PLEASE READ THE FULL DESCRIPTION BELOW!!!
This will be an exploratory outing for me--two long day hikes (+ two nights car camping) in areas just west and south of Mount Adams that I've not visited before. We'll leave late Friday afternoon and return on Sunday evening. You'll likely be very tired by the end of the weekend, but if the weather cooperates it should be a memorable one, with two very different hikes in the same beautiful part of south-central Washington...more than 25 miles of hiking total for the weekend. We'll be back in Portland around 9pm on Sunday evening. See the explanations below for details. You must be in good hiking shape to join this event.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The final approach roads to a couple of the trailheads are not appropriate for passenger cars, so if you have a high-clearance vehicle and are able to drive, you will be given priority RSVP treatment! If the hike's already full, just email me and let me know what vehicle you have and how many people it can hold; if we still need drivers I'll add you to the 'yes' list. We'll need 3 high-clearance vehicles in order to make this outing happen.
FRIDAY EVENING (Portland to campground)
We'll meet at a location to be determined in Portland, finalize our carpool arrangements, and drive the 3+ hours (via I-5 and US Route 12) to North Fork Campground southeast of Randle, WA. Bring something to eat...we might make a quick stop at a convenience store or drive-thru, but we won't be stopping for a proper meal this evening in order to get to the campground before dark. We'll be staying put at the same campground for 2 nights.
SATURDAY Hike (Juniper Ridge)
Elevation gain: about 2,500 feet from lowest to highest point, but with lots of ups and downs (and 3 optional side-trips to the top of the peaks) it will feel like a good bit more.
Hike distance: 13-15 miles, depending on side trips
Hiking time: 8-10 hours
We'll get an early start (730ish) and do the hour-long car shuttle, depositing one or two of our cars at the finish trailhead before heading to the start (FS road 2904) and beginning our hike. We should be on the trail by 930 or so.
I've seen this intriguing ridgeline trail on maps and in photos, and would like to give it a try. The Juniper Ridge Trail (#261) runs for over 10 miles along the mostly exposed Juniper Ridge and past several small peaks (Juniper, Sunrise, and Jumbo, all of which we can ascend as short side trips) in south-central Washington's Dark Divide area, between Mt St Helens and Mt Adams. Weather permitting, there should be some great views in all directions. It's not all easy ridge walking as the photo might suggest...there will be plenty of significant ups and downs along the way!
I've not found a site which describes the complete hike I'm planning, but here are a couple links which describe bits of it.
NOTE: The trail is multi-use, and popular with bikers (both mountain and motorbike)--although reports I read suggest that you'll likely see more evidence of bikers (deep ruts in places on the trail) than you will see bikers themselves. Come prepared for a possibly-overused path and don't let it spoil your experience! From what I've seen and read, our efforts will be more than worth it.
We should be back to the cars by 6pm or so, when the drivers will shuttle back to the start to collect the cars, come back to pick up the rest of us, and return us to the North Fork Campground for the night.
SUNDAY Hike (Mount Adams Meadows)
Rating: Moderate to Difficult
Elevation gain: about 1,500 feet
Hike distance: 12-13 miles
Hiking time: 7-8 hours
Another 730(ish) start, but no car shuttle to worry about today, so we'll just caravan the 90 minutes or so from the campground to the South Climb Trailhead. We should be on the trail by 930am.
This hike starts up the Mt Adams South Climb route, but then veers east onto the Round-the-Mountain Trail, where it crosses a lava bed into Yakama Nation territory and enters open wildflower fields at Bird Creek Meadows. We'll do a 3-mile loop through the meadows and up to Hellroaring Viewpoint, with its spectacular views of the mountain, then will backtrack the 4 miles or so back to the car. We should be finished hiking around 5pm.
We'll stop in either Hood River or Stevenson for well-deserved food and drink on the way back. We should be back to Portland no later than 9pm on Sunday, but as always I can never guarantee it. If you really need to be back by a specific time, please don't sign up!
MORE DETAILS (please read them!)
My hiking style: I'm a pretty tireless hiker, but I like pausing for photos, viewpoints, and/or snack breaks whenever the scenery demands it. To me outings are more about enjoying your surroundings than reaching the 'finish line' at any set time or pace, although I do like to keep on schedule, and in general keep a moderate to quick pace (2-2.5 mph) when we're on the move. (With that said, if you're wanting full-speed-ahead hikes without pauses, this isn't your event.) I like keeping the group somewhat 'together' on the trail and not leaving anyone behind. Most of all, I want it to be an enjoyable day out for everyone!
Total driving distance for the weekend: roughly 350 miles
Costs: Suggested $30 per person to driver for gas (may vary depending on each car's gas mileage), $15 per person fee for camping, and possible Yakama Reservation hiking permit fee (to be determined).
What to bring: enough layers for 2 warm days and 2 cool nights; sunscreen; hat (for shade); gaiters (may not need them but they could come in handy along Juniper Ridge if the trail is muddy and rutted); tent, a warm sleeping bag (I'm taking my 40 degree one plus a liner), sleeping mat for padding, trekking poles; headlamp and spare batteries; sunglasses; camera; enough water and food for 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 2 dinners, plus snacks for the trail; sturdy hiking boots or shoes. Always bring a waterproof layer just in case. Leave the cotton at home. If you have a NW Forest Pass, please bring it with you.
Sorry, no dogs...
THE FINE PRINT:
- There's a manual waiting list for this event, meaning that when someone on the YES list drops out, everyone waitlisted gets an email noting that there's a spot open. First one to the open spot gets it.
- As a Meetup organizer, I'm an unpaid volunteer. While I always try to ensure a safe and enjoyable outing for everyone, by signing up for this event you assume full responsibility for your own health, safety, and well-being for its entire duration, including while traveling to and from both the meeting place and destination.
- The 'ten essentials' to always have in your pack generally include: Map/compass (and advance understanding of where you're going!), sun protection, extra clothes, extra food, extra water, headlamp/flashlight (and spare batteries), first aid kit, matches/firestarter, knife/tools, and a whistle if you need to signal for help. You should always be prepared in case you get separated from the rest of the group and/or have to spend a night on your own in the wilderness.
- I absolutely welcome and encourage other NW Wilderness Organizers to sign up for and join my events; it's always great to have you guys along. I do, however, reserve the right to move you to the Waiting List if I decide to move qualified and Waitlisted non-organizers to the YES list.
- I also reserve the right to remove anyone from my events if I'm concerned that their ability or fitness level will slow down the rest of the group. If there is a waiting list, I may remove anyone with multiple past 'no-shows' to the 'no' list to make room for those who may be more reliable.