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Backpacking Wilson Creek

posted May 27, 2012, 3:00 PM by Justin P
This weekend, we went backpacking in Wilson Creek.  Friday, I left early from work and headed up.  Casey and a few others came up on Thursday to secure a campsite and we met them at the parking lot for Harper Creek Falls a mile past the Wilson Creek Visitor Center at about 7.  We hiked the Harper Creek Trail (260) up from the parking lot, the steepest section of the trail.  After a quarter mile or so, it leveled off for a mile or so, before meeting up with the Mountains-to-Sea Trail (440).  Shortly after joining up with the MST and just before Harper Creek Falls, we headed down to our campsite.  I set up my tent and relaxed for a bit before going to bed.  In the morning, we got ready and got back on the Harper Creek/MST.  We passed Harper Creek Falls as we would hit that up after our hike.  Shortly, we hit the first stream crossing, then another, and another...  I lost count, but I think there were nine before reaching South Harper Creek Falls.  Although the cold water felt good on my feet and legs, the constant changing between water shoes and hiking boots was a little annoying.  Finally, we reached South Harper Creek Falls, with a treacherous descent down the cliff face to the base of the falls.  This is a particularly beautiful waterfall with sheer cliff faces all around.  We had lunch here and spent some time taking pictures and cooling off in the falls basin.  When we finished, we headed back up and continued up for a bit to stop at the top of the falls, then continued on.  One more stream crossing and we were on the Raider Camp Trail (277).  It's a little confusing here as Raider Camp Trail is initially blazed blue, like an MST spur trail, but changes to yellow when it meets up with the MST.  This trail gradually heads down and down and down until crossing Harper Creek (last stream crossing) and meeting back up with Harper Creek Trail.  Then just a short hike back to the campsite to get some water (and a pool tube) then on to Harper Creek Falls.  We had to rappel down the cliff face to the middle of the falls and and slid down the falls a few times on the tube.  When we finished we rappelled back up and went back to the campsite.  Sunday morning, a few of us packed up and headed back home.
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