Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness

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Even from the trailhead, we could hear the subtle white noise of water flowing. Spring-fed creeks meet the Salmon River like blood veins to an artery.

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The trail crosses a few small creeks, one or two by bridge and others are left au naturel where rock hopping is necessary. In the summer, I imagine a hiker lost in thought might not realize they were crossing this creek (below) for it surely will be a dry bed of rounded rocks by then.

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Another view of the Salmon River. This scene is what my girlfriend and I enjoy calling “the serene green,” that 50-shades-of-green environment that seems to melt all anxiety and leaves the modern world behind.

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The Pacific bleeding heart (Dicentra formosa), is native to moist woodland, forest, and streambanks from California to British Columbia, from sea level to the subalpine.1

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The Old Salmon River Trail2 is not in the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness.  Once I heard about the old-growth giants along this trail, I decided that hanging out with them was more important than hiking deep into the wilderness. However, once we hiked the length of this 2.1 mile trail, we explored a little of the Green Canyon Way Trail3 (to make this hike count).4

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After our short scouting trip up the Green Canyon Way Trail, we came back down to the Green Canyon Campground and continued upstream.  At the campsite, the Old Salmon River Trail ends and the 14-mile (22.6 km) Salmon River Trail #7425 begins. It was not long before finding this small waterfall flowing into the west bank of the Salmon River.

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I’m really glad we got to meet (and hug) a few old-growth Pacific redcedars, a tree which can grow up to 230 feet (70 m) in height with a trunk diameter of up to 13 feet (4 m). I can’t hazard a guess on how old this tree is, but the Pacific redcedar can live for more than a thousand years. A standing tree in the Olympic National Forest has been core sampled and growth-ring dated at being 1,460 years old!6

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The wildflowers were popping!  Here’s Jasmine photographing a patch of flowers. As I was writing this post, I had to refer back to my notes for the name of the flower for I can never remember its name. Why do I find this funny? These are called common forget-me-nots (Myosotis scorpioides)!

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There were great examples of nurse logs along this trail. A nurse log is a fallen tree that provides, among other things7, nourishment and foundation for seedlings. Here you can see at least three Pacific redcedars (Thuja plicata) have grown out of one of its fallen relatives.

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In February, I identified my first Green Pea Mushroom Lichen. Since then, I’ve spotted the mushroom-lichen a few times, including on this hike.  Here’s a few growing off of a hemlock snag.

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All-in-all, we covered over six easy miles in a enchanted old-growth forest. Although I can check this wilderness off my list, its enchanting beauty will certainly have me returning again later this year, I’m certain of it.

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Footnotes:

  1. Dakota Flora: A Seasonal Sampler – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dicentra_formosa
  2. USDA Mt. Hood National Forest: Old Salmon River Trail #742A – http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/mthood/recarea/?recid=53442
  3. USDA Mt. Hood National Forest: Green Canyon Way Trail #793A – http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/mthood/recarea/?recid=53388
  4. One of my rules for this project is that all hiking mileage will count towards my goal (450 miles) as long as some portion of the hike enters a wilderness.
  5. USDA Mt. Hood National Forest: Green Canyon Way Trail #793A – http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/mthood/recarea/?recid=53608
  6. The Gymnosperm Database: Thuja plicata – http://www.conifers.org/cu/Thuja_plicata.php
  7. Wikipedia: Nurse Logs – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nurse_log

1 Response

  1. Wow. This makes me want to make a trip up there. It’s so lush compared to the dry scrub we have down here. Thanks for sharing.

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