Ruckel Creek Trail #405 LbNA # 16760
|Placed Date||Jul 23 2005|
|Location||Cascade Locks, OR|
B-B-B-Bearrrrrr! I ran into a bear on my way to the Ruckel Creek trailhead! Scared the daylights out of me. It wasn't face-to-face, it was face-to-rump, really, but I knew what I was looking at, and I didn't stick around long enough to see it's face! It was digging in the dirt. Be careful, make noise on the trail so it hears you coming and makes itself scarce. A biker told me that it was a yearling, and that the momma and a new cub are also in the area.
Now, onto the hike and the boxes. Ruckel Creek is a very steep trail -- it rises 2660 feet over 2.8 miles to turn around for a 5.6 mile trip, or continue on to Benson Plateau for 3700 feet elevation gain over 4.5 miles (9.0 round trip).
Park at the first parking area of Eagle Creek in The Gorge. Head up the paved road to the left of the parking lot, and find the sign directing you to the Ruckel Creek trailhead. When the trail meets a paved section, go right to the readerboard and the trailhead. (I ran into the bear at the rock with the plaque on it, on the left side of the pavement).
Head up, up, and up. (I won't make you go all the way to the turn-around at Benson Plateau for the furthest box, I'm guessing that the second box is... somewhere around 4.0 miles in.) Remember, no wining!
You'll get the joke when you find the boxes.
When the first set of switchbacks ends, you will pass a very large Douglas fir that has a big hole in the side of it, 3-4 feet high. A short ways past this tree, the forest ends and you walk out into the open sky and a rockslide area. Ahead of you is a huge rock, something like 15x30 feet, on your left. Skirt the side up to the end next to the fire ring. On this end of the rock is the first box, under a peice of bark.
Continue on the trail. I don't know the exact distance, but watch for the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness sign on the left. Pass the sign to another rock slide area. Just past the rock slide, the trail starts going up again, into the trees. Watch for two 2-3' boulders, on either side of the trail. Behind the right boulder is a faint trail that passes a 20' woodpecker-pecked snag of a tree, and over a log. You will also be heading toward the sound of water. Once over the log, look underneath where the second box is hidden under rocks and bark.
I don't do this hike often so please email me with condition problems.