TOTAL MILES: 13+ miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 1650 ft
PACE: “Quick” (~2.5 mph)
DIFFICULTY RATING: Challenging
ESTIMATED HIKING TIME: 7 hours
**RSVPs will open at 7:00 pm***
CARPOOLING: RT mileage is 90 miles, give or take; we suggest a mileage donation of 10 cents/mile/person, or $9.00. Exact change makes it easier to divide among our drivers. No one will be turned away for an inability to contribute. Thanks!
Each and every time that I have posted a hike for this area the forecast was good when I posted it, but by the time the date of the hike arrived the weather took a turn for the worse and we were left looking at the inside of a cloud, so, for everyone who was looking forward to sunshine this Saturday, feel free to blame me if it doesn't materialize :-) But I digress...
The plan is to park at the eastern junction of FR41 and FR4104 (located in the Gifford Pinchot NF, so no WA Discovery Pass needed). Trail #172 starts out following an old 4x4 road south for a couple of miles to the “old” trailhead. From there we’ll follow the single track as it winds its way westerly under Bluff Mt, through a forested section, then back into the open as we pass Little Baldy and follow the ridge line past the junction with the Starway Trail. From there it’s a short jaunt up to the twin summits and those panoramic views that I have only seen pictures of. Finally, no hike in this area is complete without a stop in Battle Ground on the way back for one of the best banana milkshakes that you have ever tasted!
Here’s a much better hike description than I could ever come up with on my own:
We’ll be walking along an exposed ridge for much of this hike, and historically the trail has been pretty overgrown, so sunscreen, a windbreaker, and long pants are must have items on this one. Also, while the driving mileage doesn’t look like much, FS 41 isn’t the best road in the world (nowhere near as bad as the access up to Ed's Trail !!), and we’ll be on back country roads for a while before we even get onto FS 41, so we’re looking at about 1.5 to 2 hours of driving on each side of the hike, which means that we probably won’t get back to Gateway until 8:00pm at the earliest. In other words, please don’t RSVP for this hike if you have someplace to be Saturday night.
NO DOGS, please.
What to bring:
• Sturdy hiking boots/shoes with at least one change of socks
• Two or three light layers of clothing that can be adjusted or removed as necessary (NO COTTON!!!)
• Rain gear
• Safety whistle, preferably on a cord around your neck (highly recommended)
• The 10 essentials*
• Trekking poles (never a bad idea)
• Lunch, snacks and plenty of water
*Navigation, Sun protection, Insulation, Illumination, First Aid, Fire, Repair Kit/Tools, Nutrition, Hydration, Emergency Shelter. For a more detailed description, check out “The Ten Essentials” on the Portland Hiking Meetup Group’s FILES page.