Hike Distance: 8.5 miles Yearly Hike Distance: 1538.7 miles
Elevation Gain: 1309 feet Yearly Elevation Gain: 202122 feet
We knew that this was going to be a big day for me as I was going to exceed 13,000 miles of my 25,000 mile goal! As such, I wanted to visit a trail we hadn’t done in quite a while, and I wanted some expansive views to celebrate this milestone. The west side of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest is within an hour drive of our house, and fit the bill.
We parked at the Tarbell Campground TH and headed south on what would be an out-and-back hike. The Tarbell Trail is a 25 mile long loop hike, if you want to go the distance. Today wasn’t the day for that kind of day for us, and probably never would be attempted in a single hike. That said, we have already completed the entire loop but in many segments, and many years ago.
We typically don’t go here often as it is part of the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. While it is open for hiking, biking and hunting it is also open for extensive logging. Washington State uses logging dollars for schools and many other expenses. My only gripe is that the lands here are overlogged and managed poorly. There are many logged sections that haven’t been replanted for many years, and it looks desolate and horrible in some areas. 😦
That said, there are expansive views on this trail, some looking into the Silver Star Scenic area, which appears protected and pristine! Views from the Silver Star summit are both breathtaking and a healthy hike. We didn’t summit today because of the cast my wife has, which prevents use of a second hiking pole.
This hike took us in and out of forested areas and few people were seen during the hike. The weather was stellar with clear skies and cool breezes, with temperatures in the 50’s and 60’s. We not only had stellar views during the hike but got lucky and saw a pair of Bald Eagles flying effortlessly above. I took plenty of pictures during this hike!
At a distance of 4.7 miles (reached after turning around and on our way back) I was a bit teary eyed to realize I had reached 13,000 miles on my journey. It’s taken about 10.5 years to achieve this and I’m grateful for my wife’s support and that my body has held out thus far (not without plenty of issues though). I took a moment to soak in this special milestone and what it took to get here. We took pictures to document where we reached the milestone and then moved on. We noted that there are some road hike opportunities in this area, and we’ll be back!
We moved quickly to get back to our car and made very good time getting back. Such a wonderful memorable hike, that I won’t forget!