Frenchmen’s Bar& Trail Area Hike

Hike Distance: 5.4 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 156.1 miles

Elevation Gain: 109 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 19601 feet

A beautiful day and a nice hike to end the first month of 2019!  I’m actually quite surprised that I was able to hike 156 miles with an elevation gain of over 19000 feet, given my back issues.

My back is a bit sore as I’ve finally started physical therapy for it.  My physical therapist is optimistic for SI joint improvement but expects it to take a while, given there are few muscles that support this joint but many possible causes.  He also applied Astim soft tissue therapy, which made the area sore, and was painful during the treatment.  He also gave me core building exercises to do once a day, which hopefully my body will respond to?

The hike I do in this area is to basically walk along the Columbia River, and also along the north and south dikes.  There were views of Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams and Mt. St. Helens along the dikes, and I took some pictures.  Only the tip of Mt. Adams is visible so a picture wasn’t included below.  There weren’t many people seen during the hike, which is always enjoyable.  There was plenty of boat traffic along the Columbia River and I watched it as I walked along.

I should also mention that I’ve upgraded my WordPress account from personal to premium, so that I could include videos, and other possible features.  I’ve purchased a Feuytech Smartphone Gimbal so I can create smooth video, but need to learn how to use it.  I’m hoping to include new content and possibly improve this site, in coming months.  That said, I still need to complete about 25 trip reports to catch up to the current date.  It’s so very difficult to keep up on the trip reports when I’m hiking about 75% of the time.

A very nice day in the fresh air. 🙂

Whipple Creek Regional Park Hike

Hike Distance: 6.4 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 150.7 miles

Elevation Gain: 872 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 19492 feet

Needing my hiking fix and not having much time I headed out to Whipple Creek Park on this gorgeous day.  It was warm enough in the sun but felt about 10 degrees cooler under the canopy.  Plenty of people on the trail but all were nice.  I took my usual counter-clockwise loop.  I concentrated on my walking and it paid off as I had not back pain! 🙂  I just think it will take a fair amount of time to completely heal, or it may be an issue I will sporadically need to deal with?

WSU Campus & Pleasant Valley Park Hike

Hike Distance: 6.7 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 144.3 miles

Elevation Gain: 793 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 18620 feet

This was the last day of my son’s visit and we decided to go out for a hike.  Not wanting to drive very far, I wanted to show him the trail system of the WSU Salmon Creek campus, which is fairly extensive.  I also wanted to show him the route to the Pleasant Valley Park.

We stopped and purchased a parking permit for guests and then drove to the blue lot.  I feel it’s very safe within a university campus, which is why I always park in their lots.  The goal of this hike was to walk the periphery of the campus along with a side trip to the Pleasant Valley Park.

We walked past the buildings and then in a counter-clockwise direction through a forested area.  There is a side trail that led toward Salmon Creek Ave., and also Pleasant Valley Park.  At Salmon Creek Ave. we turned left and walked on a wide asphalted trail to a crossing at the street.  Once you cross the street there is a trail to the right that leads to a bridge over Salmon Creek.  This is a robust bridge with a beautiful view.  The trail splits past the bridge and makes a nice alternate option on the way back.  We continued to the left and then continued for another 4/10 mile to the end of Pleasant Valley Park.

Pleasant Valley Park has nice wide open meadows and some picnic benches for visitors.  The trail system is minimal.  The park also borders between a school and homes.  We turned around and took the alternate route back, visiting a different river view and a pond!

We went back to the WSU trail system the same way we came, and proceeded in a counter-clockwise direction around the university.  There are some nice boardwalks, forested settings and open fields along the way.  In fact, there are just short of 10 miles of trails to wander around.  Rather than expound on the route we took I’ll leave it to the reader to think about crafting their own route, since there are so many options.

Along the way my back decided to again give me sharp pains!  This is the first time in the past week this has happened, and was disappointing.  I stopped to stretch and took some aleve, and this worked well enough to get back.  Something needs to change if I want to go on the four planned backpacks this summer!

A fantastic day with my son and in some awesome weather.  We also had views of Mt. St. Helens and the tip of Mt. Adams!

Tamanous Trail to PCT Hike North Past Gillette Lake

Hike Distance: 7.3 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 137.6 miles

Elevation Gain: 1421 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 17827 feet

I felt like taking a hike on the PCT and so we headed out to the Bonneville TH in WA!  We expected there to be plenty of hikers since it was going to be a nice day, and there were plenty of people.  This TH is also the parking lot for the Table Mt. hike.

We parked and headed up the Tamanous trail, which intersects the PCT in about 7/10 of a mile.  We turned left and headed north toward Gillette Lake, which was the initial goal.  If we had turned right then we could have gone to Bridge of the Gods in about 1.7 miles, which when crossed gets you to Oregon.

The nice thing about this area is that the trail has so many ups and downs, which is kind to our bodies.  As a result, there were no problems today!  Unfortunately, the sad part about this section is the large amount of clear cut areas.  Part of this section is on private land and logging is evidently allowed. 😦  Luckily, being winter the poison oak isn’t out.

There were plenty of people on the trail and they were all very nice.  We even met one girl that is thru-hiking this year, and we wished her well!  They had camped on the summit of Table Mt. the previous night.  I presume it was windy and cold up there?

We reached a road just above Gillette Lake and got fantastic view!  Looking toward the Gorge there were plenty of low clouds (or smoke), and it was very picturesque.  Looking north was beautiful Table Mt., and below us and off to the NW was opal colored Gillette Lake.  I remember handing out plenty of trail magic here, in past years!

Feeling pretty good, we continued north for another mile before turning around.  There is a gorgeous creek crossing, over a wood bridge, just past Gillette Lake.  I love the mood here!  We’ve seen many a thru-hiker stop and get water at this creek.  There is also plenty of camping sites in this area!  The terrain past the creek is very rocky and not much fun to walk through, but only lasts for about a half mile before entering forest.

We surprisingly moved very quickly back to our car.  It was sunny, at this point, but the wind had picked up.  Such a great time was had by all, and we got our PCT fix.  I’m so looking forward to summer when we can again provide trail magic! 🙂

Cottonwood Beach & Columbia River Dike & Steigerwald NWR Hike

Hike Distance: 7.4 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 123.8 miles

Elevation Gain: 536 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 15129 feet

I really needed to get out to a new area and thought this was a good opportunity to go to Cottonwood Beach and the Steigerwald Wildlife Refuge.  It was one of those really nice days with some nice clouds and plenty of picture taking opportunities.  I first visited Cottonwood Beach and walked along its entirety.  I absolutely loved the sun and clouds reflecting off the Columbia River, and took plenty of pictures.  I lingered here for a while, and there was plenty of solitude despite the nice weather.

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I then walked along most of the length of the dike, eastward, and just enjoyed the lazy pace I kept.  There were many people walking, and riding bikes, along the dike.  Not much solitude but plenty of nice views.  There’s a bit too many buildings along the dike but you leave them behind as you go further east.  I didn’t walk the entire length of the dike as I didn’t want to push the stress on my back, as level road-like walks can aggravate it.

Turning around, I headed back west towards my car and took a side trail that lead into Steigerwald NWR.  My main purpose was to visit Steigerwald Lake and take pictures of it.  I could faintly see Mt. Hood behind the lake and it barely came out in the photos.  I also spent some time just viewing the boisterous ducks swimming in the lake.  It was really quite the relaxing location, and I would have loved a recliner to take a nap. haha

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There were quite a few bird watchers near the Steigerwald NWR area.  Some even stopped to point out some of the birds they saw.  One man pointed out a Pileated Woodpecker hiding in large tree.  This is a great place to meet and talk with people about the wildlife.

At the last moment I decided to turn and visit Cottonwood Beach one last time.  Lucky me, the setting sun gave me some stellar reflections across the water.  I so love reflections off the water as they’re timeless.  I imagine that it looked similar to this before people were here.  Sigh.  I had a great time and knew I made the correct decision to visit today!

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