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Seven Devils / Hells Canyon Wilderness
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Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Seven Devils / Hells Canyon Wilderness on 07/11/2014 15:47:10 MDT Print View

The last time I did anything resembling "backpacking" with John, we were both carrying Alice Packs as 10th Mountain Division grunts. It's nice having old friends to go hiking with.

Seven Devils


.SD1

.SD2

.SD3

Edited by IDBLOOM on 07/11/2014 15:48:39 MDT.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Seven Devils / Hells Canyon Wilderness on 07/11/2014 16:26:38 MDT Print View

Some day I'm going to make my way over there - a bit far away though. May as well stop at the Wallowas.

I assume you have a fairly light pack. Did John realize maybe he should lighten his load?

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Seven Devils / Hells Canyon Wilderness on 07/11/2014 16:46:00 MDT Print View

"I assume you have a fairly light pack. Did John realize maybe he should lighten his load?"

My pack weighed just under 20lbs fully loaded including camera gear, bear spray, and of course all consumables.

I'm very familiar with John's backpacking mindset as I was there a couple years ago. As heavy as his pack was, we've both carried heavier before thanks to Uncle Sam. Unfortunately that's the baseline we use when returning to backpacking. "Hell, it's under 75lbs so it's not THAT heavy!" He was an RTO (carried a big radio with large heavy spare batteries plus other accessories) for the platoon leader and later CO so his ruck was among the heaviest in our company.

When you've been out a while and actually take the pack out on the trail, you realize you're older, you're not exercising and doing road marches like you once were, you're not humping a heavy ruck for days/weeks at a time, and most importantly, unlike your time in the Army, carrying a heavy backpack is now a choice.

All of his gear is over 10 years old but in reality 1980s mainstream backpacking technology but that really isn't important. We hit the trail and had a great time enjoying a mini-adventure.

I try to refrain from preaching (albeit imperfectly) and tried to limit my suggestions on how he could lighten his pack to when my opinion was solicited. He didn't impose his pack weight on me and in return I didn't impose my backpacking philosophy/style on him.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Seven Devils / Hells Canyon Wilderness on 07/11/2014 17:15:40 MDT Print View

yeah, unsolicited advice is usually futile

Interesting to see his reaction to your lighter gear. Maybe "lightbulb will go off" at some point and he'll solicit your advice : )

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Re: Re: Seven Devils / Hells Canyon Wilderness on 07/11/2014 17:22:44 MDT Print View

We certainly discussed it. He's still carrying a whisperlite for example. He really liked my Lite Trail kit for size, weight, and just as important, simplicity.

I think he's more of a once/twice per year hiker at this point where I'm trying to fit in trips any chance I get so the level of motivation to research and buy the related gear will vary from hiker to hiker. Kind of like my brother in law's >$4000 Cervelo. For him it makes perfect sense but for me, would be a stupid purchase due to how infrequently I ride.

Michael L
(mpl_35) - MLife

Locale: The Palouse
Re: Re: Re: Seven Devils / Hells Canyon Wilderness on 07/11/2014 17:26:04 MDT Print View

Is Hell's Canyon a place you need bear spray?

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Re: Re: Seven Devils / Hells Canyon Wilderness on 07/11/2014 17:36:03 MDT Print View

I'd say that 99% of the PNW isn't a place where you'd need bear spray 99.9999% of the time. I'm already wordy enough and to fully answer my reasoning as to why I carry it, well not enough hours today.

Short answer, I know someone who was almost jumped by a mountain lion and I'd rather carry the bear spray than see an animal, that I have no intention of eating, get destroyed. I certainly don't want to suffer injury but that isn't the primary reason.

Edit to add: but if you read the TR, I mention towards the bottom how we saw tons of mountain lion, coyote, and wolf scat on the east side. Only saw one black bear splat.

Edited by IDBLOOM on 07/11/2014 17:41:11 MDT.

Michael L
(mpl_35) - MLife

Locale: The Palouse
ok on 07/11/2014 18:46:27 MDT Print View

I haven't finished it yet. I'll do so tonight. I was just responding to a post earlier where you mentioned it and was curious. I had never considered spray in this region....

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: ok on 07/11/2014 19:10:54 MDT Print View

Well the Blues (not too far west for people unfamiliar with the area) are thick with mountain lions and bear but I rarely see their crap on the trail.

On the trail alone, without looking for it to the left or right, we were stepping over a hairy pile almost every minute. Normally I try to figure out what made what to get an idea of what's in area but we finally had to say enough or we would have never made it home.

Based on the size, suspect 15% or less was coyote. This was the seven or so mile stretch between Dog Creek and Windy Saddle TH. We never heard them and only saw a few tracks which appeared to be coyote.

I'm only an expert of my own pooh so I could be wrong but pretty sure much of the scat we saw was wolf, a couple were possibly mountain lion, and the rest coyote.

I'm not saying that any of this strengthens the argument for carrying spray or not. Just a personal choice for me and I don't notice it's there when I carry it.

Kerry Wilson
(mntnflyr4fun) - F

Locale: North of Eugene, South of Portland
Spray on 07/11/2014 20:14:04 MDT Print View

I carry it for two legged and 4 legged varmints that seem to love remote trailheads.

Big cats and wolves are a developing issue that solo hikers esp. will learn to appreciate.....

Gotta remember that data for the last hundred years says not to worry bout em, but then again they had both been pretty much eliminated for the last hundred years which is no longer the case. Opportunists both of em....

Many people wanted a new paradigm and its on its way and I already buy insurance for almost every other aspect of my life so........

Ask the locals, I would bet when they go in the boonies they're packin....

IMHO

Edited by mntnflyr4fun on 07/11/2014 20:15:26 MDT.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Spray on 07/11/2014 20:23:04 MDT Print View

Re: Wolves

Unfortuately this conversation is fueled more by emotion than reason. Most of the folks spewing "facts and data" have an agenda one way or the other. I'll freely admit that I don't know enough about it to say one way or the other so I just stay out of it.

All I do know is that they are back although I've only seen one in the wild, 15ish miles east of Chinook Pass, WA. How much of a threat are they to people? Dunno.

Read this wiki article on it a few weeks ago and thought it was interesting:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolf_attacks_on_humans

David Drake
(DavidDrake) - F - M

Locale: North Idaho
Re: Seven Devils / Hells Canyon Wilderness on 07/12/2014 12:06:49 MDT Print View

Nice trip report, Ian. Coincidentally, I was in the Devils car-camping with my kids at the same time. My 5 y.o. son esp. enjoyed "sledding" in June:

sevendevilssled

I've hiked sections of the loop, and enjoy the historical elements of the whole Seven Devils/Hells Canyon area. I think you'd really enjoy going back for the peaks and the lakes. This is from a few years back (and about the same snow level as your trip), taken near Sheep Lake--the largest and prob. easiest of the lakes to access:

He Devil

There are a few spots where you can look down from Devils and see the Snake in Hells Canyon--here's a view from the Dry Diggins Ridge Trail:

DryDiggins

The Snake is that tiny patch of blue just left of center. The picture is from a rim-to-rim hike I did a few years ago and wrote up as a BPL article.

Okay--thread jack over. Thanks again for the great report, Ian.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Seven Devils / Hells Canyon Wilderness on 07/12/2014 12:15:06 MDT Print View

Nice pictures so thread-jack away! I'm definitely returning when I have more time to explore.

We drove through the campsite to check it out so probably saw your car there.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Seven Devils / Hells Canyon Wilderness on 07/12/2014 13:48:02 MDT Print View

switchbacks.com has good Garmin downloadable map - 40 foot contours, fairly accurate trail locations, free