocks.
IMG_7998.jpg
Looking back down the trail from the summit.
IMG_7999.jpg
The new summit sign.
IMG_8002.jpg
The old Primrose sign.
IMG_8005.jpg
Looking down Foxglove.
IMG_8015.jpg
Coming back down, looking across the plateau toward Multnomah Basin Road. There was actually a lot of green visible back there, despite the charred foreground.
IMG_8028.jpg
The new undergrowth on Vista Point was showing fall colors.
IMG_8029.jpg
This was the only section of fully burned trees.
IMG_8033.jpg
Looking across the Wahkeena Creek canyon, a few more dead trees were visible.
IMG_8037.jpg
The new channel at the uppermost creek crossing.
IMG_8044.jpg
Dropping out of the fog again, the green across the river reflected nicely in the water.

mjanardh
Posts: 52
Joined: September 8th, 2015, 8:56 pm

Re: Devil's Rest: Fog, Snow and Charcoal

Post by mjanardh » December 3rd, 2018, 6:01 pm

nice report. The day looks about the same as Saturday, fog, mist.

mjanardh
Posts: 52
Joined: September 8th, 2015, 8:56 pm

Re: Devil's Rest: Fog, Snow and Charcoal

Post by mjanardh » December 3rd, 2018, 6:07 pm

that primrose sign .. where exactly is it? I'll look for it next time ...

User avatar
arlohike
Posts: 169
Joined: April 28th, 2014, 8:28 pm

Re: Devil's Rest: Fog, Snow and Charcoal

Post by arlohike » December 3rd, 2018, 9:36 pm

Go around the summit rocks to the east and you'll see the faint path headed north. Right about where it starts descending, check the trees on the left of the path above eye level.

squidvicious
Posts: 198
Joined: May 11th, 2015, 8:41 pm

Re: Devil's Rest: Fog, Snow and Charcoal

Post by squidvicious » December 3rd, 2018, 11:33 pm

arlohike wrote:
December 2nd, 2018, 9:11 pm
I checked out the shortcut over to Multnomah Basin Road when I want past, and it was pristine.
I headed up towards Devil's Rest today, but I was moving kind of slowly. When I hit the cutoff to the Basin Rd I made a last-minute call that doing the big loop down to Larch via the Basin Rd would be a better use of my limited time than the out-and-back to Devil's Rest.

The cutoff was pristine, the road is in perfect shape, and the bridges are untouched. The gate was even open, so I didn't have to dip down into the mud to go around. The cutoff is still easily spotted coming from the other direction, as well.

Even if you don't bail on Devil's Rest, that remains a nice option for adding some miles to your hike while the Foxgloves are off the table.

User avatar
donaleen
Posts: 153
Joined: July 21st, 2011, 9:24 pm
Contact:

Re: Devil's Rest: Fog, Snow and Charcoal

Post by donaleen » December 4th, 2018, 5:05 am

So happy to see your report. I like many of the hikes that start at Wahkeena. I call doing the variation past Vista Point the Lollipop. Thanks.

User avatar
arlohike
Posts: 169
Joined: April 28th, 2014, 8:28 pm

Re: Devil's Rest: Fog, Snow and Charcoal

Post by arlohike » December 9th, 2018, 7:51 am

I’m at Wahkeena again today, and the lower parking area is open!

Post Reply