TOTAL DISTANCE: about 12 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: about 3800 ft
PACE: 2 ~ 2.5 mph
DIFFICULTY RATING: Very Difficult.
ESTIMATED HIKING TIME: ~ 6.5 hours
PERMITS(drivers): Northwest Forest Park permit
NOTE: We will find snow on this route. No snowshoes required, but come prepared. We might need to navigate thru the woods if we loose the trail
Carpooling: We will organize carpooling at gateway when we meet on Saturday. Total driving distance to Herman Creek is about 80 miles. We suggest a gas donation of 10cents/mile/person or $8. Exact change makes it easier to divide among drivers. Nobody will e turned around for their inability to contribute.
Rudolph Spur is one of those trails that is rarely maintained or visited in the Gorge. It climbs from the PCT near Dry Creek Falls all the way to Benson Plateau skirting some interesting steep terrain and offering some really nice views of the Gorge. In the past I've done Rudolph from Bridge of the Gods coming down via Ruckel Creek. This time we'll try a different route starting from the Herman Creek campground. The first portion of the hike will start with a descent climb until we reach the PCT Junctions and the traverse to Dry Creek Falls. From there we get on the Rudolph spur trail where the real adventure begins. We will try to follow the open ridge to get full views but either way, we'll reach Benson Plateau to then reconnect with the PCT to come back down to Herman Creek.
Please note: this past Sunday we reached snow level at 2800'. we'll be higher than this this weekend. I don't expect deep snow but there will be snow up there.
What to bring:
- Good hiking shoes or boots (water resistant or waterproof recommended)
- Warm clothes (absolutely no cotton!)
- Rain pants and jacket
- Sunglasses and sunscreen
- Trekking poles
- Food & water
A word about my hiking style:
I'm never in a rush to get somewhere fast so my pace is usually between 2 and 2.5 miles/hour with frequent stops to take pictures. I also like to make a stop for lunch, preferably somewhere where we can sit down and enjoy the surroundings. I like exploring and checking out viewpoints or other interesting things while sticking to the plan. In some of my hikes (specially if the word "adventure" is included in the title) we'll go off-trail which requires some navigation, route finding and bushwhacking. When doing so, I take routes that I have researched, have waypoints on my GPS and/or have a map. I can get a bit disoriented but unless I say we're lost, we're not. Be patient and I'll find a route.
While hiking, unless I say otherwise or we are bushwhacking, I like to keep a loose point and sweep system where anybody can be upfront (point) or behind (sweep). When doing so if you are ahead you are point and should stop at every fork or intersection to regroup. If you are last, you are sweep and should maintain awareness that nobody is behind you.
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