|Footpath (app) map|
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.
Length: 6.98 mi
Elevation gain: 2,155 ft
Moving time: 2:48:37
Avg. pace: 24:26
Total time: 3:03:14
This was my first hike in 3 weeks. After my last jaunt at Forest Park, my knee started to hurt. Not sure if I strained something or it's the arthritis coming back. I stopped my RA meds in mid-January due to some abnormal blood test results. Until then, I was feeling pretty good about not needing the meds.
According to my rheumatologist, it takes around 6 weeks but several Google results says it's upwards of 60 hrs. Really not sure. The re-emergence of my pain seems to correlate with 6 week timeline.
Anyway, while my knee has continued to bother me, I felt strong enough to attempt Hamilton Mtn. I figured I'd see how far I could go. At least all the uphill is in the first half of the loop though I tend to have issues on my descents.
Despite having doing this loop over a dozen times in the last year, I still feel a tinge of apprehension when starting out. Knock on wood I've never had to turn around before reaching the top (except when the trail was blocked by tree branches laden with snow.)
I passed a couple of hikers between the summit and the Saddle and another couple enjoying the views at Saddle.
On the Hardy Creek Trail, I always look forward to this bend in road. The weather was so warm and bright. It was nice to stop and listen to the wind, birds, and trickling creek.