Hike Distance: 6.4 miles Yearly Hike Distance: 294.9 miles
Elevation Gain: 1507 feet Yearly Elevation Gain: 39607 feet
I don’t go here often, mostly because it’s crowded, and today it was fairly crowded! To be honest, the major issue is finding a place to pee. haha In actuality, the small parking area keeps the crowd manageable, and I was lucky to get a space. That said, it was a weekday, which is the best time to beat the crowds.
I didn’t do the entire loop, and often just am not in the mood (or feeling brave enough) to walk along the Cape Horn cliffs. The cliffs are along the lower trail, so don’t go there if you don’t like drop-offs! I’ve done the entire loop a couple of times, though.
So, I took the upper trail and headed for the overlook that’s called Pioneer Point. To be honest, this overlook also has a drop-off, but I find it tolerable since you don’t have to get close to the edge. I’m not sure how, but sometime in my 40’s or 50’s I acquired a healthy respect for drop-offs? I think I’m feeling more mortal as I get older. When I was younger we had no problem going to Eagle Creek and looking 300 feet down over the edge, but we thought we’d never go over the edge. Hmm. Oh well, most trails have no exposure so it’s easy to avoid. I digress.
I was intending on going to the Nancy Russell Overlook, and then turning around, but I went a bit further. The Nancy Russell Overlook is quite amazing. I could sit there all day and look east at the Columbia River Gorge! Only a couple of people there, for a short time, so I enjoyed the view alone. The wind here was making it feel much colder than it was.
On the way back to the car I discovered a forest road that parallels the trail for a short bit. I looked on my OnX Android software and found that the road is part of the Columbia Gorge Scenic Area. The road goes all the way down to Rainbow Falls road, and I plan to do the entire thing in the future, just to add some mileage. Oh, and nobody goes on this road, so there’s solitude here. There’s also a view of Silver Star (which was snow capped) and the valley, looking north.
Another nice thing that happened on this hike was to meet up with a PCT thru-hiker with the name “Daddy Long Legs”! We had a very nice discussion, about hiking things, and it was a pleasure to talk with him. Since my wife and I are PCT Trail Angels, there was plenty to talk about!
Also, it was nice to see some trail maintenance going on along the upper trail. I talked a bit with one of the WTA volunteers. It’s much appreciated to see people giving of their time to improve trail conditions. I applaud their work! 🙂