This is a pretty nice waterfall and it doesn’t require much of a hike to enjoy. It is not far from the trailhead.
Today, we only did about four miles round trip, but what a trip. As before, there were no tracks to follow. No one had gone as far on this trail since the snow. No doubt they gave up when the blow downs started:
Not too far from here we were compelled to turn around, as it changed from ‘lots of trees across the trail’ to ‘the trail has been trashed by an avalanche’.
We were a bit short of our goal, but looking at the Garmin gps track (see below for the link) we can see we were pretty much on the right track. Just too tough to navigate over what is left after an avalanche.
Plenty of nice sights along the way:
One odd sight was a tree, covered with spikes and sawed off. Did loggers long ago drive in the spikes to kill it? Or what?
We really want to do this trail again with no snow. It was really deep and we were post holing up above our thighs at some points, so it was a bit enervating chugging along. But once you are up there, we are confident the maps don’t lie, and there are plenty of connections to old logging roads and unofficial trails.
This guy didn’t want anything to do with us. I think he looked back at us with a sneer (which we probably deserved) and disappeared.
We were going to complete the hike I tried alone on New Year’s Day, up Hall Creek to Iron Horse, to junction with Garcia, then up FR9020 towards Zig Zag summit.
We didn’t count on how tough it is to break trail with snow shoes. It is tough work, and we weren’t exactly walking on a simple, level trail. We were going up and up on an old road and we ran into a section that was totally trashed from what looked to us like a fairly recent avalanche.This went on for quite some way – in fact, we never did get quite through it. We hit a major road junction and turned around (see the gps/map visualization linked below)
Like I say, it is tough going breaking snow shoe trail. Here is what the trail looked like ahead of us:
And this is what it looked like after we had broken through the snow:
There is never any shortage of great views on these hikes:
As we hit the Hall Creek Trail where it intersects Iron Horse we immediately noticed what is for sure the Zig Zag Trail. Derek went up a little way and totally confirms.
This is cool, next time we will go up Zig Zag and come down the less drastically steep way, the old road.
Yeah, that’s the summit but I didn’t make it today. Without snow this is a really nice hike. We get to the summit in about three hours.
Today, in the snow, the exertion was so intense I only went a bit more than 4 miles up in 3 hours and then I turned around. How deep? Well, here is a photo of one of the places where I broke through the snow and went up to my hip. I have my poles in place to show how deep the footprint is:
The combination of so much snow and lots of windstorms lately created a major blowdown problem. Here is one of the minor obstacles:
In one place I had to stop and figure out how to get by. I should have taken a picture but I was kind of preoccupied with the immediate challenge. I wound up having to go off-trail, partly down a hill, to get around the monster tree.
I should have brought my snowshoes. I had read a trip report that scoffed at snowshoes, calling them overkill. And indeed they might have been overkill that day, but today, it was sunny and (relatively) warm so the snow was getting soft and it was easy to break through. Ouch!
But, no regrets. I wanted a vigorous workout and hiking 8.6 miles up and down a very snowy mountain for 5.5 hours is pretty good exercise. And, as always, the views are to die for:
I may go back next weekend, this time with the snowshoes. Live and learn.
If I want to count the blessings I would say that I found a new trail head and confirmed the Zig Zag trail (it starts as the Hall Creek Trail) but that’s about it.
My plan was to hike to Garcia Road and from there up to a logging road that winds around back and then to the summit of the mountain (unnamed so far, I believe) the Zig Zag trail approaches.
But I got off on the wrong path immediately; ran into a dam and had to back track; wound up on a semi-busy road in the area and back-tracked again; found Hall Creek trail and followed it up to Iron Horse/John Wayne, confirming it was in fact the start of Zig Zag; and then headed east on Iron Horse.
I made it to Garcia, started up the logging road but hit a massive blowdown. I couldn’t see very far beyond it but it looked like there was a long area of blocked trail. So I turned around and went back.
I would add it was about 30 degrees with a steady 35-50 mph (estimate) wind much of the way. It was coming from the northeast and walking east was tough, into the wind. It was almost like hiking a steep grade.
I lost one of my ice trekkers and going down Hall Creek I had my snowshoes on and that was more or less a disaster. I came close to sliding into the creek.
It took me 30 minutes to do the last .2 mile because every single step had to be planned. I slipped several times and purposely took a couple of sections sliding on my butt.
I do not recommend this trail without major traction devices. Snowshoes sucked, the trail was so narrow I had to maneuver just to move in some places.
Weather permitting I will be trying this one again, with my soon-to-be-new ice trekkers next week, weather permitting. Just under 7 miles and about 3.5 hours. Not what I would call a successful hike but the weather was glorious and let’s not forget the views.
Update: After thinking this over for a few hours I am a bit less bummed about my failure today. For one thing, I was alone on a snow-covered mountain, breaking trail steeply uphill on a very windy day with blowdowns (trees blown down across the trail) all over the place. Had anything happened, I would simply have frozen up there. Anyway, after looking at maps and Google Earth of the area, it is clear that, in better conditions, this will be a marvelous hike. Next week is an overly aggressive goal, but when the snow is gone this one will rock.