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 Post subject: Lower Molalla River Trails Loop
 Post Posted: October 31st, 2012, 4:35 pm 
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Joined: August 1st, 2011, 8:51 am
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Location: SW Portland
I did this hike a couple of Sundays ago. The prediction then was for a soggy day, so I went to a place that would normally be avoided except in such circumstances. The prediction did not pan out: I didn’t experience a drop of rain for the entire 10 miles of the loop (The prediction was again for soggy this past Sunday: I laughed it off, went out, found creeks impassable and got totally soaked).

The Bureau of Land Management’s Molalla River Recreation Area trails attract mountain bikers and equestrians during the warm season, but the trails (single track) are closed to both groups from October 15th to April 15th. This is a good time for hikers to go on soggy days mid-fall through mid-spring.

Attachment:
Rim Trail-Fern Creek Trail junction, Molalla River Recreation Area.jpg
Rim Trail-Fern Creek Trail junction, Molalla River Recreation Area.jpg [ 279.27 KiB | Viewed 3926 times ]


I made a loop from the Hardy Creek Trailhead around the southern part of the area. I tried to keep on trails, as opposed to the forest roads, as much as possible and had a decent morning. It is all secondary growth, mainly Douglas-fir and western hemlock with a lot of big-leaf maple. There are no views, but if you’re into thatch ant nests, this is your Holy Grail! Also, I’ve been here in the fall when there was quite a varied display of fungi, but it was not as diverse this year, perhaps because of our long dry spell.

Attachment:
Thatch ant nest, Rim Trail, Molalla River Recreation Area.jpg
Thatch ant nest, Rim Trail, Molalla River Recreation Area.jpg [ 336.36 KiB | Viewed 3926 times ]

Attachment:
Lobster mushrooms, Rim Trail, Molalla River Recreation Area.jpg
Lobster mushrooms, Rim Trail, Molalla River Recreation Area.jpg [ 204.76 KiB | Viewed 3926 times ]

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Gnarly big-leaf maple, Rim Trail, Molalla River Recreation Area.jpg
Gnarly big-leaf maple, Rim Trail, Molalla River Recreation Area.jpg [ 341.6 KiB | Viewed 3926 times ]

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In honor of all bobcats, Molalla River Recreation Area.jpg
In honor of all bobcats, Molalla River Recreation Area.jpg [ 248.28 KiB | Viewed 3926 times ]


I did the whole Rim Trail, then came down Red Vole Road, right now an active logging road, to Huckleberry Road, and picked up the Fern Creek and Deer Skull Trails for the return. These two trails skirt some partial cuts, but also offer a resplendent vine maple/sword fern understory and an undulating course along the slope.

Attachment:
MolallaTrails.jpg
MolallaTrails.jpg [ 144.95 KiB | Viewed 3920 times ]

Attachment:
Southern stretch of the Rim Trail.jpg
Southern stretch of the Rim Trail.jpg [ 365.67 KiB | Viewed 3926 times ]

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Rough-skinned newt, Red Vole Road, Molalla River Recreation Area.jpg
Rough-skinned newt, Red Vole Road, Molalla River Recreation Area.jpg [ 253.32 KiB | Viewed 3926 times ]


One feature on Huckleberry Road is Annie’s Cabin, a little one-room structure that visitors are welcome to use. Inside, a little panel tells that Annie Miller, Jim Williams, and Annie’s daughter Squirrel lived here in the early 1990s while they worked as volunteers on cleaning up the area and brushing out the trails. Jim Williams died in October, 1993, and Annie and Squirrel soon moved out. The cabin was used as a living room, while the family slept and cooked in a trailer parked next to it.

Attachment:
Annie's Cabin, Huckleberry Road, Molalla River Recreation Area.jpg
Annie's Cabin, Huckleberry Road, Molalla River Recreation Area.jpg [ 281.27 KiB | Viewed 3926 times ]

Attachment:
Mossy vine maple, Fern Creek Trail, Molalla River Recreation Area.jpg
Mossy vine maple, Fern Creek Trail, Molalla River Recreation Area.jpg [ 357.4 KiB | Viewed 3926 times ]


There were hunters down in the river bottom, but they are not allowed to hunt in the trail area. I did come across a couple of clever deer. Some equestrians came late to ride along the forest roads. Their big rigs and trailers took up most of the parking area.

Attachment:
Molalla River near Hardy Creek Trailhead, Molalla River Recreation Area.jpg
Molalla River near Hardy Creek Trailhead, Molalla River Recreation Area.jpg [ 318.24 KiB | Viewed 3926 times ]


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 Post subject: Re: Lower Molalla River Trails Loop
 Post Posted: November 1st, 2012, 7:05 am 
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Joined: May 28th, 2008, 11:03 pm
Posts: 1176
Reading this report was a nice way to start my day, thx. --Paul


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 Post subject: Re: Lower Molalla River Trails Loop
 Post Posted: November 1st, 2012, 7:53 am 
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Joined: May 28th, 2008, 11:03 pm
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Location: Portland
Thanks - great tip on the "off-season" for hikers, too. So, were those savvy deer wearing orange vests, too..?

:lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Lower Molalla River Trails Loop
 Post Posted: November 1st, 2012, 7:56 pm 
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Joined: June 13th, 2010, 7:25 pm
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Those don't look like Lobster mushrooms to me.


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 Post subject: Re: Lower Molalla River Trails Loop
 Post Posted: November 2nd, 2012, 3:10 am 
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:) Nice TR. Annie's cabin is looking like it needs some TLC. Did you happened to notice if the door was locked? This was my most favorite spots when I was a horseman. I'll have to get back up there soon to cut some firewood for the stove and bring in toilet paper.

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 Post subject: Re: Lower Molalla River Trails Loop
 Post Posted: November 2nd, 2012, 7:55 am 
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Location: SW Portland
@GoretexDisco: I believe you're correct: They're probably sulphur shelf (Laetiporus); I originally put "lobster" but changed it; however, the old designation is what uploaded. As far as I know and can find out, lobster fungus usually infects Russula and Lactarius.

@ForestKeeper: The door was unlocked. The cabin was clean inside and there is a broom. Is there an outhouse nearby? I didn't see it.


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