OR/CA Border to Mt. Ashland Ski Road

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By: CB97123
July 15th, 2013

Multiple day hikes over 4th of July weekend to complete OR/CA border to (paved) Mt. Ashland Ski Road. Trail is in good condition with all seeps running water. A few log hops, but they have access around established already that look OK for equestrians. Road 20, however, is narrow, steep, rocky, and just plain bad to drive between Meridian Overlook and Wrangle Gap.

Danger of marijuana cultivation on the Pacific Crest Trail

By: Jack Haskel
April 5th, 2013

While only a fraction of our public lands are affected by illegal marijuana cultivation, the Pacific Crest Trail Association, Forest Service and our other agency partners believe that safety risks are real and everyone should be informed about them. Dangerous marijuana cultivation sites may be present on the Pacific Crest Trail corridor, especially in Southern California, but also all along the trail.

The safety of Pacific Crest Trail visitors, volunteers and employees is our top priority. Marijuana cultivation occurs on some public land and it’s important for everyone to be aware of their surroundings.

The disturbances that marijuana cultivation makes on natural resources causes extensive and long-term damage to ecosystems and impacts the supplies of public drinking water for hundreds of miles. Growers clear native vegetation before planting and sometimes use miles of black plastic tubing to transport large volumes of water from creeks that are often dammed for irrigation. The use of banned herbicides and pesticides by marijuana growers kill wildlife and competing vegetation. This loss of vegetation allows rainwater to erode the soil and wash poisons, human waste, and trash from the grow sites into streams and rivers.

Here are some clues that you may have come across a marijuana cultivation site:

  • Sometimes marijuana smells like a skunk on hot days.
  • Hoses or drip lines located in unusual or unexpected places.
  • A well-used trail where there shouldn’t be one.
  • People standing along roads without vehicles present, or in areas where loitering appears unusual.
  • Grow sites are usually found in isolated locations, in rough steep terrain.
  • Camps containing cooking and sleeping areas with food, fertilizer, weapons, garbage, rat poison, and/or dead animals.
  • Small propane bottles, which are used to avoid the detection of wood smoke.
  • Individuals armed with rifles out of hunting season.

As soon as you become aware that you have come upon a cultivation site, back out immediately. Never engage the growers as these are extremely dangerous people. If you can identify a landmark or record a GPS coordinate, that’s very helpful. The growers may be present and may or may not know that you have found their grow site.

Get to a safe place and report as much detail about the location and incident as you can recall to any uniformed land agency employee or to the local law enforcement agency. Please also notify the PCTA. Leave the way you came in, and make as little noise as possible.



U.S. Forest Service. (2011). Be Safe on Our Public Lands – What to do if you Encounter a Marijuana Cultivation Site. Retrieved from http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/inyo/alerts-notices/?cid=stelprdb5324909

Muddy Fork bridge closure

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By: Jack Haskel
January 18th, 2013

The temporary hiker bridge across Muddy Fork is damaged and closed. All trail users will need to ford the Muddy Fork at the equestrian crossing or detour around the crossing. BEWARE: This can be a difficult and dangerous ford, especially during periods of high runoff! Do not enter the water if it looks dangerous. A detour could include heading out the Ramona Falls trailhead road, heading up to the Top Spur trailhead and then rejoining the PCT where it intersects with the Timberline Trail.

July 30, 2012

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Jefferson Wilderness. Thru-hikers report extensive blow-downs in the Minto Pass area and some snow patches at Shale Lake. Otherwise trail is clear from Santiam Pass to Mt. Hood. Milk Creek is flowing strongly but Russell Creek is still a snow bridge and requires care when crossing.

July 26, 2012

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Hwy 58 trail north is clear of blow downs and snow to 5mi north of the Irish/Tayor lakes area where there are two dangerous fallen trees on a steep side hill which are hazardous to stock.

July 20, 2012

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I hiked section F 12 -17 July, but bypassing portion between Minto Pass and Olallie Lake.

Trail good up to saddle between Belknap Craters, then ~1/4 mile solid snow. Easy to walk across in my trail runners, but needed GPS to keep on trail. No snow after I dropped below ~5500”, but then some easily-crossed timber downfall. Trail then clear and in good condition until
Three-Fingered Jack.

Hit snow on south side of Three-Fingered Jack at Halfmile’s ~2011.5 (~5800′), and snow coverage increasing with altitude. I used ice axe to cut steps in places to cross safely, and would have been uncomfortable (and probably wouldn’t have done) crossing of some of them without axe. Worst place was in the trees below the switchbacks on north side of Jack. Some timber downfall, extensive in one place, after I dropped below snow and before reaching Minto Pass.

I went off PCT at Minto Pass, and out at Marion Lake trailhead. This trail in good condition except for a some easily-managed downfall first couple of miles below Minto Pass.

Although I did not try to cross Russell Creek, or pass through Jefferson Park, I got reports from hikers who just did. A group of 3 said Russell Creek was easy to cross because it was “frozen over” (they might have meant “snow bridge”). They said Jeff Park was completely snowbound, but didn’t indicate particular difficulty getting through. Another hiker whent up Whitewater Creek trail to avoid Russell Creek, and crossed Jeff Park without notable problem. All of these were backpackers well-experienced in snow.

Got back on trail at OIlallie Lake. Trail from there to Barlow Pass in excellent condition.

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I hiked OR Section G 17-19 July. Trail clear from Barlow Pass to easily-crossed snowfields just before Timberline Lodge. After Timberline snow drifts covering trail in many places for several miles. These can be readily crossed with care in kicking steps. I did not need ice axe.

Nice makeshift log bridge, with rope handrails, at PCT crossing of Sandy River. Muddy Fork easily crossed (with care) on couple of logs where PCT first reaches it. Remainder of trail north to Cascade Locks clear and in good condition. I took “official” PCT, not Eagle Creek alternate.