24.5 miles of hiking • 6250' elevation gain •
Set out to see if we could do 25 miles at the Coyote Wall - Catherine Creek complex, and came darn close. Wasn't helped by being frozen out of the jeep first thing in the morning! ("WTH's that hair dryer? OMG...") Late start meant a really late finish. Only overlapped a small percentage (<10%?) of the track, had some great ups and downs, and even managed to stray down a few pathways as yet untrodden (by me, anyway). All of this with my good pal, Mountainkat! Awesome day.
15.5 miles of hiking • 3250' elevation gain •
Awesome day wandering around Columbia Hills. Area was covered in clouds as we began, but soon enough the sun was starting to appear through them, and then - miraculously - we climbed right through them! Just beautiful. Not even all that windy, compared to usual.
16 miles of hiking • 4250' elevation gain •
Wonderful climb up Hunchback Ridge! Just invigorating right out of the gate, and only got better as we hit snow around 3500' or so. The ridge was as totally delightful! A light frosting had covered the forest at some point in the last 24 hours. The sun was shining! Who could ask for more? Heh... Well, then it started "raining" as the trees' flocking melted. Raincoats were safely dry back in the car, of course. Thought about continuing on the Devils Peak, but the light rain had turned to a near-downpour by that point. Took our bail trail back down Green Canyon Way instead. Had a heckuva lunch stop, in the sun(!!!) at the overlook, before continuing down. Then followed the Salmon River for a nice ways before road-walking 3 miles back to Zigzag. Just an awesome day in (nearly) all regards.
7 miles of hiking • 3000' elevation gain •
Original thought was to hit Augspurger, but plans changed as we climbed. Drive out was raining a bit, but it eased up as we got near. The skies were even brightening, and we caught a rainbow over Wind on way up. But by the time we hit the decision junction, we were in a full-on wind/rain storm, and the thought of plowing on to Aug wasn't too pleasant. So we turned and headed for Dog instead!
The traverse across the upper meadows was a walk through the clouds, with ghostly visions of trees lining ridges below. The summit was totally clouded. No real views until we were well below Puppy Dog on way down. Blah! After a quick descent, we were surprised by the number of folks choosing to #OptOutside here! We headed west, in hopes of nicer conditions for round two.
8 miles of hiking • 2500' elevation gain •
Decided we'd #OptOutside the afternoon away on Hamilton, after nearly being blown off Dog in the morning. We were correct to have feared "half of Portland!" being out on BRSPs trails this day. Mud abounded below the upper junction. But the later start meant we were likely less irritated by flipfloppers than we otherwise might've been earlier in the day.
Enjoyed a delightful Brocken Spectre down by Rabbit Ears from the summit, then quickly moved on to the saddle for sunset. Started down by 4:30, and just over an hour later were greeted by a park ranger asking "Why are you only getting down now? Don't you know the park closed at dusk?" Wow... He'd just cited the other two cars still in the lot, and was preparing to cite us as well, but then offered, "If you can exit in two minutes, I won't write you up!" Wow, wow, wow...
Not wanting to offer him much chance to change his mind, I only asked "How do you define dusk?" The immediate response was, "30 minutes after sunset." I think an RCW search is called for!
23.5 miles of hiking • 750' elevation gain •
Wettest day either of us had ever seen east of The Dalles! The freeway was a slopfest from Portland onward. Still dumping when we hit the trailhead. Waited an hour or so, and the skies began brightening a bit, so we grabbed a bigass umbrella and decided to give it a go. Within an hour, everything turned around! What a delight.
The old Harris Homestead ranch house has almost completely collapsed now. At the current rate, it seems unlikely to survive the winter. The stroll was as lovely as ever, maybe even better since everything had just been power-washed before the bright lights were turned back on. Didn't see another human the entire time out. :-)
12.5 miles of hiking • 4500' elevation gain •
After a summer spent mostly in different areas, got out again with my good hiking buddy Mountainkat and enjoyed a fabulous loop along the Wilson River Trail, up Elk Mountain, traversing over to Kings, then down Coronary Ridge and finally taking the WRT back to the TH. The weather was simply glorious, considering it's late November, and there were only a few inches of snow in the higher bits. This one's always fun!
16.5 miles of hiking • 4500' elevation gain •
Whatta, whatta, wet, wet day! Rain from the trailhead (9am) to summit (12:30pm), and then some. Of course, on top, there was anywhere from a half- to four-feet of snow, and being a hearty 38° it was pretty much slush. Postholed past the knees wandering around up there, which wasn't for terribly long given the "views." Saw one other human up top, and one set of footprints heading off the north exit. The forest and the PCT was just magnificent. Great day to be alive!
9 miles of hiking • 4750' elevation gain •
Whoops, I did it again! Fifth time up MSH this summer. Always fun!
20 miles of hiking • 5500' elevation gain •
One last glorious day in the blastzone before they lock the SR-504 gate down by the Hummocks. (Might also have been the last trip around Devils Elbow, as the USFS has decided to just let that trail rot into the abyss, it seems.) Just meandered from JRO over to Mount Tomroy and back, tagging the top of both Margaret and Coldwater as well on return. Hit the rock arch right at sunset which was pretty awesome. Crossed trails with a herd of 30-40 elk at one point, too. Hard to have a much better day out hiking than this!
17.5 miles of hiking • 3250' elevation gain •
Really fine day exploring an area south of Mt Hood that I'd yet to really appreciate. Started at Frog Lake, up to Frog Lake Butte, down past (with a nice appreciation break) Twin Lakes, on to Palmateer Point, through Devils Half-Acre, and up to Barlow Pass before heading back southbound on the PCT. Previous snow had (near) entirely melted, despite ranging up to 5300'. Another great day in the woods!
7 miles of hiking • 750' elevation gain •
Delightful destination for a dog walk! As something of a (admittedly extremely minor!) challenge, I decided to try doing the "longest loop with the least overlap" this day. I think half the challenge was simply rolling formulae around in my mind, wondering how exactly one might quantify such a thing. I dunno, track below... What do you think?
18 miles of hiking • 2000' elevation gain •
Hiked the entire length of the Lewis River Trail with a couple good trail friends. The fall foliage was really coming on strong, and the water flows were low. So low, in fact, that the "grand finale" - Curly Creek Falls - was totally dry! Just a wonderful day, all in all. Beautiful waterfalls, stunning foliage, magnificent old growth, and great camaraderie all along the trail.
17 miles of hiking • 4250' elevation gain •
Enjoyed a great day out with an "award winning guidebook author" as he mapped a few trails for an upcoming GreenTrails update. We had to resort to Plan B when FR93 got a bit too deep to ponder our original shuttle plans on. So we dropped 2000' down the Bluff Trail to the Lewis River, then came back up Wright Meadows trail before crossing over Spencer Butte. Along the way, we dropped down to Breezy Point, the former site of the fire lookout that replaced the former Spencer Butte lookout long ago. Snow line was right around 3000', and got as deep as perhaps 10" at 4200'. It was a real clash of the seasons, with the vine maple in riotous color through much of the forest.
20.5 miles of hiking • 5750' elevation gain •
Interesting loop, which I think I did in the right direction this time. Started at US35, and climbed from there up to Lookout Mountain via the Gumjuwac Saddle. The views were great, stretching from Rainier to the Sisters, though not the best I've seen from there. Lenticular clouds were forming leeward of Jefferson, so I knew something was up. Headed south towards Flag Point, visiting Oval Lake and the Pinacles along the way. Western larch were only just beginning to turn color. Give 'em another week or two for peak. The lookout on Flag Point was shuttered up for the season. Took a new route down into the heart of The Badger, following the cutoff trail down to Badger Creek, then climbing back up the saddle again before returning down to the highway. Pretty good day, all in all!
25.5 miles of hiking • 4750' elevation gain •
Finally knocked this loop off. Been wanting to do it for a few years now. Very interesting, but I think I'd go the other direction next time. Started going down Lava Canyon, which I just can't decide whether it's best first or last in the day? Either way, not prime. Then I followed the Smith Creek canyon up to FR99. The first 7 or 8 miles are relatively flat through an alder forest. Not really what I expected, but, well, interesting. One weird crossing, otherwise no way to goof up. Big climb (~2300') at 11+ miles in. But then it was just a cruise from there. Lunched high above the south shore of Spirit Lake, swung through Windy, then took the Abraham over to Ape Canyon and down. Most excellent day in the blastzone!
12.5 miles of hiking • 1750' elevation gain •
Perfect day for a walk in the woods! Especially the temperate rainforest that is the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness, just south of Zigzag. Near-constant drizzle-rain, punctuated by bursts of sunlight at times, meant we probably couldn't have picked a better trail for this most enjoyable dog walk. The salmon were migrating up river to spawn, and the vine maples were just starting to turn. Life seems to have returned to normal again.
17 miles of hiking • 3500' elevation gain • 1 night
Finally knocked off the last segment of the Loowit Trail that I'd yet to traverse - from the June Lake to Ape Canyon junctions. Started at the June Lake trailhead, and enjoyed a rip-roaring waterfall into the lake (from recent snowmelt), before beginning on new-to-me trail above. Loved this segment! Some forested, but mostly through lava fields and pumice plains, with a number of significant drainages to cross along the way. And oh, how the huckleberries were out! My goodness... it was a feast!!!
Enjoyed lunch near the little waterfalls a bit beyond Pumice Butte, right before the rain began. Wandered another mile-plus, to the three-way junction, before decided that was enough for today and turning around. All day long, a helicopter flew folks in and out to service the monitoring equipment scattered all about, which added a little interest.
Rain fell pretty steady the entire way back to June Lake. Wading through the huckleberry fields wasn't quite as much fun in these conditions, but the scenery was sublime. So colorful and yet so muted. Camera became waterlogged, but the memories will persist.
14.5 miles of hiking • 3500' elevation gain • 1 night
Started at Independence Pass to see what shape the Independence Ridge trail may be in. My answer: terrible! Four significant washouts in the first two miles, and the last mile near-completely overgrown. Good thing the WTA has this on their hit list! :-)
Turned towards Norway Pass after hitting the Boundary Trail, then headed south on the "closed" Independence Pass trail for a mile or so just to see what's down there. My answer: magnificent views of Mount Saint Helens and Spirit Lake! Wow... Also saw a hungry bear redirecting a herd of elk away from "his" huckleberries. Really a shame no one seems interested in repairing the landslide that closed this trail.
Enjoyed first lunch at Norway Pass before heading onward and upwards towards Mount Margaret, and along the way ran into a group of friends at the Whittier junction! We continued on, and I decided I couldn't help but climb the snow-covered Mount Tomroy, as I believe it offers the very best views in the Backcountry. No disappointment there. Fine spot for second lunch.
Ended up returning to the Norway Pass trailhead with my friends, and bumming a ride back to the jeep, as I just couldn't see going back down Independence Ridge again. Just a spectacular day in the mountains!
21 miles of hiking • 4750' elevation gain • 1 night
Wandered east along the Boundary Trail from Elk Pass on FR25 for the first time. Hit snow just before arriving at Badger Lake, about 4.5 miles in around 4800' elevation, and stayed in it until returning to the same point again. Dirt bike ruts provided all the clues needed to follow the trail, thankfully. Heh... Tried scrambling up Craggy Peak, but got a bit sketched out just 100' shy of the summit. Nice views east towards Adams and Goat Rocks to enjoy with my lunch. On the way back, took a much better (but also snow covered) trail up Craggy Peak for the most magnificent 360° views! Love these old lookouts that haven't yet been overgrown. Decided this was an area I definitely need to explore more!
9 miles of hiking • 4750' elevation gain •
Night climb to see the sunrise. Pleasantly surprised with subdued pastels instead. Stayed on top for over an hour, but the cold was intense so we finally descended for breakfast (a ham sandwich and chips, tbh) below. Another great day on the volcano!
3.5 miles of hiking • 750' elevation gain •
After a nice jaunt up to the top of the volcano, and freezing our keisters off up there, we strolled over to June Lake to luxuriate a bit and enjoy some lunch in the warm sun.
17.5 miles of hiking • 4500' elevation gain •
Decided to climb Table Mountain, from the Bonneville TH, to try getting as good a view of the Eagle Creek Fire as might be possible. Winds were favorable, as we had mostly fresh, clean air to breath all day long. Surreal may be the word of the day. It wasn't complete devastation, as many (myself included) had initially feared. The "mosaic" pattern of the burn was quite evident, even if not easily photographed.
While on top, another friend of ours arrived having come from the Aldrich Butte area. We ended up hiking along with him, back down to his car and caught a ride over to our starting point, to cover more varied territory rather than repeating our route in. Exited Table off the north end, then took the PCT down most of the way. Climbed up Aldrich Butte as the sun was sinking for some final shots of the destruction across the river. What a day!
7 miles of hiking • 1000' elevation gain •
Thought we had a perfect "safe space" picked out for Sunday's hike! Driving east through the Gorge, the sights were just ghastly. Alas, as we enjoyed lunch beside the beautiful Peggy Lake, an enormous plume of smoke erupted over the ridge on the far side. Holy crap! Less than two miles away, a (no doubt) human caused fire had grown to 1000 acres in almost no time, having started inside the rim of East Crater. Needless to say, we evac'd our butts with due haste. Driving back west through the Gorge, we stopped again to watch our "cathedral" burn in the Eagle Creek fire.
So sad!!! :-(
22.5 miles of hiking • 5750' elevation gain •
Had what turned out to be a farewell tour through many of my most favorite spots in the Gorge on Saturday. When I got back down to Multnomah Falls parking lot, I could see the humongous plume growing over the Eagle Creek fire. Life in the Gorge will never be the same. Not in my lifetime. Profoundly grateful for having this last opportunity.
Set a new PR for getting up to Sherrard Point, making it there in just under 2.5 hours, which was a half-hour faster than ever before. That felt incredible! Then I just slow meandered down the back crater rim, before dropping into the crater and heading towards Franklin Ridge. Decided to skip the Basin this time, regrettably, and ended up traveling the road over to Devils Rest before dropping down the Primrose Path and thrilling once again to Wahkeena Springs and the falls below.
I'll probably always cry, remembering this last hike through that treasured territory.
25.5 miles of hiking • 3750' elevation gain •
Felt like doing a little woods walkin' yesterday, so pulled out one I'd had "on the list" for years but hadn't even gotten around to. Headed north on the PCT from Lolo Pass to Buck Peak, where I enjoyed the most delightful brunch with views of Mount Hood over Lost Lake. On the way back, I found myself way ahead of schedule, so I took a 7-mile detour down 1000' to loop Lost Lake. Such fun! Hadn't been there in over 30 years. Crossed trail with dozens of thru hikers while heading south on the PCT. Other than an PWB Ranger, I think I was the only day hiker out there. Just an awesome day in the woods!
19 miles of hiking • 4000' elevation gain •
What Woodswalker said! Absolutely a highlight of all 2017 summer hikes. The high country up on this side of Adams is just so spectacular. This one's going to be an annual trip, for sure.
5 miles of hiking • 1500' elevation gain •
Favorite after-work dog walk. Only a handful of other people up there to enjoy the sunset.
15 miles of hiking • 3250' elevation gain •
Followed the PCT from Barlow Pass up to Timberline Lodge, which was a lovely stretch of trail new to both of us. Up top, we realized neither of us had ever followed the Mountaineer Trail up to the top of of Magic Mile, either, so we made a high loop of it to stretch out the day a bit more. Delightful!
17 miles of hiking • 5000' elevation gain •
...with a side of Mississippi Head.
15.5 miles of hiking • 4500' elevation gain •
via Kautz Creek...
19 miles of hiking • 4750' elevation gain •
Nice to pay our respects, again... Best view in the backcountry, too.
12 miles of hiking • 4000' elevation gain •
Saturday Party Central. Lots of friends, old and new.
15.5 miles of hiking • 4250' elevation gain •
Finally scaled that pile of rubble! Great day out...
18 miles of hiking • 4250' elevation gain •
Took a different approach, and hiked up past Burnt Lake along the Zigzag Mtn trail. Totally overgrown, with some serious blowdown, but worth it for a change of pace.
20.5 miles of hiking • 3000' elevation gain •
From the north (Crest Camp).
18.5 miles of hiking • 4000' elevation gain •
Oh, I'm sorry, did I wake anyone?
12.5 miles of hiking • 5000' elevation gain •
Because Mount St. Helens just wasn't high enough!
11.5 miles of hiking • 5750' elevation gain •
And the worms ate into my brain...
18 miles of hiking • 3250' elevation gain •
Sure wish I could still post photos here... Futurecast showed solid green all damn day. NOAA was predicting thundersnow. To hell with them, huh? If you want drama in the blastzone, defy the forecasts! Simply spectacular day, and the weather did NOT disappoint. Wild crazy clouds were with us all day long. It snowed, big badass flakes at times, twice during the day. We walked 5 of the last 6 miles in unrelenting wintry-mix precip, as temps dropped into the upper-30s. As we approached JRO on return, the skies opened up, and we actually saw the entire volcano. Tried to get over to Step Falls, but Loowit Creek was raging far beyond the "ford it for fun!" (twice, no less!) point. Oh, and did I mention goats? Holy-freakin-crap, did we see goats!
25.5 miles of hiking • 6500' elevation gain •
Fun megaloop up Herman Creek valley, off-trailing up the side of Tomlike, navigating through 6' deep snow over to Chinidere, then following the PCT back across the Benson Plateau taking a steep detour down to Pablo's Pond along the way.
13.5 miles of hiking • 1500' elevation gain •
Forecast was for near-90 in the city. This was the perfect antidote! The forest was as chill as things get on such a day. And the waterfalls were glorious with the spring melt. Long drive for a short hike, but one helluva getaway!
20 miles of hiking • 5250' elevation gain •
Awesome day, finally hitting the elusive Green Point Mountain on a day with blue skies! Always been there in a cloud before. Still lots of snow (6-8') up on the plateau. Don't go without strong nav skills!
Went up Nick Eaton Way, which is "pretty real" according to my trusty hiking buddy. That ridge was bare, and a true delight to traverse. Real snow started following the quick climb just to the south. But worries about finding the Herman cutoff proved needless, as the snow melted quickly on the southwest facing ridge. Cedar Swamp was just a freaking delight, as always!
20.5 miles of hiking • 5500' elevation gain •
My good friend Kathy made good on a promise and showed me up the Rock of Ages ridge. Wow, what an amazingly fun scramble that was! We climbed over 3000' in less than three miles. (And the first mile was damn near flat!) Arriving up top, we headed SW then turned down the Bell Creek Trail, and enjoyed the awesome old growth of the deep forest. At the Oneonta junction, we again turned uphill to go tag Larch. Took the standard LMT down, until we veered up again into the Multnomah Basin. The final plunge back to sea level, or at least the 400 trail, was via Elevator Shaft. Just a most awesome day in the woods!
20.5 miles of hiking • 4500' elevation gain •
Led a group from the now-standard Bonneville Trailhead up through the debris slide to Table Mountain and beyond. We chose to go up the Westway Route, rather than the far more routine Heartbreak Ridge, and everyone seemed to agree that offered far better views. Once up top, we of course had to go visit the iconic south viewpoint, where the clouds really started to dissipate a bit. Even caught a bit of sun, and were kept company by the most entertaining ravens. After hanging a bit, we took the north exit off the mountain, followed the ridge a bit and reconnected with the PCT for our long return trip to the trailhead. Quite the day!
18.5 miles of hiking • 2500' elevation gain •
Awesome dogwalk (other than the ticks!) up and then back down this lovely riverside trail! The local endemic irises were blooming, and were a real treat. Loved a nice pull out known as The Narrows. The forest was a true delight.
18.5 miles of hiking • 4000' elevation gain •
Took a new route up to Silver Star, starting at the Tarbell Trailhead to the mountain's northwest. Just an awesome little lollipop, and honestly some of the DNR clearcuts provide very nice views both on the way in and the way out. Still lots of snow within a mile of the summit. As nice as it was up there, I think the highlight of the day was scampering about on Sturgeon Rock.
4 miles of hiking • 1000' elevation gain •
Pesky little trail was always "too short" to bother with.
Well, a late start made it a great option to warm up on!
Warning: Trail obliterated by rockslide for last stretch.
11 miles of hiking • 1500' elevation gain •
Met some friends in Cascade Locks, after we were done with Wauna Viewpoint, and decided to head up into the GPNF to kill the rest of the day chasing waterfalls. Great outing!
25 miles of hiking • 4250' elevation gain •
Yep, all of it. East to west. Elk Creek to Keenig.
Didn't rain the first ten miles. The rest? Yeah.
Embrace the wetness! :-)
11.5 miles of hiking • 500' elevation gain •
Extended dog walks, back to back, but carrying munchies and beverages on the back!
20 miles of hiking • 4750' elevation gain •
One of my favorite loops! Up to Larch Mountain from Multnomah Falls, entirely on the LMT. Then, looping back along the south rim of the crater on the Oneonta trail, until it connects with Franklin Ridge. From there, take the "bat cave" junction down to Nesika, for a second lunch opportunity at Bickel Point. Wasn't close to dark yet, so I wandered around and found both the old car and its engine, before heading back down the LMT to MF again. As good as a day in the woods can get! :-)
18 miles of hiking • 4750' elevation gain •
It was supposed to be a glorious day, and the views from Table Mountain could've been just incredible! Ah well, we had some great exercise. The skies were overcast, but the ceiling was high enough most surrounding volcanoes were visible. Winds were pretty strong, though, enough so to worry about losing (yet another!) hat. Snow's entirely gone on Westway, but still sketchy in woods above boulders on Heartbreak.
8 miles of hiking • 2000' elevation gain •
First time here with enough time to actually climb to the top, so we made the most of it. Looped the butte closest to town first, following the old "convict road," which was constructed in 1910-11 under the direction of Sam Hill. Climbed the bluff east of the high school, and hooked back into the main trail to the orchard. Wonderfully green vistas greeted us as we surveyed the Gorge. Found the two remaining, but just barely, cherry trees which were just starting to bud out. Finished with a wonderful stroll through the scrub oak up above.
5.5 miles of hiking • 1000' elevation gain •
After finishing the cherry orchard loop, we headed east and stopped first at Horsethief Lake to see the petroglpyhs. Oh my, what a treat that was! Then we just drove up to the ranch, and did a big loop through the lower bluffs. Not too many flowers out yet, though they're definitely getting underway. Really beat the rain to the east, that's for sure!
15 miles of hiking • 1750' elevation gain •
First springtime trip up Eagle Creek was no disappointment! The day, and the trail, were dry. Actually went up beyond Sevenmile Falls and back without ever getting wet feet, despite only wearing trail runners. We did choose to ford Wy'east Creek on purpose, rather than by falling off one of the very slick logs partially across it. The waterfalls all were glorious, and the wildflowers were starting to pop. A most excellent day in the woods, with a wonderful friend! :-)
17.5 miles of hiking • 4750' elevation gain •
Decided it was time to see how tackling Table from the Bonneville trailhead, now that the Hot Springs has been sold and is off-limits, changed this old favorite. This definitely adds to the challenge, no doubts about it! It's a good 6.5 miles and 1700' of EG just to the point where the PCT meets the old trail up, and you're still no where near half way up given the roller-coaster nature of the 700 year-old landslide the trail crosses getting there.
Went up Heartbreak Ridge, which was probably a strategic mistake. Trail was under snow from the Two Chiefs viewpoint over to the boulder field, and again from the top of the boulder field to, well, the top! I think Westway may have been the better ascent option still, but who knows? Came down the same way, given how late in the day it was and how many unknowns there may have been using another untraveled exit.
My footprints were almost the only ones up top. Saw one other set, that could've been day old. Views were spectacular! The farther trailhead will keep them pretty serene, too, most likely. At least until a closer trailhead gets built.
10.5 miles of hiking • 1250' elevation gain •
Soaking wet day, which seems appropriate for waterfallin'.
2.5 miles of hiking • 250' elevation gain •
Nice sunny stroll through the refuge, somewhat limited by the Columbia running at flood stage, followed up with a car loop through the South ("River S") Unit.
24.5 miles of hiking • 750' elevation gain •
Delightful ramble up, just a bit past the old abandoned ranch, and back down the Deschutes. Probably the only place in the entire PNW where it wasn't dumping buckets. The normally brown desert was resplendent in emerald green for Saint Paddy's Day, though. Saw lots of bird life, the flowers were just starting to pop, and it was just an awesome leg stretcher! :-)
17 miles of hiking • 3500' elevation gain •
After a drenching week, it was time to head east again, where we (again) found blue skies and bare ground! Delightful hike, starting at the Crawford Oaks trailhead down along SR-14, winding along the Vista Trail and enjoying magnificent river views, then wandering off trail from the hang-gliding launch spot on up. Winds were howling most of the day, but particularly up high. Creeks, many of which I had no idea even existed, were flowing full. Lots of early bloomers out below 1500' or so.
18 miles of hiking • 500' elevation gain •
Had a nice walk up the Klickitat River to just past MP8 and back, enjoyed a fresh slice of raspberry pie à la mode in the Lyle Diner, then (since it wasn't yet dark) did a loop around the Lower Catherine Creek area and found the first grass widows of Spring! Really nice day with blue skies and (mostly) bare/dry trails!
12.5 miles of hiking • 3000' elevation gain •
Yep, again. It's a good thing the closest mountain to home is also such a fun one to play on, because I just seem to keep going back. And now, it's one of the few Gorge trails that's actually doable. Finally. What a mess this winter has been!
Fair bit of storm damage, but overall the trails in Beacon Rock State Park are hikable. Traction (microspikes) helped a lot in the upper areas. The snow is very dense, and kicking steps really isn't an option when needed. First time I've ever been turned back on Don's Cutoff. Hillside was just too steep and hard, and sliding into a tree there would hurt!
So after taking the road down from the saddle, we headed back uphill towards the Equestrian Bridge, which we found with well over a meter of snow covering it! First boot prints along that whole stretch, which after looping back to the Hardy Creek crossing added another nice 3.5 miles to the day.
A huge tree has fallen just past the bridge below Hardy Falls, and its rootball has taken out most of the trail. It's still passable, but prepare to get muddy!
19 miles of hiking • 3750' elevation gain •
Finally! After four months of some of the worst weather ever... Miles and miles of trail over dirt and duff! This is a great low-elevation option, just far enough from the Gorge not to have suffered all the ice-storm damage, to break out of the winter blahs.
We started with a quick side-trip over to Yacolt Creek Falls, where we found the bridge had been swung wide open, so we couldn't do the mini-loop. Then enjoyed the classic views of the Moulton Falls Park bridge, before heading south along Bells Creek Trail. It's just as steep as ever those first couple miles. :-)
Hitting the first clearcut, we enjoyed magnificent views of Mount Saint Helens and surrounding peaks. (Even Minnie!) The older clearcuts are really starting to take off, with new trees 15-20' high now. Lots of reforestation happening in the newer ones, too. But, despite the reputation, most of the trail is through forested buffers and along gorgeous waterways.
Hiked a bit more than 7.5 miles along BMT before we hit Cold Creek day use area, beside Cedar Creek Falls, for lunch. The return was very much the same... Joyful! Just to be on dry ground again. Not even the couple ticks picked up by the dog could put a damper on this (what seemed to be) first day of Spring!
5.5 miles of hiking • 1000' elevation gain •
Had a ton of yardwork to do, but slipped away for a couple hours in the afternoon to go explore Whipple Creek Park again. Hadn't been in here in 15-20 years or so, because it was SO DAMN MUDDY the last time. But it seems the WTA has been putting in a lot of good work, and the trails are really in very nice shape. (Especially given the horrid winter we've had!)
Had to cross trails with a half-dozen horses, or so, as well as two unleashed German Shepherds (wth is wrong with people?), so that was kinda fun with my dog. He'd never encountered horses "in the wild" before. This is a great "new" option to add to local leg-stretchers! I'll be back.
9 miles of hiking • 1750' elevation gain •
Seems we may have taken a "wrong turn" somewhere, and "missed" our trail? We ended up scootching around the north side of Coldwater Lake, enjoying some pretty epic landscapes. Unfortunately, we also saw far too many signs of wanton forest rape, as a company that makes holiday wreaths and swags had given a buzz-cut to countless square miles of noble fir. About the nastiest treatment of living things I've ever witnessed personally. (Which is either a very good or very bad thing, I suppose?)
Other than the forest-rapers' devastation, it was a most-pleasant day indeed!
15.5 miles of hiking • 1500' elevation gain •
Had absolutely no interest (or stomach) for participating in the national media obsession du jour, so on this very gloomy day for the USA, decided that a nice, long walk in the woods was exactly what was called for. Fittingly, the woods were fairly gloomy too, as they were just beginning to recover from the most recent Snopocalypse.
It was my first time hiking in Forest Park, really. And I'll say it lived right up to all my expectations for muddy trails and invasive species. But it was relaxing and rejuvenating at the same time, to just walk mile after mile in the rain, paying little attention to the pervasive wetness. I'll be exploring this area more in the future, I suppose.
This day, we started at Lower Macleay Park, followed the Wildwood for what seemed like quite a ways, cut downhill on the Maple Trail, and then followed Lief Erickson Drive back to our starting point. Lesson learned, Lief Erickson is much shorter than it looks on the maps, compared to the other trails out there. Give it less weight when calculating turnaround times and distances.
8 miles of hiking • 1250' elevation gain •
We seem to have missed a turn along the Boundary Trail, as we headed east into the blast zone intent on exploring the 1980 debris flows. Snowshoes meant we didn't even leave footprints, at least after 30 minutes of the persist winds. A most incredible day on the volcano!
8 miles of hiking • 1750' elevation gain •
Fun day in the frozen Gorge! Hopped in and out of the car, hitting three different smaller adventures. Icicles galore! Started the day with a tour of Upper McCord and Elowah Falls, then a brief jaunt up Eagle Creek, and ended with a quick in-n-out at Wahclella.
First time I've wandered around our initial destination. Headed up towards the Upper McCall Falls first. Ran across a huge (12-14" diameter?) cast iron pipe running down the hillside at one point. No idea what the heck that might've once been! The railing-provided walkway blasted from basalt offered beautiful, crisp views of the mountains across the river in Washington. Then we hit the icicles, which ultimately had frozen up the entire trail. That was our turn around.
Headed down towards Elowah Falls and ran into Webfoot, an old "virtual" friend from PortlandHikers.org - always fun! The falls were spectactular! Ice formations of countless variation. Incredible 40'-tall(ish) pyramid of ice beneath the falls. Took lots of photos; froze fingers in the process. It was about 24° at this point. Just beautiful.
Thought we'd go check out the Metlako viewpoint, that is no more, next. But it wasn't to be. Got a mile, mile-and-a-half, up the trail and decided there was a spot that just didn't warrant the risk of continuing. Lots of ice had rained down from above, so footing wasn't solid and generally sloped over the very near cliff. The cable was no help, either, as it was pretty frozen in. Oh well. Ran into Don, another PH irregular here, too!
Final stop was the normally tourist-overrun Wahclella Falls, which today had but a fraction of its normal traffic. More beautiful than ever, ensconced in ice! Again, we passed under cliffs letting loose massive amounts of ice. Kinda crazy. But beautiful!
Great day in the Gorge!