|A former member||
Last fall a friend of mine invited me to be the sweep on a short hike in the Trapper Creek Wilderness. The hike was filled with lush green ferns, mushrooms of many varieties, and the start of fall was in the air.
That hike sparked an interest to go back this year and check it out further. So on Sunday, we set off to do a full day counter-clockwise loop hike using the Observation Trail 132, out-n-back on the Observation Peak Trail 132A, and back to the trailhead on the Trapper Creek Trail 129.
For those who are headed out there, the trails are cleared, well-marked, and in excellent condition with just one exception ... several of the 18+ switchbacks on the Trapper Creek Trail 129 have washed away which could make balancing with a large pack difficult.
There was water still available along Observation Peak Trail 132 between miles 2.8 and 3.3, the 'Upper' Trapper Creek crossing via logs is easy to spot from the East side, but it has significant overgrowth on the West side.
The wildflowers on the peak were just beginning to come up: paintbrush, magenta rock penstemon, coiled-beak lousewort, lupine and mariposa lily are all numerous.
A close-up of a Coiled-beak Lousewort.
The Observation Trail has several stands of candystick/sugarkstick, spotted coralroot, phantom orchid, and pinesap(?) blooming.
Some close-ups of Candystick/Sugarstick
While we had a good workout, found two or three new wildflowers for me, and shared a section of the trail/forest with a bear at the end ... it was nothing all that special compared to so many other places we've hiked in the gorge this year.
Throughout the hike we kept wondering things like, maybe it's nicer when the sun is dappling the trail, perhaps cooler spring weather makes it lusher, maybe it's the solitude it offers (we saw only 3 hikers and one set of backpackers), maybe stopping by the waterfalls and creeks to relax, or enjoying the huckleberries later in the season make this place special.
While we didn't get to explore the two cut-across connector trails between the Observation Trail and Trapper Creek Trail, we felt like we probably got a good feel for the place over our 15.6 mile loop hike.
So what did we miss? Perhaps we are just jaded and taking this wonderful area we call home for granted ...
|Rick L. J.||
Chris, I only remember a nice meadow the top of Observation Peak and the Falls from when I did pretty much the same route. And a bunch of guys who were laughing at a lady. IT s Crude but funny. During a photo shot she said "Peanuts in my mouth" She told me later. We all heard it as, well you can guess what guys would hear! LOL!