Tuesday, October 8, 2019

North Country Trail - Jordan Valley to Warner Creek

Jordan Valley Pathway, North Country Trailer, Warner Creek Pathway
Trailhead Elevation: 1,283 ft.
Distance: 10.35 mi.
Elevation Gain: 781 ft.
Start Time: 12:59pm
End Time: 3:13pm

Trip Report:
This was another return trip to the Jordan Valley Pathway for myself. I've yet to make it all the way to the west end to the Pinney Bridge Camp, but I've looped around most of the trail from the Deadman's Hill Overlook. Today I set out to get 10 miles one way or another. I set out down the large hill from the main parking and as I neared the bottom I decided I would give the North Country Trail heading north another try. I had done this a few years back but probably didn't go more than a quarter mile seeing how grass and unkept it was. I'm glad I gave it another go.

While it doesn't appear as well travelled, certainly not at first, it was most worthwhile. I had done no research on this section so I really didn't know what to expect. I saw sign describing three miles to the next waypoint and I figured to give it a go. The trail was always easy to follow and the blue blazes never far apart. The trail was grassy however and evidently not frequently travelled.

About 3/4 miles north on the NCT I ran into North Jordan River Road. It was a singletrack dirt road and the trail followed it about a half mile to an intersection. The trail went straight through the intersection on what appeared to be an old road though now closed. The highlight of the day came a quarter mile down the road. The trail skirted the west end of O'Brien Pond and this area was absolutely beautiful. There were boardwalks along the edge of the pond which just barely kept me out of the waters.

Shortly after the pond I hit a marked trail junction. I was surprised to find a sign now speaking of the "Warner Creek Pathway". Never heard of it, hadn't expected it. This made a loop trail just off of the North Country. I decided to give this a go to help get in my miles. I followed the western segment first which was also the NCT. It was a nice wide singletrack and appeared to have good use. The trail popped out at a gate and trailhead signs at M32. It wasn't immediately evident where to go next. I had expected, given the nice signage, a clear trail in the woods going east. The "Open Cycle Map" I was following in my BackCountry Navigator map showed it. I walked closer to the road and saw faint trail and a single blue blaze in the tall grass about 20 feet from the road. I guessed that was it. It wasn't much and quite frankly I was surprised that's all it was.

This went on for a quarter mile til the blazes point southeast along a bumpy forest road. A quick jaunt up the forest road and finally the trail went back into the woods on its own. None of it looked well used but there were blue blazes. The eastern segment of the Warner Creek Pathway was quite evidently not well used. It was easy enough to follow but not well kept. The trail portions that followed the northside of O'Brien Pond became quite wet and muddy much to my surprise. They weren't next to the pond and it wasn't clear where all the water came from. I was just barely able to keep out of the muck without my shoes getting completely drenched.

Eventually I rejoined the NCT and completed the loop. Not sure I'd do the complete Warner Creek loop again given the less than stellar conditions of the eastern half. I made my way back to the original junction between the JVP and NCT. From there I followed the more familiar and very well sued Jordan Valley Pathway loop. I went from waypoint 2 down to waypoint three. This segment near the river hugs the side of the hill and the trail is quite narrow in spots barely hanging onto the hillside from erosion. A couple of foot bridges and boardwalks exist in here to guard against muddy trail. I had not seen a soul the entire day until I made it into this segment. I had enjoyed the relative peace the other sections of the NCT had offered.

From junction 3 I climbed back up the hill to junction 14 and then followed the well used trail along the ridge line back up to the Deadman's Hill Overlook. Ran into a couple parties during the climb and one party along the ridge trail. There were a half dozen people up at the overlook.

It was a perfect weather day to get 10 great trail miles. Temps in low 60s and sunny helping to bring some life to the just starting fall colors.

Classic view from Deadman's Hill Overlook


No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular Posts