I’ve been Jonesing to get back to Nesmith for a couple of weeks since I learned that the trail is open again. Closed since the 2017 Eagle Creek fire, I was curious to see how it has fared and how some of my favorite old-growth forest icons were doing. Sadly, none of my favorite oldest and gnarliest trees survived. The good news, however, is that the trail is in decent shape, all but a couple downed trees are gone from the route, and it’s been brushed out in its entirety.
One of the more majestic of the old-growths in better days:
How it looked on the 3rd:
Here’s what’s left of a 10′ diameter cedar. (The stump in the center of the photo) It appears the top has completely burned away, and the remnants have fallen into the canyon:
The Nesmith Trail always was rocky and also steep in many places and that hasn’t changed but there are a few new stone steps here and there and that’s an improvement.
The trail has burned up to about the 3200′ level and after that it’s just as it was before the fire.
I was expecting a little snow over the trail higher up so was surprised to see it starting at under 2k’, intermittent until about 2400′ and continuous after that, reaching a depth of 7 or 8 inches by the summit. I wished I’d thought to bring my micro spikes for traction, but I survived, even on the return when I really needed them. It was about 40 degrees at my start time of 8:15 and just below freezing at the summit with a light breeze, just enough to make me zip up my jacket.
Snow laden vine maple still with a full complement of green leaves!
I was making the first tracks as I approached the summit. The entire way, for that matter. This final bit to the summit is part of an old road leading to the fire lookout that once graced the highest spot.
Here’s the view at the very summit:
On the return, it started raining lightly about a mile and half from the TH, but it wasn’t too bad.
9.1 miles out and back and about 3920′ EG. hike # 103.