Close, but not quite summer

By Allen Thomas, Columbian outdoors reporter

Published:

 

WILLARD — For Ellen Beattie, it's her third summer as host at Moss Creek campground in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

During winter, Beattie and her husband, Ray, take their trailer to Texas to visit family, or maybe to Las Vegas — some place south.

"By the time spring comes, we're ready to get back to the woods,'' she said.

Employees of Hoodoo Recreation, the Beatties are at Moss Creek from just prior to Memorial Day weekend until a couple of weeks after Labor Day.

"We love it here,'' Beattie said. "We have really good campers. They enjoy it here.''

Some campers return year after year.

"They came as children and now are grandparents,'' she said. "They bring their children and grandchildren.''

Moss Creek and nearby Oklahoma campgrounds tend to attract families, Beattie said.

"We get a lot of families who wan to take their little ones fishing,'' she said, as the Little White Salmon River swirled in the background.

"Mostly is it the kids who want to fish.''

Moss Creek also gets used by whitewater kayakers who come to challenge the canyon portion of the Little White Salmon River.

"There are videos of them on YouTube,'' Beattie said. "It's fascinating.''

Beattie said she does not go stir crazy during her three-month stint at Moss Creek.

"We go twice a day up to Oklahoma (a few miles north). It gets you out. You meet neighbors and stop and chat. We enjoy it here.''

With summer's start only a week away, here's an update on recreation conditions in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest:

Campgrounds — All but the highest-elevation campgrounds are open.

Open campgrounds in the Mount Adams District include Beaver, Panther Creek, Paradise Creek, Government Mineral Springs, Goose Lake, Forlorn Lakes, Trout Lake Creek, Moss Creek and Oklahoma. Peterson Prairie is scheduled to open today.

In the Mount St. Helens area, open campgrounds include Lower Falls, Sunset Falls, and Twin Falls. Cowlitz Valley campgrounds open include La Wis Wis, Iron Creek, Adams Fork, Blue Lake Crek, Cat Creek, North Fork and Tower Rock.

The campgrounds in the west flank of Mount Adams are scheduled to open June 28.

Mount Adams, Lewis River, Falls Creek and Kalama horse camps are open.

Roads — The snow line is about 4,000 feet elevation.

Goose Lake is accessible from Willard and Trout Lake, plus high-clearance vehicles can use road No. 60 from the west.

Road No. 6035 has a washout between Forlorn Lakes and East Crater trailhead that is passable for high-clearance vehicles.

White Salmon road No. 23 is blocked by snow a couple miles north of the junction with Lewis River road No. 90. Panther Creek road No. 65 is open to north of Falls Creek Horse Camp.

Road No. 83 on the south side of Mount St. Helens is open to Lava Canyon. Road No. 81 is open from the west to the junction with road No. 8123.

Trails — With the snow line at 4,000 feet elevation, the trails through Indian Heaven, Mount Adams and Goat Rocks wildernesses are covered. Trails at the lower elevations of Trapper Creek are snow-free.

Loowit trail No. 216 and Boundary trail No. 1 remain under snow.

Lower-elevation trails on the north side of Mount St. Helens including Coldwater No. 230 and Hummocks No. 229 are open

Only the upper loop of Lava Canyon trail No. 183 is open. The trail is closed downstream of the suspension bridge until winter damage is repaired.

Johnston Ridge Observatory is open.

Fire closure rescinded: Public entry into the Cascade Creek Fire Closure Area on the south side of Mount Adams is open again.

Mountaineers heading up the South Climb route need Cascade Volcano Passes when above 7,000 feet elevation.