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    Daniel Douglas added Round Mt Hood

    3 months ago

    Daniel Douglas updated Burnt and Cast Lake Loop

    4 months ago

    Daniel Douglas updated Burnt and Cast Lake Loop

    4 months ago

    Daniel Douglas reviewed Mount St. Helens Loop Trail from Windy Ridge

    4 months ago

    I backpacked this route on July 1st and 2nd, 2018. Starting at Windy Ridge, I went counter clockwise around the mountain, choosing to get through the approximately 10 mile no camping zone on the north side first.

    The parking area is the Windy Ridge interpretive center and the road that shows on maps leading from there to a closer trail head is gated off. You will have to hike from Windy Ridge about two miles to get to the Loowit Trail. A National Forest Pass is required to park, but no other fees or permits are required for this hike.

    The north side of the volcano is the side that blew up in the May 18, 1980 eruption. It is still very much a desolate area with no trees and very little vegetation beyond grass and some beautiful fields of flowers. The numerous river flows off the mountain are wide areas of rocky ground over which any semblance of a trail cannot survive from year to year. Look for the stacked stone cairns and single wood posts that mark the trail.

    The first couple of miles on this route crossed several rivers that were still flowing with water, but after that there was no water available until the Toutle River on the west flank of the mountain. The desent into the Toutle River gorge was a little hairy. The trail traverses steep slopes consisting of loose volcanic gravel and should be traveled with extreme care. At the bottom, the last 50 feet to the river bed can only be reached hand over hand down a knotted rope anchored at the top for that purpose. It is a steep enough drop that you will not be able to keep your feet should you let go of the rope.

    The Toutle River was not difficult to cross at the time I traversed it, but I found the area on the south side of the river to have surprisingly few decent camp sites. Camping here was also challenging in that water had to be retrieved from the Toutle, which had rope assisted climbs in and out of it on both sides. I located a camp site a short distance further down the trail to the south near a stream.

    The southern portion of the mountain is characterized by large and very deep washes that are both challenging and hazardous to cross. One was steep enough that ropes had been fixed on both sides. Without them, it wouldn't be possible to get through it. There are also large stretches of lava fields where the trail is often visible only because of the marker posts. Trekking poles are invaluable tools in this terrain and don't expect to make good time.

    I encountered no water sources from my camp near the Toutle River all the way to a stream a short distance from June lake, a distance of 10 miles, give or take. I also saw few camp sites, those that were there being devoid of water sources. I did not visit June Lake, though I was told by other hikers that camp sites were available there.

    From June Lake the trail begins a steady uphill stretch that seems to go on forever. On the eastern side there was a section of wash outs, some six or seven in a row. Once your are through that, the trail levels out for an awe inspiring walk across the plains of Abraham. The views of both Mt St Helens and the hills to the east are incredible.

    The decent down the ridge on the Abraham Trail is steep and covered in loose gravel. There are wooden steps set in the trail to assist hikers in keeping their feet, and they are necessary. It was very windy when I went through here, to the point that I was nearly knocked off my feet a couple of times.

    Overall, this was one of the most beautiful and rugged hikes I've ever been on and I highly recommend it for experienced hikers that are looking for a challenging trail.

    Daniel Douglas completed Salmon River Trail

    7 months ago

    Daniel Douglas followed David Davies

    7 months ago

    Daniel Douglas completed Big Creek Falls Trail

    8 months ago

    Daniel Douglas completed Veda Lake Trail

    8 months ago

    Daniel Douglas completed Hunchback Trail #793

    8 months ago

    Daniel Douglas followed Christopher Neal

    8 months ago

    Daniel Douglas updated Allens Bay Trail

    8 months ago

    Daniel Douglas updated Allens Bay Trail

    8 months ago

    Daniel Douglas updated Allens Bay Trail

    8 months ago

    Daniel Douglas reviewed Allens Bay Trail

    8 months ago

    Daniel Douglas followed Jerry Cody

    9 months ago

    Daniel Douglas added Considering

    10 months ago