Richard claims he was not scarred, but I am woman enough to admit that that was NOT a very safe hike. As we left our cozy little apartment the night of July the 18th we had no idea the treachery we were about to face on the Elk Creek-Kings Mountain Loop. The trail guide said this was the steepest hike in the book -- but because Rich and I are self acclaimed hiking pro's -- we accepted this advice 'as naught' and started up this 13 mile hike with no apprehension whatsoever.
The first four miles followed an old logging road, and like most of Oregons mountains, the road started at near sea level and CLIMBED AND CLIMBED AND CLIMBED AND CLIMBED with no breaks for richard to bereave his sweat - until it reached 3,000 ft. So not real steep, but a good uphill start for the night.
We made it to our sleeping spot, which, like all other hikes in Oregon, never made it past timber line - and slept peacefully through the night (except for a few moments that were reminiscent of the wild dog adventure). We woke up at 5:30 in a cloud (yes we were in a cloud), and couldn't sleep anymore, so decided to start hiking. We made it a few miles and then the scarryness began. The trail just seemed to end. (see picture below) Ahhh, but this was just an illusion, the trail actually went off a cliff and then down and around and above and along a cliff - off of which we couldn't see off of due to the cloud we were in.
This is the scarry part. We didn't really get a good picture, mostly becuase I was too afraid to do anything but butt slide, but on the other side of those bushes (picture below) is a sheer drop off into...... well, we dont know what, becuase there was a cloud there - but I'm assuming a large mass of trees. Notice that my backpack is missing in this picture. This is due to the big yellow CAUTION sign 1/4 mile into the scarry part that preceeds a tree root bound rope, of which we had to climb down in order to continue on the trail. Richard climbed down first, took the packs and slid them down this trail and waited for me (Mrs sissy pants) at the end. What a man.
We finally made it to the Summit after about 1 hour of REALLY intense hiking (trail so steep along a cliff that you had to climb up on your hands and knees). Because this post doesn't come with any bad news, I guess we made with out anything TOO exciting to tell you - but be warned anyone that ever wants to hike this loop - it is not built for tennis shoes, anyone carrying a backpack, or the weak of heart!!