Vancouver Lake Area Hike

Hike Distance: 7.4 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 1833.8 miles

Elevation Gain: 356 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 235831 feet

I’m beginning to think that I’ll never catch up with my trip reports.  You see, I’m hiking on the order of about 250 hikes per year.  That’s way too many hikes to get in any detail.  I think I’ll be providing more of a highlights vs semi-detailed trip report, in the future, just to make updating the blog more manageable.  I’ll try to make special hikes (PCT Trail Angel Hikes, Vacation Hikes or any other special hike) more detailed since they are probably of more interest to everyone, and easier for me to get excited about writing a long report! 🙂   Thanks for your understanding and as always, please contact me if you have any suggestions.

This hike was a stroll around the Vancouver Lake area.  It was such a clear day that the views were outstanding, and four volcanoes could be seen that day!  It was cold enough that ice was covering the more shallow water surfaces, and this made for some interesting photos.  Some of the volcano photos look dirty because the mountains didn’t stand out well in the bright light.

Burnt Bridge Creek Trail Hike

Hike Distance: 7.4 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 1826.4 miles

Elevation Gain: 686 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 235475 feet

Today I hiked the Burnt Bridge Creek Trail from NW Fruit Valley Road to NE 15th Avenue.  This is an eight mile (mostly) urban trail that goes through Vancouver, WA.   It was such a beautiful sunny day and it was cold enough to see some ice on the edges of some ponds.  I couldn’t have asked for better weather.

That said, I have mixed feelings about this hike in that there were some questionable situations/people seen along the way.  At the beginning of the hike I was walking east through a forested area.  As I ascended a side trail in this area I notices a tent with presumably homeless people camped in the area.  Also in this forested area there was a bike laying down next to a person-made covered area (made of branches) from which the smell of weed was coming.  I have nothing personal against what I saw (and smelled) but am very hypersensitive to my surroundings when alone, and I wasn’t feeling completely safe, although that’s really my problem.  In addition, I was walking past an area, past the I5 overpass bridge, where a small group of people, that were sitting, stared me down as I walked by, and it made me feel a bit uncomfortable (especially when nobody else was around).  I’ll be the first to admit I’m not much of a city person and tend to be suspicious, especially when alone.  I just don’t want to be another statistic on the news. 😦

I feel much safer out in the forest and the middle of nowhere.  I know this can also be a dangerous situation but for some reason it doesn’t bother me.  Even the thought of animals doesn’t bother me much, but I’m still very aware of my surroundings and try to be prepared.  My rule of thumb is if I don’t feel comfortable then I turn back and live to hike another day.  I didn’t feel my life was threatened today, on the Burnt Bridge Creek trail, but urban trails can make me a bit more cautious depending on who is around me.  I actually prefer being with other people on these trails, when possible.

I did meet a very nice woman, named Natalya, further on down the side trail where it meets Bernie Drive (I believe).  We had a wonderful conversation that lasted 20 minutes!

I ended up turning around within Leverich Park and returning to my car.  There were no issues on my return hike and I made it back quickly.  A very nice day.

Forest Road Hike

Hike Distance: 8.2 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 1819.0 miles

Elevation Gain: 684 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 234789 feet

So this started out as one of our typical forest road hikes and then turned into an interesting set of circumstances.  Let me start by saying that it was a fairly nice day, if not a bit cool, but at least no rain in the forecast.  This was also one of our typical areas to hike, with the opportunity to go down a new road that we haven’t explored before.

Getting back to the interesting parts of the hike.  We were walking along the road and saw a white horse in the distance.  It just stood there and watched us.  When we looked off to the side there were two more brown horses also watching us.  At first they started to approach but then stopped and watched.  Where did these horses come from and why are they here?  We obviously never found out but suspected they “escaped” from some private residence/farm?

They got out of the way as we approached and we continued on our way.  As we walked along we were weary as to whether we were on private land, but didn’t know it.  So, we turned around and headed back the way we came.  On the way back the horses were still browsing but this time fled from us.  Interesting that they ran as we did nothing to scare or provoke them?

Heading back toward the main road we took a turn onto a new road.  A fence on one side of the road had a sign indicating private property, but the road skirted past it.  We continued on and reached a newly graveled road that went through a beautifully treed area.  We kept walking and soon came to some logging equipment and started wondering if we were again on private land.  We always respect private land but nothing here was signed or indicated private property.  Well, going just a bit further we saw a trailer and decided to turn around.

We completed our hike but I was curious to see if we had unknowingly trespassed.  I have just purchased a one year subscription to an android app called “onX Hunt” as it provides extremely detailed boundaries for all private and public lands.  I’m not a hunter but this app can be very useful when roaming public lands and being able to identify private lands.

I hadn’t yet started using it in offline mode as of this hike, and I lacked and service to download the boundaries, and I did try during the hike.  It turns out that the horses must have roamed off their property and ended up here!  The owner(s) of these horses might be a bit worried about them but we have no way of knowing where they came from. 😦

Concerning the other road we walked down, we had clearly gone through private land, and I feel bad about it.  (We actually were on two different properties and didn’t know it!)   For one, I don’t want to be shot while trespassing.  Secondly, I respect private owners and only bring the topic up on my blog so that people are aware of this possibility!  I will now be downloading offline maps for my onX Hunt app before each forest road walk!

Now for my soap box. haha  This private road was like any other road we’ve walked upon!  It would have been nice for the owners to put signage up but I’m not sure it’s their responsibility.  I suspect that legally we’re responsible for making sure we don’t go on private property, but don’t know the legal ramifications, and don’t want to have to find out?  In fairness to the private land owners, the properties were huge, in the 40 acre range, and would be difficult to mark unless a huge fence were placed around the property.

The lesson learned is that I/we need to be prepared prior to our hikes!  The obvious observation is that it’s sometimes difficult to know if you’re on public or private lands without doing some research.  I’m trying out the onX Hunt app for this next year, to see if it meets my needs.  It’s a bit more expensive than I wanted to pay, and it’s a yearly subscription plan, but it’s worth the money if I avoid being shot and/or prosecuted!

A nice hike just the same, and I learned a lesson and am passing it on to others so they can learn!