Hike Distance: 6.5 miles Yearly Hike Distance: 1802.3 miles
Elevation Gain: 621 feet Yearly Elevation Gain: 203156 feet
A truly interesting day and we had to change our hiking location at the last moment. We were within a mile of our trailhead and an accident blocked both lanes. The road was covered with ice and our Subaru didn’t give us much confidence in this area. After seeing there were enough people to help, we turned around and headed back to the nearest trail at Moulton Falls.
I got out of the car, in the parking lot, and was greeted with a sheet of ice! Not to worry as my wife and I had our trusty Kahtoola microspikes. 🙂 We had to wear these for the entirety of our hike, but this gave us confidence to go where we wanted. The bridges were coated with ice, and the traction on them is superior with these mounted to our hiking boots. We saw a large number of people, and they all seemed to have traction issues. A pity that people just don’t think about this issue and put themselves at risk of slipping.
We ascended east on the trail, and crossed the bridge over Big Tree Creek. We then headed up the trail and over the high bridge over the East Fork Lewis River. As mentioned, both were covered in ice! We then hiked the Murphy Grade Trail up to a bridge over the creek just east of the Hantwick TH. There were plenty of views of rapids on the Lewis River as well as Moulton Falls. It was difficult to take pictures of the Lewis River water features due to the angle and obstructions. There were some ponds along the way that were both eerie and beautiful. One of the ponds was still mostly frozen and looked like the water was smoky. There were also some water features next to the trail that gave photo opportunities. The entire length of the trail was both slush and ice covered, and it was a beautiful winter wonderland.
After our return from the Murphy Grade Trail we headed out to see Yacolt Falls. Such a stunning place, and my wife took a picture of me standing in front of it. She didn’t join me as she was concerned about falling down the steps.
Quite the exceptional hike and we were so grateful we were steered to this area. 🙂 It was also nice to exceed my 1800 mile goal and finish the year strong.