Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sherman Loop Trail Hike

Last Friday, the boys and I did the Sherman Loop Trail hike. The trail starts off on South Kettle Crest #13, loops around Sherman Peak and returns on Sherman Loop Trail #72. We hiked from the trailhead in the parking area at Sherman Pass, which drops down into a gorge before climbing back up to cross Highway 20. That section provides quite the climb. It is also possible to follow the road out and pick up the trail directly off of the highway. I would do that if biking the trail. You also avoid a lot of mosquitoes in the marshy area at the bottom of the gorge by taking the road.

Click on the pictures for a larger view.

The trail starts out in thick, cool forest. On the middle tree, there is one of the many squirrels we came across. It wasn't pleased that were there and chattered at us the whole time we were there.

Sherman Peak is covered in these rock fields, which gives it a barren look.

The trail starts out steep. We stopped to rest so I got some pictures of the boys. I told Jake that he always looked out of it in the hiking pictures so I told him to look more intelligent. This is what he came up with.

The trail climbs up through the site of the White Mountain Fire.

Heading into the burned area. Sherman Peak and the ridge connected to it form a bowl. Most of that area burned.

Looking down into the bowl. it's coming back slowly.

There are still a lot of old snags in the area. The burn site wasn't logged afterward so most of the dead stuff has fallen, providing a lot of fuel for the next fire.

The mountain in the background, in the middle, is Wapaloosie, where we hiked last time. The mountain to the left is Columbia Mountain.

Looking up at Sherman Peak.

The trail loops around in front of Sherman Peak and then climbs the ridge. The boys are taking a break here after the steep climb.

The dead snags looming overhead were kind of eerie.

The trail on the ridge, looking toward Sherman Peak. You can cross country here to go to the top but there is no official trail.

The trail on the ridge was lined with lupine. It smelled great.

Butterflies on the wildflowers.

The back side of the mountain had more meadows and was less rocky. There were tons of wildflowers. That's Snow Mountain in the background.

We found a great place to rest for a while. It was shady and the pass between Sherman Peak and Snow Mountain funneled the breeze along there so it was nice and cool.

We met up to Sherman Loop Trail #72 on the Northwest side of the mountain. There was a great view but the terrain was less interesting. The road below is Highway 20 heading toward Republic.

There were areas where the young trees were so thick that it was like going through a maze. You couldn't see very far up the trail. Fortunately, there were no bears or cougars hiding in there.

Looking at the backside of Wapaloosie and Columbia Mountains.

Sherman Lake. We didn't go to the lake because it looked like a mosquito haven.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wapaloosie Mountain hike

Last Friday, the boys and I decided to try hiking the Wapaloosie Mountain trail. Wapaloosie Mountain is one of the taller peaks in the Kettles. The trail is fairly steep, rising about 1800 feet in a little over mile.

It's a popular trail with horseback riders and mountain bikers. Considering how steep and rocky the trail is, the mountain bikers who ride it must be excellent riders in fantastic shape.

(click on the pictures for bigger versions)

Garret and Jake at the trailhead
The trail starts off innocently enough in a lush forest.

However, it starts to get steep pretty quickly. Fortunately, it gets steep in sections, so you climb for a while and then the trail flattens out, allowing you to catch your breath. With the rocks, the steep sections are almost like climbing stairs in spots.

Here are the boys after one of the last of the steep sections.

After about a mile and half, the trail leaves the forest and hits an alpine meadow. With the cool, wet summer we have had, there were still a lot of wildflowers. Normally, it would be too dry by August.

The view was amazing, too.

The tall peak in the distance is Sherman Peak near Sherman Pass.

I had promised Garret that we would only go 2 miles so we turned back at that point. The trail continues on another .7 miles, where it joins up to Kettle Crest Trail #13. At that point, there is another short hike to the top of Wapaloosie Mountain. That will be a hike for another day.