Lava Dike below Elk Mountain

Discussions and Trip Reports for off-trail adventures and rediscovering lost trails
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pinecone
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Joined: August 26th, 2021, 2:50 pm

Lava Dike below Elk Mountain

Post by pinecone » September 10th, 2021, 8:59 am

Just a short but rewarding journey off-trail. On September 2 I headed up to Elk Meadows area on Mount Hood specifically to hike and record the Elk Meadows-Bluegrass Tie Trail #647B, one of the last segments of Forest Service trails I haven't recorded yet around Mount Hood. It's sort of on the way to a Lost Trail as it's really just a footpath following flagging up and over/around logs through the burn zone. Once up on the Ridge I followed the Bluegrass Ridge Trail toward the viewpoint below Elk Mountain, observing the lava dike cutting the ridge below. I often distract myself while driving on 35 by trying to stare up at it, so I decided to go check it out. It's only about a 1/4 mile and 300 feet down through very mild toppled burned trees.
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It's a really neat feature and easy to explore around.
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A fun keyhole
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looking back up to Bluegrass Ridge with Mount Hood Summit poking over
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looking back at the lava dike from below
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A really nice viewpoint below the dike looking out over Horsethief Meadows. Hung out for a while watching a woodpecker doing his thing.

On my way down I spooked the Elk herd off the Elk Meadows trail in the switchback section.

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Chip Down
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Re: Lava Dike below Elk Mountain

Post by Chip Down » September 10th, 2021, 1:33 pm

I keep meaning to ascend Elk from 35, on the obvious ridge. There's some interesting/fun stuff below (I did a little scouting trip once).

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pinecone
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Re: Lava Dike below Elk Mountain

Post by pinecone » September 10th, 2021, 3:05 pm

I've explored around the Horsethief meadows area and up the ways above Sherwood (such great trees up there) and somewhat up the hillside above the roads, but not the southwest portion and ridge below Elk Mountain. The Horsethief meadows area is one of my favorite areas that I don't understand isn't popular. In my dreamworld they could expand recreation through the area, put in a parking area, convert the road through the meadows into some ADA worthy trail, let trails run up the old roadbeds to bluegrass ridge and build the connector up to access Elk Meadows. Be a great way to reduce congestion and spread out visitation and impact from the Elk Meadows Trailhead and Tamanawas Trailhead. But if I can't have that I also like it lonely just the way it is :P

Perched below the dike I spent a while thinking about the way up. Some real steep bits along with the cliff band, but I know there is an old mystery trail portrayed on some old maps. If it ever did exist, it wasn't one to leave a committed enough bench cut to show up on Lidar. I'm curious to know what it looks like to cut through that cliffy basalt band along the ridge, though a longer path of less resistance I think may be up between these two drainages until above the band and then maybe across to lava dike or just up to bluegrass.
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looking at the terrain here from down Horsethief Meadows
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some satellite.

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Don Nelsen
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Location: Vancouver, WA

Re: Lava Dike below Elk Mountain

Post by Don Nelsen » September 10th, 2021, 4:58 pm

Hi pinecone,

Thanks for documenting that dike and the great TR and photos. I noticed it too on a recent hike along the ridge and was planning to check it out later. I still may go back but you've answered some questions I had.

dn
"Everything works in the planning stage".

cfm
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Re: Lava Dike below Elk Mountain

Post by cfm » September 20th, 2021, 7:39 pm

I've descended straight down from there. We found some intermittent trail, and bushwacked. It would have been more fun if we hadnt already spent hours climbing over logs on the Bluegrass Ridge trail coming from Coldsprings.

We ended up walking through the remains of the Robinhood campground (destroyed by flooding in ...2006?) to get to our bikes and shuttle back down to Tamanawas TH where we started. That was really cool.
Last edited by cfm on September 21st, 2021, 9:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Chip Down
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Re: Lava Dike below Elk Mountain

Post by Chip Down » September 21st, 2021, 9:43 am

cfm wrote:
September 20th, 2021, 7:39 pm
We ended up walking through the remains of the Robinhood campground (destroyed by flooding in ...2006?) to get to our bikes and shuttle back down to Tamanawas TH where we started. That was really cool.
Neat! I've wanted to go in search of whatever's still left from before 2006. One of the most striking ways to explore is go in there with an old map and follow where the creeks used to run. Even some of the major ones are in newer channels now, e.g. newton and/or clark.

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