Badger Creek Wilderness, Jordan Creek, and Points Between
Continuing to explore the eastern side of Mt Hood National Forest, today I pieced together 26 miles of roads ranging from pavement to decommissioned and nearly overgrown, trails both well taken care of and nearly forgotten, and off trail peak wandering. I started by exploring an old retired campground area near Camp Friend off Springer Road, and headed up through the forest to Frailey Point. Not much for views there, and plenty of bear poop, but a overgrown old log road bed on the way down its south side offered some lovely views. I took roads down to get to the Jordan Creek trailhead, marked by a broken post immediately followed by a bunch of logs scattered over wherever the trail is meant to be. The creek meanders along an open meadow just past there and the trail climbs the hillside on the other side, overgrown with no signs of use other than by elk, but without too much logs or brush.
The trail ties into Tygh Creek Trail without any sign and so faintly that from the other direction the Jordan Creek Trail is indistinguishable except by an easily missed blaze deeply grown around on a pine nearby. I headed east, downhill through the pines and open grassy slopes before taking a trail north to 2720-160, a gravel road just outside the wilderness, and headed uphill on that before entering the forest to climb up to the top of Jordan Butte. There are lots of bulbous, rocky outcroppings and stacks across the top, and even more along with some good cliffs descending back to Tygh Creek Trail along the southeast ridge.
At the end of the Tygh Creek Trail, instead of running on some pavement I took a "short cut" straight up the hillside through the brush in the burned zone. After a rough scramble up the slope on the ridge climbed gently through oaks sparred by the fire and patches of burned forest.
Shortly after reaching the School Canyon Trail I encountered Gary and his pup lopping back the ever encroaching brush from the trail, and talked about trails and trail work for a bit. Thanks Gary!
Gnome Rocks at the end of School Canyon Trail is one of my favorite rock gardens around, with great views out over Little Badger Creek. From there I continued onto Little Badger until the Tygh Creek Cut-off and its trail corridor cut through the stacks of white sun bleached burned trees fallen every direction across the forest. I returned much the way I came with some additional forest wandering, and enjoyed some slight sun showers before wrapping up. The clouds were incredible all day, with lots of definition and movement across the expanse looking east.