Three for the price of one here - maybe a first?
I’m still doing some conditioning hikes and will be probably for most of this year, then I’ll turn 80 next year and wonder why I did all this. Til then, this is what I love to do, and as long as my legs let me go vertical and will go back and forth, this is what I’ll be doing.
On 3/21, I hiked out Lost Corral Trail (LCT) at Cottonwood Canyon, but not to the end. About 7+ miles round-trip was enough for the day, which was darned near perfect, weather-wise. The river was running high and very near over-running the bank in one spot, but nothing they felt was enough to close the trail over, as they have done in the past.
On 3/26, I did the Arch Loop Trail at Catherine Creek (CC), then wandered the Universal Trail after just for some extra distance. The Grass Widows were clustering, but a bit anemic, at the top coming back down, but it was neat to see them fighting the soil packed down from all the snow.
Then, for April Fool’s, I decided to try Herman Creek (HC), at least up to the fork in the trail (fork long since taken as a souvenir) which I knew was just over a mile and at least 1200 feet of gain, which is something I’m still struggling with. It was also to be my first time on any of the Oregon side Gorge trails since the fire.
The trail remains the same, the views obviously are not. I was prepared, but felt like I wasn’t the further up the trail I went. I did a bit over two miles before deciding to turn around and call it a success for dealing with the elevation gain, because when I first started out, I had serious doubts I’d even reach the power lines.
Just past that point is where I saw the first real results of the fire. WOW !!! The only word I have for it. Then it was difficult to sustain a steady pace because it was difficult not to stop and just take in the change from what used to be. I’ve hiked that trail nearly a dozen times, so I felt comfortable there, but still felt like a stranger on a new trail. It’s quite a bit better maintained than in previous visits, so thanks to all the crews who worked on that. It was always a good trail, but not always quite like now.
There was a point about two miles in on #406, where you could still smell the charcoal effect. That was bizarre. 18 months and that was lingering - but only that one short stretch.
Sorry the images are sort of bland - lot of cropping to get the size down.
One change I would really love to see the powers-that-be make at Catherine Creek is to reroute the trail down from the top of the Arch Loop to the road (past the rail fence.) Right now they’re sort of asking us to walk down the same rock-strewn gully the water flows in when there’s runoff.
The rocks are slickery, ankle busters, unless you really pay attention to the steps as opposed to enjoying the view, which, of course, you can always stop to enjoy. Not to mention how muddy things get when it’s wet season. But still......we are certainly blessed with some amazing places.
This forum is used to share your experiences out on the trails.
3 posts • Page 1 of 1
Beautiful pictures from a nice trio of hikes. Thanks for posting - this was a fun read. It is interesting to see photos from burned areas. I haven't noticed a charcoal smell myself when in the gorge post-fire. It's amazing that is still noticeable, especially after a pretty wet winter.
Thanks. I totally agree about the aroma.....very much surprised, but it was pretty clear, looking around, that that stretch had suffered a more intense burn than other stretches (not sure if that would matter but …???) Another five feet and the smell was gone.