We will be working on the Echo Lake trail (#1807) and a short section of the Hurricane Creek trail (#1824). Hurricane Creek is in the northern tier of the Eagle Cap Wilderness and eventually flows past the town of Enterprise before emptying into the Wallowa River.
Starting from the trailhead at the end of the Hurricane Creek Road (elevation of 5000 feet), we will hike the Hurricane Creek trail for 4.5 miles to the intersection of the Echo Lake trail. Elevation gain is 1000 feet. Ample opportunities to set up a base camp along Hurricane Creek exist in this area.
The Echo Lake trail starts at an elevation of 6000 feet elevation, climbs steeply, and tops out at Echo Lake (elevation of 8400 feet) after 3.5 miles (yes, it’s steep).
The section of Hurricane Creek trail we will work on is just upstream of the base camp and extends about a half mile.
The Echo Lake trail is periodically logged out to keep it open but otherwise has not been maintained in recent years, so we will be restoring the tread, creating drainage structures, and cutting back the brush. We will focus on those sections of trail where restoration is most needed. We may be accompanied by the local trail volunteer group (Wallowa Mountains Hells Canyon Trails Association) on some days. A section of the Hurricane Creek trail near the base camp has some drainage issues and we will be working on getting the water routed off of the trail.
We will meet at the Hurricane Creek trailhead on Saturday afternoon (August 17) and hike the 4.5 miles to the base camp. Our tools, food, and cooking supplies will be transported by mule, although each person will haul their backpack with personal gear.
We will work on trails between Sunday and Thursday. For those who choose, we will take a half day on Tuesday afternoon and hike to the lake. Thursday we will work only in the morning and then hike back to the trailhead in the early afternoon. An optional group meal that afternoon at Terminal Gravity in Enterprise will wrap up the trip.
What to expect
Weather in the Eagle Cap Wilderness is at its finest in August so expect sunshine with moderate temperatures. Thunderstorms can occur in the afternoon or at night but are relatively rare. The mosquitoes will have died off by August.
We will be camping in tents and cooking our own food. You will be responsible for bringing food that suits you best — calculate how much you will need (more is better). We will have a communal camp stove, pots and pans, and water filter. Nearby Hurricane Creek provides welcome bathing at the end of the day
The walk to the base camp will be moderately strenuous along a well-maintained trail. The trail work will be strenuous and increasingly so as our work progresses further up the trail towards Echo Lake. Nevertheless, you won’t be expected to work beyond your comfort level. Crew size will be no more than 12.
Communication with the outside world is limited to a Forest Service radio that may or not receive reception in our locations. The crew leader is trained in emergency first aid and others on the crew may also have such training. Ground-based search and rescue teams in the area are quite good.
The focus of this trip will be to work safely, enjoy the beauty of this wilderness and social interactions with team members, and give back to the maintenance of trails sorely needing attention.