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Month: October 2018

Cool Creek Trail to Devil’s Peak

Cool Creek Trail to Devil’s Peak

According to the locals, we were having some unusually nice weather for October. I grabbed one of the nice days to see if I could make it up to Devil’s Peak Lookout again, up Cool Creek Trail this time: over 3000 feet up in just 3.5 miles. The hike map is shown below.

Here are the pictures. You should maximize the slide viewer (in the top left corner) to properly appreciate them. Most pictures were taken with Nikon D5300 and some with my OnePlus 5 phone. The pictures are in high resolution and take a few seconds to load. You can click on the “+” in the top left corner to zoom in.

As usual, I drove out US Highway 26 toward Mt Hood, starting at 8am. About 9 I arrived at Still Creek Road (also National Forest Development Rd 2612). This turned almost immediately into a single lane road, with only a few places where vehicles could pass. It is a very pretty drive and I would have been at trail head in a few minutes except for the line crew which blocked the road while it repaired a downed power line.

I took the opportunity to explore a foot bridge I passed. After I returned from that the way was clear and I arrived at the trail at 10:10 and started up.

The trail is relentless! There are very few gentle slopes, much less level portions. The views are fantastic. I allowed 3 hours and it took four, with many stops and much huffing and puffing. I did make it to the top and climbed into the lookout. It was already occupied by a nursing student who’d made it up earlier in the day. She was settled in, planning on spending the night, so she made it up with a full pack. I only carried my usual 25# adventure pack. We chatted a little while I made my lunch and rested. About 3 I headed back down. I would have explored a little bit, and rested longer, but I was already 2 hours later arriving than planned. Because of the steepness of the trail, getting down would not be much faster than going up. And it was getting dark soon. I made it down in about 2 hours and it was getting pretty dusky at the bottom of the valley where I was parked.

My new boots worked well. They’re a bit clunky and stumbled over things a bit – I’ll just have to get used to them. The main thing is that there was no damage to my toes after that steep downhill hike.

No injuries. The trekking poles helped some. They are good for resting while standing. They do get tangled in vegetation because they’re so light. I’m not sure they are better than my heavy walking stick.

Note: read the instructions on the freeze-dried food packages. They are not all the same. I was pretty tired and mentally fogged when I got to the top and made my lunch on automatic. The Turkey Casserole dinner (see picture) takes less water and a shorter steep time than the others I’ve had. It was still good and I ate both servings without any trouble.

Temperature was in the 40’s. I wore light hiking pants and long-sleeve hiking shirt. I started out with a jacket but warmed up quickly. At the top I put the jacket back on.

I took 2 liters in my hydration pack and 750ml in a bottle. I used every drop. I only took 1 Pemmican bar, ate that along the way and was starving when I got to the top.

For next time: Take more snacks and water. Start earlier.

Will I do this again? Absolutely! I want to spend a night up there and see the stars.