Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Mount Defiance 2014-09-16

10.13 miles and 4,414 feet of elevation gain.

Decided to hike the whole mountain, so we started from the freeway. 

Google Maps Link

Blue's full name is Blue Longtongue

Looking down on the freeway exit we started from.

At the top

I'm not sure why Blue has his whole mouth stuck in the water, fishing?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Mount Saint Helens Blue Lake 2014-08-28

16.38 miles and 4,042 feet of elevation gain.

One of my favorite hikes.  This was Blue's first time, I'm sure he really enjoyed it.  We headed down the day before and found a nice spot close to the trailhead to park the camper.  We arrived in the afternoon and had time to go for a nice long walk before fixing dinner. 

The trailhead was wiped out twice by lahars from the mountain.  The current trailhead is at the edge of the lahar where it covered the road.  The material in this 'mudflow' consists of rocks, large sand, and ash.  I believe it is coming from the large ravine that required us to make an almost one mile detour before it could be crossed.  As you will see in some of the pictures below, Mt St Helens is just a big pile of loose rubble, add some water and it will wash away.

Google Maps link

Our camping spot about 100 feet from the trailhead parking area.  Just enough space to get off the road. 

Another camping spot with an impressive fire pit.  The rocks and terrain were too much to get the camper into this spot.

The parking area, they must have plans for a big bridge somewhere.

 This is where we will start in the morning.

 Turnaround and walk a few feet and this is the trail we will come back on, right at the edge of the lahar. 

Starting up the Butte Camp trail.  
Butte Camp Dome is a significant bump on the side of the mountain about two-thirds of the way up to the Loowit trail that circles the mountain.  Next to the dome is a flat spot that looks like a nice camping area. I brought two empty one liter bottles to fill up with dog water.  This is the last water until Sheep Canyon.


Heading up the hill from Butte Camp

Almost above the tree line.

Mt Adams in the distance

Loowit trail intersection is just ahead.

 The first gulley crossing.  Blue was not sure what to think of this big hole in the middle of the trail.

And wasn't sure how to get out.

The next one was much larger and starting to erode the trail.

Looking back at the trailhead, it's just left of the center of the picture.

This one has washed out the trail.

The trail down into the gulley, upper right side of picture, wasn't as bad as it looks.  However, the top of the trail coming out, lower left side, was a bit scary because it was a steep hard surface covered with loose sand and pebbles.  A short distance from the trail was a twenty foot drop down to boulders.

This is the start of the mile long detour to get past the biggest of the gulleys.  The old trail now ends at a cliff.

The crossing point.

The trail up

After many years, the gulleys will probably become small valleys like this one.

This area has the best huckleberries.  It is right at the edge of the blast zone just as the trail starts heading down the South Fork Toutle River.    

We took a side trip to look at the ford to cross the Toutle.  It is now located about one-third of a mile down stream, due to erosion. 

The trail down.  Can you see the rope?

And the rope for getting up the other side?

Some much needed trial work was done this year.

The Sheep Canyon Creek bridge.  Sly doesn't like bridges that bounce, wiggle, or move in anyway whatsoever.  He would only cross after Blue and I had crossed.

A nice rest area with water.  They finished the two liters of water I was carry for them a few miles before this spot.

The Blue Lake guardian? 

The last time I was here the trail was just cairns across a field of rocks.

 Good dogs!