Wilderness Solitude


On a sunny, shirt-sleeve morning I parked at the Eagle Creek Trailhead about 30 miles southeast of home as the crow flies. In the first mile the Trail lost 500 feet of elevation following an old logging road before reaching the valley floor.

In the next mile the Trail entered the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness. Talk about an abrupt change – – – from an old clear-cut to an old-growth rainforest.

Some of the cedar, Douglas fir and hemlock trees were six to eight feet across at their base. This Trail may be the best place near Portland to experience an old-growth forest.

Near riparian areas the underbrush became thick again with vine maple, big-leaf maple and salmonberry, sometimes reaching well over my head. As usual, there were few signs of wildlife in the old-growth forest, probably due to lack of much to eat.

In a little over three miles there was a nice campsite next to Eagle Creek. The Trail continued to follow the Creek upstream, sometimes through meadows and other times climbing above steep ravines.

Following the Trail became more difficult until I finally reached its end, roughly seven miles from the Trailhead.  After eating a light lunch near the crystal-clear Creek and deeply enjoying the solitude, I began the return to the Trailhead.

Trillium

Trillium

Into the Wilderness

Into the Wilderness

Cabbage White Butterfly

Cabbage White Butterfly

Wood Sorrel

Wood Sorrel

Pleasant stretch of the trail

Pleasant stretch of the trail

Fairy lanterns (wild Lily)

Fairy lanterns (wild Lily)

End of the Eagle Creek Trail (seldom visited spot)

End of the Eagle Creek Trail (seldom visited spot)

In the upper basin Eagle Creek has a modest flow

In the upper basin Eagle Creek has a modest flow

Eagle Creek flowing in a deep canyon

Eagle Creek flowing in a deep canyon

Skunk Cabbage

Skunk Cabbage

A very old trail sign (Eagle Creek Cutoff Trail)

A very old trail sign (Eagle Creek Cutoff Trail)

 

 

Categories: Oregon Cascades HikesTags: , , , , , ,

3 comments

  1. Great post, John. Lots of ‘essential’ spring and early summer, here!

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    • Thanks for the kind words. I suspect this is a spectacular time to be in the Interior. Young animals and birds being born, too early for mosquitoes and lots of wildflowers in bloom. I’m envious.

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      • Yup! All of those things are true – wildflower season is just starting now. Spent a lot of time out and about over the weekend, and the wildlife side of things is in full swing! Only hitch – the mosquitoes are out in full force already.

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