Hamilton Mountain

June 19th, 2008

dates hiked:

May 17, 2008
June 15, 2008

distance: 8 miles
highest elevation: 2400 feet
elevation gain: 2100 feet
time: 2 hours 40 minutes

Hamilton Mountain finally thawed out in May. It was great to hike up, albeit a bit muddy. Rodney Falls seems like an absolute menace there is so much water coming down. When I hiked up in May it was our first heat wave since September of 2007…we hit 95 degrees. It was so hot…but so awesome. Then we plunged back into wintery weather again with more snow in the mountains for another month.

Hamilton Mt

By mid-June, it seemed we had finally left winter behind. The day I hiked up was not nearly as warm (high 70’s), but just as sunny (and sweaty). Someone kindly offered to take a picture of me with Mt. Adams in the background at the top.

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Wahkeena Falls – Multnomah Falls Loop

June 19th, 2008

dates hiked:

April 2, 2008
May 4, 2008

distance: @6.5 miles
highest elevation: 1600 feet
elevation gain: 1000 feet
time: 2.5 hours

The beginning of April still revealed low elevation snow on most trails throughout the area. Many roads to trails were snowed in…so I found myself hanging out in the Gorge for much longer than I had anticipated. Lucky for me, no matter how many times I hiked this loop, I still enjoyed it.

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Do you ever get sick of a great view?

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Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge

June 18th, 2008

date hiked: March 30, 2008
distance: 2 miles
time: 1.5 hours

Tyler and I took a friend out to the Ridgefield NWR. The refuge is in the same area where I’d like to buy a houseboat one day. In the meantime, we like to walk in the refuge. It has several different ‘units’, one having an auto tour and trail that’s open seasonally and the Carty unit with a 2-mile hiking trail in wetlands. It was quite cold the day we were there (even though it was our spring break and should have been spring). It was in the low 30’s, so we were bundled a bit.

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The Carty Unit has a Cathlapotle Plankhouse, a full-scale Chinookan-style cedar plankhouse. It’s quite amazing, although I have yet to be inside. We followed deer tracks for quite a long while on this hike, but never saw the deer. There were lots of birds and it sounded like the ducks were everywhere. It’s a nice place to relax.

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Eagle Creek to Tunnel Falls

June 13th, 2008

dates hiked:

February 17, 2008
February 23, 2008
March 16, 2008
March 22, 2008
April 12, 2008

distance: 12 miles
highest elevation: 1200 feet
elevation gain: 1200 feet
time: 3.5 hours

Once Eagle Creek opened again in January, I couldn’t wait to vary my winter hiking a bit. I had spent the winter in the Columbia Gorge, specifically around Multnomah Falls. I was looking forward to getting out to Tunnel Falls. The first two tries in February, I didn’t make it. There was too much snow for me. By March, I was able to make it to the falls with YakTrax on.

Eagle Creek Trail

The interesting thing is…this year we have had record amounts of low elevation snow. It’s now mid-June (I’m really late posting) and you still hit snow around 3000 ft. up the trails. That has also meant there is a ton of water. Along the Eagle Creek trail, there’s a waterfall (below) that I don’t ever remember seeing before.

waterfall 

Many people say Eagle Creek Canyon is nerve-racking because of the steep drops and no-where-to-go cliffs. I find the trail beautiful.

trail

Snow Boy

June 13th, 2008

date: january 6, 2008

tyler buried in snow

In January, Tyler and I headed up to Mt. St. Helens for the day to play in the snow. It was awesome!

Wahkeena Falls – Multnomah Falls Loop

March 29th, 2008

dates hiked:

November 10, 2007
December 8, 2007
January 1, 2008
January 13, 2008
January 21, 2008

distance: @7.5 miles
highest elevation: 1600 feet
elevation gain: 1000 feet
time: 4 hours

I have spent all of fall and most of winter in the Columbia Gorge. Mostly on this trail. My other favorite low-elevation Gorge trail , Eagle Creek, was closed so I stayed here. My goal was to keep hiking throughout the winter season and so far…it’s working. It was amazing to watch the trail change with the season and the latest storm. I had to buy YakTrax (we’ve had a snowy season).

Return Trail 

The Wahkeena – Multnomah Loop can be completed clockwise or counter-clockwise. I prefer to hike it counter-clockwise. However, I like to park at Multnomah Falls (and end there). So I always begin my hike by taking the return trail from Multnomah Falls to Wahkeena Falls. It’s funny, because no matter how busy Multnomah is…and it can be busy, within a moment the crowds drop away.

View of Beacon Rock

Beacon Rock from trail

The trail passes several waterfalls and provides a view of the Columbia River. There are are also many trails leading off of the Wahkeena Trail so you can spend  a lot of time exploring in the area (as I did). As New Year’s Day arrived, the snow levels were dropping and my trail had shown the first sign of winter.

Wahkeena Trail

Two weeks later, further along the trail…more snow (but totally hikable).

Multnomah Trail

My last trip to the Wahkeena – Multnomah Trail was on January 21, 2008. I had set out that morning without watching the news or weather….which unfortunately is quite common for me. I had watched the weather reports earlier in the week and I knew it would be cold…in the 20’s. Being the native Floridian, I admit I do not have a good understanding of cold weather. I figured, okay…so I dress warmly. And I did…I headed out. I actually went to Eagle Creek Trail first because it was just reopened after being closed for months. I was excited. I got to the trail (at Eagle Creek) and started out. Within steps I realized the ground underneath me was solid ice. As I continued, chunks of ice and rocks came raining down from the wall above me. As a rock the size of a golf ball hit my pack and I stared as it fell into the canyon below me….I decided to turn around. None of this took very long and I didn’t want to forgo hiking for the day…so I headed to Wahkeena/Multnomah.

Here’s what I found…

Frozen falls on return trail

I didn’t make it on the entire loop that day. I was able to hike about three miles. Afterwards, I spent some time at Multnomah drinking coffee and watching in amazement.

Icy Multnomah Falls

Silver Falls

March 29th, 2008

date hiked: September 22, 2007
distance: 8.7 miles
time: 3 hours

I took my friend Tammy to Silver Falls State Park. We hiked together for a short time and then seperated while I hiked the Trail of Ten Falls. It was a nice way to spend a day.

Me at Silver Falls

Hamilton Mountain

March 29th, 2008

date hiked: September 8, 2007
distance: 7.5 miles
highest elevation: 2400 feet
elevation gain: 2100 feet
time: 4.5 hours

This is my second time hiking up Hamilton Mountain. Last time I hiked with a friend, this time I was on my own. I also didn’t take the “loop option” this time, which just takes you on an old road. I stayed on the much more scenic (and more difficult) trail up to the summit and came back down the same way.

Early on, a couple of miles in….Rodney and Hardy Falls give you a place to stop for a brief picture (looking down from the falls).

Hamilton Trail

Tunnel Falls – Eagle Creek Trail

January 6th, 2008

date hiked: August 25, 2007
distance: 12 miles
highest elevation: unknown
elevation gain: 1000 ft
time: 4.5 hours

Tunnel Falls

Hiking to Tunnel Falls is now one of my all time favorite hikes. The only down-side…it is an out and back hike, not a loop (and we all know I love loops). My friend Jen and I hiked to the falls, scheming, plotting, and hatching plans along the way. The coolest thing about the falls, of course, is that (as the name implies) the trail tunnels behind them. And if you choose (as I did) you can get soaked by really cold water. People who act more like adults (like Jen), can stay dry. 

Comet Falls Trail – Mt. Rainier NP

January 6th, 2008

date hiked: August 15, 2007
distance: 3.8 miles
highest elevation: approx. 6000
elevation gain: 2160 ft
time: 1.5 hours

Comet Falls Trail

This was a killer hike for me. Two thousand feet up in one and a half mile. It was steep. At least for me. Because I’m a crappy hiker. Yet, I still love it. This was also a weird hike for me internally. I chose the hike to see Comet Falls, one of the tallest in the park. Along the hike you are supposed to be able to glimpse the falls several times. At each switchback, I could hear the thundering water become louder but could never see anything. Not one drop of water, anywhere. The overgrowth of greenery and brush had blocked everything. It became somewhat odd. Hearing all indications of a massive, plunging, waterfall but not even seeing the riverbed that it feeds into. I was enclosed in a forest. I never saw water or Mt. Rainier. Then, all of a sudden, the forest opened up and Mt. Rainier was standing there. The water fall came soon after. I loved that moment.