Clackamas River Trail

Another stop on my recent trip south was to hike the Clackamas River Trail. You can almost forget you’re hiking parallel with a highway. Almost. For a river hike, access and views of the river are fairly limited and there’s plenty of ups and downs. Completely unexpected was a short stretch of the trail which travels through a stretch of forest reminiscent of the redwood forests of coast California. It held old growth sized trees with a forest floor of oxalis. So pretty! My destination was Pup Creek Falls which is a short way trail up a side drainage. Again, it’s a rather large water fall in a nice setting. The trail during my hike was fairly brushy coming from the Fish Creek trail head but there’s word on the hiking forum that there will be a work party shortly to brush it out. PortlandHikers lists this hike as moderate in terms of difficulty. I thought this was odd since it only gains 950 feet. After hiking it, however, I think it’s appropriate. The constant up and down nature of the trail earns the rating. Just like my hike to Falls Creek Falls (see my previous blog post), the trail doesn’t offer too many opportunities to actually visit the river’s edge or enjoy unobstructed views. Still an enjoyable hike!
Forest understory along the Clackamas River Trail
Ferns and oxalis along the Clackamas River Trail
Ferns and oxalis along the Clackamas River Trail
Pup Creeks Falls, just off of the Clackamas River Trail

April Leftovers

I built up a little backlog during the month of April so here’s a quick hit series of photos.
Big Four Mountain
Big Four Mountain detail
Sunny spring day and Big Four Mountain
Skykomish River Valley near Sultan
Cumulus clouds over the summit of Mount Pilchuck
Mount Stickney and Wallace Falls
Mount Pilchuck summit detail
High above the Skykomish River valley near Sultan
Mount Stickney and Wallace Falls
Sunset from Monroe
Storm clouds over Mount Pilchuck from Fairfield County Park in Monroe, Washington
Sunset clouds over Lord Hill from Fairfield County Park in Monroe, Washington
Sunset clouds over Lord Hill from Fairfield County Park in Monroe, Washington
Full moon rising above Haystack Mountain
West Face of Vesper Peak (L), Glacier Peak (C), and Morning Star Peak (R) from Monroe, Washington
Mount Baker Ski Area Vicinity
Spring melt along Razor Hone Creek
Moss on Maples, North Fork Nooksack River valley
Moss on Maples, North Fork Nooksack River valley
I also made this timelapse from my lofty perch above the Skykomish River valley:

Deep at Bagley Creek

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Labor Day marks the traditional end of summer but our weather must be “gifted” since signs of fall have been noticeable for as week or two. Weekend forecasts had been called for gray and showery conditions so a return trip to Bagley Creek with a friend was penciled in. My first visit was a quick one a couple weeks ago but the scenery was stunning and seemed to have potential for even more. During that first visit, it looked like there were some drops and waterfalls just out of sight so some more thorough exploration was in order.

On the way to Bagley Creek, I decided to visit a location I discovered in an old out-of-print book. The location is a rock outcrop which contains fossilized imprints of plant leafs. I’ve never heard of something like this in the Cascades and the ease of access makes it pretty incredible. Through the years, I suspect that most of the quality examples (such as what was in the book’s photo) have been taken home by careless individuals. In order to preserve what remains, I’m electing NOT to reveal its location and simply share some photos.

Fossilized Ferns - North Fork Nooksack River Drainage
Fossilized Leaf - North Fork Nooksack River Drainage
Fossilized Palm leaf imprint - North Fork Nooksack River Drainage
It was very cool to see and touch some of the history of the Cascades. We cut our time short and made our way to Bagley Creek. I wanted to check out two things- the stretch of creek immediately upstream of a forest service road & then a second stretch of the creek further upstream which had a nice sized waterfall. Before wading upstream, we checked out the scene just below the bridge:

Bagley Creek
Bagley Creek
Plunge pool - Bagley Creek
Bagley Creek
Looking upstream from the bridge, one can make out a nice 6′ drop so it was time to wade upstream to investigate it further. As it turns out, a nice amphitheater contains the drop. Just below the drop, however, a plunge pool at least 6′ deep prevented any further travels. After a few more photos, I headed back to the bridge to move on to the second location.

The second location is basically just around the corner. Accessed off of a decommissioned logging road, the forest is dense and makes travel difficult. The waterfall proved elusive yet again due to steep sidewalls and deep waters. We were there and had more time so we followed the old road which paralleled the creek downstream.

We would walk down 50 feet, then pop over to the water’s edge to survey the scene. Our first location provided some really interesting rock formations:

Bagley Creek rock formations (portrait view)
Bagley Creek rock formations (landscape view)
In stream rock formations - Bagley Creek
The next location downstream had one of the deepest plunge pools I’ve seen. I believe this location is roughly where Razor Hone Creek joins Bagley Creek. I managed to get some nice photos despite the sun’s off and on appearances.

We reached one of the bridges used as part of the winter cross country ski trails and then turned around. We now know that this area is accessible during the winter so it might be on the list of places to visit this coming winter!

Bagley Creek
Bagley Creek waterfall
I’ll be taking a break for the next two weeks to attend to some other commitments so look for a new post later this month!

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