Cottonwood Beach & Columbia River Dike & Steigerwald NWR Hike

Hike Distance: 7.5 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 1479.2 miles

Elevation Gain: 161 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 195293 feet

We wanted to take advantage of the last day we could hike, on a seasonal trail, at the Steigerwald Wildlife Refuge.  Unfortunately, there is a trail that closes on 10/1/18 and reopens on 5/1/19.  As long as we’re out here we also decided to visit Cottonwood Beach and also hike the dike trail!

We started out by parking in an area near Cottonwood Beach.  Instead of visiting the beach we headed east along the dike.  The weather was cool and cloudy with very few people hiking there.  The views of the Columbia river and Gorge areas were awesome, and I stopped to take many pictures.  I especially enjoyed the reflections of the trees on the glass-like Columbia River!

We got to the end of the dike trail, where a private property fence resides.  We turned around and headed back to the seasonal trail that leads into the Steigerwald Wildlife Refuge.  It’s a beautiful, mostly treed trail, that was mostly devoid of people.  We stopped and sat at a bench for a while.  This trail loops through the wildlife refuge and ends up back on the dike.  Before getting back to the dike we crossed over two scenic bridges and got some stellar views.

Once we rejoined the dike we walked back towards Cottonwood Beach Park and headed along the shoreline.  The Columbia River is very low this time of year and we were able to get to sandy areas that aren’t typically accessible.  I took plenty of pictures on the beach.

After walking west along the beach we soon reached the point where we could head back to the dike trail, and our car.  Just as we reached our car it began to rain.  What amazing timing.  An amazingly relaxing day and well worth the visit! 🙂

Forest Road Hike

Hike Distance: 10.4 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 1471.7 miles

Elevation Gain: 1499 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 195132 feet

My wife was in the mood for a longer hike, despite her recent hand surgery and cast, so we headed to a previous road hike.  The thought process was that these graveled roads have a nice grade and lacks areas to trip and fall.  We’ve been here before and knew the terrain well.

It was a very warm day, out in the open, but there were many areas shielded from the direct sun.  In addition, there was plenty of wind to cool us down.  Many nice forest settings provided the opportunity for pictures, and shade.  I was glad that my wife had an easy time, despite the long distance and decent elevation gain.

Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge Loop Hike at River S Unit

Hike Distance: 5.7 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 1461.3 miles

Elevation Gain: 126 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 193633 feet

The River S unit of the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge will be closing to hiking starting October 1st, so we decided to head on out there.  It was a gorgeous day, with some nice wind to keep us cool on this hot day.  There were plenty of cars driving around the scenic loop but no hikers, which was very nice.

We walked around the scenic road in the clockwise direction.  We didn’t see many birds, at first, but that changed at about one mile out.  We then started to see some Blue Herons and Egrets, both beautiful birds!  We also saw some of the invasive Nutria, which look like large rats, in some of the waterways.

We couldn’t wait to get under some trees as the sun was bearing down and was quite warm.  The shady canopy, along with the wind, made for a wonderful set of conditions.  We wished we had a recliner to lay down and enjoy these conditions. 🙂  We finally made it to the Kiwa Trail, and followed this walking only trail around its 1.5 mile length.  There were several people taking photographs along this very scenic trail.

About 1/2 mile from our car I spotted a lone deer grazing in the field!  It was tough to see at such a great distance but I still got a picture.  A great way to end the hike!

Just after we got into our car we bumped into some friends of our son, which was highly unexpected given they live in Portland.  We had a nice talk with Jaime and Helena, and they mentioned they were having family pictures taken.  It was nice to meet them here.

I want to apologize for not having updated the blog with all my hikes.  I have almost 20 hikes that haven’t been entered yet, from the last few months.  We’ve been having some issues with free time and health that haven’t helped with this issue but will try to update the blog ASAP.  T

hanks for your patience!!

Beacon Rock State Park Loop Hike for Carol’s 60th Birthday

Hike Distance: 9.1 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 1455.6 miles

Elevation Gain: 2040 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 193507 feet

My wife turned 60 today and she chose the hike we would go on!  This is such a favorite hike and the warm sunny weather made it a spectacular day for views.  My wife was tired at the beginning of the hike (had surgery on her hand a few days ago) but got some much needed energy, and a second wind, later in the hike.

We started the hike at the horse camp and started hiking up the road.  We made it to the Hardy Creek picnic area and stopped for some food.  Hardy Creek has almost no flow which is strange to see for what is a typically nice size creek.  We then headed up to the junction that leads to Hamilton Mt. and turned right to ascend up toward the saddle.  Our intention was to stop at the saddle because all the best views, of the Columbia River Gorge, are from this location.  We stopped and rested there for a while to take in the beauty of this location.  Since it was a hot day we parked ourselves in the shade.  I took the time to take plenty of pictures.

We then headed back down to the Hamilton Mt. intersection and turned right onto the Upper Hardy Creek trail.  We continued until we found the junction for the bridge over Hardy Creek.  Turning left, we followed the trail over this horse bridge and continued on our favorite trail in this park!  The trail has some parts in deep shade and the mood was amazing!  I expected to see hobbits and goblins emerging from the forest.

After about 3/4 of a mile we intersected another road and followed back down to the main road that leads back to the horse camp.  The lack of people on the trail resulted in a heavy dose of solitude and relaxation.  We expected more people but never saw them.  We got back a bit late but felt very satisfied from such a perfect day.  We highly recommend visiting this fantastic State Park!  Just remember the Discovery Pass or you’ll be ticketed.

Forest Road Hike

Hike Distance: 8.7 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 1446.5 miles

Elevation Gain: 1829 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 191467 feet

Another repeat of a favorite forest road area for me.  I wore my Lowa Renegade hiking boots and my feet felt so much better.  However, it was a hot day and my feet were overheated, but thankfully not in pain.

This hike ascends for over four miles and winds in and out of the forest canopy.  There are some views and I got a few pictures of the nearby mountains!  I especially love this area when it’s raining or some snow on the ground.

It was also nice to see a few bouquets of flowers; lupine and daisies.  It’s surprising to see lupine as I expect this in the spring and early summer.