Trail: Ca to Or to Wa????

Discussion in 'Blazin Trails' started by 2Dogs, Jun 1, 2001.

  1. 2Dogs

    2Dogs 1/2 ton status Premium Member

    May 4, 2001
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    I heard that there was a trail being constructed in the Eastern half of Oregon that will go from app NoCal to SoWa.
    Does anyone know if it exists or will be opened? Sounds like
    the perfect trip to me!
  2. blazerbum

    blazerbum Registered Member

    May 14, 2001
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    lake stevens washington state
    no havnt heard that . but can do some checking at least on the washington side everett seattle area that would be cool .
  3. mudhog

    mudhog THEGAME Staff Member Super Moderator

    Nov 6, 2000
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    portland oregon
    i dont know the trail personaly but i have a trip report from some of the members of our local 4x4 group that might give you some info hope this helps this will also let you know what the trail is like in oregon[​IMG]

    Several years ago, recreation departments from Oregon, California, and
    Washington put together a plan for a Backcountry Discovery Route that would
    encourage people to experience primitive camping while traveling along
    backcountry roads extending from Mexico to Canada. The plan included many
    of the most interesting sites in out of the way places. Then they found
    directions to connect all these places by dirt, gravel, cow paths, and as
    little asphalt as possible. The route avoids all the urban areas that
    stretch along I-5 corridor.

    The Oregon section was dedicated in 1999. It was the first (and to date the
    only) completed section. The routes are along mapped and recognized roads.
    A lot of the roads are seasonal, and not maintained in the winter. Some of
    the route is in snow country, and usually does not open up until late summer
    on a big snow year. This year was good for an early start, because of the
    low snowfall.

    Last year, 3 wilderness protection groups in Oregon sued the Oregon Parks
    Department for not doing environmental impact statements before creating the
    route. This is somewhat ludicrous, because the route is merely a mapping
    and signing project. The roads already existed for many years. The
    wilderness groups are just using any tactic they can to lock up forests from
    anyone but able bodied hikers. Anyway, the signing was completed on the
    section from California to just south of Christmas Valley. The rest of the
    route is mapped, but not signed. Because of the lack of signs, it is
    necessary to use a book of topo maps to navigate the trail. To make decent
    time, you really need a GPS and a laptop is really handy for tracking to the
    topo maps.

    When I first heard about the trail it was the time of the dedication. I
    decided someday I would travel the trail from one end to the other. This
    last year, I decided it was time. I sold my large Ford diesel pickup and
    downsized to a 2000 Cherokee. Then I fitted the cherokee with a lift, 31
    inch AT tires, roof rack, heavy duty bumper, driving lights, GPS, laptop, CB
    and ham radios. I posted an invite on the Oregon Bushhackers mailing list,
    and about a dozen other people said they would like to join me. The
    expedition took place May 25th-28th. Our goal was to travel and document
    approximately 1/3 of the route running north from Cave Lake, California to
    where the route crosses Highway 20 east of Bend.

    On Friday, the 25th, I left my home in North Plains, and rendezvoused with
    Dale and Mary Jo Mosby in their similarly equipped 2000 Cherokee at the
    freeway on-ramp. We rendezvoused with Ed and Pat Bodner in their Explorer
    at the I-5 rest stop in Champoeg. We caravanned to Tangent, and there we
    met Jason Hutchison and Jen in his 98TJ Wrangler and Bill Lewey in his 96
    (?) Grand Cherokee. After about an hour delay, we were joined by Eric "Evil
    Empire" Bewley and Sarah in his monster Samurai with the 35 inch swampers
    and full width wagoneer axles. We caravanned to the Cave Lake campground.
    When we arrived at the campgound, we received two surprises. First, there
    was quite a bit of snow still on the ground. Second, fortunately there was
    nobody in the campground but us on the friday before Memorial Day weekend!
    Luckily, there were several tent sites that were on dry ground, so we set up
    camp and had a nice fire and went to bed. The temperature that night
    dropped close to 30 degrees. It was at least a 2 dog night. Unfortunately,
    I only had one along with me, and his fur was so short he was colder than I
    was. I had to wrap him up in his own sleeping bag, and let him snuggle
    close to me, but we both shivered most the night.

    Saturday morning we enjoyed a late breakfast, and a few other folks wandered
    into camp. We devised a method of communicating directions between vehicles
    on the radios so we could allow enough separation to not have to eat each
    other's dust. I would follow the GPS waypoints, then call out the turns on
    my radio, along with the mileage. The person behind me would repeat the
    direction and the mileage, and the person behind would do the same, and so
    on. We used this method for the rest of the trip, and it worked great
    except for one time when I let another (not mentioning any names, Monkey
    Boy!) vehicle lead. Big mistake!

    Shortly after we left camp, we came across the next big surprise. There
    were large snow drifts across the road, and there were two pickups stuck in
    the snow! Another couple in an old bronco came by and the driver pulled one
    of the trucks out of the snow. Actually, the truck wasn't really stuck,
    because the winch never tightened the line before the truck leaped rearword
    out of the snowbank. By the time the Bronco had moved into position to pull
    out the second truck, it had already pulled out of the snow and turned
    around to drive back out.

    The realization hit me that we had driven well over 350 miles to get to the
    sart of this route, and now we may have to relinquish our goal to the Gods
    of snow! We pondered the situation for a few seconds, then said "Nah. we
    can get through this!" We put the highest clearance vehicle (the Samurai
    with 35 inch tires) in front, followed by the Wrangler with 33 inch tires,
    then me with 31 inch tires, and so on until the lowest clearance vehicle.
    Using this method, we could grade off a little of the snowbank with the
    passing of each vehicle. It soon was evident our plan was a success, as it
    was really fun driving over the first few snowbanks.

    On about the fifth snowbank, Bill's Grand Cherokee lost momentum and sunk to
    the frame. Ed's Explorer behind pulled him back out, and then he hit the
    bank with much more momentum. Success! The start of the route is near
    8,000 feet. It descends to less then 6,000 feet shortly after the start, so
    we didn't see any snow on the road after about the first mile. Other than a
    little mud and some rough rocky sections, we didn't use 4 wheel drive for
    the rest of the trip.

    The scenery was spectacular. All the wildflowers are in bloom, and the
    colors of the vivid flowers against the rich spring grass in the meadows was
    intense. We were blessed with clear blue skys and warm sunny days for
    almost the entire trip. The majority of the trip was at less than 10
    miles per hour. We travelled much faster on some of the graded gravel and
    asphalt sections, but we were averaging about 15 mph.

    We lost a few hours on Saturday afternoon when Eric and Jason got out of
    radio range and missed a turn. We made contact with them long enough to ask
    them to wait for us to run the correct section and they could rejoin us at a
    rendezvous point. Unfortunately, the section we ran was not cleared. We
    had to pull a couple of fallen trees off the road and it took a lot longer
    than we estimated. Bill had a bit of a casualty when a tree snake reached
    out and ripped the front bumper off the GC. While we were busy bungeeing
    the bejesus out of Bill's front fender, Eric and Jason decided we must have
    left them for dead, so they went on into Paisley, the closest town. We
    looked for them for over an hour, and about the time we gave up we met them
    coming up the canyon from Paisley. We continued on the route until an hour
    or so before dark, and camped next to a beautiful little river that runs
    into Paisley. There were a few thunderstorms with a great light show and a
    short period of light rain that night.

    The next morning I awoke with the sun and spent an hour of solitude fishing
    along the river. The fishing was excellent and I caught 15 small (8 to 10")
    trout. I released them to grow up for my next visit. I had a great french
    toast breakfast (compliments of Mary Jo), and then packed my camp. Since
    some of the late risers were still eating and packing, I returned to the
    stream and caught another couple of fish. The last fish was a nice one
    (13") but I opted to leave him to grow more, also.

    We drove into Paisley to fill up with fuel, but the only gas station in town
    was closed on Sundays. I went into the mercantile, and the nice lady behind
    the counter called to a trading post 6 miles up the road and made sure the
    gent was open before sending us there for fuel.

    The 12 mile round trip was worth the drive, as the trading post was a real
    treat. The yard was filled with old wrecks and memorabilia from many eras
    of the settling of the west. Inside, there were old antique guns, one of
    the first electric sewing machines, a stone mortar and pestle, and many more
    relics. Along side the building was an old hand made tin box camper. The
    proprietor saw us eyeing it and said "when I was a very young boy, my
    parents drove out here with that camper on a 1932 International Harvester
    truck." Probably one of the first motor homes in existence. We also
    noticed the side of the trading post was covered with aluminum siding that
    looked like printing web plates. The owner straightened us out on that,
    saying that the plates were actually the uncut tops of beer cans. They
    originally had Olympia brand screened on them, but it had worn off many
    years ago. When the stamped aluminum beer cans came into use, the tin tops
    were obsolete so they sold pallets of them for 10 dollars. The entire roof
    and siding of the building probably only cost 10 dollars!

    We rejoined the route where we left it the day before. This time, we kept
    the other vehicles with ham radios in the rear, and I led with the GPS and
    my ham radio to maintain communication with the rear. We kept the flock
    together, and all went very well. Dale (our official photographer) was in
    the rear, so he could stop and take pictures of the scenery and flowers
    while we forged ahead. He would catch up to us between shots and we kept in
    communication with the ham radio all the while.

    We were treated to spectacular views on the Fremont ridge, and more of the
    beautiful meadows and forest. I pulled into a nice campground next to a
    river for our lunch stop, and did a little fishing while the others visited,
    ate lunch, and hiked the river trail. This was one of the prettiest
    campsites I have seen for some time, and noone was in it on Memorial Day

    We enjoyed another spectacular view after driving up on top of Winter Ridge
    to the lookout station. There is an old cabin at the base of the station
    that you can rent. It is perched right on the rim overlooking Summer Lake
    several thousand feet below. Summer Lake is on a huge alkali flat. and
    several huge dust storms swirled across the flats. We pushed on down off
    the ridge, hoping to be able to camp in warmer climate at lower elevation.
    On the way off the ridge, we came across a section of trail that obviously
    had not been travelled yet this year. There were several dead falls across
    the road, and we had to tow them off the road with Jason's Wrangler and a
    strap to make our way.

    After finally reaching the valley floor, we elected to continue on the route
    to through Christmas Valley. We found the going very slow, as the sandy
    road was rocky in spots and required a slower passage than the smoother
    roads up in the forest. After a few hours of bouncy dusty driving, we
    arrived at Christmas Valley and filled our tanks. We continued through the
    Sand Dunes area and then set up camp off a side road in the Lost Forest.
    The Lost Forest is a natural research area, because the area is biologically
    unique. There is a large stand of Ponderosa trees there, but they are
    separated by 50 miles from the neares other stand of Ponderosas. Most
    Ponderosa growths depend on about twice the annual rainfall of the Lost
    Forest. Because of the unique moisture holding capability of the sandy soil
    of the Lost Forest, the trees thrive.

    After a chilly night, we awoke to another beautiful sunny morning. There
    was a slight breeze and the temperature was a little cool. We elected to
    pull off the route by Stauffer and head for Highway 20 from there. This was
    several miles short of our goal, but we didn't want to push too hard and end
    up getting home late and tired. The choice to go by Stauffer was a good
    one, as there was the remnants of a small ghost town, lots of obsidian
    chips, and a very interesting rock paved well and matching watering tank.
    There was also a filled in mine, and quite a few relics strewn about.

    After pulling onto Highway 20 about 60 miles to the east of Bend we
    determined the trip was a great success. We had traversed over 200 miles of
    backcountry roads in Southeast Oregon in 2 1/2 days of leisurely driving.
    We had seen amazing natural sites, and experienced a little of the rich
    culture of the area. It left the desire to return soon and experience the
    rest of the route's offerings.

    We are planning on doing a 5 day excursion the week of July 4th. We will
    leave Portland area the morning of the 4th of July and drive to the spot
    where we left the route near Stauffer. We will plan on getting back to
    Portland area the late afternoon of Sunday, July 8th. Camping is primitive,
    and the road will be dusty. We would encourage you to get a ham license and
    radio to improve the communications, but it is not required. A GPS is a
    good idea, so you can tell how lost you are at all times!

    Bwana Gil

    77blazer see it at<A target="_blank" HREF=></A>
  4. 2Dogs

    2Dogs 1/2 ton status Premium Member

    May 4, 2001
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    Thanks Mudhog. That is what I was looking for. My Dad lives in Portland and he has been after me tof ind out about this for a family trip.
    Sounds like nice scenery but a little too easy..... I wish I had a week or 2 to do all the side roads that I am sure are there.
  5. mudhog

    mudhog THEGAME Staff Member Super Moderator

    Nov 6, 2000
    Likes Received:
    portland oregon
    no problem glad i could help[​IMG]

    77blazer see it at<A target="_blank" HREF=></A>

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