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Bull of the Woods Wilderness
On a beautiful Sunday morning, I began the hike to Upper Welcome Lake in the Bull of the Woods Wilderness, less than 60 miles southeast of home as the crow flies. I was somewhat apprehensive due to my experience hiking to the summit of Whetstone Mountain in late July. It’s also in the Bull of the Woods. That trail had not been maintained for quite awhile, making for a tough and long hike.
I had done the 10-mile put-and-back, 2,200-foot gain hike three years ago and found that a 2010 wildfire had burned the area around the Lakes significantly. However, the lower part of the trail had been in fine shape, going through an old growth forest with large, old hemlocks and Douglas fir trees.
To my surprise, I began running into the impacts of another wildfire in less than one-quarter mile. Many of the old growth trees were now burned snags, and way too many had fallen over the trail on the steep hillside. And, what I feared had come to pass – – – there had been no trail maintenance.
After another one-quarter mile or so, I gave up crawling over and around fallen trees over the trail and returned to the trailhead.
For some added enjoyment I drove over Graham Pass on the way back home.
A hint to the wise, when it comes to dangerous things for solo wilderness hikers to do, dealing with large blowdowns over trails on steep hillsides is up there with fording high streams.
More deadfalls over the trail
Fireweed, Daisy and Oregon Grape