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South Rho Ridge, Rapidan to Collawash Mtn.
Paul Turner
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09/26/2010 - 12:41 am
Member Since: 09/20/2009
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As a first look, I scouted the south end of Rho Ridge today taking the Rapidan trail along the forest boundary to Collawash Mtn to see what is south of Cachebox Meadow. The Rapidan trail trail head is just north of the point where fr46 takes a sharp turn at the southern reach of Rho Ridge and goes west to Detroit. The trail is fairly easy to follow at the start but becomes more vague until just towards the end I lost it altogether. From there, the topo map I have has a section of the 546 Rho Ridge trail running from south of Collawash Mtn and cutting across clearcuts to meet up with the road and the rest of the trail at Cachebox Meadow – I did not find any trace of trail in the area so until I see evidence otherwise I have to say the USGS cartographer might have been posting some wishful thinking.

 

The Rapidan trail has a nice viewpoint – this is Jeff and Brietenbush Mtn in the foreground.

From Viewpoint on Rapidan Trail

 

The best views were from Collawash Mtn. From looking at Google Earth it seemed like the summit might have some viewing potential and I was not disappointed.

 

Looking north towards Hood on Collawash Mtn

 

 

Battle Ax from Collawash Mtn.

 

 

Lots of open spaces along the ridge of Collawash Mtn for views to Jeff, Ollalie Butte and to Bull of the Woods where I took these fire pictures.

 

Welcome Lakes area?

 

 

In this shot I think we have Schreiner Peak on the right and Knob Peak on the left.  If I recall correctly we are looking at 2 fires – on the left from a couple of years ago and on the right the most recent.

 

Here's a more northerly shot – I think that is Janus Butte blocking the view at the bottom.

 

Here's a map of my travels up to Cachebox Meadow. The big print versions of this map and the other photos can be found at:  RhoRidgeTop

 

Rob Williams
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09/26/2010 - 6:38 am
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Thanks for posting the photos, Paul.  It appears as though the fires are out (I don't see any smoke in your photos).  The previous reports of Welcome Lakes being "charcoal" look pretty accurate from your photos.  It will be interesting to see the details of how the area was affected by the fire and how it affected the trails in the area.  I'm so glad I got to hike those trails this summer....

Just curious, but how far was your hike?  And where were those road closed signs?  I didn't think they closed any of the roads surrounding Rho Ridge?  I thought it was 6370 and 6380 that were closed to create a fire line if needed.....

Donovan
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09/26/2010 - 11:04 am
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Several have looked for that "Sure Would be Nice" trail from Rho Ridge to Collawash Mtn (which I think was differently named before). No one ever finds anything. But it would be cool to have the best route flagged.

So is there an actual meadow at Cachebox? When I looked around there I figured it was grown in with lodgepole. Like Rho Mdw.

That Collawash Divide is a rich Heritage area. I am surprised is was allowed to be so roaded and cut.

Very nice pictures.

We should adopt the Rapidan Trail into our District.

 

Donovan

Paul Turner
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09/26/2010 - 2:02 pm
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Rob Williams said:

[...]

Just curious, but how far was your hike?  And where were those road closed signs?  I didn't think they closed any of the roads surrounding Rho Ridge?  I thought it was 6370 and 6380 that were closed to create a fire line if needed.....


Probably 12-13 miles with a bike ride of similar distance. I drove up to Rho Ridge trail head at Graham Pass where I parked and hopped on my bike to ride down the hill to the Rapidan trail head. The road closed signs I saw were at the 6355 road at Cachebox Meadow and the road next to the trail head at Graham Pass. The picture is of the sign blocking the Rho Ridge trail and I believe it is placed there in error as I called the district office and received assurances the Rho Ridge trail was open for its entire length. Likewise the MHNF Clackamas District trail listings on the MHNF web site specifically states which trails are closed (BOTW) and the Rho Ridge trail is not one of them.

 

I'm looking forward to when BOTW is reopened, I hope it is before the snow flies.

 

--Paul

Paul Turner
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09/26/2010 - 2:18 pm
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Donovan said:

Several have looked for that "Sure Would be Nice" trail from Rho Ridge to Collawash Mtn (which I think was differently named before). No one ever finds anything. But it would be cool to have the best route flagged.

So is there an actual meadow at Cachebox? When I looked around there I figured it was grown in with lodgepole. Like Rho Mdw.

That Collawash Divide is a rich Heritage area. I am surprised is was allowed to be so roaded and cut.

Very nice pictures.

We should adopt the Rapidan Trail into our District.

 

Donovan


Donovan,

 

Going along the ridge on Collawash Mtn would be my choice for a route - coming off the north end was a little brushy with young trees but once on the flat travel was easy. I wasn't paying attention and I wandered off the track winding up doing a road walk rather than hiking through the flat.

 

Here is a picture from Cachebox Meadow looking back at Collawash Mtn.

 

 

--Paul

Matt Reeder
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09/28/2010 - 7:26 pm
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Paul, you are a braver man than I. Back in July me and a few friends found ourselves trying out the Rapidan Trail. We completely lost it after the first road crossing and they weren't into it at all so we bailed and just followed roads for awhile. We did wind up seeing a few Cascade Lilies and got a couple of nice views in but on the whole the part of the trail we followed wasn't all that interesting. Glad you made it up further and found the views I was hoping to see.

Paul Turner
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09/28/2010 - 10:08 pm
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Matt Reeder said:

Paul, you are a braver man than I. Back in July me and a few friends found ourselves trying out the Rapidan Trail. We completely lost it after the first road crossing and they weren't into it at all so we bailed and just followed roads for awhile. We did wind up seeing a few Cascade Lilies and got a couple of nice views in but on the whole the part of the trail we followed wasn't all that interesting. Glad you made it up further and found the views I was hoping to see.

[...]


Hey Matt,

 

Nice picture, thx for posting. I was hoping to get a reply from someone who had done the Rapidan Trail as there is not a word about it anywhere in the guide books I have nor on the Willamette NF web site and nothing useful so far on the 'net. I think it is a neat little trail worth saving and should get on someone's list - I'm going to make a return trip and flag the iffy bits and maybe clear some downed logs and brush. Obviously it makes possible a Rho Ridge traverse.

 

I have no historical evidence to support this claim but I think the Rapidan is old indian trail - just by the location and layout and the way it goes so nicely up the ridge into a forest of huckelberry bushes with not much in the way of switchbacks.

 

I want to take it out further along the ridge above the 46 rd and connect to Mansfield and Scorpian Mtns and return via Short Mtn. There were a bunch of trails in there at one time but a bunch of logging since, I wonder what's left.

 

--Paul

Donovan
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09/29/2010 - 9:39 am
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There is little public info on this but I think it is part of a heritage trail called the "Mollala Trail", a branch off the "Klamath Trail". Years ago there was some kind of review of historic trails by the State to see which ones they wanted to celebrate. I seem to recall that these two were not favored because of their presumed use in the slave trade.

 

Donovan

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