Union Creek 3-11-20

Photos by Barry M., Dan, Francie, Keeley, Linda and Randy

Official Report

Today was one of those hikes I just didn’t expect.  14 of us headed north to have a pleasant hike along Union Creek.  It was to be 8 miles round trip and relatively flat. 

Well, as I have learned, life never goes in a straight line.  Upon arrival we noticed much more snow on the ground than I expected.  As we headed up the trail, we noticed a lot of tree branches down everywhere.  Then as we began hiking up the trail, there were a lot of down trees and many bushes/trees bent over the trail due to the weight of the earlier snow fall.

So after about 15 minutes of bushwhacking - I asked the group if they wanted to proceed or move to Plan B.  Everyone said keep going, so we did.  We covered about 1.25 miles an hour, plus finding the trail under the snow and brush blocking everything was a challenge. 

We agreed to stop at noon for lunch and we did find a nice place along the creek in the sun to sit down and enjoy the break. 

We tried to find a second easier way back to the trailhead, but the first attempt did not work.  However, after hiking another hour towards the cars, we did find an easier way back for the second half of the hike back. 

The group decided to visit Phil’s Frosty for ice cream.  Although we were tired, everyone had a good time.  Thanks to all who came and lived through this adventure. 

Keeley

Minority Report

First the good. Well, that's mostly Keeley's report to the left. But we can add that we had beautiful clear blue skys for the day and the temperature warmed up from near freezing to the 50s. Plus, there was enough snow in places covering the extensive deadfall that it was probably a bit easier getting over the deadfall on the snow than if we had had to battle the deadfall on the forest floor.

Now, the bad. March 11, 2020, a day that will live in infamy, is solidly written into the permanent archives of the AHG. It is one of those hikes that years from now you will just have to mention the winter Union Creek hike and we will all remember today.

We were all sad that Hank couldn't be with us today because this hike would easily make his Top 10 list (see his Frog Pond - Cameron Meadow Loop 3-26-14 report).

Yes, it is true, that Keeley keep checking with the group as to whether we should proceed or not.  However, given the group dynamics, no one wanted to be known as the wuss that wanted to give up, even though it was obvious that this wasn't going to be a lot of fun.

This hike combined the best elements of bushwhacking, snowwhacking, post-holingPost Hole and log hopping. And it got worse from there. The trail was nowhere to be found. And as the day warmed up, the snow softened so that it didn't even support the weight of the flyweight hikers, let alone our more beefy members.

After 2 hours of battling over, under and around various natural obstacles, Keeley did declare victory at a sunny spot for lunch, even though we were only about 1/2 way to our original lunch spot destination at the falls. 

After lunch there was no argument on heading back. And his suggestion to take the old logging road instead of the "trail" for the final mile was enthusiastically embraced.

Everyone made it back uninjured and dry although that was never a foregone conclusion.

Dan

Track download: Union Creek 3-11-20.gpx

Ashland Hiking Home

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