Mt. Adams area via the Killen Creek trail 102820

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Don Nelsen
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Mt. Adams area via the Killen Creek trail 102820

Post by Don Nelsen » October 29th, 2020, 3:59 pm

I keep thinking the season is over for higher altitude hiking and exploring and then comes another opportunity. Yesterday was another of those and I took full advantage.

It was a frosty morning in places but there were hints of a strong temperature inversion as I climbed higher. I ended up not needing my gloves, hat or even my coat! Nice surprise for so late in the season but it did conspire to make the trail very muddy in places as I hiked back down. Still, one of the nicest fall days ever.

The Killen Creek trail got my attention this time and the goal was to hike up to the PCT. Once there, I hiked south to where I left off last week and returned north. Continuing on, to a little past the junction with the Highline Trail, I headed off-trail towards Mt. Adams. The plan was to do a high loop and come down at High Camp and return but the terrain foiled it. Too rocky, and my sprained ankle is still bothering me. Still, I got close and will be back when there’s more daylight to be had. This getting up at 3 a.m. and driving for three hours is tough duty!

On the way back home, I noted that the many larch trees along the road are in full fall color as are the other deciduous trees to make this a most delightful drive.

I think I’ll take a break from Mt. Adams and hike the Indian Heaven area this weekend. Maybe back to Mt. Adams next week.

A few pictures from the hike, yesterday, Oct. 28th:

It's been a long time since I hit the trail pre-sunrise. Must try it more often: Mt. Adams and Takhlakh Lake, 7:02 a.m:
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The trail has recently seen some major rebuilding and rerouting:
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St. Helens' recent snow is gone:
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Even the Goat Rocks look to be nearly snow-free:
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I passed by a dozen frozen small lakes, only one of them on the map. I ventured out a few feet on one of them and it held my weight but I wasn't so brave as to go out farther:
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Someone had some fun tossing rocks onto the ice on this lake a few days ago making interesting designs. I tried it but it was way too frozen now:
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This is as high as I got, 6700':
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My original mid-point goal was in the top center in this photo. Normally, not a problem, but my ankle was bothering me. My doc said to wrap it and stay off it for a couple of months. Like that's going to happen!!
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I think I'll check this out next trip:
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Interesting rock outcrop:
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I passed by 6 or 7 folks in a group coming up the trail as I went back but that's it for the day. I saw one person from a mile off, climbing the High Camp trail, but a mile off doesn't count!
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Closer:
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Closer yet:
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The map:
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13.5 miles, 2902' EG

PS: I went back to Takhlakh Lake on the way back for this photo:
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Last edited by Don Nelsen on October 30th, 2020, 8:14 am, edited 2 times in total.
"Everything works in the planning stage".

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Chip Down
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Re: Mt. Adams area via the Killen Creek trail 102820

Post by Chip Down » October 29th, 2020, 6:21 pm

Oh, so close to a carpool opportunity. You could have dropped me off at Riley, and picked me up on return. Except you would have needed to start a couple hours earlier, and patiently wait for me to return to Riley.

I too thought the high-altitude season was over, but it was shockingly warm. Although roads were frosty, I started up the trail in tee shirt, no hat or gloves.

Nice pic at Takhlakh Lake (the first one). I was there for the first time recently. What a view!

Yes, so many frozen lakes. That was the theme of my day, going from lake to lake.

Regarding the lake bowling: Goats are in on the fun too, as shown in my pic below. They kick rocks off the moraine crest, and see who can get a rock to slide farthest on the lake surface. (I assume it wasn't people, because people never go where I went.)
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Don Nelsen
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Re: Mt. Adams area via the Killen Creek trail 102820

Post by Don Nelsen » October 29th, 2020, 7:37 pm

Chip,

Wow! You must have had a great adventure getting there before me and leaving so much later! I hope you post a TR.

It was way warmer lower on the mountain at first. My car thermometer swung between 28 at Trout Lake to as high as 55 along the road as I drove in. It was 34 at the Killen TH when I got there though. Warmed up fast by the time I broke out of the trees about 6k'.

The road surface was mostly frosty though. I saw tracks in the frost that showed you had missed the TH, drove about a mile and quarter, then turned around to go back. Riley is one difficult Th to find in the dark! I've got it down now, MP 37.6

Nice theory about the goats. I was hoping for aliens though. ;)
"Everything works in the planning stage".

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Chip Down
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Re: Mt. Adams area via the Killen Creek trail 102820

Post by Chip Down » October 29th, 2020, 8:14 pm

Don Nelsen wrote:
October 29th, 2020, 7:37 pm
I saw tracks in the frost that showed you had missed the TH, drove about a mile and quarter, then turned around to go back. Riley is one difficult Th to find in the dark! I've got it down now, MP 37.6
Oh, now that's funny. Yep, drove right past it. I never would imagined that you would see my tracks. You could have had some fun with a windshield note: "Hey Chip, after our discussion about the Riley TH, I'm disappointed to see you missed it again". I would have been "whaaaat the hell just happened" :|

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retired jerry
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Re: Mt. Adams area via the Killen Creek trail 102820

Post by retired jerry » October 30th, 2020, 5:25 am

this has been a good October for maintaining alpine hiking, we'll see how November is

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Chip Down
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Re: Mt. Adams area via the Killen Creek trail 102820

Post by Chip Down » November 3rd, 2020, 2:20 pm

Oh, what fun. When I was up there yesterday, I remembered Don did a high loop, but the details didn't stick with me, and I was unfamiliar with the area. But now I can look at Don's map and see how our routes compared. TR posted in offtrail forum. Spoiler alert: I started earlier and went higher :D

I'd like to send two or more hikers on a mission to get from Point A to Point B, on different days, with no communication between them, and have them post their tracks afterwards. Or it could be more vague than that, just tell them to go explore, say, between Glacier A and Glacier B, at their whim.

By the way, those frozen ponds are all melted. :(

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retired jerry
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Re: Mt. Adams area via the Killen Creek trail 102820

Post by retired jerry » November 3rd, 2020, 2:27 pm

maybe the same person an day A and day B, see how tracks compare :)

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