Devil Canyon loop

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Chip Down
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Devil Canyon loop

Post by Chip Down » December 15th, 2018, 11:47 pm

I stepped out of my car at the first switchback on Rd 27 and found it distressingly warm. I knew it was going to be a wet sloppy day. I followed a trail (old road, I imagine) up Devil Creek until the creek turned north. Lost the trail, but saw an old road across the creek. Poked around until I found a way across, then followed the road until it faded. Found an old stove. Back to the creek, followed it upstream.

Got lured away from the creek, higher up the canyon, by the promise of bare rocky terrain, but it never quite materialized, so back down I went. Following the creek was slow, wet, tedious. Slipped on a mossy rock and went in. Oh well, figured I'd have wet feet soon enough. Worse, I messed up my left hand when I landed on it. It was pretty bad. I actually refused to take off my glove, because I didn't want to get all freaked out if it was ugly. Okay, that was enough. I was done. But I didn't return the way I came. I figured if I climbed out of the canyon, a less direct descent might be faster. Not to mention I had no desire to drop down a steepish wet brushy canyon.

On my climb out of the canyon, I ran into a talus slope which I've since found in a 2010 report by Splintercat, accompanied by Don Nelsen and a couple other guys I don't recognize. As they discovered, from the top of the talus there's a brushy exit gully. There I found a yellow ribbon, then several more. That was a game changer. That's when I became confident this was going to work. The brush faded, I was in open forest, then came to a trail, perpendicular to the gully (roughly parallel to the creek). I turned left, and followed the trail upstream quite a ways, above Devil Canyon Falls. It became increasingly difficult to follow in the shallow snow. Following the creek up would be easy, but pointless. It was a pleasant enough hike, but my feet were wet, I was worried about my hand, and I was hours from my car (I assumed).

So back down I went, along the creek for a ways. Had I kept going, I now realize, I would have come to the top of Devil Canyon Falls. I heard something, turned and looked across the creek, saw a human! I wonder which of us was more shocked. Then more, even a little girl, I think. I asked if there was a trail or road over there, and he said they were maybe a half mile from road 27.

I climbed back up to the trail, followed it back down, past where I gained the trail, down to an opening where the trail crossed a ridgecrest. Followed the ridge up, but at the top it was brushy, so I'm calling it Point Disappoint (there are so many). Back to the trail, which went distressingly far east, crossed a rocky slope where it became evident it used to be a road, then finally switchbacked west, which was reassuring. After a couple more switchbacks, the trail abruptly flattened, and then I came to Road 35A, which I followed west until it became 35B. At the end of the road, I continued west along Zigzag river until I came to the Devil Creek confluence. Devil was somewhat easy to get across, which surprised me. That completed my lollipop loop, and I had a short walk back to my car.
Attachments
0.JPG
I parked at the hairpin turn on Rd 27 (lower left). Black arrow is exit gully. Blue arrow is the ridge I followed to Point Disappoint. Notice the switchbacking abandoned road (now trail) dropping southbound.
1.jpg
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The talus slope that provided easy ascent from Devil Creek.
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The exit gully that got me out of the canyon.
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Approaching Point Disappoint. Notice US26 winding up Laurel Hill.
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Cairn to block vehicles.
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Somebody put some work into these. I had seen them in a TR, so was hoping to run into them
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The only break I took all day. Nice spot. Too bad about the highway noise.
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Not exactly the Winter Wonderland I was expecting.
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Not really a Christmas beer, but the big "25" on a red background makes it close enough for me.

Oh! "Left Hand"! Perfect. I just now thought of that.

pablo
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Re: Devil Canyon loop

Post by pablo » December 16th, 2018, 12:18 am

That's a neat exploration. So you traveled that road on the west side of Devils Creek that I see on the map just down from where you parked? I mapped out your return trail in the TR below. The trail in green was pretty much gone last time I was there last year.

viewtopic.php?t=1166

What is labeled Zigzag Mtn Trail is a great low elevation access to the Zigzag mtn trails.

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

Webfoot
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Re: Devil Canyon loop

Post by Webfoot » December 16th, 2018, 9:04 am

Chip Down wrote:
December 15th, 2018, 11:47 pm
I messed up my left hand when I landed on it. It was pretty bad. I actually refused to take off my glove, because I didn't want to get all freaked out if it was ugly.
Sorry to hear that, Chip. I hope it heals quickly.

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Splintercat
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Re: Devil Canyon loop

Post by Splintercat » December 16th, 2018, 9:14 am

Nice report, Chip! Hope your hand survived intact..! :o

My family had a cabin near the end of Road 35A when I was growing up, and we spent time exploring (and maintaining) the network of trails in Paul's 2008 post. I think they go back to the 1930s, when Zigzag Mountain was still mostly huckleberry fields and bleached snags, so much more open than today. An older Scottish man did much of the signage and serious maintenance on the trails, and he may have constructed some of the posts you saw. He would have been in his 50s or 60s in the 1970s, probably not on the trails today... unless he's joined the corps of Zigzag Mountain trail ghosts..! Are you SURE those were real people you saw..? ;)

Here's the post you mentioned from the trip I took with Don, Jamie and Ted in 2010:

viewtopic.php?t=5041

I was hoping to find a nice opposing outcrop with a view of the falls from down in the canyon, but close-up it was much more of a slide in its upper tier and the water was too high for me to want to ford (Don did, of course!) :roll:

Thanks for posting!

Tom :-)

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Chip Down
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Re: Devil Canyon loop

Post by Chip Down » December 16th, 2018, 9:34 am

pablo wrote:
December 16th, 2018, 12:18 am
That's a neat exploration. So you traveled that road on the west side of Devils Creek that I see on the map just down from where you parked? I mapped out your return trail in the TR below. The trail in green was pretty much gone last time I was there last year.

viewtopic.php?t=1166

What is labeled Zigzag Mtn Trail is a great low elevation access to the Zigzag mtn trails.

--Paul
1. Proving once again that anywhere I go, Pablo has preceded me. I could send a PM to you and Don before every hike, but I'm often spontaneous, and I guess going blind is fun too.

2. That link is quite a rabbit hole, with nested links that I could spend who-knows-how-long exploring.

3. Oh no! That weathered old sign post looked like it said 5 miles to the VP, but I guess it's just .5! That could have been the best part of my otherwise mediocre hike.

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Chip Down
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Re: Devil Canyon loop

Post by Chip Down » December 16th, 2018, 9:53 am

So, my left pinkie is swollen and discolored. I did something similar a few months ago dropping into a crumbly gully on MSH, but that time my wrist took some of the abuse. I was maybe 95% healed from that, so I guess it was time for round two, this time all on the finger. I wish I had been courageous enough to take my glove off and examine it at the time, because now that it's swollen it's harder to tell what's going on. Fortunately, immediately after the fall I made a fist and extended my fingers a few times to verify at least rudimentary range of motion, and with my other hand I felt my finger through the thin glove to make sure it seemed to be in place. So I'm glad I did that, at least. Based on that, I think it's okay, probably just needs time. Really glad I don't need full dexterity and strength at work. Also glad it's just the casual playing-around season as far as hiking goes. I don't know that I'd feel comfortable with axe or rope in left paw right now.

I don't think they were ghosts, but they might as well have been, considering how shocked I was to see them. I was certain I wouldn't see another human all day, except in the cabin zone.

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Don Nelsen
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Re: Devil Canyon loop

Post by Don Nelsen » December 16th, 2018, 12:02 pm

Chip, great OT report and thanks for letting us all live vicariously through your reports. I read them all.

Sorry about your finger. An occupational hazard I also know all too well. I'm just now finally recovering from a fall in June that bent one of my fingers backwards, nearly breaking it. Amazing that even an injury like that eventually heals.

BTW, I re-read Tom's report from June 2010 and couldn't get the video link to work. Thanks for posting that Tom! Nice to re-live hikes like that (from the comfort of home)

The video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2kiayLWkhU

dn
"Everything works in the planning stage".

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Splintercat
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Re: Devil Canyon loop

Post by Splintercat » December 19th, 2018, 1:28 pm

Long-term, I'd still like to relocate the trailhead to the bottom of the hill (where the grade begins on Road 27) and build a trail up Devil Canyon to Devils Meadow -- it would make for a more accessible and much nicer entry into the Zigzag Mtn area. Working on that via TKO... :-)

The various finger stories brought this one back for me: several years ago I took a huge crash on a talus slope on Gunsight Ridge and totally mashed my left hand. It was tender and swollen, but the fingers worked, so I assumed all was well. The next morning (a work day) my ring finger was swollen and badly discolored -- looked like a bratwurst below my wedding band, which of course was impossible to remove.

So, I called ABC Jewelers here in downtown PDX and they said they'd cut if off for me. I was on my way over there and stopped to chat with another hiker in the office, showing him my finger and telling him "I'm headed over to a jeweler, they're going to cut it off with no charge!" Another worker was walking by at that moment, and nearly passed out -- partly because my finger looked pretty bad, and partly because she assumed I meant I was having the finger cut off at the jeweler, not the ring... :D

-Tom :-)

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Chip Down
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Re: Devil Canyon loop

Post by Chip Down » December 21st, 2018, 6:22 pm

Hey Tom, I trust your jeweler understood that he was to remove just the ring, and leave the finger attached! :lol:

I think I'll stop in there and hit that missed viewpoint Saturday. After that, I don't know what I'll do. Depends on weather and mood. Will report back.

Oh, BTW, I can curl that finger with the others to make a fist, barely. A little tight, but not too bad. Amazed at how fast it's recovering. I know I have weeks/months to full recovery, but I already feel like I could set an axe with my right hand and loop into it with left, so I'm pretty much ready for a return to crazy stupid offtrail winter adventures! :D

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