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Alderspring

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Alderspring

Postby oldranger » Sun Apr 19, 2009 10:28 pm

The weather looked good so my true love and I took off on our first bp of the season. Not an epic adventure but a nice 25 hours away from the house. About an hour NW of Bend is the Alder Springs Trailhead, a place we have dayhiked several times (the entire distance hiked is an easy half day trip).

The trip goes through, I think, a mixture of private, BLM, and Forest Service land. The first 1/4 of the trail built in 2001 as the forest Service created a new trailhead to replace the old, user created trailhead where parking sometimes was somewhat precarious. Our daughter, #2 (you may remember from past adventures) worked on the trail crew that did the relocation and rehab of the old routes. It had to have been the only May in Central Oregon history where temperatures were in the high 90s--and that is hot in August around here. We reached the trailhead about 10 am and faced a "grueling" 30 minute, mostly downhill hike.
Alder Spring Trailhead.JPG
Kathy at the trailhead


You sharp observers have probably noted already this is not classic Oregon Cascades. In fact it is pretty much dominated by sagebrush and juniper. Until you get into the depths of Squaw, whoops! Make that Whychus Creek- the S word does not appear on official Oregon Maps any more, then we see some nice Ponderosa and an occasional Doug fir.
P1020766.JPG
Sq, er Whychus Creek


The layers of volcanic ash, old stream beds, and lava flows all along this trip are fascinating to observe. Would love to have GB along to tell us the parts of the story that we can't read for ourselves.
P1020767.JPG
Geologic History! (no Kathy is not that old!)


At the bottom of the hill after paralleling the 1/4 mi. long Alder Spring creek we forded Sq, Whychus Creek.
Kathy crossing Squaw.JPG
Crossing the Creek


Consumed with exhaustion :unibrow: we sought our campsite, found same, and quickly set it up.
kathy in camp.JPG
Its a rough life!

Again, a sharp eyed individual will note the wood supply a safe distance from the fire ring. Kathy must have had the butler run down ahead of us because it was there when we arrived.

Revived by fresh spring water we headed out for a 4 mile round trip jaunt to the confluence of the creek with the Deschutes River.
spring.JPG
Our drinking water just bubbling out of the ground


to be continued ...

Mike
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Re: Alderspring

Postby Timberline » Mon Apr 20, 2009 8:39 am

Mike:
So pleasant to be reminded of wild, beautiful Central Oregon! Excitedly awaiting "Chapter 2" of your TR. See any elk?
Let 'er Buck! Back in Oregon again!
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Re: Alderspring

Postby kgw » Mon Apr 20, 2009 8:42 am

Beautiful spot to exert yourself in!
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Re: Alder Spring, the rest of the story

Postby oldranger » Mon Apr 20, 2009 5:01 pm

Continued ...

The trail down the creek below our campsite is a user created unmaintained trail. Sometimes it climbs a 100 feet above the trail sometimes quite near the creek. At less than 2,500 feet we were in the heart of rattlesnake country but we have never seen one since our previous trips were also early in the season, but never as warm as the low 70's that we experienced. The sun warmed up the rocks and chicken that I am I expected to encounter a snake at every twist of the trail. Disappointing my wife we saw not a single reptile of any kind. Being early spring (just 4 days earlier, albeit 4,000 feet higher I was skiing in newly fallen snow) wildflowers other than a single dandelion my better half thought worthy of a photo that I will not share, have yet to spring up. But the native Americans in Central Oregon referred to early spring as the "red season" because the woody parts of some brushy plant turned brilliant red. Half way down the creek we encountered a field of red.
red down squaw.JPG
Looking down the creek toward confluence with the Deschutes


Around the bend and downstream aways we reached the somewhat diminished Deschutes river. Diminished because around Bend about 1/2 or more of what the flow should be here at this time of the year is diverted out of the river to irrigate fields. In the middle of the summer the flow that is in the riverbed can easily be a mere 10% of the natural flow, though by this point the flow is augmented by a few springs that feed into the river below Bend. Actually the reduction in flow makes the river a little more fishable than it would otherwise be. But this was a trip to spend time with my honey so the gear was left at home. (actually I forgot how good the water is this time of the year). Another interesting feature about the Deschutes River is that the peak natural flow of the main river 15 miles above Bend,where the Little Deschutes feeds in is actually late in the summer. That is because the main stem is almost entirely spring fed and there is virtually no overland runoff as the snow melts. Snow melt just soaks into the ground, through cracks in the layers of lava until it reaches an impermeable layer-some layers feed into tributaries of the Upper Deschutes while others feed into tributaries that spring up 40 or fifty miles away, for example Alder Springs. Enough hydrology now! This is the Deschutes:
down the deschutes.JPG
Looking down the Deschutes

As we explored the thin gray overcast that took the color right out of some of our photos began to disappear. While I was taking the previous photograph Kathy disappeared. Not until I clambered down from my viewpoint and moved upstream 50 feet did I spot here coming round the corner just below my photopoint.
Kathy on the deschutes.JPG
Exploring


Note on fishing: This portion of the Deschutes contains a resident population of native rainbow trout, called "redband" in Oregon. These fish are basically steelhead without the wanderlust or opportunity to migrate to the ocean and fatten up for a year or two. These fish have been cutoff due to as series of dams. But there is a plan in place to introduce anadromous fish to this part of the Deschutes river. There is no evidence that salmon or steelhead ever got more than a few miles above this point on the Deschutes with any regularity but I understand that at least steelhead made it several miles up the creek before dams and irrigation took their toll. Another native fish of renown is the bull trout. I'm sure that there are a few residents but most bull trout come up the river from lake Billy Chinook to feed on spawning kokanee (landlocked sockeye salmon) in the fall, they probably spend a little time propagating as well. These bull trout can exceed 30" (I caught a 24" one last fall in the lower Deschutes when fishing for Steelhead). Lake Billy Chinook is, I believe the only place in Oregon where an angler is permitted to keep a bull trout. 1 per day and I think it must be over 20." The final denizen of the deep of interest to anglers is the introduced brown trout. I'm not sure how many there are in this reach but I'll tell you next year after the 3 day 2 night fishing expedition I just planned for just after the irrigation season begins.

As we returned to our campsite I took a side trail I thought I remembered and sure enough I found a 50 wide spring that poured out of the strata and right into "the creek"
spring above confluence.JPG
Spring just above confluence pouring into "the" creek


As the afternoon sun sank the light got better and better. We rinsed the salt off our bodies, drank a quart of backcountry daiquiries made with 151, had some hors d'oeuvres and the light began to look real good. Cameras in not so steady hands we went for a walk.
above camp.JPG
Cliffs above our camp

Kathy on walk.JPG
Kathy agilely negotiating smooth trail through dry meadow. Note the hoodoo above Alder Spring Creek


Third and final installment of much ado about a very little but very nice trip coming soon in a thread near you!

Mike
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Re: Alderspring

Postby oldranger » Mon Apr 20, 2009 6:02 pm

When we last left you there was some doubt as to whether we were capable of negotiating our way around. Never fear we soon discovered a dipper across da creek but not acting very dipperly.
Dipper.JPG
da dipper
We soon discovered that the reason for the undipperly behavior was da dipper's nest. I guess this dipper never learn it was supposed to build it's nest behind a waterfall (I think I recall John Muir writing something to that effect) and instead built its abode about 4 feet above the creek. I think it is kind of interesting that many creatures shake when they get nervous but the dipper just stopped dipping.
dipper and nest.JPG
Nervous dipper and abode


Further down the creek we spotted a decaying log spanning the creek. Given our condition we opted not to cross it.
log over creek.JPG
Uncrossed Crossing Log, note! more hoodoos!


Finally we returned to camp and it was time for the oldranger to do some cullinary magic. First we cracked open fine half naglene bottle of really fine pinot noir, I believe it to be a 2006 from Ruestle, Prayer Rock Vinyards of Roseburg, Oregon. The wine matched perfectly with the my classic, and really spicey, Kung-Pao Chicken Tacos! (Chi/Mex?) Don't laugh! I'd pay to have someone cook a meal that good!
Kung-pao Mex.JPG
Kung-Pao Chicken with tortillas in waiting


As dinner sizzled, the tortillas warmed up, the first sip of wine built on the effect of the earlier imbibing the old ranger was about as contented as he could be but it was topped off by observing two golden eagles soaring above.
oldranger.jpg
Life doesn't get any better!

An evening by the fire and the most comfortable night ever in the backcountry (actually this was all about testing our new Exped Downmats) and the remainder of the trip was just a hike out. Where on saturday we encountered just a few people. In our 30 minute hike out we encountered a cast of what seemed like thousands. One group had at least 10 people. Too many for my taste. But as Kathy said "what if one was a geologist, one an ornithologist, etc.? It could be a real education! Yeah, but ... Anyhow as we approached the trailhead we got a view of the tips of some Cascade Peaks that included Broken Top, South, Middle, and North Sister, Black Crater, Belknap Crater, Mt Washington, and Black Butte. (trust me they are in the photo!)
cascades behind trailhead.JPG
Cascades Behind the Trailhead


Moral of the story: Sometimes you get more pleasure than you ever expect if you are open to it.

Good travels to you.

mike
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Re: Alderspring

Postby rlown » Mon Apr 20, 2009 9:59 pm

I guess what i'm amazed at is how your "kitchen" looks very comparable to mine. That Kung-Pao dish looks amazing, if not heavy to carry in, lots of your ingredients look fresh. Kudos!

That's a GAZ stove or something similar right?

post the recipe.

Russ
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Re: Alderspring

Postby oldranger » Tue Apr 21, 2009 8:12 am

Timberline,

No elk but I have friends that hunt in the area.

Russ,

Yes everything was fresh--only one night and not my usual fare for multi night trips. I use an MSR superfly with igniter. Not the lightest around but the flame spreads out so it is good for frying fish when I can't use a campfire.

Mike
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Re: Alderspring

Postby hikerduane » Tue Apr 21, 2009 6:19 pm

Thank you oldranger, looks like a nice spot for early spring bping.
Piece of cake.
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Re: Alderspring

Postby maverick » Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:04 pm

Hi OR

Have you ever had a chance to check out the Opal Creek Wilderness?
A friend of mine showed me some pictures of this place and it is a
really beautiful place.
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Re: Alderspring

Postby Snow Nymph » Tue Apr 28, 2009 8:35 pm

The springs are cool! :D I will have to try Kung Pao in a tortilla. Sounds good!
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison


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Re: Alderspring

Postby oldranger » Fri May 01, 2009 7:09 am

Maverick

This is too much, in about an hour or so Kathy and I are heading west to go into Opal Creek. See http://www.opalcreek.org/ We are staying in Cabin 1. Looks like rain the entire weekend so it will be nice to have a place to dry out. I envision spending some time in front of the fireplace reading and listening to the rain and the creek. The folks at the center can pick up gear at the locked gate but we opted to carry everything in (clothes, food, sleeping bags) and not have to worry about meeting the shuttle. They are providing Sat Night and Sunday Morning meals so this is a pretty cushy backpack. Hope everyone has a good weekend!

Mike
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Re: Alderspring

Postby maverick » Fri May 01, 2009 10:57 am

Looking forward to some pictures and trip report OR!
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