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South end of the Bagby Trail
Rob Williams
08/22/2010 - 3:49 pm
Member Since: 09/20/2009
Forum Posts: 1445
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My daughter and I did our annual backpacking trip this weekend.  Originally it was going to be about a 25 mile loop, going up Bagby to Whetstone, across Whetstone to the Gold Creek trail (3369?), down to Opal Creek trail, then down Opal Creek, past Jawbone Flats to the Battle Ax Creek trail (3369?) up to Beachie Saddle and back to the trail head for Bagby.  Friday night my back was bugging me, and I was concerned about the length of the trip, so we took a shortcut down the 3339 (whatever that trail is supposed to be called - Whetsone Mountain trail?), to Battle Ax creek, cutting a lot of miles (and one night) off the trip.

Road 4697 to Elk Lake is as rough as ever, but still driveable.  You have to drive a ways past the lake to get to the trailhead.  The trail climbs pretty good at the start and then levels out a bit and goes up and down a bit.  The trail condition ranged from really nice to VERY brushy in places.  Very few downed logs, though.  Night 1 was at Silver King Lake which was nice.  No one else was there which surprised me.  On the way in, we saw smoke to the north which we heard was some lightning strikes but were being handled.  On day two, we decided on the shortcut and met a guy on the Whetstone trail that had just met a young bear.  He was by himself, eating lunch quietly and the bear just popped up the trail.  He made noise and the bear ran away.  I think the bear was probably as scared as he was.  I was surprised that a bear would be out in the middle of the day.  We went down the 3339 trail from Whetstone to Battle Ax and it was in reasonably good shape, however it had a number of downed trees on it.  The tread itself was in pretty good shape though, with not a lot of brushing needed.  Crossing Battle Ax Creek was very easy on rocks.  The trail back up to the old 2209/4697 road (don't know where it changed from 2209 to 4697) was in good shape.  The old road ranged from a road you could drive on to barely passable even by a hiker (washouts in places and heavy brush in others). 

I was surprised that the trail junctions were as easy to find as they were and the trails were easy to follow.  The old 2209 road from Battle Ax Creek to Beachie saddle climbs about 1800 feet, but it is pretty steady and never gets too steep.  I guess that is one of the advantages of being on an old road.  I was absolutely amazed that the road went over Beachie Saddle at one time!  We even found what looked like an old telephone/electric pole on the side of the road - I wonder if they had phone or electric service up in those mines at one point?  We never did get to see any of the mines.  We walked down 2209 for a bit but didn't want to walk too far since we had a long slog back to the truck.  I'm guessing any mines up that road would have been farther.

It was an interesting trip, but not one for the books.  The Battle Ax Creek trail is probably not one I would opt to do again.  There really isn't much to see along the trail.  It is just walking on a old (but not decomissioned) road.  There are some nice trees and such, but the trail is pretty exposed so would be hot on a sunny day.

I've babbled on long enough - I know some of these trails aren't in district, but it made for a different loop.  If anyone has any questions or know any more about any of the mines on the old 2209 road past Jawbone Flats, I'd love to hear about them.

Keep hiking!

08/22/2010 - 5:28 pm
Member Since: 09/20/2009
Forum Posts: 714
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Nice report. Kind of sounds like the usual deeper segments of the 544 are not getting any work done on them, as usual.

That 3339 is confusing. Not only that, but both Forests claim a Whetstone Trail -- but they are different trails! There are two Nasty Rock trails too. Ours, and theirs. But theirs doesn't make it to Nasty Rock.


Rob Williams
08/22/2010 - 6:26 pm
Member Since: 09/20/2009
Forum Posts: 1445
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We went about 5 miles up Bagby, and it did look like the first couple of miles was better maintained.  There is a stretch before you get to the turnoff for Silver King lake that is pretty bad.  It has a bunch of switchbacks and is VERY narrow and it is getting pretty overgrown in places.  I'm kind of hoping some of the trail workers could help with that trail this year.  It really is a beautiful trail!

Depending on what map you look at, the trail numbers change.  They are all the 33xx numbers so I'm guessing they are all WNF trails?  Anyway, the numbers are confusing and the trail docs are confusing, but if you pay attention to the maps, they were easy to find and follow.  That old road just blows me away though.  I can't believe they built that so long ago....From what I've read, it was abandoned before the BOTW was made officially a wilderness (1984?), but from what it looks like, it had been abandoned for a long time.  It looks like an OLD road.

Where is the nasty rock trail in the Clackamas district?  At some point, I had wanted to do the Nasty rock trail down off the road to Opal Creek. I've not heard of one in the Clackamas District....

Donald Presley

Trail Maintenance
08/22/2010 - 10:21 pm
Member Since: 09/20/2009
Forum Posts: 842
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That Nasty Rock Trail you mention is one I have yet to hike and is about 3 miles to the NW of Whetstone Mtn as the crow flies, just to the west of Burnt Mtn. Donavon has brought the subject up a few times, but I haven't been there to check it out yet.

I am back from my desert vacation. It was nice to see the otherside of the state for a change. The 2/3  of the the state east of the cascades has a lot of opportunities to get away from all the masses. The trails over there don't get used much and are more apped to be blocked by rocks then they are from logs, but the views can be over a 100 miles at times.

As I came back home yesterday, I noticed that they had a fire up in the Olallie country, does anyone have any info on that fire that they care to share?


Rob Williams
08/23/2010 - 6:24 am
Member Since: 09/20/2009
Forum Posts: 1445
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Donald Presley said:

As I came back home yesterday, I noticed that they had a fire up in the Olallie country, does anyone have any info on that fire that they care to share?

They have a map of the closure here:

Looks like the trails we hiked last weekend are now closed.  A fair portion of BOTW is closed now....


And here is the info from the main (not the current conditions) page of the Mt Hood NF website:

Olallie Lake Scenic Area and

Portion of Bull of the Woods Wilderness Area, Some Trails Closed Due to Fire Activity

Mt. Hood National Forest

Fire Update August 22, 2010

1:30 p.m.

The Olallie Lake Scenic Area remains closed to the public

All campgrounds and trails are closed within this area, including a

portion of the Pacific Crest Trail.  Road 4220 continues to be blocked

at Forest Road 46 to the south and at Road 4690 to the north of the

Olallie Lake Scenic Area.  The access to Breitenbush Lake is closed. No

estimate for re-opening the Olallie Lake Scenic Area is yet available.

The area of closure is indicated in yellow-colored cross hatch on the

map (link below).

Link to Ollalie Lake Scenic Area Closure Order and Map.

Fires ignited by a lightning storm on

Tuesday, August 17 have forced the closure of a portion of the Bull of

the Woods Wilderness including some trails. Elk Creek Trail #559 is

closed from Forest Road 6380 to the intersection with Trail #558. Mother

Lode Trail #558 from its junction with Trail #559 north to Big Slide

Lake is also closed. The Dickey Creek Trail #553 from its beginning at

Forest Road 6340-032 to Big Slide Lake is also closed.

Please follow the link to Closure Order and Map illustrating the Closed Area of the Bull of the Woods Wildereness.

View Lake Fire

Firefighters continued to make good

progress Saturday on the View Lake Fire, located within the Olallie Lake

Scenic Area.  The fire is still estimated at 125 acres.  Lines have

been hand-dug around most of the fire to block the spread of the fire

through the ground fuels.  Hoses have been placed along much of the fire

perimeter, allowing firefighters to start cooling the edges of the

fire.  In some areas, the fire has burned to areas that are too wet to

ignite, creating natural fire barriers.

The fire has been burning in an area with a high

number of dead trees.  While the weather is supposed to be cooler with

possible showers today, higher winds are forecasted.  These increase the

danger of falling snags and fire-damaged trees.  There may be windy

periods when firefighters will need to be pulled off of the fire to safe

areas, where they are not in danger of being injured or killed by

falling trees.

This afternoon, fire personnel will be escorting

the public into the fire closure area to retrieve personal belongings

left at campgrounds affected by the area closure.  Escorts will be

available from noon to 6:00 pm, starting at the north roadblock at the

Road 4690/Road 4220 junction.  Please call the fire information number

at 503-834-2395 if you will not be able to retrieve your belongings

during this scheduled period.  These phones are not always staffed by

information officers.  Please leave a message with your contact


Fires Within the Bull of the Woods Wilderness

Fire fighters have also taken action on some of the

fires burning within the Bull of the Woods Wilderness while others

within the Bull of the Woods Wilderness are being monitored since their

location in steep rugged terrain makes deploying firefighters safely


Fire personnel are also working on a long-term

analysis of ten fires burning within the Bull of the Woods Wilderness

Area.  To date, these lightning-caused fires have been monitored by

air.  Due to the spread of these fires, an area surrounding the junction

of the Elk Lake Trail and Welcome Lake Trail will be closed to public

access. For more information, please contact Fire Information Officer

Mary Huels at 503-834-2395.

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