12.4 mi rt
max: 6850 ft
gain: ~2350 ft
gpx track, use at your own risk: Shellrock Peak
Revised plans day two. The day before while hiking with Dave and Staci I asked for advise on where to go in the area. They suggested Shellrock…I had heard of it and had wanted to go so this sounded like a great plan. Dave gave me rough directions on how to get there. It took me a bit but I finally found the trail entrance he suggested. There are several ways to reach Shellrock, I parked at the end of Rd 1382 just off of Hwy 12 east of White Pass (N46 39.506 W121 14.137). I was intending to camp at the trail and head up in the morning.
I parked and got comfortable. I often sleep in the canopy of my truck so I didn’t bother setting up my tent. I was drinking a beer enjoying the quiet when a truck joined me…there goes my solitude. It was a man and his early teens grandson. We chatted a few minutes then they asked if I minded it they practiced shooting. I said I didn’t mind, it is a public recreation spot, we all have a right to do what we want. Then he asked if I minded if his grandson uses a coyote call to call in a coyote to kill. Ummmm weird but free world dude, I really can’t control what you all do. Truth be told, I do mind but they had guns, I only had my knife. I try not to piss off men with guns when I am alone on a mountain. The grandson grabbed his bow and arrows, the man his rifle and they took off. For the next hour or so I hear shooting around the area. Usually it was the normal sound you hear when someone shoots a gun but a few times I just heard a whistling and a thunk when the bullet hit something close by. Eventually they come back and I mentioned the closeness of the bullets and the grandfather asked if I had been scared…really starting to get creeped out at this point. Then we chat for a few minutes and he says we all have to be prepared when the time comes…twice he said this. Then he tells me that there are several chipmunks out there that won’t be bothering me tonight…they were shooting chipmunks!!! THEN he tells me that they run back to their holes even after they have been shot! They got their gear together and left. Then I got my gear together and left. I went and stayed down in the campground a few miles away taking the spot next to the campground host.
The next morning I drove back up and parked at the trail. Creepy guy had told me they had to drive to his son’s house in Bend, OR in the morning so I was pretty sure they were gone. Sometimes you just have to live your life and that means taking chances with creepy guys. I decided to go for the hike.
The trail I entered the area on (trail 1111) is open to motorcycles for the first ~1.75 miles until it reaches the wilderness so it was rutted out in places but not too badly. Other than that it was a great trail and I had it all to myself today. The trail climbs a bit in the beginning to reach the wilderness boundary. It passes through meadows filled with green and flowers.
There is a major junction at the wilderness boundary where trail 1111 meets the Russel Ridge Trail, and the Ironstone Mountain Trail. It is also where there is a sign clearly stating no motorized vehicles beyond that point, ya… right. From here the trail dips down slightly through some woods and then runs through meadows and wetlands and is just beautiful. It was so quiet, so peaceful. A ways along I kept smelling something off and on for about a half a mile, it smelled of urine. Finally I came around a corner onto the saddle and I saw what the origin of the urine smell was…GOATS! It was goat pee!
From the saddle you could see the ridge and peak of Shellrock.
After the saddle I followed the trail that goes through another excellent meadow and then side-hilled for a bit. I was heading for a trail on my topos that was called Shellrock Peak. I should have looked at that trail a little more closely. It was another trail to access the area, not a trail that goes up Shellrock Peak…bonus miles! There isn’t actually a “trail” that goes to the summit. Once you find the right place to approach the ridge there is a faint boot path from there. So I looked at the top0 and found what I thought would be the correct ridge to use to go up to the peak. I made my way cross country to it and found the faint boot path (~N46 42.156 W121 13.594).
Gaining access to the ridge was easy once I was there. The walk along the ridge was AMAZING, this is a very geologically unique.
There are huge columns of rocks that are layered like pancakes. It was amazeballs!
On the final approach to the summit the columns give way to piles of flat rocks the are angled in all directions, it looked like the hilltop had cowlicks!
The views from the top were excellent. I could see Rainer and Adams with the Goat Rocks in the foreground right. There was a wind block for spending the night built out of rocks of course. The summit register was in the wall of the summit so I put my name in it. I also logged my name in the geocache that is up top.
After taking my time up top (sadly I did not have a beer) I headed back down the ridge the way I came.