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Juniper Ridge / Plains of Abraham, 2 Long Day Hikes + Car Camp

  • Jul 18, 2014 · 5:00 PM
  • Private Home

RSVP opens Friday, June 27, at 8:30 am.

Please read the whole description before signing up.

I did the Juniper Ridge hike including car camp with Matt T last year and it was so stunning that I want to go back.  Juniper Ridge is located south of US12, in the heart of the triangle between St Helens, Adams, and Rainier.  It is a long drive and a long setup for the car shuttle, but it is worth the effort.

The plan is to drive out there on Friday late afternoon and set up camp.  I reserved a campsite at the Iron Creek Campground near Road 25 and 76 for both nights.   On Saturday we will hike Juniper Ridge with a car shuttle, which will take all day, and return to the campground in the evening.  Leaving the campground early on Sunday, on the way back to Portland, I want to stop at the east side of Mt St Helens and hike to the Plains of Abraham, as described in hike 28 in Sullivan's book '100 hikes in NW Oregon and SW Washington'.

The hikes:

Juniper Ridge

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.  The trail has many ups and downs. Here is a picture from close to Jumbo Peak looking back over the ridge to Sunrise Peak (the dark pointy one center right) and Mt Rainier:

Last year we had amazing fields of Beargrass, combined with views of Mt Adams:

The trail is also used by bikers, but it is likely that the most we see of them are the dips in the trail, which sometimes makes hiking a bit weary. As already mentioned, the car shuttle will take some time, so bring some to wait at the trailhead.

Distance: about 15 miles
Ascent: about 4000 ft, a little bit more down as the end point is lower than the starting point.

Plains of Abraham

This will be exploratory to me, but the area should be well traveled and the trails not hard to find.  This hike is on the east flank of Mt St Helens.  The lollipop loop, that will bring us into the main blast zone and to some meadows with wildflowers, starts at the Windy Ridge parking area and climbs slightly to Loowit Falls.  From here we take the Loowit Trail over Windy Pass to the Plains of Abraham and return to the cars on the Abraham trail.

Distance: about 11.5 miles
Elevation gain: 1400 ft

Other stuff:

After all this we will likely stop for a good burger and beer on the way.  Don't expect to be back at a specific time on Sunday, it could be well into the evening before we are back in Portland.

Costs: Gas money for roughly 350 miles, about 10 to 15 Dollars for camping (depends on # of people participating)

The trailhead for the Juniper Ridge hike is on a dirt road, so if you have an SUV or something with more clearance and you are willing to drive, please leave a comment and I might give you preferences.

We would need three drivers.

Permits: NW Forest Pass.

No dogs.

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, 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.

THE FINE PRINT:

- If the event is full, you can sign up for the 'Notify Me' list, meaning that when someone on the YES list drops out, everyone listed 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 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.

(Thanks Matt for parts of the description and the fine print)





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  • Emily

    Highlight of the summer! Great planning by Juergen!

    1 · July 22, 2014

  • B.G

    Hey Juergen, thanks for the trip, I somehow missed that part of cascades.

    July 21, 2014

  • Duncan

    Another wonderful trip :) I am so sore today....
    Thanks Juergen and everyone else !

    1 · July 21, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I loved every last minute of this hike/car camp but seeing the falls come out of the cloud on Sunday followed by that walk along windy ridge was by far the best part!

    July 21, 2014

  • Juergen

    This was a fantastic weekend. Thanks everyone for coming along. I had a group of strong hikers with me that worked together quite well. Can't wait to steal some pictures from here.
    Hiking stats Saturday (Juniper Ridge):
    14.9 miles, 2.4 mph avg moving speed, 4400 ft ascent (5300 descent)
    Hiking stats Sunday (Plains of Abraham):
    11.6 miles, 2.4 mph avg moving speed, 2200 ft ascent

    3 · July 20, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      It was amazing! Our luck at the waterfall today followed by that incredible ridge walk just made this weekend for me. Thank you all for the great company! I can't wait to see y'all on the next adventure!

      2 · July 20, 2014

  • Zhong

    Thank you so much, Juergen. Perfect planning. Two excellent hikes, great camp site, comfortable weather. What a view, or views. So many flowers. Thanks to Jen and Juergen who drove many many hours. Awesome time with all of you. Hope to see you all again soon on the trail.

    2 · July 20, 2014

  • Duncan

    Really looking forward to this trip!
    Does anyone have a (decent) extra camping mattress that I may borrow?
    I don't seem to be having good luck with them lately :~/

    July 16, 2014

    • Juergen

      I have an extra air sleeping mat, not sure what you consider decent as it is fairly thin. I'll bring it along.

      July 16, 2014

    • Duncan

      Thanks! See you soon :)

      July 18, 2014

  • Zhong

    Reminder for everyone to bring rain gear: 40% rain this weekend at Randle.
    Anyone knows about the mosquito situation? along the 2 hikes, at the campground? Also, do we plan on cooking over fire, eating at a pub, ... on Sat? I'm just wondering what to bring. I'll be taking train + bus, so less is easier.

    July 17, 2014

    • Zhong

      Exellent. Thanks.

      July 17, 2014

    • Juergen

      Plan on mosquitos in the campground as the season is there for them. The Sat hike was mostly no problem with mosquitos last year, as we had a light breeze on the ridge that kept them away. No idea about the Sun hike.

      July 17, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Please note: while I am happy to take my car and be a driver, it is not in great shape. There is no A/C, only one speaker works so music is iffy, it doesn't have good ground clearance and the rear suspension is pretty shot. So if someone else besides Juergen, Jen, and myself is willing to drive that would be much preferred!

    July 17, 2014

    • Juergen

      We will figure something out tomorrow. Bhaskar will drive, but is not staying for the Sunday hike. So if there is no other driver, we have to pack tighter on Sunday but the car shuttle is save.

      July 17, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'm taking off work a half hour early to get there at 5PM. I'm driving up Hwy 43 and picking up Duncan downtown so I can alter my course and pick up anyone else needing a ride from the west side of the river.

    July 17, 2014

    • Emily

      Charlene, Where exactly are you picking up downtown?

      July 17, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      As of now 12th and Montgomery. I can go anywhere in that general area though.

      July 17, 2014

  • Ola

    Juergen, 5pm is the worst time to leave Portland and Friday is the worst day. Prev. week it took me about 1.5 hrs to get out of the city on Thursday. May be we'll start later? (And will be at the destination at the same time)

    1 · July 16, 2014

    • Juergen

      Actually, commuting from Beaverton to NE every day, the rush hour on Fridays is earlier. By 5:30 it is usually better. From my place we just hit I5 right before the old bridge and should be out of the worse right away. If everyone is fine with getting to my place at 5, we can leave the time.

      July 17, 2014

  • Jen B

    This hike looks awesome! I've got a 5gal water jug, portable propane bbq & camp stove, & cooler space to share (I'm one of the drivers).

    1 · July 17, 2014

    • Zhong

      Thanks. I'll bring my Steripen to share (for water). I can bring my 2 litre pot. Was contemplating on bringing a cooler and beer. May give up on that.

      July 17, 2014

    • Juergen

      Bring enough water for the hikes as both don't have many water sources on the trail. But the campground will have potable water. We have to find some firewood on the way, but we should have enough stoves and pots to get along if someone comes without.

      July 17, 2014

  • Elinor

    Hi Juergen. Sorry but this just isn't going to work. Have an awesome time.

    July 10, 2014

  • Juergen

    Welcome to the group everyone. As we have potential drivers signed up, I open the last three spots to reach my planned number of 10 people.

    June 27, 2014

  • Lisa M

    This sounds amazing!!

    1 · June 26, 2014

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