After a three-week hiatus I have ventured forth again. On Sunday I hiked up French Pete Creek Trail #3311 as far as was practical. French Pete is fairly low elevation, which allowed me to avoid snow, but it also meant that I was hiking at the bottom of the ravine the whole time. This ensured dim lighting all day, steep slopes full of soft earth and copious amounts of fern and moss. I hiked to the point where the bridge was out. According to the US Forest Service page, this is 3 miles in, but my GPS says it was only 2.25 miles each way. In any case it was a shorter hike than the previous ones.
It was a clear, dry, cold day. When I started out at about 9:20am, the temps were in the high 20s and everything was frozen, by the time I finished, it had warmed up to the high 40s. The elevation at the trailhead was about 1800′ and at the highest point I only climbed to 2200′, so elevation gain was only 400′. I got to the turnaround at about 11:45, and even with a 20 minute break part way down I got back to the trailhead at 1:13pm, for a total time of just under 4 hours.
Here is a KMZ file of my track.
The trail was well maintained, but at this point (just before the turnaround) the trail started to fall apart:
Shortly after that, the trail degenerated into nothing. This image shows that last bit of discernable trail (and there wasn’t much):
This video was taken down by the creek at the turnaround point:
Icicles hung from logs like this, where the water running along the log tried to drip off the end and failed to make a getaway:
Moss on trees…
Moss on rocks…
Check out this fungus, growing next to the trail:
This hike was easy and quite enjoyable, if a little cold.
My GPS gave inconsistent results regarding elevation. I need to remember to calibrate altitude before every trip. Forest Service trail descriptions are generally accurate, but not precise, thus the discrepancy regarding the distance to the missing bridge. Despite what my car GPS says, it is not practical to reach the south end of Cougar Reservior via the east side road. That road turns into a 4WD track pretty quickly, and my Honda Fit was not up to the challenge.