Saturday, October 25, 2008

Triangulation Peak & Boca Cave

This weekend Emily and decided it was time to go on another short hike before I had to work at Ruby's.
We drove out towards the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness area with guidebooks in hand.  When we passed
by Detroit Lake I was absolutely amazed at how low the water level was.  When Kalin and I had passed by the lake in mid July on our Jefferson attempt it reminded me of Lake George.  There were hundreds of boats on the lake and it looked like a tourist
community.  Now the water level was about 50 feet lower and all the rocky barren shores were exposed and the waterway
under the bridge near the town looked like the grand canyon when we drove over it, completely impassible by boat now.  We only saw one boat on the lake and I have no idea how it got there because all the docks and boat ramps were laying on the bare ground now!  

The hike we chose was a relatively short one of about 6 miles or so round trip
and it took us by a beautiful rock spire appropriately called Spire Rock.  It rose straight up out of the side of the mountain like a thick needle about 80 feet into the sky.  If you look at some of the pictures posted here you should be able to see it.  The trail was very well maintained and seemed even easier than the Tripyramids that we climbed last month.  We quickly made it to the exposed
summit and were rewarded with absolutely beautiful views of Mt. Jefferson rising to the Northeast.  I could clearly see the ridge "Sentinal Hills" that Kalin and I had humped 60+ pound bags and skis over in our attempt to climb Jefferson in July.  It brought back really bad memories
of pain and anger from that trip.  Emily and stayed at the summit for a while eating some lunch and soaking in the sunshine of the beautiful day.  There were beautiful fall colors everywhere, ironically they were most beautiful in the clear cut logging areas.  The true summit of the mountain was a small rock outcropping about 30 yards from the lookout of Mt. Jefferson.  Emily and jogged over and snapped some pictures of each other on the rocks above some pretty steep cliffs.  Emily is a little nervous around exposed areas but I think she is gaining confidence in herself with every hike that we go on.  When I feel she is secure, confident and ready, I'll take her up a Cascade Volcano, perhaps in the spring.  

Just as we were packing up for a quick descent a couple at the top asked if we were headed down to the cave.  This question of course shocked us because no where in the guidebooks did it mention a cave.  After some quick directions Emily and were bounding off on a herdpath descending towards Mt. Jefferson from the main trail on Triangulation Peak.  There was a lot of blowdown on the trail and it was steep at times but then it leveled out across a small meadow of flowers leading to our destination.  Before reading on, play the video below, because this is exactly what we found when we walked around the corner to discover "Boca Cave".

Boca Cave was amazing!!!  The cavern entrance perfectly framed Mt. Jefferson in the distance and the
ceiling of the cave had to be 60 to 70 feet high.  The cave didn't go very deep into the mountain but the ground area was definitely very big and provided a lot of shelter for possible future camping trips.  I'm not sure what the geologic factors were that created the cave.  I took several photos of Emily to inside the cave to show the sheer size of it in perspective.  If the couple on the
summit hadn't mentioned it Emily and I would have just hiked back to the truck without ever checking it out.  It definitely seemed like a "locals only" location because there wasn't any graffiti or vandalism to the cave.  As soon as we left the cave I started to plan out return
camping trips to it in my head, perhaps a back country ski into the cave.  The road to the trailhead would be closed meaning it would be a 10 mile ski to the cave but the way out down to the main highway is all downhill which could potentially be a lot of fun and fast!  Hopefully this winter we'll get a good enough snowpack to test out the trip!  

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Climbing Weekends with Tiff & Chris

For a couple weekends now Emily and I have gone climbing with Chris and Tiffany.  The first weekend we drove all the way out to Flagstone for our first time there.  Emily didn't have any climbing shoes or a harness so she climbed in her sneakers and borrowed one of Chris'.  We climbed with Tiff and Chris for several hours before heading to Eugene to go to the Steelhead Brewery in Eugene for some Dinner on the way home.   Emily was fantastic at climbing even in her sneakers.   

Emily and I went back two 
weeks later to meet up with Chris and Tiffany again but this time after I got out of work at Ruby's at 9pm.  We drove 
quickly through the night to meet up with Aaron, Chris and Tiffany at the parking lot to camp out overnight.  By the time we got to the parking lot we were in about 3 inches of fresh snow glowing beautifully under the moonlight.  Since we were all there we decided to just stay the night and see if the rock was dry enough to climb in the morning.  So we chatted for a while over some beers, playing with Chris and 
Tiff's new dog Kya before Emily and I curled up in the bed of my truck under a canopy of stars.  

In the
morning we scouted out the area but decided that not only was there ice on the rock, it was way to friggin' cold to try to climb.  Our fingers would have frozen halfway up the rock!  So, we decided to head to the Columns in Eugene for some climbing before I had
 to take off for work at 4:30.  On our way out of the mountains from Flagstone we ran into some helicopter logging operations
which were really amazing to watch.  The pilot of the helicopter was truly an expert.  It was a single pilot helicopter with two very unique blades spinning simultaneously as rotors.  The chopper would drop down, almost as if falling out of the sky, stop, the workers would clip the dangling hook to a bunch of trees and the chopper would whisk them off to another part of the mountain for stripping and loading onto trucks.  Check out the video and pictures!

At the
columns we got a few good climbs 
in and Emily definitely appreciated having
the right rock climbing shoes this time!  I think this was probably going to be the last time Emily and I climb outside the rock gym at Dixon until next spring.  The main focus in my mind now is ski season coming up!