Fish Creek Mountain Adventure


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An Old Friend

It’s always fun to return to a hike done many years ago, especially if it no longer follows a well-maintained trail.

The original trail began near the end of a Forest Service road. But, over twenty years ago the road was closed and is currently so overgrown it is unrecognizable as having ever been passable.

The current trail to 5,100-foot Fish Creek Mountain begins at an unmarked trailhead off of a rough dirt road southeast of Estacada, Oregon.

Cascade Lily

Now one gets the challenge of hiking a hard-to-follow access trail built by volunteers. The trail is very steep in places.

Another change from 20 years ago is the old fire lookout site on the mountain’s summit is overgrown with noble firs and mountain hemlocks standing well over my head.  There would have been views extending to Mt. Jefferson, but it was too cloudy on this July outing.

I had planned to make the 500-foot descent below the summit on another rough trail to a very pretty cirque lake (High Lake) formed by a receding glacier long ago. After hiking about one-half of the way down, I met a large blowdown over the trail. Instead of fighting my way over/around it on the steep hillside, I decided to turn around and head back to the trailhead.

Larkspurs

Bead Lily, Larkspur and Wind Flower

Original trailhead

Cliff Penstemon

Wildflower meadow along lower trail

Orange Columbine, Cat’s-ear Lily and Rhododendron

Blowdown over trail where I turned around

Mountain Hemlocks and Nobel Firs overgrowing the old lookout site

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Oregon Cascades HikesTags: ,

2 comments

  1. I enjoyed hearing about your adventures on this trail, in the past and the present, John. And your photos of the wildflowers are dazzling. I’ve never seen cliff penstemon–what a beautiful sight–and that vibrant patch of larkspurs must’ve been glorious to come upon.

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