Monday, March 30, 2015

Trip Report: ORAK Ruins 3/28/15 – 3/29/15

As you guys have probably noticed, I’ve been away from the blog for the past two months. As I mentioned a while back, I was in the process of buying a house, and the past two months I have been moving and getting the house situated. It has unfortunately kept me away from the woods.

Well, some time freed up this past weekend, so I decided to get back into things. I’ve gotten a bit rusty without any trips for almost two months, so I figured I would make this an easy one. For some time now I’ve been meaning to go look for the ORAK ruins. They are the abandoned estate of the former VP for Karo Syrup, built in 1923. I had seen pictures of the ruins before, but it took some doing to figure out their exact location. With the research done, I set out.

It turned out that once you have to location figured out, finding the ruins is actually quite easy. They are located right on the side of the Yellow trail on the way south to Jackie Jones Mountain. After a short climb, they were easy to spot. The first structure I encountered was the gate house.


This past week was a warm one, and we even got some rain, which luckily melted most of the snow, making the structures visible. It snowed most of the weekend, but it wasn’t enough to burry everything back up.







Along for the trip was Rhea. She gets very excited when the backpack comes out, so I couldn’t leave her behind.


From the ruins I continued south, up Jackie Jones Mountain. My goal was to get to a shelter lean-to past the mountain. My intent was to camp in the area.


I had been sick the past few days, and wasn’t feeling too well, so the going was slow. Luckily the terrain wasn’t particularly tough. Other than a lot of slippery ice, it wasn’t tough terrain.


Not long after, I reached the old Jackie Jones fire tower on top of the mountain.


I tried climbing up the tower, but it didn’t seem particularly safe. A lot of the steps and bards had broken off, and the ones that were there kept creaking and moving under my feet.



I made it about half way up and chickened out. With the tower behind me, I started down the mountain where the wind was less severe.

When I reached a small stream, I stopped for lunch.


Another stream crossing, and a climb up Big Hill, and I was in the area of the Big Hill Shelter; a lean-to built in 1927. When I arrived there was already a group of hikers using the shelter to get away from the snow. They didn’t stay long, and headed down the mountain.


I kept going and found a sheltered location where I could set up camp. The temperature was about 20F (-7C), which is great for me, but Rhea gets cold pretty quickly once she stops moving. Setting up camp quickly is very important when I’m out with her.


Once the shelter was set up, I boiled up water for some tea and food.



I didn’t sleep well during the night. My fever kicked back up, and it made for an all around miserable experience, stuffed nose and all. I woke up at sunrise.



Overnight the temperature dropped to about 13F (-11C). I forgot to put my water bottle inside the sleeping back, so in the morning it was frozen. Luckily it wasn’t filled up all the way, so it didn’t crack.


It had snowed a bit more during the night. The Direkt 2 tent is pretty good at shedding the snow, not that there was much to worry about here.


I packed up, and slowly made my way down.


Aside from slipping on covered up ice a few times, the trip down was uneventful. Not a difficult or tricky trip, a fun way to get back into things.