Opal Creek Wilderness – Henline Trail (#9)

 May 21, 2011

Info: (from my book: Oregon Hiking, the complete guide to More than 490 hikes) From the lookout site beneath Henline Mountain, the ridges and peaks of the Cascades ripple into the distance like frozen waves, their folded ridges flowing down to the Little North Santiam River. The lookout site is not on the peak of Henline, but who’s counting? a 1.1-mile trail, rough as it is, continues past this lookout to the 4,650 foot peak, but the view from this destination is in itself worth the climb. This is also an initial foray into the Opal Creek Wilderness. Prepare to climb steadily and steeply for the 2.8 mile trail to the old lookout point. You’ll gain 2,200 feet in this short distance, so give yourself plenty of time.
Directions: Drive east from Salem on OR 22 for 23 miles to Mehama and turn left on Little North Fork Road for 16.3 miles to a fork. Go to the left on Road 2209 for one mile and park on the right near the trailhead.
Jenn’s View: Dang, this hike was hard. Had to stop a couple of times at the switchbacks to catch my breath. Was in much better shape so this hike was such a great work out. This wasn’t on the agenda when I first did this hike. I was headed towards Opal Pool but when I got there, the parking area was full. I remembered I saw another trail on the way towards Opal Pool so I turned my little car around and found the beginning of this trail. I pulled out my hiking book to see what the difficulty rating was and was excited to find it to be some what difficult. Got the dog and off we went. UPDATE: I have hit this trail TWICE now and both times I hit snow!
It starts off already with a climb UP! We didn’t hike very far and you can see my car way down there! Shadowlynn loved this hike – super good work out for her as well. The trail is a little narrow and if you fall, man that would hurt!

I see my car! That little white blob
When it’s just Shadowlynn and I, I normally listen to music really loud. Distracts me from the heavy breathing that I’m doing!
Most of the trail is all wooded and not too many breaks in the tree line to see much of anything but trees. 
We hit a really neat rock outcrop. The trail is pretty flat when you are climbing up (again) but it was a great opportunity to take pictures. It’s actually pretty neat. Wonder how they got all those rocks up there. LOL

The camera was literally hanging upside down on a tree when I took this shot. Self timer is the best!
Did meet a couple of people on the trail. Like I mentioned up above, the trails are narrow, so be careful! Would really suck to tumble down the side of the cliff!
At the end of the rock area, you hit more treed areas.

Would trail run as much as I can!
The first view point is a little hard to find. I’m one to venture off and find little trails, which I really shouldn’t do cuz one of these days, I’ll probably get lost! But this time, I’m glad I did. On the trail, you come to a rock wall type of area to your right side. I believe it’s the second set that you will see a little pathway heading towards the TOP of this rock wall. Climb it! If you aren’t scared of heights, do it…You will not regret it. It’s not that hard of a climb, my teenage kids did it and my sister, Joyce Piol, did it when I took them up on the trail the second time around. It leads you to a very flat area that shows the views of, I believe, is the Opal Creek Wilderness. Ate lunch here and enjoyed the views and the sounds.

The area was quite big and lots of room to walk around and take in the surroundings. Great opportunity to take a couple of pictures. 

After eating and looking around the area, I hit the trails again to go to the top. 
Brrrr, getting colder but the more I move, the hotter I get
I hit a road block trying to reach the top — 5 INCHES of SNOW! Met a lovely young man on the trail, Kevin and tried to go through the snow but he started sinking so we turned around and headed down. Will plan to do the whole thing in the summer. There is a waterfall that I see in the middle of the mountain. Determined to find out what waterfall that is and how I’m going to get there. 🙂
If you click on this picture, it will make it bigger. If you look close enough, there is a little white vertical line – That’s a WATERFALL! I want to know which waterfall that is and how to get there!
JUNE 5, 2011
 So, my second attempt at hoping to reach the top and do the trail! This time I brought my son, Timothy James (TJ) Hunter, my daughter Makaila Hunter, and my sister Joyce Piol. My other daughter had no desire to go. Boo on her! My sister was super glad that TJ went because they were able to rest at every switch back waiting for TJ to catch up. Shadowlynn and I went ahead to see if I remembered how to get to the first view point.  It’s not that hard to find the rock area to climb, just follow the small trail on the right. Makaila and I reached the top. The views are still amazing.
Makaila and I!

I don’t think she was getting any reception but she sure is trying!
We took the opportunity to take some silly pictures. It’s not really rock climbing, we made it look like it. If you are scared of heights, you will crawl like this to get over the wall to get to the flat area.

Ate lunch before heading back on the trail but of course had to take more pictures!
See, the area is quite large…

Good ol’ ShadowLynn
So, on our way up… we were hearing quite a bit of thunder. I don’t think we saw any lightening but the thunder was echoing in the valley. I was scared to see any lightening since we were so high up. No rain yet but it’s coming! We got a great break in the tree line to take some pictures. I bet you would be able to see great views of Mt. Jefferson or Adams or Broken Top or 3 Finger Jack if the visibility was better. 🙂
Joyce paying homage to the Nature Gods

Well, we did get a bit further up than my first attempt to complete this trail. But low and behold, we hit the snow! We thought we could still get through it but we hit a pretty deep and slippery area so we turned around.

TJ slipping on the snow…If you slipped, you would tumble down the cliff!

 So, since it was useless to attempt it, we turned around and Kaila and I decided to rock climb instead!

Made it to the top!

Climbing back down. Harder to go down than it is going up
To be continued….. (I’m gonna complete this hike someday!)

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