|Zach Urness / Statesman Journal|
Take WA-14 from Vancouver, WA east toward N Bonneville.
Just after Doetsch Ranch you'll see the Ranger Station on the north side of the road just before the Beacon Rock parking lot, then another road across from the bathrooms. The road winds up the hill for a bit.
However, the summer hiking season is in full force with the warm weather and end of school term. The sign at the bottom of the hill said the parking lot is full. I probably could have found a spot but opted to park on Hwy 14 by the Beacon Rock Trailhead and walk the road to the trailhead.
Indeed, there were several cars leaving as I walked up and I could see a few empty spots. It looked like the upper parking lot was open as well but no clue on openings. The Discover Pass seems to help.
Anyway, it was a little extra distance and elevation so I didn't mind where I was parked.
Elev. gain: 2,346 ft
Moving time: 3:17:24
Avg pace: 24:16
Total time: 3:25:50
I haven't really been hiking lately. Too many other things going on. Besides some low effort hikes at Sandy River and Cooper Mountain, my last rigorous hike was Forest Park when I had some hydration issues.
Before that, I hiked a mostly flat out-n-back at Coldwater and had lower back problem. My last visit to Beacon Rock SP was the big, 2-summit hike to Phlox Point and Hamilton Mountain figure-8 loop, a 14+ miler, 3600+ ft of climb.
This hike was fitness gauge, let's see how well I do and a first hike in my new Lone Peak ALL-WTHR Mid Hiking Boots.
I also practiced talking to people like I will have to do when I'm a Hiking Steward. Obviously, I didn't introduce myself as volunteer, I did realize that I am not as shy as I imagine. Maybe it would be as difficult at I think it will to do "customer service" on the mountain or in the Visitor Center.
I used my REI points to get these for around $20! (My Keens Targhee IIIs went for $20 at their sidewalk sale last summer!).
Last summer, while the price was right, the fit of the Targhees felt wrong. The fit of boot on my right foot just didn't feel the same as my worn in boots. I tried different sole inserts, adjusted the lacing, and even bought a second pair from the store in case there was some kind of manufacturing defect I could see. I also saw a podiatrist but they didn't find anything wrong with my gait or otherwise.
It turns out the issue between old and new boots was uneven were on the tread. I returned the 2nd pair of Keens and the Lone Peaks and just powered through on the $20 Keens. I eventually broken them in enough where they felt right.
I picked up the Lone Peaks while trying some other boots but returned them after walking around the office for a 1/2 day. I noticed Kyle from Kyle Hates Hiking on YouTube wearing some low-top Lone Peaks. This spring, when I saw them on-sale and realized I could get them for almost nothing, I bought 'em. I bit of an impulse buy as there's nothing wrong with my Keens. I wanted to try a lighter-weight "summer" boot.
They're pretty comfortable. I didn't had any issues on the uneven terrain, even on the rockiest part of the trail where you can feel them through the soles. Even with the Size 11s, it felt like my toes were really close to the end of the boot.
I accidentally kicked a few rocks and didn't stub my toes. The Keens have a distinct advantage over the Lone Peaks, the rubber toe cap, which has saved by feet many, many times over.
While the Lone Peaks are a great shoe, I prefer my Keens for all-year protection.
Given my recent hikes, I always worry about my fitness, especially as I anticipate going out on the trail for MSHI. Reaching the Hamilton summit is morale booster and decent gauge on my readiness. I tend to have doubts on my hiking ability but have realized time and again, that it takes a lot more time before I lose my stamina and strength.
As with many previous posts, I've been more conscience about my hydration and electrolytes. I forgot to bring any LMNT packets but I had bit bottle of sugar-free Gatorade. That's pretty much all I drink but I had extra water, ~48 oz.
One Day Later
My legs feel good today, no major soreness. I think I can handle longer hikes around MSH.
The foliage was pretty thick, esp. between the summit and the Saddle. I don't recognize poison ivy or oak but I suspected I was walking through some of it. Indeed, because I could feel some itchy parts on my arms. I should have worn a long sleeved shirt.
I used rubbing alcohol when I got home and that seemed to help a little, I still have some spots there I really want to scratch but won't.
While I needed this hike for my mental health, I did have complication. I stopped briefly at far end of the Saddle to rest and sit for a minute. I noticed my Nest camera notification that a person was at my door.
I looked at the video and saw some guy hanging out on my porch. He didn't ring the doorbell but was mumbling like he was talking to himself or maybe he thought someone was watching and listening. He even tried to open the realtor lockbox that was there since I moved in. I removed the key not too long ago and reset the password. Still disturbing to see someone attempting to gain access to my place.
My adrenaline shot up because I felt helpless. I was at the inflection point on my hike and still had over an hour to go plus a 45min drive back home. I could have called the cops or maybe triggered my alarm to scare him off. I was just glad I'd put the dumpster inside the garage so I didn't look like the place is vacant.