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Mowich Butte from Trout Creek

14 miles of hiking • 2500' elevation gain •

Set out to explore again away from crowds. Started at Trout Creek Trailhead, onto the PCT.

First creek crossing made a little difficult with a newly fallen huge tree. What looks like it used to be a rock hop is now a balanced log crossing unless you want to get wet. The tree was so large that it also blocked the trail prior to the crossing. We passed it and wondered what we were getting ourselves into for the day. We ran into one more large blowdown and one slide, annoying but both easily passed. Another obstacle was a huge pond that had taken over the trail, but we bushwhacked through the forest around it and were able to meet up with the trail and stay dry. Part way up, there is a wonderful viewpoint of Trout Creek at a cliff edge.

Going through the Yacolt burn it was interesting to compare old forest with new. There was still some old growth that hadn't burned, but most of the largest trees in the area were snags.

After a bit of gain, we finally reached a junction with an abandoned forest road, and opted to take it to get up to Mowich Butte. The road did have some snow, and we saw many cougar tracks. It was a super pleasant stroll after working hard to switchback up there.

We finally reached the viewless summit, (trees block any view) and sat for lunch. Looking at our gps, we were suprised at the additional mileage. It was further than the Oregon Hikers entry. It must have had quite the view before the trees grew tall. But now, it is just a high point to say I have reached.

Only ran into two backpackers on our way back out - otherwise total solitude. They must have had a saw with them because our tree crossings were slightly easier on our way back, as they had cut a partial path through.

Excellent day in the woods.

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January 16, 2021

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Heart_bw 1

Bunker Hill and Whistle Punk

6 miles of hiking • 1250' elevation gain •

Bunker Hill was a fun little jaunt up a 20-25 million year old igneous volcanic plug. 1200 gain in 1.7 miles, a good training hike when I am feeling lazy (like yesterday) and want to sleep in and still get some exercise. While no wow views yesterday due to clouds, it had interesting rock formations to scramble on, old growth, and cool fungi to check out. Best part, I only saw 5 other humans. We ended with an additional trek on the interpretive Whistle Punk Trail to add some mileage. Trail was flooded on the PCT but otherwise in good shape. We cleared a bit of branches from the trail as we walked, but otherwise no major obstacles of any sort. Drop off on the spur trail with views was steep, but I didn't venture anywhere I didn't feel safe.

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January 9, 2021

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Heart_bw 1

Eagle Creek

7 miles of hiking • 500' elevation gain •

I should have known better, but I got Eagle Creek Fever and totally forgot that I hate to be on crowded trails. I managed to spend most all of last year off the beaten trail, but curiosity got the best of me. I wanted to see how the trail had changed since the fire.

I arrived at the parking lot around 7:20 am, and was able to get a spot close to the trail head, but it quickly filled up around me as I waited for a few friends from my covid hiking crew to arrive.

We all masked up, and faced the fact that even with an early start we were going to be sharing the trail with a lot of people.

I found it hard to stop for photos, there was always someone either ahead or behind, or groups of trail runners swooping past.

Most wore masks while passing, but many did not. We did not go down to the punchbowl, the water was raging and with the wall slide we didn't think we would see much. However, we saw a good view of the damage from above.

With the missing undergrowth and loss of trees (and the huge amount of rain) I saw more waterfalls than I have ever seen on this hike.

Eventually, we ran into a what looked like a fresh slide, and I started to get the feeling I should have listened to my hunch that recent rains would wreak havoc on the already unstable slopes. We passed it, and continued on. Eventually we ran into another slide, this one worse - and decided to call it. The crowds just kept coming and I just didn't want to deal with it anymore.

Next time, I'll wait it out for more stable weather, and try for an earlier start time.

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January 3, 2021

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