Sunday, July 8, 2012

Hiking The Salmonberry: A tail of the Rails.


Hiking the Salmonberry


A hundred years ago, some ambitious enteprenuers decided they could make some money by building the first large scale overland transportation system from Portland to the coast. This would accomplish two things, it would get goods and people to places like Tillamook and Nehalem, and it would also (and primarilly) get timber from the Tillamook forest back to the mills on either side of the coast mountains. They started building from both sides and were going to meet somewhere in the middle where the Salmonberry River is. 

Now the Salmonberry is a fair sized mountain river. It has a long deep gorge and its sides are the standard volcanic rock of the area. You can't just run a railroad down it. They had to build like 7 tunnels and 12 major bridges and trestles to get through just that 20 mile strip.

Up until 2007, you could ride the train from Banks to Tillamook and enjoy that scenic valley from the comfort of a train car. Or you could (legally) hike the tracks. The trains would blow their whistles and there were signs and signal lights to help the hikers along. There was evidently even a drop-off service for Anglers who wanted to get into the middle of things and fish for a while.

But all of that ended with the huge rain and wind storm of the winter of 2007. That was the storm that saw 5 feet of running river water in Elk Creek Campground.

(These following few pictures are from 2007 about 2 days after the flood)

 


That is a lot of dirt moved up here.
 


 


These tables are usually 10 feet above the little creek.

The flood stacked these logs.
 





and knocked down the tallest Sitka Spruce in the world both of which in are in the same general area.

They never rebuilt the train line, and I have wondered for a few years why not. The damage that you can see on a short day hike out of Cochran doesn't look so bad. Well, now that I have backpacked the entire 17 miles of that valley, I can tell you that they won't be rebuilding anytime soon. The problem is that they don't need a repair, they need a total replacement and rebuild. Clearing out the old mess might cost them as much as putting in the new one.

So lets take the hike.

This is a hike that I had set as a personal goal on my journey to increase my backpacking capability. I had targeted to hike it alone as a overnight adventure. The Google map length is around 17 miles. I knew there might be down bridges or blocked tunnels, so I figure I would give myself 2 days, but bring food for 3 in case I had to turn back anywhere during the hike.
My friend, Bruce, dropped me off in Cochran. This is a interesting place to visit. You can get there in just about any car (but I recommend something with higher clearance. I have a Subaru Forester). It is the remnants of an old lumber and train community. There used to be a lumber mill here, and the mill pond is still present. People fish there. About the only other things left from the town is the train tracks (which are still passable up to Cochran) and the occasional clumps of daffodils, which I am sure where planted by some housewife to view out here front window.

The other interesting thing about this location is that it is right at the Drainage divide for the mountain range. It is the high point for the rail line. So trains would be climbing up from both directions and then would stop here for water. It was also a popular picnic spot for people to ride to from portland. The town was destroyed by fire around 1932. <cochran fire link>

As I started down the tracks (I should be hiking down hill for the entire trip) I immediately noticed that things had changed since I had been out last year. When I last hiked, the tracks, such as the are, were wide open, maybe a few low alder saplings. Now the tracks are engulfed in alder, 4-8 feet high, pretty much everyplace where the tracks are running through sunshine. Right off the bat this is limiting my view and making the hiking harder. It rained this morning, so though it is dry now, the leaves of the Alder are wet and I realize that my pants are soaked just 5 minutes into the hike. I change into some Dri Duk rain pants and push on.

Bruce films my Teary Goodbye
The tracks are overgrown



The old Mill Pond
 




There is still some abandoned machinery along the lines. This rail maintanence machine is on a siding just before the first tunnel. See the difference in the overgrowth on these 2 pictures?

The undergrowth infringes



This thing must have been worth SOMETHING


When you go through the tunnels on this hike, make sure and use a flashlight. Even if you think you can see all right, shine a light on the ground, especially at the dark spots between the ties. In some places those “dark spots” are either a hole or perhaps water that is deeper than you think. If you stumble into a hole the ties could easily break your leg. And wouldn't you look silly with a compound fracture inside a tunnel that blocks your emergency rescue beacon?

Tunnel #1, through the green
 


On the other side, The rail is covered with the flowing water and dirt.


At the end of the first tunnel, there is an old hikers checkin stand. I think this is where you registered as being on the trail so the railroad knew who and how many were out there. I haven't been able to find anything else about that. I will do some more reasearch and get back to you.

The next 2 miles are the most interesting from a strictly railroad point of view. The track is still in pretty good condition (though more rock slides are happening) and there are a number of nice tresstes and bridges. Including one of the biggest bridges on the line that goes across the Baldwin Creek. This is a tall metal bridge that still has nice walkways on either side.

THere used to be metal walkway down the center of these
little bridge. That has been removed. Sits mangled
off to the side.



looking down the valley
This would be a good campsite. But I am only an hour in.



 


That is a water tank, over there. The bridge is ahead.

This is a BIG bridge.

Baldwin Creek. Way down there.


 


Notice the water pipe snaking down the center of the track


I understand that there is a even taller bridge back bewteen Timber and Cochran across Step Creek. Have to check that out sometime.

There are 2 water tanks, one on either side, of this big bridge. My conjecture is that they are to provide water to fight fires on the bridge. Fires perhaps started by sparks from the Locomotives. Now, the really big bridge is a metal one (though it has wood ties and topping). Starting at the second water tank, there is a large (perhaps 5 inch) hose that connects to the tank and snakes own down the line. What is going on here? Lets follow it.

Another very beautiful mile of wandering through an older forest (the shade of the bigger trees is limiting the alder, so the walking is great) and we turn the corner to Wolf Creek. This is where we can start to see the real devastation. To cross Wolf Creek, the rail line takes a turn a quarter mile up the creek, goes through a tunnel, and then right a cross a very fine curving wooden tresstle. And then back the quarter mile to the Salmonberry. I guess the Wolf Creek canyon was just too wide to cross with one bridge there are the confluence. The flood of 2007 undermined a significant part of this little side jaunt and there are places where a hundred feet of track are just hanging in the air.

 



 



Tunnel #2, Note the hose is still there



Looking back at the tunnel

Looking down at Wolf Creek


So, the hose. As far as I can tell, it was put in after the 2007 washout. The washout took out the underground metal pipe that connected the water tanks across Baldwin creek with the wooden bridge on wolf creek. It was put in (before the line was abandoned) to supply water to the sprinklers on the wooden bridge across Wolf Creek to supply fire suppression. However, I don't think it is operational any longer, so if a fire comes, that bridge is toast.

Right along here where I became aware of the 2 main types of obstacles that would confront me on this excursion.
  1. Washouts. The ground under the railroad had washed away by the river below overflowing its banks. In some places the track was still there, hanging in the air, daring me to walk the ties (not a good idea), but in other places the tracked had collapsed under it's own weight and lay twisted in the new river bed.
  2. Log Jams: Huge old logs from up the hills have washed down the side creeks with the flood and have come to rest across the right of way. The rails are under there somewhere, perhaps a little twisted and pushed around. These log jams could be 20 feet high over the top of the railway and a hundred feet wide. Going over the logs would be a dangerous and time consuming thing.

Here is the first Logjam I hit.



I took a rest on top of the log jam. THat is a big log
Yeah, that looks kinda blocked.



Mile Post 804. 4 Miles from Cochran.


This logjam turned out to be a tiny one. (Please Note the clever use of foreshadowing).

So, down and around the bend and back to following the Salmonberry. We have descended quite a ways down the canyon wall now. We are much closer to the river (can even see it on occasion, through the trees) and the rock walls of the gorge on either side of us are getting much more impressive. This stretch has a lot more rock avalanches on the rails. I didn't include these as part of my obstacles because none of them were that hard to negotiate. Just like I didn't complain about the occasional blown down tree. You steep over or under and you get on with life. A lot of water over the tracks through this area. It looks like the engineered drainiage for the tracks has failed (clogged) and the water seeping out of the cliff ways as built up over the tracks. Not deep, but muddy. You need waterproof shoes or a certain nonchalance concerning wet feet.

Someone is was clearing the tracks



Someone just likes driving spikes into this tree
THe Alder on the Tracks



 


This is looking up a slide

 


 


You find occasional developed camps
Elk



 





After a while we come to the famous abandoned shack (with the B and B sign) and then, very quickly, a short tunnel, and dissastor. The bridge right after the tunnel is gone. Well, on later close inspection, the bridge isn't gone, but the ground under the rail for 50 feet after the bridge is washed out.

I walked out to the end of the “safe” area. I am standing on where the bridge ended.

 


Can't make it across that hole. Will end up climbing those logs to the right.

looking back at the tunnel. Will go down the bank to the creek.



This is Kinney Creek. I was a little baffled by this. I almost turned around at this point. I can't walk out on the rails. Even if I was silly enough to trust my weight to the air-supported ties (and I almost was), I would have to jump that hole out there in the middle where a few ties were missing. And the fact that a few ties are missing says they WILL fall. Shit. I am too early in the hike to give up. Bruce and Rob would chide me mercilessly. I must push on. (I am sure that it is for situations like this that peer pressure has evolved to the force that it is).
I walk back to the tunnel and look around. Heretofore I had been noticing a faint but distinct trail that I could follow that would lead me around the minor obstacles. The easy way around the down trees and the smaller washouts. Perhaps it will show me a way around this mess.
Bingo, a trail (even marked a little with some logs) goes off up the hill and then down into the creek bed.

The creek itself is around 15 feet across. And the other side is like a 20 foot climb up a very sheer and slippery looking surface. I take off my pack and sit down to think about this. I don't want to commit to doing all the way down to the creek bed if I think I can't climb up the other side. Hell, I don't even see a way to get across the creek. If you slip on wet rocks, well there you have that broken leg again.

These pictures just don't make it look as hard as it was :)


I reach a few (perhaps obvious) conclusions. First, I am not getting across this creek with dry shoes. Deal with it. Wet feet is safer than a fall and I have some dry socks in my much too heavy pack. Oh, that is the other thing. I don't have the balance to climb up or down these dang rocks with this 30 pound pack on my back. So, screw it. I take off my pack and climb down into the creek. I reach up and bring the pack with me. I pull out my trekking poles and cross the creek. Just do it. I actually didn't get that much water in my boots. Cool. Now I can get around under the washed out tracks and I can see what I have to climb. Hmm. Here is my little trail, going up the rock and mud cliff toward the rails, like 20 feet over my head. Well, if these trail makers can do it. I put my foot up on the first step, put my hands on the rock and go to pull myself up. Whoa, that is more slippery even than it looks. I have no purchase. I mean NO purchase. I am now standing there looking up and laughing at the irony.

Ok, I can't go up the Rock. I either go home, or I go climb the logs to the right of the cliffs. There is a little place I think I can scramble up. But not with the pack.

Time to talk about this pack a little. This is the really great, sort of light, extremely well balanced Osprey 68 <smaller cousin reviewed here> that I got just for this trip. I have a six moons one man scout tent (3 lbs) and a Golite summer bag (2 lbs) and a <woodburning stove name> (1 lb). And then I have too much other stuff and all in all it adds up to around 32 pounds. That is just about exactly how much weight I have lost in the last year, so the actual carrying of this weight, at least on the level, is no big deal. But putting that weight up around your chest height on your back turns out to be very off-balancing. So.

Luckily, I have a couple of lightweight carabiners and some parachute cord. So I connect one side to the handle on the top of the pack and the other to a carabiner and throw it up and over the top of the log jam. Ok. Without the pack, climbing the jam wasn't that hard. In 5 minutes I get to my carabiner and pull the pack up. One more small scramble and I am back on the tracks looking back at that tunnel.

I am just realizing that when you are busy scrambling and huffing, you are not taking enough pictures. Note to self.

So, I just did about 100 feet of my 16 mile hike, it took me about half an hour, my arms hurt, and I am exhausted. Time to sit and do a little bit of soul searching. I am like 5 miles down the trail. This last obstacle was very tiring. If I hit a harder obstacle, I will have to turn around. So, I best be able to redo this last portage and any subsequent problems that I hit. And using history as instruction, there is every reason to believe that I will hit more obstacles of the same class as I go forward.

Dammit.

I still for a few more minutes, then tigthten up my straps and head forward down the trail.

Now I get to the river level part of the trail and I quickly hit a number of small bridges across the salmonberry (my first salmonberry crossing) and some short tunnels. I am sort of going in a straight line down as the river S curves back and forth around me. Some of the tunnels have collapsed sections, but nothing hard to get around. The river is very beautiful along here.


THe 5.8 milepost?


It turns out that Salmonberries have thorns and they are vicious little buggers


Entrance to tunnel #4
 


Someone has been here

Belding. And a visitor. Proof that you can drive here.

More proof that you can drive here.


One last tunnel, and I was in the beautiful town of Belding.

Not sure why this town was here. Place to load logs? Place to get more water before heading up the steep part of the hill? There isn't a siding here, or much of anything else, though, pre-flood, there was a automobile bridge across the river (for log trucks?). So perhaps this is just a natural crossroads. It is the one first place along the river that you can get a vehicle to. In fact, there was a jeep parked here when I came through. Now where is the driver? Whatever the case for Belding, I saw no sign of buildings or anything else that would deserve to be called a town. Perhaps it was up on the other side of the river.

It is a sad truth that you can identify a good camp ground by the amount of trash and bullet holes you can find in the area. I stopped here for lunch and checked in with my Emergency Recovery Team. No, there isn't cellphone access or walkie talkie or anything like that. But I carry one of those cool little SPOT emergency locator beacons. They let you send out 4 pre-programmed messages to a pre-selected set of emails. On this trip, I had programmed the messages:
  1. I am OK, moving ahead.
  2. I am OK, but I had to turn back. Pick me up at the drop-off point.
  3. I am not OK. I need help. I am not in immanent danger but I cannot get out alone.
  4. I am not OK. I need help how. My life is in danger.
As you might guess. (3) and (4) are hard buttons to hit. You need to pull a little tag off of the thing. (4) goes out immediately to the local 911 and police and hellicopters are signaled. You make the news. Not a button to be selected ligthly. Would be costly.

In this particular case, after just a little thought, I hit (1).

Then I put on my pack and immediately ran into an impassible barrier. Dammit. The track is like GONE for 100 yards and starts again up 40 feet of cliff. Sheer cliff all around and the river is bank to bank as it curves through the gorge. How in the hell..... Well, back a bit I find that little trail. I follow it for 50 yards or so, across broken rocks and 12 foot tall Alder. Then it comes up to the cliff wall and dissapears. Does it switch back up the cliff and over the top? I can't see how that would work. Looks very hard to climb. I decide to fight directly through the alder out to the river and get to a point where I can see the cliff right under the tracks. Perhaps I can climb that. Push through to the river. It is at least a pretty view out by the river. Pretty, and jumbled, and looking fairly impossible. How am I going to get up that?

You know how when you look at a scene and if there is something unexpected there it is hard to see? Or you see it as something else, something expected. I think that is what happened here to me. Because after like 30 seconds of staring I suddenly realized that that thing hanging down the cliff from the tracks is... well... it is a ladder. Son of a bitch.

Where did the tracks go?

What the?

The River bent that rail. Look, we are 30 feet above the river !!


I scramble up the (now again visible) little path to the ladder and climb right up.Wow. Now on the top. And the track looks really good and clear. So, continue.

At this point I came to a particularly lovely area. The river is making its S curve back toward me from the left, and in front of me is a totally unexpected and beautiful old railroad bridge. Look at this beauty. And make in the USA in 1925. And right after it, a little tunnel. The track is straight. The River (and therfore the canyon) winds around. And I saw this one big piece of metal over against the far shore. What could that be? It is the huge and obviously was put there by the river it its rage. I have now come to the conclusion that it must be the car/truck bridge that had once crossed the river at Belding.





I think this is the car bridge. About a quarter mile downstream.

1925

Tunnel #5





A little ways down from that tunnel is another bridge. This one a short tressle, with the side paths torn up. So you have to walk the ties. This isn't that hard, but you have to pay attention. Which is why, when the two guys suddenly appeared in front of me, I nearly fell off the bridge.

“I told you not to scare him”, the one said.
“Sorry, Sir”, said the other, “Didn't want to sneak up on you.”
“Don't scare a guy like that”, I yelled at them, but we were all 3 laughing.
“You guys must be the owners of that car back at Belding”, I said.
“Yes, that is us.”
They were carrying fishing poles with lures tied to them, “Hey, catch any fish?”.
They shuffled their feet, “Oh, no. We haven't done any fishing. It is illegal to fish in this river. We wouldn't even throw in a hook. Hey, you want a beer?”

First: I don't believe a word about the fish thing, I mean, a fishing rod isn't like a pistol. If they had been carrying pistols, I could believe that they weren't hunting. But a loaded Fishing Pole? But I really didn't care.
Second: Hell yes I wanted a beer. But that would be the end of this trip.

“No, thanks. Guys. I am having enough trouble getting down this trail. Speaking of which, what can you tell me about the trail between here and the road?”

“You mean Foss Road? Why it is easy as all get out from here. Nothing much in your way at all.”
“So I can get through to Enright by tonight?”
The one kid actually thought a little, “Yeah, I would say just 2 hours from here. Easy as pie”.
“OK, that sounds good”.
“Of course, there are a few washouts. And there is that one place where you have to hike way up into the woods to get around the log jam. Unless you want to climb the logs.”
“Well, what is it?”, I ask, “Hard or Easy?”
“Oh Easy. We did the entire length to Foss road just 2 years ago and it is wide open”.

2 years ago.

 


You in there, Dog?


Alrighty then. We shook hands and exchanged names (they had really strong handshakes) and we parted ways. Me to finish my hike. Them to continue not fishing. “Oh, you are going to pass our camp in a bit.”
“OK”, I said, “I will waive as I pass”
“It ain't much”, he said, “Just a tent to the side of the tracks”.
“Ok,” I said.
“And my Dog.” he said.
“OK,” I said.
“She is a Pit Bull.” he said.
“Ahhh”
“So you might want to walk by sort of gently like”.
Right.
I passed their tent very gingerly in about 20 minutes. I saw a cache of beer but no sign of a dog. I made a LOT of noise as I approached the camp and I pushed past quickly. Were they just playing with me? If so, they got me twice, because the next 2 miles were a real son of a bitch.



Every washout or log jam I passed for the next 3 hours (and there were lots of them) I wondered if this was where “the trail goes way up in the woods”. Sometimes I had to go down the bank and bounce along the river boulders. Sometimes my little trail would appear and lead me up over and around the washouts. One more time I had to shuck my pack, climb up a 20 foot embankment, and then pull my pack up after. I had given up making any attempts to keep my butt and chest off of the dirt. I am sliding and crawling as low to the ground as I can. That is so much safer. I have had to ford several more small streams and my boots and socks are thoroughly soaked. And still the tunnels and bridges keep coming.
I really want to reach Enright and stop for the night, but I am still afraid that I will hit a barrier that I cannot negotiate and will have to reverse my path.
Damn Damn Damn.

 


 


This signal might be hard to set.


Tunnel 5?  6? 

Small Cave in.
Mile 8




 




 


Let's just stand over this box and shoot it.



OK, Those are big trees.

Had to go up high to get around this one.

 


Tunnel 6?
Mile 10

These tunnels won't last much longer


I am checking my position on my map, but I have lost count of the tunnels and am so not quite sure where I am. I send out a couple more SPOT fixes. Still moving forward. And finally the Alders in the tracks open a little and I see a track control floating in the air to one side. Here another siding starts. This must be Enright. The abandoned old town where I had planned to spend the evening.

Enright has about a quarter mile of siding, attached at both ends to the main track. It is a place where a helper engine could be kept to latch on to the train and help pull it to the summit at Cochran. Right now, that siding is filled with dozens of totally abandoned and stranded log carry cars. They stretch down out of site.

 


 



Privately owned areas don't usually have trees
Old water tower. At the end of Tank Creek


Where shall I camp. I want a open dry piece of land with a little stream nearby so I can get water. But I want it open enough so I can have a little fire without worrying about lighting up the forest. Hey, there up ahead looks like a nice little meadow up on the left. I get closer and realize that it isn't a meadow, it is a mown lawn. With a house. The grass is mowed all the way down a little walkway to the rails. The house claims to have video surveilence, though I see no sign of electric wiring. I hail the house. Nothing. I hike up the walkway and hail again from up close, “Hello !!!”. Nothing. Maybe it is a summer cabin and they just aren't home. I had hoped to ask them if I could set up a tent on their yard. But I ain't gonna do it without their permission. I set off down the tracks some more. There is one more house.
I finally come to an open place where I could camp, but it is mighty close to those houses and I don't know how those people would feel about it. And there isn't any water close. Crap. I change my socks into my dry pair, my feet look pretty wrinkled.
Enough of this. I only have like 4 miles to go. I am just going to hike out of this and camp at a one of the campgrounds on Foss Road. Maybe Rob will notice that I am sending out a lot of “OK” messages that are close to the end of the trail and he will come meet me early. If not, I can always throw down a tent.
So I keep walking. All of the rest of the way I am sort of looking for a camground, but I have pretty much made up my mind. Every 30 minutes I send out an OK on my SPOT. Come on Rob. Read my mind. Meet me tonight. Bring Beer.
I finally come to a place where my little trail wanders off the trail and up into the woods. I go up it a little, but it looks like it is going to some guys cabin or something. Probably just one of the locals paths out. Because the railroad looks fine.
I go back to the rails and push my way through the Alder and Scotch Broom for 5 minutes until I come to this huge Log Jam. It is like 20 feet high. OH. This is the place those non-fishermen warned me about. How funny. I have been looking for it at every place behind me and had assumed that I was done with the hard stuff. Well. Backtrack and take the very nice little trail for 15 minutes around the jam.

Beaver
Another of those nice old bridge.



Even these high old bridge got smacked and damaged by floating debris

No Idea

Where Did my Trail go?
 


 



Cable across the river
almost there !!





 


The End of the Trail. That Arch Bridge ahead is the Nehalem


The Salmonberry is running wide and slow beside the tracks now. I just have to cross the river 2 more times and I will be at Foss road. I am moving pretty fast now. I am very happy with how the pack is working out. It rides very nice and my back doesn't hurt at all. I am seeing a lot of houses now. Some have cables rigged across the river so they can run a little pulley system over to the river. I find a couple more home built rail-handwagon sort of things. I guess the locals use the rails to get to their cabins. Wonder what they will do as the rails dissapear? Rocks and Trees are already stopping their little hand carts, even if they don't really slow me down.

And At last I come to Foss Road. Rob isn't there. Dammit. I send out another OK and start hiking down the road to the nearest campground. I am out of water and it is getting dark, and I need to find a place for the night. After a mile or so, I come to a campground used by people rafting down the river. There is a young couple there, making out by their car. I make some noise and say hello. They are very gracious. I was going to camp there, but I don't think they want me around. Their group is going to be noisy. But they say they will give me a lift the 7 miles to the main campground. That is perfect. The main campground has water and bathrooms and perhaps a telephone or cell reception. The guy also offers me water, which was perceptive of him. He is a nice guy, a carpenter, he is going down the river in the wooden canoe he rebuilt. Hey guy, Thanks so MUCH !!

He drops me at Spruce Run campground. There are a lot of empty spaces there and I take number 10. I put up my tent, and cook my dinner on my little wood stick powered stove. I am very tired. I send Rob like 3 more messages on my SPOT. I am OK. I am here (and NOT where I said I would be). And I am OK.

And I am OK. My dinner is cooking away on the sticks I spent 15 minutes gathering. I have plenty of water. My tent was up before it started raining. I feel really good.

My dinner was great. My tent was dry. My sleeping bag was warm.

And Rob found me early in the morning. Nuff Said.



21 comments:

  1. Amazing, I just realized that I rode the train from Banks to Tillamook in 2006, the year before the flood destroyed it! I'll have to dig out the pictures (many of your scenes looked pretty familiar!)

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  2. I found this so fascinating mainly because I love to see destroyed stuff, especially if it's correlates to a disaster! Look at how nature reclaims! Love it. I don't think I'd love falling through trestles though ... and don't say I wouldn't because that's just my luck ;)

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  3. I enjoyed reading your summary. I kept thinking that you should have taken somebody with you.

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  4. Really a great trip report. Thanks very much. Sounds like there is momentum toward turning this into a dedicated rails to trails project.

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    Replies
    1. Paul,
      I am interested in your momentum comment. Do you know of an organization or agency that is promoting this? (I may to get involved).

      cheers,
      jon

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    2. oh, And thanks for reading and leaving a comment !!

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  5. I love the pictures. When I was a little girl, now 58, I lived near there. In the now abandoned ghost town of "Enright near that water tower. My dad worked for the railroad and we lived in one of the railroad houses. Enright now a ghost town.

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  6. I would like to know how to get there. I'm near mcminnville, or

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  7. Hey Linda,
    Thanks for reading my blog and commenting.
    There is still someone living in Enright. There are 2 houses there and the grass was neatly cut, when I hiked through last year. I almost pitched a tent in the yard, but I was afraid I would anger someone.

    I don't know how to get to Enright by car. I guess there is some way. But the Tillamook railroad is repairing the rail line and they claim they are going to have passenger (tourist) trips going from Tillamook to Enright. Right now you can hike down from Chochrane or up from the Salmonberry/Nehalem junction.

    Do want to drive to Enright or what?

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  8. Did this hike in May 2014. Makes for amazing pictures and good story telling. Highly recommended.

    At the place where the bridge is out and you have to cross the river, we carefully walked across the log jam piled up against the bridge supports on the left side as you approach it. We himmed and hawed about how to cross over for about 30 minutes as well. But there were enough logs that we could make it without getting wet (at the risk of falling in and getting killed)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for leaving a comment on my blog. I remember a couple of places where there were log jams that looked possible climbable. Don't think there was one at that bridge (at the end of the tunnel?) the year I did this. I am sure more logs happen all the time. I also might have been scared away by the "risk of falling". Still, if I do it again I am going to bring some sort of river fording gear (perhaps just a pair of shoes to wear that are my wet shoes). Hiking in wet boots is not ideal.

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  9. Great hike. Did you make it from Cochran to Foss road in one day?

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  10. Hey Anonymous, thanks for leaving a message, glad you liked the blog. I made the hike in one day but I think it would have been better to do it in it two and plan an overnight. Also, I imagine the trail has only gotten worse in the 2 years since I did this.

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  11. Hey there, Recycled hiker. I greatly enjoyed reading this post! I also share the sentiment that "this is a hike that I had set as a personal goal on my journey to increase my backpacking capability." I loved reading that line as I feel the same way. I'm even more excited now.Thanks again for this helpful and entertaining account of your adventure. I aim to take this on in the middle of May 2015. I'll report back with any updated/unusual findings. Keep doing what you do!

    -Steven

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  12. Very cool man, I've lived in Tillamook for 30 years and never went up Foss Rd. until today and we hiked about 4 miles in, Can't wait until spring to go the whole way and camp a night.

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    1. During the spring it may be a little hard to find a flat dry place to camp. Well, perhaps there are some good places right next to the rails. I was thinking that down by the river in a sand bank would be good. Thanks for reading and commenting !!

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  13. Planning on hiking this in June solo. Thanksfor all the tips and info!

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  14. Planning on hiking this in June solo. Thanksfor all the tips and info!

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  15. Good luck on your hike. I expect that things have grown up a lot more along the tracks since I did this. I hope you can still find all of the little side trails around the big obstacles. Make sure and bring extra shoes for wading through water of you will have to hike in wet shoes like I did (that was my biggest mistake).

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  16. Went from Cochran to Wheeler in 4 days over July 4th weekend 2016. It was difficult. The washout may be a little worse but still doable. Thanks for your wonderful report.

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    1. Hey Fred, Thanks for reading and leaving a comment. I am thinking about doing this hike again next summer. I guess you never know when the washout will finally become impassible.

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