Smokey Mountains

China Cap from the south.

by Brian Sather — Updated 7 months 1 week ago · Posted Wed, Aug 9, 2017

The haze set in a week ago just after I was bragging about our clear skies. The smoke that has invaded the Pacific Northwest has hit our area too and we've added some smoke to the mix with our Bear Butte and Clark Creek fires. Visibility is still poor in the valleys but a little better when you get up higher in the Wallowas right now. Even though it is hazy, it doesn't quite have the lung polluting effect that previous summers' smoke has produced. So hiking, trail running, biking, and some other activities aren't too bad right now.

We had a good loop Sunday with the Walla Walla South Fork, Burnt Cabin, Elbow Creek. Other than hawthornes on Elbow Creek all the other trails are in great shape. I nearly ran into a huge cougar in the trail on South Fork just below the spring/cabin.

In the Western Wallowas roads and trails are dusty but good. There remain a few snow patches up high that can be a bit tricky on a few mountain pass trails, but I'm happy to report most of the trails are now snow free, even at the highest elevations. The trail from Sand Pass Trailhead up is cut out and in great shape right now to the Mule Peak Trail intersection. We'll have more up on our website about that soon.

Burnt Cabin Trail
South Fork Walla Walla River Trail
Elbow Creek Climb

Category: Hike    Mountain Bike   
Keywords: Sand Pass    Walla Walla    Burnt Cabin    Tollgate    Wallowas    Blues   
Sun setting on a trail, very hazy.
Snow still left on northern sides of ridges above 8,000'