Showing posts from February, 2013

Snowy Day On Lookout Creek Old-Growth Trail

When I've made up my mind on where I'm hiking there are few things that can get in the way. The drive to Lookout Creek nearly stopped this hike from happening. Shortly after the pavement ended the road was covered in snow, thankfully a snowcat had compressed the snow. Only about one mile from the trailhead the snow became impassable even with chains and four wheel drive, so we parked the truck as far out of the snowcats tracks as possible and headed up the road to find the trail.

I've come to realize that the mile marker signs on Forest Service roads aren't even close to being accurate. They will give you a general idea, but you should use either your car odometer or a GPS. After continuing past mile marker 7 we came to the trailhead. The snow was about 2 feet deep at this point, though we weren't really sinking down very much. We steeply descended down the trail over patchy snow until we crossed Lookout Creek on a bridge.  

Oddly as we gained elevation and move…

Copper Salmon Wilderness: Road 350

Normally when heading out to a Wilderness Area, I've got at least a vague idea of what I'm getting myself into. The Copper Salmon Wilderness wasn't one of these times. Located in southwestern Oregon and only separated by a forest road from the Grassy Knob Wilderness, Copper Salmon is an isolated place. Designated in 2009 there is only one official trail, which runs through the northern section of the wilderness. After reading that this trail was surrounded by previously logged forest, I opted to search for some old-growth. Spending quite a bit of time looking at paper maps I ended up turning to the internet and came across 3 Feet Ahead. They had several of the old roads listed that run through Copper Salmon and some cool elevation judging tools. If you love maps, you'll love their site. Finally settling on walking the now closed road 350 we set out for the trailhead from Coos Bay.
As you drive along the Elk River it's immediately apparent why protecting the headw…

Illahee Flat to Boulder Creek Wilderness

The Boulder Creek Wilderness is a 19,100 acre area in the Diamond Lake Ranger District. The area has been hit with two fairly large wildfires, one in 1996 and another in 2008. Though these fires have replaced climax (old-growth) forests in some areas, despite this, there are many living trees. Some of the areas that were burned most intensely now have seedlings of Douglas-fir, western hemlock, sugar pine and ponderosa pine repopulating the area. As much as I love dense old-growth forest, seeing what happens after a stand replacing fire is also interesting.

Boulder Creek Wilderness is best known for a flat area known as Pine Bench. This large flat is dotted with massive ponderosa pines. These survive and out compete other trees because of relatively frequent fires. Ponderosa pines are very adept at surviving fire because of their thick bark. Atop Pine Bench one is treated to expansive views of the valley that holds Boulder Creek.

The goal of this trip was to hike to the first ford o…

Illahee Flat: Camp and Trailhead

Recently my friend and I have spent two weekends around the Boulder Creek Wilderness in Umpqua National Forest. While trying to find somewhere to use as a trailhead/base camp for pushing into the wilderness, we came across Illahee Flat trailhead. Assuming that it was just a trailhead we were surprised to find there was a restroom, gazebo, and a massive fire ring.

The camp seemed to be primarily used by hunters judging by the large branch attached between two trees to hang deer or elk from. I'm sure Illahee flat would be occupied for most of hunting season judging by the large herd of elk roaming the area. But on a chilly winter day you would likely have the camp to yourself, like we did. There was a small stream that was running through the north end of camp, but because of the nearby road I wouldn't drink it. On the south end of the camping area there was a small trailhead parking area and a fire ring. This trail is the Illahee Flat trail and connects to the North Umpqua Ri…