10.1 mi rt
max: 2798 ft
gain: 3137 ft
gpx track, use at your own risk: Ogallala #8
And that is your only image for the day, it was just too rainy and wet to take the camera out of the safety of it’s ziplock. I believe I have spoken of this loop before but I met someone on the trail today that wants my track so I thought I would tell about it again.
I like to park not in the actual parking for this area but a half mile or so down the road next to the gate (N48 45.821 W122 20.707). I do this because I am often gone several hours and my truck is more exposed on the road and in my little brain, less likely to be bothered. Not that I know of anyone’s car’s being bothered but that whole cut fuel line outside of Packwood a year or two ago really left me jaded.
I met a nice man with two poodles at parking and then a nice woman with three dogs heading alongside the tree jail towards the main road. I knew the creek would be running high so I decided to walk the road up and then on the way down I was so wet already I went out via the trail and just walked through the creek…my boots could use a wash so what the heck.
So we (Natalie my dog friend and I) headed up the main road and at just over half a mile took the road to the right (N48 45.888 W122 20.092) crossing over the big metal bridge and heading on up the hill. We were walking along minding our own business when at the spur road that ends at the trail for old #8, there were two young men in full on cammo with even their faces painted!!! standing on the spur road, their packs on the ground next to them and their bow and arrows next to that. It looked like they were out for the night but their sleeping bags (huge, definitely NOT ultralight) were strapped to the outside of their packs. Oh, did I mention it was raining? That should make for a wet cold night. They seemed surprised to see me, it may have been my multi-colored legging or my bright orange hat. I asked them if they knew where they were and they said no…what?!? I let them know of the trail about 0.20 mi up the spur road they were on and on my intended route.
I continued on up the road to where Ogallala trail leaves the road (N48 45.106 W122 18.968), about 2.4 mi from where I park. I really enjoy this loop, there is the road walk to the trail and a road walk up top to connect the two trails but the trails themselves are awesome. They pass through varied forests of different ages with some really big trees and a mix of evergreen and deciduous trees. There are areas of thick tall trees with little under-story (except all the wet sword ferns that line the trail) and areas that are newer and more brushy. There are plenty of creeks and wetlands so I don’t have to worry about watering the dog. I would like to say that I NEVER see anyone else out here but today I saw two men! just when I was entering #8 up top. They were doing the reverse loop and were just as surprised. One of the men was Kip, a man I had heard about in the past…my male counterpart if you will, we both like to just wander around on mountain.
I had walked this loop about a month ago but we have had some storms and there was more windfall today than then. A small tree fell across the bridge but it still had good integrity. Last month when I walked this, I was trying to connect the two trails further down just below the narrow point on the map above. We pushed through nettles and ferns and brush for about 1/2 a mile. Not a good place to connect. While I have an idea of where I want to try next, today we just stayed on the trail/roads with no deviation.
The Ogallala segment is just over 3 miles long. About 1/2 of the trail is on old road turned trail, being more trail than road. The upper part right before you come out on the current logging roads is more road than trail but nature is quickly doing it’s thing. At just shy of 6 miles the actual road walk starts. This goes through recent logging operations (a few years ago) but the views are normally great, not today though. I was walking in a cloud…literally. I used my umbrella most of the day, I have a way of strapping it to my pack leaving my hands free. I was really glad I brought it because I would have been a wet mess otherwise.
The walk on the logging road is only 0.8 mi before you enter the woods again onto #8. There are several intersections, just stay left at every option. The road down to the trail is becoming alder-choked but they will probably brush it out at some point.
Ogallala is a very obvious trail with no chance of going astray. Old #8 is, well, old and less obvious. I could see how it would be easy to lose the trail in the deep ferns in places. I have been here many times so I know my way and there are small piece of pink flagging that someone (I think it was Kip) put up here and there as a guide. The #8 trail is about 1.5 mi long to where it connects up with the spur then a short 0.2 mi out to the main road and the way out. There are two intersections, one up high and one down low, there are/were signage that indicate these are the junctions to old trail number five. The signs are usually on the ground at the base of a tree. The lower trail is a nice one and will connect you up on the next hill over. The upper trail is the one I tried last year where the creek crossing turned me around. Number 8 stays left at both intersections.
On the way down I took the trail that cuts off and crosses the creek lower down. As I said earlier I knew I would have to walk across the creek getting my boots wet, well wetter. I was already so wet on the bottom half of me from all the ferns and shrubbage I had been walking through all day I figured a little more water wouldn’t matter.
All in all a great day even with the rain and no views. I ran into nice folks here and there and Natalie and I enjoyed the woods. I even brought home some Chantrelle’s that were growing right next to the trail.