2019 Adventures

2019 was a good year in spite of spraining an ankle in early May. As is usual for me, I didn’t take enough time off to let it heal properly and eventually had to slow way down for the rest of the year. As a result, my mileage was way down from last year but still I logged 731 miles and 220,375 vertical feet for 2019. (As opposed to 1,263 miles and 337,260 vertical for 2018.)

I’m only counting hikes in the woods for the above, but did a lot of other wandering about. My Fitbit logged 1,908 miles for the year and 276,360 vertical feet. (A Costco visit can tally up a mile or more if one wanders the entire store so misc. shopping, housekeeping and garden work is where most of the extra mileage comes in.) Since I live in a three story house, it’s easy for me to get 100 and sometimes even 200 feet EG in a day by doing housework. Here’s what Fitbit said: The bar graph indicates average steps per day for each week of the year. Calorie count indicates calories burned while not at rest or asleep. Fitbit counts a “floor” as 10 feet elevation gain (EG).

Taking it fairly easy for the summer and fall, at least as far as distance goes, I managed to do 32 days of trail work sawing out about 400 trees across five different trail systems. (I’m counting only trees about 4” in diameter or more.) – Some were over two feet though. Most of those hikes were short due to carrying gear so that’s another reason my mileage was down.
I hiked/climbed 42 peaks but only 11 new-to-me. Those 11 included some really fun outings such as Black Mt., Pechuck Lookout, Triangle Peak and a side trip to Boca Cave, Goosenest (in Northern CA) and Iron/Cone/Echo and North Peak. These last all located a little north of Hwy 20 and west of Santiam Pass.

All told, I was out hiking for 135 days, 61 days solo and 74 days with companions.

A few pictures of 2019 highlights:

January: Cook Hill: Jan. 19th



























Cook Hill with Paul, Jan. 25th

February: Oregon coast in the snow (!), Ecola state park, Feb. 4th:

Cascade Locks in a snowstorm – with Kelly, Feb. 12th

Hamilton Mt. with Kelly, Feb. 25


Nick Eaton ridge with Paul, March 1st.

St. Patrick’s Day snowshoe on Mt. Hood – with a snow monster I made:

Back to Nick Eaton Ridge via Sentinel Ridge – with Ben and Elizabeth, March 21st:

April: Sentinel Ridge again, Grass Widows, April 12th:

Having some fun bouldering off Herman Creek with Kelly, April 14th:

The black car hits a milestone, April 14th

Paul and I do some trail work on Prindle, April 24th:

Kelly and I check out the north side of Prindle Mt., May 12th

We found this very interesting old bus, abandoned in the woods:

On May 30, Susan and I checked out the new trails on lower Archer Creek:

Silver Star, north ridge, June 3rd:

Kel on Ed’s Trail, Silver Star Mt., June 3rd.

Crater Lake, July 8th

Kelly finds a cool old farmhouse to explore on the way back from our eastern Oregon hike:

August: Black Mt. Aug. 3rd with Nat and Ben:


Aug. 10: Suz gets rocks for her garden from a quarry near Santiam pass.

Aug. 19th, Kel and I do some trail clearing on Augspurger Mt.

Aug. 26th, Triangle Peak:

We also checked out Boca Cave near Triangle Peak: This thing is huge! Check out the next photo.

Here’s a photo of the inside of the cave:

Tipsoo Peak on my birthday, Sept. 7th. The little point in the center is Howlock Mt. and the big one on the right is Mt. Thielsen.

Our first snow hike of the year: September 30th (!) to Lake Wapiki, Indian heaven:

October: The new stove is in and doing its job!

Kel on Cook Hill, October 27th:

November: The old SUV get retired and a new one takes its place – November 6th:

The Black Car goes for its last adventure – Detroit lake on Nov. 22nd:

Exploring Detroit Lake: It’s lowest level in the 67 years since it was first filled: November 22nd:


We explore a few more peaks near Detroit:

Kel hiking up Timber Butte:

The venerable Black Car does its final heavy lifting: A few more rocks for Susan’s rock garden:


Mt. Jefferson from Timber Butte, Nov. 22nd:

December: One last trip to Detroit Lake on the 8th and 9th. Mt. Jefferson from Stahlman Point:

Summit of Stahlman point:

One final look at the newly revealed objets ‘d art at Detroit reservoir:

The final hike of the year – a trip on December 30th to the Multnomah Basin to see if the ’31 Buick survived the 2017 fires – it did!

There’s a long story connected to this car: It was likely driven to this location sometime in the forties and used as a power source for a portable sawmill. Buicks of this era had straight eight engines with lots of torque. Over the years parts were slowly removed and the car was lost in the foliage and only a few people from the Trails Club knew of its existence. It’s far enough from any old road or trail that its location passed from memory.

In 2005 I was hiking farther up on Larch Mountain and ran into a guy exploring an old steam-era RR grade and we started talking about things we’ve found in the woods. He asked me if I knew about or had found any of the old cars in the Multnomah Basin. I, of course, was interested and he told me a story about trying to take an old car’s engine out and taking it to Benson High where he was enrolled in an automotive class. This was in 1971 or ’72 and he said he had successfully taken the engine out, requisitioned a firewood cart from the Trails Club’s Nesika Lodge (about 1 mile away) and tried to haul it down to where he could get a car to it. He ran out of daylight and was going to come back later but couldn’t find the cart and engine again. Hearing this, I thought it would be fun challenge to find the car, and if I was lucky, maybe the cart and engine too.

With modern GPS technology, one can do a grid search of an area and know just where you’ve been before, so you don’t re-do an area and also don’t miss an area. I did just that and after few hours of exploring, found the car. Using details found on the car’s remains I was able to, with certainty, determine that it was a 1931 Buick model 47 four-door sedan. I took another trip to find the engine and find it I did only 400 feet away. No wonder the man I talked to couldn’t find it: he’d gone in the wrong direction from the old road and was looking in the wrong area.





Fun on the Chetwoot Loop

I intend to go back and tackle some more of this mid next week as the weather is forecast to improve. Volunteers are welcome! Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday look to be the best weather at present.

This winter has been a weather challenge for hiking on the west side of the gorge so I’ve been heading east to avoid the rain. Snow, ice, cold – bring it on – but rain – not so much!
I hiked Wygant Peak back in March of 2015 and noticed a trail branching off to the east at about the 950′ level and hiked a few hundred feet. I marveled at the effort made to carve this route out of the solid rock cliffs and wondered where it went. Fast forward five years and here I am, back in the same place but this time I knew what this was: An abandoned trail called the Chetwoot Loop. What I had read indicated it was covered in fallen trees, hard-to-impossible to follow and much of the tread had slid down the steep slopes. A perfect challenge! I hiked in on Feb. 3rd to assess what it would take to resurrect this mile and a half scenic delight. Better prepared, I went back on the 7th armed with my saws, wedges, and determination to do what I could.

A couple of views of “good” sections of trail on the west side:

It turned out that the trail, heading south from the junction with the Wygant trail to the long-washed-out bridge over Perham Creek was in good shape – mostly. A couple of spots with missing tread were easily navigated and the trail was easy to follow. I sawed out about twenty trees and notched a foothold in the one too big for me to handle safely. Arriving at the creek, I cut 4 or 5 logs out of a handy cedar and placed them in the creek for a makeshift bridge. I called it a day, eager to get back and continue. Looking across the creek I could see that the west section of trail was going to be another problem altogether, with very large trees down and a steeper sidehill to deal with.


A few before and after views of the west side trail:














This last before and after is a view of a tree taken out on the main Wygant part of the trail:

On the 13th, I was back and this time I tackled the problem from the west side junction with the Wygant trail. On my recon a few days prior I counted 27 trees down in the first 750′ of trail so I knew I wasn’t going to get very far before both my saw’s and my own batteries ran out. After cutting out those 27 trees, I explored most of the rest of the route finding dozens of huge trees down, especially in the final 800′ of the trail before the creek crossing. Trees way too big for my skill set not to mention too big for my puny little battery powered saw! I took a few pictures, made a few notes and headed back. I cut out three more trees off the Wygant trail on the way back and on the final cut, my saw’s battery was done and so was I for this most productive day.

This was the only one too big for me to tackle on the east side of the loop – It’s easy to get over now


A workable bridge across Perham Creek:


Typical views on that last few hundred feet of the route:

The updated  map: I was back again on the 18th and nearly finished the job. Red with dashed white is the Wygant Trail, blue is cleared Chetwoot loop, dashed yellow over blue is cleared but a few trees and some brush yet to be removed.

My hike on the 7th: 3 hours, 5 minutes, 4.4 miles, 800′ EG

On the 13th: 4 hours, 45 minutes, only 5.0 miles and 1300′ EG, (but it should count for triple that!)

On the 18th: 4 hours, 35 minutes, 4.5 miles, 1500 EG. (This one should count for quadruple that!!)

I love my little battery powered Stihl saw. On the 18th, I took two batteries and a new chain and got nearly more done than the first two trips together.