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Mark "SlowBro" Hurd
Begins: Aug 2, 2021
Date: Fri, Dec 4th, 2020
Entry Visits: 135
Journal Visits: 4,579
Guestbook Views: 123
Guestbook Entrys: 15
Overnight in the Cascades
A little over a week ago my wife dropped me off at a trailhead near the foot of Hardesty Mountain in the Willamette NF. I had picked out a semi-abandon logging road that lead into forest that had previously been inaccessible to me.
I discovered the road this summer where the trail to Hardesty summit crosses it. With blackberry brambles and dense overgrowth, it had not looked too promising, but there was a narrow trampled path that I had walked for a hundred feet or so and it looked to continue. So now I was back to have a good look. Did the trampled path extend several miles like my old map showed the road going or did it fizzle out. Either way it would be an adventure.
It was about 2 miles along the summit trail to get to the trampled trail. The morning was crisp and clear after a week of rain and wind. Of course there were a number of blown down trees across and in the path which required some acrobatics to bypass, but I eventually got to the start of the trampled trail.
I will pause here a moment to explain to those of you from, and or experienced in, the drier forests like the Rockies, that Oregon forests are denser by a factor of 10. Cross country travel in the Rockies is relatively easy in most places. But here the ferns and blackberries and all manner of brush and bushes make cross country travel nearly impossible. That, along with blow downs that may measure 4 to 6 feet in diameter and be a 120 feet long, and if you don't have a trail, you may not get through. That is not to say cross country is impossible, but in some locales the going gets mighty tough.
So, I started down the trampled trail following the old roadbed and started to notice that all the blowdowns had been cut out of the way, even the big ones. As I trekked along it was obvious the brush had been cleared at some point relatively recently. There were even sections of the old gravel road that were completly clear. This good fortune continued for about 2 miles, diving deep into an area of mixed second growth and old growth. But finally I came to an area where the trees and brush had been cut, but not cleared away. I pressed on another 100 feet and by then nothing was even cut. The road was completely blocked by dense mature bushes growing in the roadway. I struggled up the hill on the right, but the bushes just continued unabaited for as far as I could see. I had come maybe 2 miles, but now it was time to find a campsite.
I backtracked a quarter mile and found a spot to camp amoung some old growth trees down a hundred feet from the trail. It was a job getting to it, but there was a small clearing of sorts so I set up camp as the sun filetered down between the trees. I spent the rest of the day reading and exploring the immediate vacinity. It was dark by 4:45PM so I climbed in my hammock and settled in for the night.
Next morning I struggled back up to the trail and sauntered back to the trailhead where Nancy met me and we drove home.
It looks like my trampled trail is a work in progress, so I may give it a go next year to see if it has been pushed further along the old road. Another great hike. The next day, the weather closed in and they got some snow up there. I guess winter has arrived.
SlowBro's Continental Divide Trail Journey
"I can't say as ever I was lost, but I was bewildered once for three days." -Daniel Boone
"The Journey IS The Reward" -SlowBro
"If you feel like quitting, just keep walking." -Gypsy Spirit
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