Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Hike: Cape Horn Trail, Western Gorge, WA

Full 7.5 mile loop from Alltrails

Distance: 3.98 miles (point 1 to 2 and back)
Type: Out and Back

Elevation Gain: 700 feet

High Point: 1200 feet

Duration: 1hr 15min


Getting There: 

So many of my road trips / hikes involve quite a bit of driving. Think High Rock, WA, Mt St Helens, Mt Hood, the coast. Many of the Gorge hikes on the Oregon side can get crowded. So far, the hikes on the WA side seems to be less trafficked. I'd been to Beacon Rock / Hamilton Mountain a few days before. I've tried a few times to find a parking at Cape Horn but haven't had any luck. Since this was a Tuesday, I figured I'd have a good chance. I was right. Woohoo! I parked and geared up.

The Hike:

Near the parking lot, there's a wooden bridge and some downed trees. A guy was working by himself. When I said "hello", I got no response. Seems he was trying to prune and pull weeks to restore the area.

The trail was a bit muddy in spots but overall pretty good. Mud up on the ridge passed first lookout was frozen. Around there I found some hair ice. (from Exidiopsis effusa).

I made it to Pioneer Point then back to the parking lot. I didn't realized the bottom section was closed February 1st - July 16th annually to protect nesting peregrine falcons.

The whole loop is 7.5 miles. I'll have to tackle that after July 16th.

North view from ridge near Pioneer Point

Ascent to Pioneer Point

Hair Ice

“'Hair ice' is a beautiful winter wonder. While not rare, it can be difficult to find because it is formed under a variety of particular conditions. Hair ice is formed at a particular temperature between latitudes of 45 and 55 degrees, during a particular time of day and on a particular type of wood, which must be free of bark. It also requires the presence of a particular fungus — and, of course, you have to be there to see it before it melts!

Simply speaking, hair ice is formed when moisture fizzes from a bit of wood and instantly freezes, creating delicate, angel-hair-like strands in mid-air.

Big surprise: There’s more to it. A nuclear action within a freezing layer of water pushes liquid water through pores of the wood and into the freezing air. But beyond that, a particular fungus has a role in the formation of the hair ice structure.

Source: https://www.wta.org/news/signpost/hair-ice-even-cooler-than-you-thought


W View from Pioneer Point

East view from Pioneer Point

Selfie from Pioneer Point

Map at lower section of loop

Lower section of loop (closed Feb 1st - July 15th)

From of Pioneer Point from below


Friday, February 5, 2021

Hike: Little Hamilton Mountain & Rodney Falls, North Bonneville, WA

Distance: 4.94 miles
Type: Out and Back

Elevation Gain: 1100 feet

High Point: 1500 feet

Duration: 1hr 15min


Getting There: 

I was just out for a cruise. I was considering heading out to Stevenson to hop on Red Bluff Road. As I was passing Beacon Rock, I thought I scout the Horse Camp/Trailhead. About 100 yards away is the road to the campground. It's closed for the season but the trailhead is open. I wasn't really planning on a hike but I've been carrying my gear (shoes, hiking poles) in the truck for such an impromptu occasion. I have my Discovery Pass for WA Parks so good there too! 

The Hike:

The trail was pretty muddy in places. Other hikers before me had laid pine branches and such to get across the most saturated sections. However, in spots the trail surface was gorgeous: sandy, hard packed, no rocks. It's climbs pretty steadily so my calves got a good workout.

There are steep switchbacks, very technical when I got the base of the mountain, a hunk of granite.

In fact, because this was an impromptu hike I only went as far as Little Hamilton Mountain. The clouds were coming in and I had no gear (water, rain coat, etc). That's 1.7 miles up (1500 ft). The "top" is another mile along the trail and an additional 900 ft elevation gain.


Next time! This is an easy drive and good hike.

That's Little Hamilton; (Big) Hamilton is hidden by the clouds