Forest Road Hike

Hike Distance: 6.7 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 379.7 miles

Elevation Gain: 1136 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 50963 feet

I’m happy we could go hiking today as yesterday I had a procedure to have an endoscopy on my stomach.  Unfortunately, I need to have this done every 3-6 months, or else my stomach won’t empty properly.  Being in a pandemic I expected there to be huge precautions taken, but I was surprised to see most people weren’t wearing masks, and most people that assisted were well within a few feet of me, and breathing on me. 😦  I assumed that I would now need to be in a quarantine (or at least count down for 14 days)  to make sure I didn’t catch anything.  It turns out that this is an elective procedure, and they were going to stop doing them in about three days.  I’m anxious as it looks like this won’t be happening again, in the foreseeable future, and that could be a problem long term.

Moving on to the hike, it was another sunny day and we meandered around the roads for hours.  Nothing very exciting to report, but then, it’s just great to be out in nature, at all.  These are times when you have to appreciate the little things, as was described in the movie “Zombieland”.  These days it definitely feels like Zombieland, but with microscopic beasts coming after you.  I hate to say it but I’d much prefer the zombies I can see, and know how to effectively protect myself!  Rough days but I’m sure this will end, …..someday.

Forest Road Hike

Hike Distance: 4.1 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 373.0 miles

Elevation Gain: 782 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 49827 feet

Here we go again.  Another hike during a pandemic and we’re trying to stay away from people!  We found a new forest road to hike and it’s remote but there wasn’t many roads to follow.  My wife wants a short hike, due to recuperating from her knee surgery, but this may be a bit tougher due to the snow under the canopy.

Although a short hike we were satiated when we finished.  It was just nice to get out and get some fresh air.  Half the hike was under the canopy, with up to a few inches of snow.  The other half of the hike was in a logged area, but had some nice views, and other views I won’t show you (logged out).  A nice brisk day in the fresh air. 🙂

 

Forest Road Hike

Hike Distance: 5.1 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 368.9 miles

Elevation Gain: 655 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 49045 feet

This is the first of what is likely to be many hikes on remote forest roads.  Who knows how long this pandemic will last, or if we’ll even make it until a successful vaccine is available?  All I know is that I’m scared of getting the Corona Virus, and therefore, very scared of coming in contact with people.  It’s so early in the pandemic and the unknown is what worries us most.  We thirst for real information but only find bits and pieces of data that leads to more questions.  My wife and I are feeling isolated, alone and know we won’t be making contact with our children/grand-children for, probably a long time.  At this point, the hikes are my only escape from this nightmare, and I need them if only to feel alive, and to grasp what little hope I can.

Yesterday it snowed at our home (200 feet above sea level), and I thought that I wouldn’t be able to get to the TH, but we were able to make it happen.  The snow on the forest roads, and the sun in the sky, felt cleansing to my soul.  I breathed in the fresh cold air and all was okay with the world, at least here and now.  I noticed that nature isn’t burdened by the pandemic as  we humans are.  It feels free and natural out here, and I dread going back home to reality, where we keep a constant eye on the U.S pandemic statistics.  These days I’m feeling very emotional, so don’t be surprised if this comes out in my trip reports.

We needed this hike, even though it was on a forest road.  We saw no people today, as we’d hoped, and it felt wonderful.  We are only beginning to appreciate the simple act of getting out on a short hike, and know that our ability to move around freely will only get more restricted.  My wife is still recuperating from her knee surgery so we need to keep the hikes short, but she’s recovering very well!

I’m looking forward to our next hikes, just to get out of the house.  Since we aren’t going to stores, or food shopping (deliveries only), the hikes are our only source of enjoyment outside of our home.  We wish everyone a safe journey to the other side of this pandemic experience.  Be safe and enjoy each day the best you can!

Battleground Lake & Chelatchie RR Trails Hike

Hike Distance: 7.1 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 363.8 miles

Elevation Gain: 992 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 48390 feet

This hike was my last attempt at hiking on a popular trail during the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.  The state parks haven’t yet been closed, but my comfort at being around any people is dwindling.  To make myself somewhat comfortable I didn’t visit the lake, where there are typically plenty of people fishing.  Instead, I hiked around the outer perimeter of the lake, on the equestrian trail, and then headed out on the Chelatchie Prairie RR trail.

I saw no people, even on horseback, around the Battleground Lake trail.  The Battleground lake trails were very muddy, but the mud easy to avoid.  I also saw no people on the Chelatchie Prairie trail!  I did find a trail that led into a DNR area and found a beautiful old barn.  This was the highlight of the hike, and I was glad to find something new. 🙂

I must admit that at the time of this hike I was already becoming nervous about this pandemic, as others probably were (and are).  All my hikes after this date will be on forest roads, which typically have few people on them.  To be honest, forest roads aren’t my favorite hiking areas, and real trails are where we want to be, but there’s no obvious places to go where I can feel away from it all. 😦  I was kind of feeling that there was a storm rolling in, and the future wasn’t looking good (or if we’ll even have a future, since wer’re over 60 and at high risk).  Please be safe out there!

Frenchmen’s Bar Area Hike with Visit to Vancouver Lake

Hike Distance: 9.1 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 356.7 miles

Elevation Gain: 549 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 47398 feet

It’s the beginning of the pandemic and I’m feeling the need to start isolating myself from people.  Being over 60 I feel so vulnerable and am hoping the whole thing blows over, but as of the time I’m entering this report we all know these are the worst of times, and it will only get worse (before anything will improve).  I thought I’d try hiking around the Frenchmen’s Bar area as the beach and dike is quite wide, and so is the trail that leads to Vancouver Lake.  Truthfully, it’s a gorgeous day and I just couldn’t resist the lure of the Columbia River.

My first instinct was to head over to Vancouver Lake, via the Frenchmen’s Bar trail, and get that paved trail out of the way.  While I love walking from Frenchmen’s Bar to Vancouver Lake, the asphalted trail is brutal on my joints. 😦  Seeing all the blooming trees and flowers lifted my spirits, and made it worthwhile.

So, I made it to Vancouver Lake and took some quick photos.  I’m just starting to explore the camera on my new Samsung S20 phone, and I’m liking the results thus far.  At this point my main gripe is that it’s difficult to keep the large glass cover, over the lenses, free of dust and dirt.

After some photos I walked back towards Blurock Landing and accessed the beach along the Columbia River.  I love this particular area of beach as the crowds are minimal during the week.  Today was no exception, and I lazily strolled along and just enjoyed the sunny crisp air.

Exiting back on the Frenchmen’s Bar Trail, I headed back towards the Frenchmen’s Bar park and headed south on the Dike.  I only saw a gentleman and his dog, but they kept their distance.  This dike area is great for observing the large flocks of birds that winter here, and on a clear day you can see three volcanoes too!

Things were going well and I didn’t see many people, and wasn’t concerned about contracting the virus.  So, I then walked north along the beach, and just loved the sand and Columbia River.  It’s easy to get lost in your thoughts here, and I quickly forgot about the pandemic, and other worries.

It wasn’t until I reached the northern beach section of the Frenchmen’s Bar when things got interesting.  I ran into a couple that had an extremely active dog running about without a leash.  The problem was that they were teasing the dog for about 20 minutes, while I watched.  The guy kept teasing the dog to jump in the air for a stick he was holding, but never threw it.  They knew I was waiting to get by, and saw me, but basically acted like I wasn’t there.  They very slowly moved along the beach, and I finally got by them, but I was fuming.  Yes, I could have turned around, but I can be stubborn, and wanted to complete this loop.

After looping around the beach I headed back toward my car.  Most of this hike was exceptional, and I won’t let the beach incident taint my experience!