My partner and I hiked this loop the weekend of July 9/10/11. 2 nights.
- So many huckleberries, red and oval-leafed!
- Old growth.
- Owl sighting, either northern spotted or barred owl.
- Solitude, solitude, solitude.
- Cool, shaded temperatures along Eagle Creek.
Hiked in Friday evening from South Harvey TH along Eagle Creek trail #501, found several nice impacted sites along the creek beginning ~2 miles in. The early miles along Eagle Creek were our favorite of the entire loop.
Saturday, hiked from Eagle Creek via Eagle Creek Cutoff/Old Baldy/Plaza trails to directly south of Cheeney Creek, gaining lots of elevation to climb out of Eagle Creek. Big day ~ 13 miles, and Eagle Creek Cutoff and much of the trails a mile or two away from trailheads haven't received much maintenance in a while. Lots of downed trees and overgrown vegetation. Also, once we left Eagle Creek, the only reliable water sources we found were the spring feeding Plaza Creek and another feeder spring into Cheeney Creek, which isn't marked on Gaia but there's a trail marker and a small social trail leading to a clear pool of water. We had carried a drom expecting to dry camp.
Sunday, hiked from our camp south of Cheeney Creek back to South Harvey TH via Douglas Trail, stopping at Wildcat Mountain and the several viewpoints along the way. Ran into two day hikers near the Douglas TH. Other than that, we pretty much had the place to ourselves.
Not sure we'd do it again. But the sites and old-growth along Eagle Creek were worth it. Such a gem.