Little Badger Creek

Yesterday Greg and I drove around to the east side of the mountains for some sun and wildflowers. We hiked the Little Badger Creek trail, which turned out to be a very pleasant hike.

Greg remembered his boots, but not his socks, so he hiked in his Tevas. Good thing this wasn’t a steep or rocky hike!

The forest is quite nice here and the undergrowth is still lush and green.

Funny little mushrooms.

Fairy slippers!

The trail goes right along the creek in spots, and what a delightful creek it is! I wished I had brought my tripod for some slow shutter creek shots.

At one point we were visited by a hummingbird who kept flitting about. Man those little guys move fast! I managed to get two halfway decent shots. These were zoomed in all the way on my camera, then cropped further on the computer.

Here is the shot Greg got; his lens zooms twice as far as mine.

More views of this lovely creek. This is the kind of creek that I could sit by and just go zen for a long time.

We encountered a fair amount of blowdown. This was one of the more tricky ones to get over. I don’t think this trail seems much use or maintenance. (And we only saw one other couple the entire hike, a rare thing in the Mt. Hood Forest.)

At one point the trail used to stay along the creek the whole way, which it crossed a bunch of times (topo maps still reflect this). But around the two-mile mark it’s been re-routed up the hill. The trail climbs up through the trees and passes through several meadowy areas.

We got glimpses of the surrounding hills, including a burn area. Anyone know what fire that was and when it happened?

The balsamroot and lupine were definitely past their peak, but there weren’t totally bedraggled yet. Things bloomed early this year.

We saw other wildflowers too, including silvercrown, currant, and some purple flower I don’t know.

This stretch was really pretty.

The trail descended back down to creek level and the old miner’s cabin. The cabin was built in the 1920s by Tom Kinzel, a prospector and trapper. Here is what the Kinzel cabin looked like in the 1970s:

Today it is just a jumble of logs.

We sat by the creek for awhile, eating snacks and enjoying the surroundings. Before we headed back we went down the trail a short ways to check out the old mining tunnel. Looks creepy and unstable so we didn’t go in.

Headed back, with a little bit of a view of dry Central Oregon.

Great hike for a partly cloudy day where views up higher would have been blocked. The only downside to this trail is that it’s a pretty long haul to the trailhead from Portland. In the spring, though, it’s actually a very pretty drive because the fields between The Dalles and Dufur are still very green and beautiful.