Nick Eaton Ridge snowshoe, Feb. 27th

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Don Nelsen
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Nick Eaton Ridge snowshoe, Feb. 27th

Post by Don Nelsen » February 28th, 2019, 5:05 pm

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Not wanting to miss any of the fun during this wonderful February, I headed out again today for another snowshoe hike. I’ve been thinking of doing a Chip Down or Bosterson-type ridge climb and really was anticipating the adventure.

Arriving at the junction of the frontage road up to the Herman Cr. TH, I looked at the rutted tracks and briefly hesitated before driving in but it worked out fine. No one seems to have driven up there in two or three days. There’s still a foot or so of icy and compacted snow on most of that short road segment and I don’t think anything less than a 4WD SUV could make it until it thaws out a bit. If you decide to go and don’t have an SUV, the berm has melted back enough that there’s a few spots to park on the north side of the frontage road.

There’s some beauty even in a burned up forest when covered in a nice blanket of snow:

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Heading out, now with spikes on, the first section to the Herman Creek Trail/Nick Eaton junction was well tracked and easy going. I donned my MSR’s there and continued on. At the sixth switchback on the Nick Eaton Trail, I thought I’d traverse about 500 feet south to the ridge where the USGS map (incorrectly) shows the trail to be. Alas, the snow was so deep and light, I was sinking nearly two feet down, even with snowshoes, when I started traversing over. I gave up that plan and continued to follow the faint bootprints/snowshoe prints of a few previous hikers.

Those bootprints were hard to spot as I climbed higher:

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The weather folks have been saying this is the third coldest Feb. in about 80 years. I looked up the detailed data and found out something even more interesting: It’s been the number one most consistently cold Feb. too. Here’s a graph: Those other years had a major outbreak of primo cold arctic air that we did not get this year but even without that, we came in a solid third.

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In the gorge the temps have been much lower and what this means for snowshoeing is that the snow that’s fallen, especially at even moderately higher altitudes has not compacted much and is very light and powdery – and hard to snowshoe in!

The recent snow of the past two or three days and the near constant wind had filled in previous tracks but there was just enough evidence to pick out the route. Soon things changed. Either the most recent snow or the drifting had completely obliterated previous tracks or, perhaps, those adventurers had turned around. In any event, above about 2,600’ elevation, there was simply no trace of a route. Well, now to enjoy that ridge climb! I went directly up the rest of the ridge, postholing a foot to two feet all the way to the start of the main ridgeline. I wanted to continue on the ridge that heads over to Indian Point but could not find the trail junction anywhere. I knew the route traversed along the ridge that ends in Indian Point so headed that way – I thought! As it turned out I picked the wrong ridge. I never made it to Indian Point but eventually found the Gorton Cr. trail, about a mile short of IP. It was getting late and I was still a bit tired from Monday’s adventure on Hamiton so decided to head on back.

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This was a very scenic and enjoyable hike and though the snow was seriously deep it was a lot of fun and a great workout!

I think I’ll go back tomorrow to see where I went wrong and maybe do the rest of the Gorton Creek trail by looping through Deadwood. With luck, I’ll remember to take my GPS this time.

Hike # 29
6.7 miles, 2,655’ EG, 4 hours, 41 minutes.
Last edited by Don Nelsen on March 2nd, 2019, 10:03 am, edited 2 times in total.
"Everything works in the planning stage".

pcg
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Re: Nick Eaton Ridge snowshoe, Feb. 27th

Post by pcg » February 28th, 2019, 5:49 pm

Thanks for sharing Don. I'm jealous of everyone that's getting out now!

I don't know what model of MSRs you have, but I have the Lightning Ascents, which a lot of people seem to have. They don't give much flotation compared to other snowshoes, but you can buy flotation tails for them. I don't have them so I can't speak for how well they work. If I snowshoed more often I'd probably spring for them.

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Bosterson
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Re: Nick Eaton Ridge snowshoe, Feb. 27th

Post by Bosterson » February 28th, 2019, 5:58 pm

Nice work, DN! I'm happy to see that the deep snow is sticking around. When you go back, you should try to get to Green Point Mountain!! :shock:
Will hike off trail for fun.

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retired jerry
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Re: Nick Eaton Ridge snowshoe, Feb. 27th

Post by retired jerry » February 28th, 2019, 7:45 pm

another nice report

yeah, weird how even though it's the thrid coldest february, this winter hasn't had any really cold days

hopefully this is enough so that bad bugs are killed off enough not to be a problem this summer

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Chip Down
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Re: Nick Eaton Ridge snowshoe, Feb. 27th

Post by Chip Down » February 28th, 2019, 8:03 pm

Don Nelsen wrote:
February 28th, 2019, 5:05 pm
a Chip Down or Bosterson-type ridge climb
For those who don't know the difference: I read Bosterson's TR's and then see if I can follow his routes in twice the time. ;)

That TH makes me think of the old wooden pipe, which I think was lost to the fire. Maybe some of the hardware will be visible later. Eventually, somebody will run across rusty remnants and wonder what they were.
pcg wrote:
February 28th, 2019, 5:49 pm
I'm jealous of everyone that's getting out now!
I'm finding it all a bit much. I'm looking forward to things melting out and compacting a bit.

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Don Nelsen
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Re: Nick Eaton Ridge snowshoe, Feb. 27th

Post by Don Nelsen » February 28th, 2019, 9:03 pm

Chip Down wrote:
February 28th, 2019, 8:03 pm

That TH makes me think of the old wooden pipe, which I think was lost to the fire. Maybe some of the hardware will be visible later. Eventually, somebody will run across rusty remnants and wonder what they were.
Here is what that hardware looks like now: Too bad about this, it was a real link to a past technology forever gone.
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dn
"Everything works in the planning stage".

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Chip Down
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Re: Nick Eaton Ridge snowshoe, Feb. 27th

Post by Chip Down » March 1st, 2019, 1:31 pm

Ha! Of course Don has pics. On my to-do list is go looking for the top of that pipe ( I followed it up quite a ways from the bottom, until it was ridiculously steep and brushy). Guess I can scratch that off. Maybe there's still a visit-worthy dam.

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kepPNW
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Re: Nick Eaton Ridge snowshoe, Feb. 27th

Post by kepPNW » March 1st, 2019, 1:33 pm

Don Nelsen wrote:
February 28th, 2019, 9:03 pm
Chip Down wrote:
February 28th, 2019, 8:03 pm
That TH makes me think of the old wooden pipe, which I think was lost to the fire. Maybe some of the hardware will be visible later. Eventually, somebody will run across rusty remnants and wonder what they were.
Here is what that hardware looks like now: Too bad about this, it was a real link to a past technology forever gone.
:( :( :(
Karl
Back on the trail, again...

(Photos · PortlandHikers)

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woodswalker
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Re: Nick Eaton Ridge snowshoe, Feb. 27th

Post by woodswalker » March 2nd, 2019, 7:58 am

Thanks Don for this info, I am looking at options for a Monday hike, so this is helpful.
Colette Grace

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Don Nelsen
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Re: Nick Eaton Ridge snowshoe, Feb. 27th

Post by Don Nelsen » March 6th, 2019, 6:11 pm

woodswalker wrote:
March 2nd, 2019, 7:58 am
Thanks Don for this info, I am looking at options for a Monday hike, so this is helpful.
Colette Grace
Hi Collette, Hope you were able to get up to Nick Eaton and had a great time!

I see that a Facebook Meetup group went up Sunday so there should have been some nice tracks. I did it with my son on Friday and made some tracks too and likely the meetup group followed those. It's a well-worn path by now.

dn
"Everything works in the planning stage".

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