4.5 miles of hiking • 1250' elevation gain •
Big miles on the Douglas Trail. Was going to do McIntyre ridge, but that road takes forever to melt out (and wasn't melted out), which meant the ridge would likely be as bad. The Douglas Trail wasn't too snowy. The quarry near the parking area is totally covered in shotgun casings. No views from the top of Wildcat, but there are several nice overlooks. I'm always amazed at the beauty of the Eagle Creek (Clackamas) and Salmon River drainages.
May 16, 2013
25.5 miles of hiking • 5000' elevation gain •
10:30 AM start from Tooth Rock, 8:00 PM finish. Was just going to do Tanner, but my time was looking good. Nice views from the top. Did the old highway instead of the 400 to get from the hatchery back to the Tooth.
There was a 1/2 mile stretch of snow behind Tanner, and a few spots here and there above 4000', but everything else was clear.
Eagle Creek crossing was waist deep—my iPhone is currently sitting in a bag of rice, drying out—hopefully it will make it.
11 miles of hiking • 2250' elevation gain •
Started up Wyeth, wasn't a fan of the exposure on that trail, so I drove around to the back of Defiance and hiked North Lake from the back. Snow started around 3800'.
9 miles of hiking • 1750' elevation gain •
After North Lake, headed up to Larch. The gate is still closed and there is a good bit of snow 2 miles from the parking lot downward. The trail has very little if no snow by now.
11.5 miles of hiking • 1250' elevation gain •
Went almost to about the Kinzel Lake turn off. Another nice day!
5 miles of hiking • 1250' elevation gain •
A quick late afternoon hike to get outside on a nice day.
2 miles of hiking • 250' elevation gain •
A little more hiking. It was too nice out to return to Portland so fast.
12.5 miles of hiking • 1250' elevation gain •
Now is the time to go up to the Lewis River. The river is flowing really nicely right now, and even on a Saturday, there were very few people there—I don't think people realize it's melted out.
I hit a few spots I haven't done before—the Big Creek Falls trail, the trails between the main falls, and a smidge of Quartz Creek. The overlook at Big Creek Falls was decimated by a tree, and it's not clear how structurally sound the platform is, so I didn't give it a chance. When going to Big Creek, be sure to take the trail out to the ridge—there's a very nice view of the Lewis River and some unnamed falls across the way.
Upper Falls was flowing very nicely. Also, be sure to check out Quartz Creek. I want to come back to that area when I have more time—it has a very Olympics-y feel to it.
Also—Curly Creek Road is open!
3.5 miles of hiking • 1250' elevation gain •
A very brief trip up Ruckel Creek to do some thinking and look for some waterfalls.
9.5 miles of hiking • 1750' elevation gain •
The "other" Eagle Creek. This place is pretty cool—has an ONP kind of river walk vibe, but is far closer to home. (A high-wall canyon with tons of moss). Started around 2p and just had a few hours—I'd like to get farther next time, but started a bit back from the trailhead due to some iffy logging roads with mud that kept my little car from making it the whole way without risking getting stuck so I only walked a little ways once I got down to the river. This could be a great place to camp, but it might take some work to find a reasonable site.
8 miles of hiking • 2250' elevation gain •
Didn't quite make it all the way up to the top due to super warm weather, a desire not to do 1 mi of side hilling where the regular road/trail is, and the cornices on the scramble route—went to the northern "peak" instead. Sustained 40mph winds around the top. Nice day!
22 miles of hiking • 1500' elevation gain • 1 night
I have the whole week off (sort of), so I thought I'd spend a few days hiking and fishing. The Metolius River was recommended as a great place to fly fish and hike in the winter, so I thought I'd give it a shot.
This trail is a mix of complete solitude and crowded trails. There are stretches where I would see no one for miles and then I would see a bundle of people near the populated spots. Also, it should be noted that the backpacking options on the upper parts of the river are more tricky as parts are private land or not really conducive to camping. Farther down, however, there are some great sites.
Started at the Allingham bridge and headed north. There are trails on both sides of the river for about 10 miles or so, and then the trail turns into a closed dirt road which can be walked for another 15 or so miles if one wants. I criss-crossed the river at the fish hatchery and then back again at Bridge 99. I then went a few miles into the dirt road path and backtracked to just above the Lower Bridge Campground for some great hidden riverside camping. The firewood was dry compared to the west side of the Cascades so I was able to get a good fire going.
Tuesday, I hit the other side of the trail and ended up coming out the Canyon Creek campground side of the trail—probably the coolest section of the trail—and doing a little bit of road walking along the west side before cutting back to the trail.
I brought the Tenkara rod in hopes of catching some serious fish, but nothing was biting. Nonetheless, this is a very relaxing and enjoyable river to fish and walk along. May and June are probably the best time to go, when things get more green.
I had an extra day so I went out to the Crooked River for some more fishing. This place is great—and great car camping options that I'll definitely keep in mind next time I'm around Bend.
9 miles of hiking • 1000' elevation gain •
A mid-day jaunt around the Molalla River trail system. It's eerie how strikingly similar this area is to Forest Park. (Plus ants; thousands and thousands of ants).
8 miles of hiking • 500' elevation gain • 1 night
Another quick overnighter, this time to Siouxon Creek. 1hr 20 min from door to trailhead. Got the green light from weekend_warrior that the road hump was snow free. As always, this one's a winner—without a doubt the best creek hike in the area.
Got in around 3p, hiked about 4 miles out to the slick waterfall before the bridge to Chinook falls. That thing is always a chore to get across, so, running short on daylight, I called it and headed back toward the more established camp sites. Tried to get a fire started, but even with a few tricks up my sleeve everything was just too wet.
Sierra Nevada IPA, a few owls whoing, and rain in the morning. Not a bad way to spend an evening.
2 miles of hiking • 250' elevation gain •
A quick pre-trip hike to Henline Falls. This would make a really nice summer swimming hole—but it's probably really crowded on weekends. Also, the Silver King mine is gated only a few dozen feet in now.
8 miles of hiking • 750' elevation gain • 1 night
I wanted to take advantage of the great weather this weekend, so I made a quick Friday afternoon trip out to Opal Creek. Camped a few hundred feet from Opal Pool in a small melted out spot. Saw no one else in the evening. The wood was so damp I could not get a fire started—even with a little cheating. Fantastic weather.
10 miles of hiking • 3250' elevation gain •
Some wandering along the PCT. Was going to go up Table the back way but the amount of snow and 2p start made me decide to call it at 10 miles.
2.5 miles of hiking • 250' elevation gain •
Was going to go up to Trapper Creek but the snow level was around 1000'. Decided do scrap the hike and just go up to Panther Creek Falls. Ran into snow about 1 mile from the falls, so hiked in about a mile.
12.5 miles of hiking • 750' elevation gain •
I was hoping for some more sunny weather so I made the trip out to Swale Canyon. Other past trip reports made this place look appealing, and indeed, it was a nice area to explore. I didn't see another soul—except a few birds, some ducks and two marmots.
No flowering just yet—still another few weeks out I'd bet.
4 miles of hiking • 1250' elevation gain •
I felt like I needed to hike so I made a quick late Monday afternoon trip to the back end of Archer Mountain complex from Dunn Creek Road. The dog in the picture lives next to the trailhead and followed me around everywhere.
9 miles of hiking • 2250' elevation gain •
It has long been thought that Medieval labyrinths were used as ritualistic pathways; a place to accomplish prayers and devotions. The Labyrinth area at Coyote Wall offers an oddly similar opportunity.
Frankly, I've always put off going out to this location because it looked, well, boring. But now that I've visited, I can see the appeal. While somewhat occupied by mountain bikes on the Coyote Wall side, the Labyrinth area is a unique and interesting hillside that stands apart from most of the hiking in this area. For whatever reason, walking the maze of pathways to the top is a relaxing and contemplative experience.
If you haven't been already, I'd definitely take a trip when the spring flowers pick up, preferably on a sunnier weekday. Though going now wouldn't hurt—the grass widows are already out. I ended up doing what the field guide calls the Coyote Wall Loop, with the Labyrinth section thrown in. This is a nice little hike.
5 miles of hiking • 1250' elevation gain •
A quick trip up to Tri-County/Ghost Ridge and a bit beyond. Cloudy weather. Hard snowpack.
10 miles of hiking • 4000' elevation gain •
A nice sunny day on the mountain. The snow was pretty firm from the use up to Tilly Jane, mush from Tilly to the shelter, and then solid ice past the shelter. Took a few wrong turns on the way up and down, but they ended up being helpful because they put me in an icy river basin that was easy to climb up on. Went up to about the 7200' mark—a sheet of ice, no wind, super warm, dead quiet, and a three volcano view—a bit of a surreal experience.
8 miles of hiking • 2500' elevation gain •
Headed up the PCT towards Table. Again, foul weather so turned around near the Heartbreak Ridge turnoff and went down toward the powerline road to make a small loop
10 miles of hiking • 2500' elevation gain •
Hamilton Mountain on the free day. The winds had to be approaching 60 mph down at Beacon Rock. Went down the horse trail way to make a bit bigger loop.
5.5 miles of hiking • 500' elevation gain •
Did a little bit of wandering around the Starvation area, and down to Viento. Thought about doing Defiance but decided against it due to poor weather and a late start
4 miles of hiking • 750' elevation gain •
I was planning on doing Newton Creek for a shorter morning hike, but things were very mushy due to the nice weather up on Hood, which made things painfully slow. So I decided to make better use of my time and head down to a place I hadn't been before—Tamanawas Falls.
This is a nice little hike, and it's definitely worth doing in the snow. The pictures don't really do it justice. The snow was so hard packed, one could walk without snowshoes. The weather was great.
6 miles of hiking • 500' elevation gain •
It was nice out today. A bit shorter of a trip than planned due to a late start and bad roads taking up more time than expected. About 20º out, but breaking trail kept the cold in check. The snow was powdery and just a little sinky.
I ended up turning around at the terrible traverse—the snow looked fine, and the avalanche forecast was okay, but because I was by myself I didn't want to chance it. Pastrami sandwich for lunch.
Hoping to get around to Badger Lake next time around.
8 miles of hiking • 1750' elevation gain •
A last minute decision to avail myself of the fine weather we've been having, and a great first hike of the year. Did the quick hike up to Larch from the gate. I hit the weather just right, with sun just until I returned to the car.
It was really the nicest I've ever seen it up there.