Thursday, April 26, 2012

Elk Mountain/Elk Creek - 4/21

On the way home from our short, but very relaxing, stay at the beach, we decided to hike Elk Mountain on Highway 6 so Brad could break in his brand-new mountaineering boots.
We've hiked King's Mountain many times but have never done the other nearby peak, which is often done in combo with King's. 

I was swapping hiking/climbing/skiing stories while in the dentist's chair earlier this month when Dr. Handick talked about heading to Elk Mountain, one of his favorite hikes. That sealed the deal.

Being midday Saturday on the hottest day of the year, the trail head at milepost 28 was packed, and we ended up parking across the highway.
Because the campground is still closed for the season, we had to walk a bit extra from the road.
We took a peek at the map and decided to go up on the Elk Mountain Trail and return on the Elk Creek Trail - a little loop. We should have studied the map closer because it ended up being a LONG loop!

Elk Mountain gains about 2,000 feet in about 1.5 miles. That's STEEP! And since it was so hot, we were poring sweat. 

Brad felt that we were going slow, but we actually made the summit in about 1:15 - plenty fast!
You can't really tell in this picture, but Mount Hood is out there in all her splendor:
Lunch time:

We finished up and headed down the trail to complete our "short" loop. Two miles and lots of deep snow later, we came to the cut off. Just another .8 miles until we reach the Elk Creek Trail. Then another 4 back to the trail head. Oops. No turning back now :)
Because we were now on the north side of the mountain where the sun doesn't reach, the snow was significant. It was very deep and soft, causing us to post hole to our knees. Too bad we left our gaiters at home - that would have been really nice to have! Fortunately it was warm out, so we didn't freeze to death.

Just to add to the adventure, the sun was getting low and I'd left my glasses in the car (since we planned to just do a quick up and down). Fearing that I'd get stuck out in the dark in just my prescription sunglasses, we moved as fast as we could, which wasn't very fast, thanks to the snow.

We also didn't take time to stop and take any pictures. Bummer.

We eventually got low enough to leave the snow behind but still had several miles to go next to the creek. 

Such a beautiful trail!
We made it out of the canyon before dark... wet, tired and happy with our latest outdoor adventure.

Another great day in the woods :)

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