Larison Creek Trail Hike

Hike Distance: 8.0 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 830.8 miles

Elevation Gain: 764 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 80284 feet

This was the first day of a five day vacation.  We stayed in the town of Oakridge, OR at the Best Western Inn, which we have  used as a basecamp a couple of times.  Being a travel day, we usually opt to stay close to our hotel and keep the distance shorter.  I was investigating the hiking options using and found this close-in hike.

We arrived at the Larison Creek TH and were the only car parked there.  Shortly after our arrival an older small truck pulled into the lot and parked.  It felt a bit suspicious so I took pictures of the vehicle and license plate, which probably gave the driver second thoughts about vandalizing our vehicle, or maybe not?  The truck left shortly before we headed out on the trail.

Larison Creek feeds into Hills Creek Lake, which is a reservoir near Oakridge.  I was a bit surprised how low the water level was.  The color of the water was a beautiful  opal blue.

The trail begins by tracing along Hills Creek Lake with some nice views. calls this trail kid friendly but there is an exposed ledge, early on in the hike, which I wouldn’t take my kids on, but to each their own.  After about a couple miles all remnants of Hills Creek Lake, and its deep reservoir dirt bank, were gone.  The trail then feels like a wilderness trail heading through the forest, next to Larison Creek.

The trail has some old growth on it, which is always an awesome thing to see.  Access to Larison Creek is limited since the bank leading up to the trail is steep.  However, there were a couple trails that seemed to lead down toward the creek, but we didn’t take them.  The trail is in exceptional condition and very easy to follow, and it seems to go on forever.  The alltrails track we took gave us the impression that the trail was only about 5.6 miles out-and-back, but we ended up turning around at 4 miles out.

We saw NO people on the trail all day, and the solitude was wonderful!  Not many mosquitoes added to the enjoyment.  When we got back to the hotel I looked at the map of this trail and it appears to be much longer than what we hiked.  I’d like to come back and finish it some day.

A truly unexpected wonderful trail. 🙂

PCT Hike North and South of Indian Heaven Wilderness

Hike Distance: 7.3 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 822.8 miles

Elevation Gain: 1067 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 79520 feet

We had to escape the near 100 degree temperatures in Portland so we headed out to one of our favorite places, Indian Heaven Wilderness. There was no snow at the TH, on the southern boundary, but that changed drastically as we climbed in elevation. Within a mile we reached solid snow on the trail, and by two miles (elevation about 4300 feet) out there was 4-6 feet of snow!!! The snow kept the air temperature pleasantly in the 60’s to 70’s, with occasional breezes that felt like it was in the 50’s. We reached Sheep Lake and was pleasantly greeted by a chorus of frogs, and I’ve included this wonderful music for your listening pleasure. We met two very nice couples and a family. Most of the hikers we met had turned around because of losing the trail in the snow but we had enough experience and more than one gps. The snow was fairly consolidated but turned soft and slippery later in the hike. We turned around at about 2.25 miles when we reached what should have been a meadow, but was instead a frozen pond! On the way back Carol noticed a large number of Trillium just starting to bloom, and we stopped to take pictures. We ended up going south on the PCT for an additional 1.5 miles, and when we returned to our car there was a very cool breeze blowing south from Indian Heaven Wilderness! Our car outside temperature meter read 72 degrees and we returned home to see a 92 degree temperature. Such a fun day in paradise.

Kalama Horse Camp to Goat Marsh Hike

Hike Distance: 9.1 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 815.5 miles

Elevation Gain: 1213 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 78453 feet

Carol had a doctors appointment so we got out for hiking on the late side.  It was a last minute decision to hike to Goat Marsh from the Kalama Horse Camp.

The trail from the Kalama Horse Camp is rather contorted and not obvious unless you’re familiar with the area.  We essentially took the Kalama Ski Trail, crossed a couple of roads and then headed up a very rocky and scree-like trail to the Goat Marsh Trail, and then heading to this natural area.  There is a nice sign and wooden fence at the entrance to Goat Marsh, and it is for hikers only.  The trail is easy to follow and wraps around the southern boundary of the marsh.

The main draw to Goat Marsh is the spectacular view of the marsh itself, with Goat Mt. in the background, and the absolutely spectacular view of Mt. St. Helens!  Today didn’t disappoint with the amazingly still water and reflection of Mt. St. Helens.  During a past hike we have also seen a herd of elk in the grasslands north of the marsh.  A truly gratifying day to escape reality.  Another perk was the absence of hikers and we only saw one group of horseback riders early in the hike. 🙂

Whipple Creek Park Hike

Hike Distance: 5.0 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 806.4 miles

Elevation Gain: 740 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 77240 feet

A nice day to get out for a short hike around Whipple Creek.  The muddy areas are drying out which is nice since this park has water drainage issues on the trail.  I have to say that they are doing a great job of maintenance and are slowly filling in muddy spots with gravel.

I decided to spend some time cutting back the blackberries, on the trail to the gazebo, as they are overgrowing this area.

A very nice sunny and warm day!

Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge Hike – Carty Unit

Hike Distance: 4.5 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 801.4 miles

Elevation Gain: 313 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 76500 feet

A repeat of yesterday’s hike so my wife could see the flowers and this beautiful place.  We were fortunate to only see a few people on this hike despite it being the last day of school in Vancouver, WA.

We tried hiking the exact same hike that I did yesterday but unfortunately some of the forested area on the north side of the refuge was closed due to spraying of Poison Oak.  A very warm late afternoon but with adequate wind to cool us down.