This weekend's trip was up Canyon Creek in Gifford Pinchot National Forest.  It was a weird trip.  The roads up Canyon creek don't really go anywhere, they drive up through a deep narrow dark canyon and sort of peter out.

I started east of Amboy on NF54.  Here's a view from Canyon Creek campground.  It's a beautiful spot, although dark and chilly in mid afternoon as it seems the sun never shines down in this deep canyon.

At the turn off to road NF37 from NF54 here is a sign with details about Maureen Kelly who disappeared from this location last summer and no sign of her has been found apparently.  Very sad.

At the campground here's an old growth stump with mature new growth around it.  These old trees were HUGE.

I came across this German word today, Waldeinsamkeit. 

Waldeinsamkeit consists of two words: “Wald” meaning forest, and “Einsamkeit” meaning loneliness or solitude. It is the feeling of being alone in the woods, but it also hints at a connectedness to nature.

This is a good description of how I feel driving my Jeep around in the woods.  I love exploring new areas and discovering new vistas.

Took a day trip up to the Big Lava Beds in Gifford Pinchot.  At least that was my goal.  I didn't make it as I was stopped by snow at about 3500 feet on the NF60 road, a couple miles short of Goose Lake.  The couple small storms we had the second week of January dumped a bit of snow in the mountains.

Stopped here near the NF60/NF65 intersection to take some pictures.  It was cold here, well below freezing. 

I saw a large herd of elk pass by at this location.

Took a drive up in the woods today towards High Rocks. There was no snow, even as high as 4000' we encountered just small bits of snow.

On the way out of the woods we stopped at Timothy Lake. The lake was snowless and had a 4-6" layer of ice. The kids had a blast walking out on the lake. Usually the roads into Timothy are covered by at least 4' of snow by this time of year, so this is a rare sight.

It's been a weird dry winter so far here in the Pacific Northwest.

Took a trip out to the Merrill Lake area today.  I've been wanting to scout this area out a while and although it was pouring heavy all day I was able to check out a lot of areas for future camping.  I first drove past Merrill Lake itself and checked out several roads in that area. 

Then on to Kalama Horse Camp.  This area is very interesting, it's very flat and has a lot of dispersed camping spots nearby.  I hope to get up here more often.

Then I drove up to the Goat Marsh Research Area.

I decided to go out to the east side of Mt Hood, an area I rarely venture out to.  My destination was Indian Springs.  I followed my GPS and drove out I-84.  Once into the woods I ventured on various poorly marked roads and after several dead ends and a wild ride through a small section of ATV trails I finally ended up at Kingsley Reservoir.  A place I'd never even heard of until I ended up there. 

Back on pavement, I was able to navigate to Indian Springs via Wathum Lake Road.

I took a trip up to the Skookum Meadows area.  I decided to drive around the 3230 road that skirts the north side of the meadows.  It's an interesting drive.  It's characterized by a lot of dense new growth with a few freshly logged areas and some areas of older second growth.  The dense areas have that crazy dark spooky "feel" to them.

Here's one of the open spots on the ridge line of road 3230 that has a great view to the north that shows the upper Lewis River drainage.

Mt St.

I'd been trying to get to this remote lake for a while.  The direct route via the road that parallels the Collawash River has been cut off due to a wash out at Ogre Creek, so I had to nearly drive to Detroit Lake and backtrack to get to this lake. 

You have to park and hike about a quarter mile into this lake.

It's a beautiful small lake.  There were constant "plops" as fish jumped out of the water.

Since the snow has been melting fast this year, I decided to try and make it up toe Squaw Lake and Meadow.  I was surprised how many other people had the same idea.  There were several cars and a few ATVs at the lake.  So much for getting away from people, LoL.   I hit snow the other side of the Squaw lake/meadows area at 4200 feet, about two miles from Plaza Lake.

Saturday I checked out the Timothy Lake area.  I was surprised how high the snow levels were for Memorial Day weekend.  In years past the road through Timothy Lake area has been snowed in on this weekend, but this year it was completely clear and I was able to get up to 4100-4200 feet before hitting snow.  Looks like the snow is melting faster this year, which isn’t surprising given the warm weather we had earlier this month.

I also took some time to put out some game cameras.