PCT Trail Magic Hike North Past Gillette Lake

Hike Distance: 7.2 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 1124.2 miles

Elevation Gain: 1451 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 142833 feet

A nice day for providing some trail magic, and we hiked north past Gillette Lake in WA! This short section wasn’t very crowded and we saw most of the thru-hikers on the way back. The wonderful thru-hikers we met were as follows:

Nat Geo (SOBO)

Blarny (SOBO)

Walkabout (NOBO & already finished CA and OR!)

Chance and Sassy (flipped)

Gingin and Ed Beard (SOBO)

This section had some clear cut areas, and the Poison Oak was everywhere, and encroaching on the trail, so watch where you step! Many of the Blackberries were ripe, but it wasn’t at peak. Definitely a great day to be out on the PCT! 

Strawberry Island & Ft. Cascades Trails Hike

Hike Distance: 6.8 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 1101.8 miles

Elevation Gain: 539 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 137450 feet

I waited for my wife to get home from work and we decided on a hike in the Columbia River Gorge, for this hot summer day.  Strawberry Island is located in the city of Bonneville, and there’s a nice parking area just across from the gas station.

We got out of the car and were hit by the heat but also the wind was stiff.  We started by looping around Strawberry Island in a counter-clockwise direction.  The views of the Columbia River Gorge are outstanding, and I stopped to take plenty of pictures!  What’s nice about this location is that the views are spectacular on both the Washington and Oregon sides of the Gorge.  Both Hamilton Mt. and Table Mt., on the Washington side, stand out.  There are also views of Hardy Creek and the Columbia River!

After going around Strawberry Island we took a lesser used trail that leads to the Fort Cascades area.  This area is very interesting as it contains a few relics from the old fort.  Not many remnants remain, except for a grave site and some railroad related items (wheels and tracks).  There are sign posts that indicate where many of the buildings resided.  There area also views of the Columbia River and Bonneville Dam from this trail!

We then headed back to our car and headed home.  Two things I didn’t mention:  There were plenty of beautiful flowers on the trail, and the blackberries are starting to ripen, and tasted yummy. 🙂  A great choice for a short hike, with plenty of great views!

Cottonwood Beach & Columbia River Dike & Steigerwald NWR Hike

Hike Distance: 7.5 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 1095.0 miles

Elevation Gain: 332 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 136911 feet

Another gorgeous day on Cottonwood Beach and in Steigerwald NWR!  Cottonwood Beach was very crowded and I was glad to get away from the people.  The wildlife refuge is almost always devoid of people.  The Columbia River was very low and so I ventured off onto the sand bars, where there was a great view of Mt. Hood.

Whipple Creek Regional Park Hike

Hike Distance: 4.4 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 1087.5 miles

Elevation Gain: 546 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 136579 feet

A quick jaunt around Whipple Creek with my wife.  We just got home yesterday and wanted to relax after getting back to Portland.

We noticed that the trail is closed around the Mill, as it is being reconstructed during the entire summer!  You can still get around this construction area using other trails, though.

We kept the hike short due to time and my wife also has some blisters that were acquired while hiking in Illinois with sandals.  Still, a very nice day and it felt good to get out.

Skokie Lagoons Nature Reserve in Cook County Illinois

Hike Distance: 4.7 miles      Yearly Hike Distance:  1083.1 miles

Elevation Gain: 438 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 136033 feet

My wife and I wanted to get some fresh air since it’s been a few days after her father’s funeral. The temperatures here have been miserable and in the high nineties, and with the humidity in the high nineties. today there was a break in the temperature and we decided to go to the Skokie lagoons nature reserve that is in the northern suburbs of Chicago, in Illinois.

I used to drive my car here, when I was a teenager, and took pictures of this beautiful place. I don’t remember much about it and am happy I could make it back.  I don’t remember the asphalted trails either, but it probably wasn’t here back then.  I used to park along the road and take black & white pictures with my Rolleiflex SL35 film camera.  Good memories although high school was turbulent times!  Gosh, that was back in 1974-1975, and doesn’t feel that long ago. 😦

We parked along Willow road and started north on the trail, which parallels the highway.  It was too noisy so we turned around and started around the lagoons in a counter-clockwise direction.  There were mostly people riding bikes on this day, and it wasn’t very crowded.  There were also quite a few people out on the water in boats!

There were plenty of fantastic views and I took quite a few pictures.  There aren’t many natural places left in the Chicago area, and this is a nice getaway from the hectic live here (which is why I moved away!) I’m sure I’ll be back, as we have a wedding in the near future, and we might just visit again.  A nice break from the stress of this visit and so nice to get fresh, humid Chicago air. haha.