Hantwick Road TH into DNR Hike

Hike Distance: 7.3 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 347.6 miles

Elevation Gain: 1972 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 46849 feet

This hike is the beginning of my fear of being around people, due to the Corona Virus Pandemic.  I must admit that I’m terrified and fear the worst for me and my family.  I know that my family, wife and I are in great shape, but this virus takes no prisoners.  As of this hike I’ll be attempting to isolate myself from now on.  Unfortunately, this also means that my wife and I will not be going out in public, or shopping at any stores.  We’re even finding it necessary to isolate ourselves from our children and grand-children, which is an excruciating experience, and for an unknown length of time.  I’ve never felt so imprisoned and isolated, and certainly never seen anything like this in my lifetime! 😦

So I decided to try and hike on DNR (Washington Department of Natural Resources) land, to limit confronting any people.  It was a wonderful hike, and I won’t explain the route I took as it turns out just to be a bland road walk.  I definitely prefer walking on real trails, but at least I got out and felt free of the pandemic, for at least a few hours.  The hike was devoid of people until I was within about 0.5 miles of my car, and then I met two trail runners and a couple of mountain bikers.  Unfortunately, the trail runners didn’t realize that they violated my need to stay at least six feet away from me, but I backed up to get further away.  At this early date, for the pandemic, it seems most people just don’t respect the magnitude and seriousness of this issue, but we all know this will change!

I got some good photos of Mt. St. Helens and of western Clark County.  The western side of this road system has been heavily logged, but it does allow great views of Clark County, WA!  I also discovered that there exists quite a few mountain bike trails, that I presume are illegal, and it’s sad to see.

A nice day, but I won’t be hiking here as this experience, and previous experiences, show that this area is frequented too often for me.  I’ll have to say goodbye to this area until this pandemic is over, or I’m no longer alive.


Deschutes River Trail Hike

Hike Distance: 8.1 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 340.3 miles

Elevation Gain: 674 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 44877 feet

My son wanted to check out the Deschutes River Trail as he volunteered to take a group from The Mountaineers on a hike in the Columbia River Gorge, this spring.  It’s a long drive, but it was a gorgeous day and the (almost) two hour drive (one way) went fairly fast.  We parked just off the Celilo-Wasco Hwy, and got the last parking spot!  This was the beginning of the Coronavirus Pandemic, so we felt somewhat safe, since the Old Railroad Trail is quite wide.

We decided to make a large loop, utilizing the River Trail to go south, and then we used a road, about 4 miles out, to cut back to the Old Railbed Trail, and head back to the car.  It was a crowded day, and the River Trail wasn’t very wide :(, but we gave plenty of clearance to other hikers.

The River Trail is very scenic, and gets you close to the Deschutes River.  The grasses were quite high here, and it worried me a bit because of the high tick population in this area.  I was wearing brand new Insect Shield clothing, but me son wasn’t.  We kept going anyway, and figured the previous hikers most likely ran into the ticks before we did.  haha

About halfway of our southbound hike, you’ll go around a rocky area that has a few sketchy areas, but it really isn’t too bad, but might bother some people.  After going around this rocky area, and are heading due south, you can look up and see a small arch!  It’s a very nice little arch but you can only really access it while on the Railbed Trail.

We continued along the River Trail and finally reached a graveled road, which will ascend up to the Railbed Trail.  Once on the Railbed Trail the views of the Deschutes River take on a an incredible grandeur!  We headed a bit south, for a while, before turning around.  The walk back, on the Railbed Trail are filled with amazing views of the sorrounding hills, and the Descutes River.

We got back to the TH very quickly, but did stop to take photos, and look at the arch.  At the time of writing this trip report, everything is now closed due to the Pandemic.  It’s a must to place this hike on your bucket list.  We had a fantastic day, and even got treated to an impressive sunset along the drive home.  A truly remarkable day with my son!!


Forest Road Hike near Silver Lake

Hike Distance: 7.3 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 332.2 miles

Elevation Gain: 1086 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 44203 feet

It’s been about two weeks since my wife has had meniscus surgery, on her knee, and she won’t be hiking until next week.  We just went for her post-surgery visit and she is doing very well.  She has almost no pain, except for the areas with the stitches, and she’s been very active on her feet.  We’re optimistic that we can ramp up our hiking in the coming months, and that she’ll be ready for the summer activities (assuming the Coronavirus doesn’t derail everything 😦  )!

My son came home this weekend so I’m fortunate to have a hiking partner for this weekend, which is very nice!  We opted to hike on a forest road today.  Not very exciting but nobody seen the entire day!  The best part of the hike was having this solitude, and also experiencing some snow falling. 🙂

I also got a new phone, the Samsung S20 smartphone.  I’ve been needing a new phone for a while, and this phone has an impressive set of cameras installed.  It will take a while to get used to the new camera app, but I’m hoping the additional capabilities will help me get the type of pictures I enjoy taking.  The included photos are my first attempts with the S20 phone.

Whipple Creek & Fairgrounds Parks Hike

Hike Distance: 9.2 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 310.6 miles

Elevation Gain: 1681 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 41765 feet

It was late in the day but I wanted to get out for a hike on this gorgeous day.  I went to the Whipple Creek Park but also hiked to Fairgrounds Park via a connector trail.

Initially I headed directly out to Fairgrounds Park via a connector trail.  The connector trail isn’t very obvious as you first hike past Whipple Creek Farms, which is a horse stable.  Then you must cross hike north on NW 11th Avenue, for about 100 feet, and cross the road and through a fence.  This land is owned by Clark County.  There is a vague trail that heads across the field and into the forested area.  If you take this trail to its end, then it leads you to Fairgrounds Park.  This park has a paved loop trail and a very nice area for families and children.

After walking around Fairgrounds Park I headed back to Whipple Creek, the same way I came.  I was a bit surprised that it was a four mile hike to Fairgrounds Park and back to Whipple Creek!  I then proceeded to hike a loop around Whipple Creek, on my typical route.

I was almost done with the hike when I got a delightful surprise, blooming Trillium flowers.  The single white (older plants have a  lavender colored flower) flower at the end of the short stalk is breathtaking, and it signals the coming of spring! 🙂   I saw a total of four flowers on this hike.  What’s important about this is that it signals that the next weeks will bring a floral display of hundreds to thousands of these beautiful flowers to Whipple Creek Park!!!

It’s time to get out and take a walk, and realize that with all the bad things happening in the world today, there is beauty springing forth from the ground in spite of it. 🙂