The 400 trail west from the Wyeth TH is one of Kelly’s favorites for the solitude it usually provides, not to mention the great views. It’s 8 miles out-and-back and only gains about a thousand feet in that distance.
It looked as if the gorge was going to shut down due to ice storms for a few days, so we gave it a shot ahead of the storm, though the wind and temperature was daunting.
We arrived at the TH just before noon after visiting my trail elf friends on Lower Archer on the way. They were busy reconstructing a bridge and both Kel and I wanted to see how they were doing and give them a thumbs up.
It was 26 degrees when we started out Wednesday, but the wind wasn’t too bad. The parking area was a very slippery sheet of ice but once we got onto the trail proper, the traction was great and there was only snow underfoot the rest of the way.
A few hundred yards farther, the “summer” TH was decidedly lonely:
This new bridge over the creek is a nice addition to a previously sketchy crossing: Kel got ahead of me when I had to go back to the car and lock it. That’s her, just before reaching a few fallen logs in the right-center of the image. It took me another ten minutes to catch her – she was on a roll today.
This trail has quite a few sections that are rocky but today, with just the right amount of snow cover, it was smooth as silk:
That’s Indian Point on the right, 2,000 feet above us:
A look back – Wind Mountain on the far left and the snow-covered meadows of Dog Mountain to its right.
The forest burned in the Sept. 2017 fire, but the upper canopy is intact the entire way, and the blackened trees create an interesting contrast.
Along the way, we spotted this huge rock not far from the trail, and I just had to climb it!
We met a couple of folks coming back at the very start of the trail so we can’t claim first tracks. However, their tracks stopped at the two-mile mark so it was first tracks
after that. Only deer had preceded us the rest of the way:
There are about 15 trees down on the trail but only three of any size. This smallish one is an easy walk-around.
This one was more of a problem. Kel rolled her eyes when I said, “just back up a few paces and take a run at it”. So, she did, but first she pulled her Wonder Woman cape out of her pack and Voila, problem solved. 😉
In another hundred yards or so, yet another big one down. This wasn’t much of a problem, though.
Continuing to the Herman trail junction, I took a quick look to see if any more big trees were down for future trail work and only found a few mid-sized ones.
This is the view looking up the Herman Creek trail: Three trees in sight and all could be cut with a hand saw. Good, because this is the start of the wilderness area.
There were also three at the start of the Gorton Creek trail: Not sure why the sign is crooked. It looked like it was purposely installed that way. Too much Christmas egg nog?
On the way back, we were treated to a stiff headwind and a temperature of 19 degrees and less. Bracing, but we were dressed for it and glad to have had a great day in the woods
8.6 miles, 1079′ EG, hike #123 for 2022.