28 August 2016

Tamanawas Falls

It's been a month since we hiked on Sauvie Island.  On that hike I aggravated an earlier foot injury and even after a month it is still bothering me somewhat but I was pretty sure another hike would not make it worse.

Yesterday we decided to drive highway 26 and veer off onto 35 to the east side of Mount Hood and hike the Tamanawas Falls trail.  We got an early enough start because the pullout for parking at the trailhead wasn't full yet.  We knew by the amount of cars there that only a handful of people were ahead of us on the trail.

The trail follows Cold Spring Creek much of the way.  There are many places to take off shoes and socks and wade in the creek.

It's not a difficult hike although there are boulders to step over and rockslides to cross.  Eventually we rounded a bend and caught our first glimpse of the falls.

It was just a short distance after that to the falls where we joined the small group who arrived before us. There isn't really anything but a slope of rocks and boulders from a rockslide to serve as a place to sit or stand.  The mist from the waterfall was cool and refreshing.  After sitting a while and enjoying the scenery, we retraced our steps back to the trailhead and headed home.

An easy hike, it was the perfect distance (3.8 miles round trip) and elevation gain (500 feet).  My foot handled it well.

The school year has begun.  Gone are the long lazy days of summer but in their place is the gentle rhythm of schedule and routine.  Both are good.

31 July 2016

Taking Stock - July


Making: an alphabet quilt
Cooking: not much
Snacking: sweet onion Maui potato chips
Drinking: pitchers of ice tea
Reading: Pride and Prejudice
Wanting: to find a good hairdresser
Looking: around me and counting my blessings
Deciding: to stay put in this house for now 
Wishing: vacation were longer
Enjoying: "spring" cleaning my house 
Wondering: who will win the election - Trump or Hilary
Pondering: whether I should have the dog professionally groomed for a change
Listening: to the ringing in my ears and the dog's nails click on the wood floor
Considering: checking out Mount Tabor hiking trails
Buying: a ceiling fan
Watching: eleven seasons of Frasier on Netflix
Needing: to pay a visit to the dentist
Smelling: geranium scented Mrs. Meyers cleaner
Wearing: tiny silver hoop earrings
Following: a routine
Noticing: leaves beginning to fall from trees signaling Autumn will be here soon
Knowing: there are only a few more weeks before school starts
Thinking: I would like to be successful at weight loss
Admiring: successful weight loss people
Avoiding: the doctor because I haven't lost the weight yet
Bookmarking: tent trailers sites
Memorizing: Ephesians
Loving: being an introvert
Disliking: the garage band at the end of our street but thankful we are not next door neighbors
Opening: a package containing a quilting stencil
Laughing: at myself
Feeling: okay

25 July 2016

Warrior Rock Lighthouse on Sauvie Island

Floating houses near Sauvie Island

We set out this morning in rush hour traffic on Interstate 5 through Portland to Sauvie Island.  I've always wanted to go to Sauvie Island.

I always thought Sauvie Island was pretty uninhabited and quite small.  Boy, was I wrong.  Turns out it is Oregon's largest island.  It's quite nice really.  From the bridge to the trailhead there are twelve miles of farm land, you-pick farms, pumpkin patch farms, cows, lavender farms, and fields upon fields of the most fragrant tiny little flowers that caused me to inhale deeply of their heavenly aroma as we drove by.

Once we reached the trailhead there were 3.5 miles of forest service road to trek to reach the end of the trail.  No unauthorized motor vehicles were allowed so we set off on foot, walking through the woods toward our destination - a miniature lighthouse and a secluded sandy beach.

There are actually many nice sandy beaches on the north shore of Sauvie Island but not many people seemed keen on hiking 3.5 miles with all their gear to enjoy the one near the lighthouse.  We had the beach to ourselves today.

I wish I had packed a picnic lunch to enjoy.  There's a log that runs along the front of the lighthouse facing the river where one can sit and enjoy the breezes and the views of the Columbia River.

We could have continued another half mile to the northernmost tip of the island, to a hidden viewpoint of the city of St Helens across the river, but we decided to make the lighthouse our turn around point. 

After enjoying the beach for a bit and letting the dog have a swim (she was thrilled that we included her in our adventure), we retraced our steps to the car and headed home.

Distance: 7 miles round trip
Elevation gain: none
Other hikers: three
Fee: $10 Sauvie Island Wildlife Area Parking Permit at Cracker Barrel Grocery
Favorite part: the lighthouse and discovering there are beaches closer than the Pacific coast
Least favorite part: driving through Portland traffic to get there

04 July 2016

Lava Canyon Trail - Mt St Helens

The view just before Lava Canyon trail head.

Do you remember where you were or what you were doing in 1980 when you heard Mt St Helens had erupted?  I was nineteen, adapting to my first year as a U.S. resident and blissfully unaware of this huge event.  

Last weekend Ralph and I decided to hike the Lava Canyon Trail.  Two hours of driving into Washington and to Mt St Helens, this is the greatest distance we have ever traveled to a trail head - so far.  The good news is that all the roads were paved.  Yeah!

This is the most treacherous trail we've ever been on.  Signs warned us many times that we could die on this trail.

There were three hike options available: Easy (to the suspension bridge), More Difficult (to the suspensions bridge), and Most Difficult but what I call Treacherous.  Guess which one we took?  We took the treacherous path, of course, because we always make things hard.

The hike starts out innocently enough descending into the canyon on a paved path lined with many unique benches.

Unlike every other trail we've hiked, we had to hike downhill first.  All the elevation gain was reserved for the return trip.

It wasn't long before we crossed a foot bridge and came to water cutting through lava cliffs and chutes.

Water cascading over the cliff.

Meanwhile we continued to descend hundreds of feet into the canyon.  This is one of several stair cases secured into the cliff walls.

The trail beside a basalt cliff.

Next we came to the suspension bridge located above Lava Canyon Falls.  It has cables that run longitudinally underneath the deck boards which gives it an awesome bouncy trampoline feel when crossing the bridge. Quite fun.

The cables are visible in this view looking down between the boards of the bridge deck.

Lava Canyon Falls, the glorious view from the suspension bridge.  The roar from the water drowns out all other noise.

We could have spent a long time here.  At this point people taking the Easy and More Difficult hike options would loop back to their cars.

We pressed on.  Just after the suspension bridge the trail forked downstream on a rugged, steep, scary, slippery descent to the bottom of the canyon.  At one point there was a gash in the cliff with a stream running over it that we had to step over.  Ooo-boy!  I was worried about getting across without slipping but there was a cable to hold onto and it wasn't as bad as it looked.

Parts of this trail were insane.  Seriously.  Some paths were no more than a foot wide with the cliff on  one side and a steep drop off to the canyon bottom below on the other. 

Just as we were wondering how much farther we had to go before reaching the end, we came to a 40 foot ladder that brought us to the canyon floor.  It was awesome. 

After the ladder we continued down stream for two tenths of a mile to the third bridge which overlooks a mudflow plain.  We deemed this a good place to sit a bit and enjoy our beautiful surroundings.

Unless a person has arranged for a shuttle car to meet them on the other end of the trail, this is the turn around point for the treacherous hike.  Now the real work begins - retracing our steps.  Only this time climbing 1100 feet in just a little over 1.5 miles.  I don't know which was harder, descending or ascending.

Lahar (mudflow from the eruption)
It was a beautiful hike.  I loved being so close to Mt St Helens and getting a glimpse into what I missed so many years ago.  I'm thankful for cell phones with camera capability because my camera battery died just minutes into our hike and all these pictures were taken with our phones.  If I didn't have pictures, I'd have to do the hike again!  Cell phone pictures will suffice.

24 June 2016

Coyote Wall

Our original plan was to hike Lava Canyon in Washington today but the weather did not cooperate.  Seeing as it is a slightly treacherous trail, rain would have made it more slick so we decided to save that for another day and check out Coyote Wall instead.

From the parking area we walked an old abandoned road around the base of Coyote Wall's cliff before veering off onto the trail.  There are actually quite a few trails to choose from and we got a little confused.

We headed for the cliff's rim before circling around to do the Labyrinth Loop trail.

This is a view of the parking lot below.  As always, clicking on the picture will make it bigger.  Ours is the only car in the parking lot.  No crowds today.  We had the whole trail to ourselves.

The wind gusts were so strong it was a bit freaky looking over the edge like this.

This trail is directly across the river on the Washington side from the Mosier Twin Tunnels and Tom McCall Point.  We could see Tom McCall Point in the distance and the windows of the Twin Tunnels at various points along our trail today.

This is my favorite trail so far this year.  It may be my favorite trail ever.  There are quite a few trail options. The views of the Gorge are Gorge-ous.  The frequent wind gusts make the hike feel close to effortless. Crowds don't seem to be an issue from what I can tell.  I love it.

My fellow adventurer who likes to run the trails and scale the walls.

I will definitely return to this trail.  There's more to explore.  I only got a taste of it today.

To the fence:
3.7 mile loop
680 feet elevation gain

19 June 2016

Mosier Twin Tunnels Hike

Limping back to my car I panicked.  Had I forgotten to lock it?  Had it been burgled?  Something seemed different.  Then I saw it.

It was Saturday morning and I was going to hike the Twin Tunnels in Mosier.  I prepared a peanut butter and nutella sandwich, placed it in a ziplock bag, then in a tupperware.  I threw in a Kind bar for added measure.

I reviewed my basic list:

Water - check
Food - check
Sunblock - check
Hat - check
Wallet - check
Phone - check
Pen - check
Trail description - check
Camera - check

Backpack loaded and sun block lathered on my face and neck and arms, I set a course for the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail.  This is a 4.7 mile portion of the old road reopened as a paved path for bikers, hikers, and joggers.

I've been here before with my dh and son.  We brought our bikes that time and I insanely thought I could bike the trail.  It was then I came to terms with the fact that I am not a biker.  I didn't realize at the time that I would be gaining 960 feet in elevation.  There was no way that was going to happen.  The other two biked some of the trail that day while I hung out at the tunnels.

So I wanted to come back to hike the entire 9.4 miles.  I wanted to see what I missed the first time.

I passed through two tunnels and a flat roofed concrete corridor built to protect people from falling rocks.

One of the tunnels has two windows carved out of the cliff wall.  I really wanted to climb the steps outside this barred window (visible also in foreground in the picture below) but could not find where to gain access.

The thing about the Gorge is it can get pretty windy.  Today was no exception.  The cool breezes were so welcome on this shadeless trail.

Although these pictures look serene, I shared the trail with a lot of people today.  Not only was a cycling event in progress, it looked as though a rather large number of older people hike this trail for exercise.  I was impressed.

On my return to the concrete corridor and tunnels, it started to rain.  I was about a mile from my car so I kept moving.

By the time I got back to the parking lot my feet were screaming.  My shoes are so broken down.

That's when I spotted it.  A yellow ticket on my windshield.  And it hit me.  This is a State Park.  D'oh.  The Forest Pass I hung from my rear view mirror is not valid in a State Park.  In my hurry to get on the trail I hadn't considered that.  

Due to the rain, the ticket was sopping and I could barely make out any of what was written on it.  I saw "please" circled and "$5" and something about a parking fee kiosk.  

So I went to the kiosk and proceeded to pay the parking fee.  I didn't want to put a wet ticket in the envelope and cause the ink on the outside of the envelope to run.  Those gel pens do run you know.  

It was then I remember the ziplock baggie that contained my yet uneaten sandwich.  I removed the sandwich from the baggie and placed it in the tupperware, licked the residual peanut butter off the baggie, and put the ticket inside with my five dollars.  Then I sealed the envelope.  

As I slipped the envelope through the collection slot I hoped this would suffice and appease the parks and recreation parking enforcement and that I wouldn't later receive a ticket in the mail.  

I think I got my monies worth out of these.

Entire trail: 9.4 miles round trip
960 feet elevation gain