Beacon Rock Loop Hike

Hike Distance: 9.1 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 1206.6 miles

Elevation Gain: 1868 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 157044 feet

Always nice to visit Beacon Rock State Park.  Our usual parking space is at the horse camp.  We essentially hiked up the road/trail directly to the Hamilton Mt. saddle.  This is where the best views are located, and today didn’t disappoint!  We sat and took a break in an area that wasn’t directly in the wind.

We then headed north on one of the road/trails until we reached the northern-most point of the Upper Hardy Creek trail.  These road/trails are all overgrown by weeds and grasses, with the occasional patch of Salmonberry.  That said, there is a bare area on these roads that allow you stay mostly out of the weeds.  My wife and I occasionally pruned back the overgrown plants, as we walked.  The real attraction of the Beacon Rock backcountry is the lack of people, and today was no exception.

We then headed south on the Upper Hardy Creek Trail until we reached the  Bridge Trail, which leads to the west side of the park.  We then continued south on this trail until we reached the road/trail that leads back to the car.

The tree canopy kept us very cool for most of the day.  We were, however, sweating profusely, on the initial climb up to the Hamilton Mt. saddle.  We saw a few snakes getting some sun but I never got my camera out quick enough.  We also got a glimpse of Mt. Hood, when on the north side of the saddle.  A truly wonderful day!

By the way, my back pain has been reduced by about 80-90% by the inserts in my right shoe.  I still occasionally have some pain, but it always goes away in short order.  The doctors don’t expect all pain to go away since I still have mild arthritis in my SI joints, but the improvement is so significantly improved that I don’t mind!  I’m so pleased that my SI (Sacro-iliac) back issue was addressed and owe a ton of gratitude to the Orthopedists that treated me. 🙂

Salmon Creek Greenway Area Hike

Hike Distance: 7.2 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 1197.5 miles

Elevation Gain: 540 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 155176 feet

A very hot day but I went out anyway.  I wasn’t going to go hiking because of the heat, but changed my mind, and stayed close to home.

I initially headed out to the trail that leads east of I5.  It’s a nice area to explore and there are plenty of scenic views of Salmon Creek.  I walked quickly past Klineline Park as it was extremely crowded, as you’d expect on a hot summer day!  I then headed west and took the southern-most trail, which is under a nice canopy.

Reaching the Cougar Creek Trail I completed it, and then headed back to my car on the greenway trail.  This effectively allowed me to complete a loop.  The trail system was much less crowded than Klineline Park, and this was appreciated.  When I got back to my car I realized that I was very dehydrated, and felt light-headed.  I spent the remainder of the evening drinking down fluids.

PCT Trail Magic Hike Mt. Adams Wilderness Hike Riley Trail to PCT

Hike Distance: 11.7 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 1190.3 miles

Elevation Gain: 2579 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 154636 feet

Mt. Adams Wilderness was calling to us, so we drove the 2-1/4 hours to get to the Riley Trail #64.  Our intentions were to hike the five miles up to the PCT, and then hand out some trail magic if we happened to meet any thru-hikers!  When we arrived at the trail head there were two sheriff’s vehicles.  One of the deputy’s was sitting on a chair, and he came and told us about them searching for a person that was going to commit suicide!  They had the suicide note and the person’s vehicle, but not him.  He said that the trail wasn’t closed but there was no danger in going if we wanted to, so we started our hike.

We read a trip report about this trail and it indicated a 1000 foot elevation gain in the first mile, which is a very aggressive climb.  That concerned me but we were going to see if this posed a problem?  It took about 1.8 miles to go up an elevation of 1000 feet, so the report was inaccurate.

The trail did ascend up about 670 feet in the first mile, but the grade was comfortable!  We continued the climb, and intersected the Riley Shortcut Trail, which goes south to meet the PCT, but we didn’t want this option.  We continued hiking east, and ascend in elevation.  We passed beautiful wildflowers, and a few lakes/ponds.  We saw giant orange mushrooms, which looked odd.  We passed through a long meadow, which gave us some views of Mt. Adams.  We also crossed streams and meandered across Riley Creek.  And, we finally met up with the PCT. 🙂

Once on the PCT we hiked north and south on it to try and meet some thru-hikers, and we hit paydirt!  We met a single northbound hiker named “Speedy Gonzalez”.  We also met a group of thru-hikers named: “Eagle Eye”, “Squirrel”, “Muffin Cheeks” and “White Walker”!  They were all very energetic and fun to talk with.  We only brought Starbucks Via Coffee packets, since they don’t weigh much, but everyone was appreciative.

It was a long haul up the trail and we needed to get back to our car to minimize driving at night.  We cruised down the trail, partially because the mosquitoes were horrible!  We had to put on our head nets, and apply bug repellent since it was so bad.  We got back to our car and the sheriff cars were gone.  We never saw anyone on the trail that was looking for the person that threatened suicide, and didn’t check up on it when we got home.  The clouds that had surrounded Mt. Adams in the morning had burned off at the end of our hike, and I took a picture of this majestic volcano on the drive home. 🙂

Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness Hike Douglas Trail to Plaza Trail

Hike Distance: 7.9 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 1163.7 miles

Elevation Gain: 1734 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 149474 feet

We haven’t been to this trail in like seven years, and we missed this Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness area.  It was shaping up to be a beautiful day, so we headed out to this less traveled trail.

The road to this trailhead (Douglas Trail) wasn’t bad but I didn’t remember so many homes along the way.  When we arrived at the TH there was only one vehicle there, and the family was from Canada, and into geocaching.  They said there was an old geocache in this area and they wanted to find it.  Definitely an out-of-the-way area, but what the heck.

The day started out a bit cool but this would work in our favor as it got much warmer when not under the canopy.  It turned out that the canopy lowered the temp. by at least 5-10 degrees, which was welcome due to this being a higher exertion trail!

Initially, the trail goes past an old abandoned quarry, which looks horrible.  However, there is a spectacular view of the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness from the cliff area.  You’ll reach a trail intersection that leads either east (downhill and away from Wilderness) or west into the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness.  Continue west, past the quarry (and amazing view) and head into the forest.

It won’t be long before you’ll skirt past some outcroppings, and another set of great views!  The forest in this area looks pretty bad, with no under story.  I suspect the replanted area just didn’t provide something needed (light or nutrients) for healthy growth?

As you continue you’ll pass by an obvious intersection, which is the McIntyre Ridge trail.  This is a fantastic trail with some exceptional views, but wasn’t on our itinerary today.  Just past this intersection is a damaged bulletin board that is leaning against a post.  This is the only thing letting you know you’re going into the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness, and a covered sheet indicated that.  We lifted another sheet off the one indicating the wilderness, and took a picture.  The gunshot through the sign is typical for most signs in the forest, and always pisses me off, but what can be done.

There’s not much to describe about the remainder of the trail, except that it is mostly in the forest, under the canopy.  We continued up and down the trail until we finally reached the Plaza Trail, which is about 3.7 miles from the trailhead.  It was a sharp left turn, and ascent, onto this trail.  There is a wooden sign on a tree but it is weathered badly, and difficult to read.  If you go a short distance up the initial slope of the Plaza Trail there is a spectacular view of Mt. Hood, and the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness, at this drop-off area.  Mt. Hood was obscured by haze but I took many pictures to try and get a good photo.  We love this spot, and it was a turn-around point for us.

A couple notes about this hike. The first is that you will not get a better Wilderness experience than this trail!  The trail was in decent shape but is very narrow in places.  There were NO hikers or backpackers seen during our entire hike.  Despite the huge population growth in OR/WA this will never be crowded due to lack of a waterfall or popular viewpoint.  We love this trail, and there are many trails that spawn from it.  This is a fantastic backpacking opportunity if you love wilderness, and we do!

Second, the Huckleberries were ripe and very tasty.  We ate some but there were plenty remaining.  The plants aren’t everywhere, but where they were it was plentiful!

Third, the parking area is interesting.  I’m not sure how comfortable I’d be parking overnight as we’ve seen plenty of people shooting along the road, and it’s not allowed in most places on this road.  We have seen the Sheriff’s vehicles checking the area but who knows how many incidences occur.  You take your chances when parking in the forest, and we’re willing to do it to get our Wilderness hiking fix.

A fantastic day and we hope to come back here on a more frequent basis!

Hike Distance: 9.0 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 1155.8 miles

Elevation Gain: 1290 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 147740 feet

Yet another Trail Magic Day south of Barlow Pass in Oregon (just south of Timberline)! Very few people on the trail but we were fortunate to meet some fantastic Thru-Hikers! We met the following thru-hikers today:

NOBO Thru-hiker “Pender”

SOBO Thru-Hikers Jessica & Josh

NOBO Thru-Hiker “Pancake”

NOBO Thru-Hikers “Tuna Butter & Calypso”

We wished them a safe and fun journey, and gave them some Oreo Cookies and Starbucks Via Coffee packets, before they continued to their next milestone! A very fun day! 

We slipped in a short loop around the Twin Lakes before heading back to our car at Barlow Pass. For such a beautiful day (with NO mosquitoes) the trail system was practically empty. Lucky for us and the Thru-Hikers!