Sunday, August 26, 2018
While staying at Gold Butte Lookout, Greg and I had wanted to hike up Battle Ax Mountain. But it was far too cloudy, so we opted for a forest hike instead. We drove to Elk Lake and set off down the Elk Lake Creek Trail into the Bull of the Woods Wilderness. I’ve never seen such a plain wilderness boundary sign before:
It had rained the night before:
We were pleasantly surprised to discover we had hit peak huckleberry ripeness. There were THOUSANDS of them:
We were hiking through a nice old forest with big tall trees. Love it!
There were a number of downed trees we had to detour around, under, over:
At the point where we crossed a section boundary we saw this old sign on a tree:
Still in the trees:
Old withered candy stick:
The trail started losing elevation as it descended towards creek level:
Crossed an old bridge:
I don’t think this boardwalk has been maintained in a LONG time:
And then we arrived at the junction with the Mother Lode Trail. This is a big open area that is clearly very popular with backpackers:
The Battle Creek Shelter once stood here somewhere, but collapsed from heavy snow several decades ago. In 100 Oregon Hiking Trails (1969) it says “The three-sided shelter is well-preserved and has a concrete fire pit and a steel grate.” I could find absolutely no sign of the old shelter. No bits of lumber and no remnants of the concrete fire pit. It is thoroughly gone.
We sat and enjoyed a snack and listened to the sound of nearby Elk Lake Creek:
The trail keeps going to another trailhead on Road 6380 but we weren’t going that far. We headed back and on the way I spotted an old phone line insulator up in a tree. Lookouts and guard stations were connected by phone line in the pre-radio days. These insulators were put in trees and the phone line strung between them:
It was 8.5 miles when we were all done. It was cold and cloudy at Elk Lake when we got back. Time to return to our warm lookout!