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!