Posted by: Jack | June 5, 2008

Bell Creek Loop Trail

Venturing a mere half hour from town weekend before last, Anna and I joined another pair for a couple days of hiking in the gorge. The forecast had looked grim but for five hours we climbed into the mountains with nothing but clear skies.

It was a few hours before we actually reached the loop portion of the trail and due to extremely high water in Bell Creek, the loop turned into an out-‘n-back. Eventually we reached Franklin Ridge, some 2500’ higher than the trailhead. After enjoying the scenery we turned around and descended back to the creek to make camp.

As we were cooking a tasty wild rice and mushroom soup for dinner, we were all startled by a sudden and loud ‘ding’. Something had struck the soup pot. Just a few seconds later, it happened again but we all saw it this time and inspected the item to discover that it was a marble-sized hailstone. And with that, a torrent of ice descended upon us. We hurried off to our tents, where we remained, confined by a continual downpour, frequent lightning and roaring thunder (unusual for Oregon) until morning.

The sun never really rose the next day as we were deep in a valley, enclosed in very dense wood. But the storm had passed and with the added wetness, the forest looked as lush as ever. It continued to drizzle for the remainder of our hike out and the humidity was so high that my camera lens would fog up instantly after each futile attempt to dry it off.

(Below, left to right: Will, Leah, Anna, Me, Triple Falls)

The weather certainly could have been better and it would have been nice to hike the whole loop, but for a first outing of the season, it was entirely satisfying.



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