Thursday, January 26, 2023

Hike: Chehalem Ridge + Iowa Hill, Gaston, OR

Getting There

I took SW Farmington Road (Route 10) west from Beaverton to Route 219. Go right (north) for 0.7 miles, then left (west) on Unger Road for 3 miles to SW Dixon Mill Road. From here, it's 2.3 miles to the park parking lot.

This was my first visit to Chehalem Ridge Nature Park. Looks like the parking lot off SW Dixon Rd is new (or newly redone). Several dozen parking spot, including handicap. 4 individual bathrooms, covered picnic area, horse trailer pull-thru parking near the entrance.

The park is mixed use: hiking/walking, bikes, horses.

The Hike

Length: 10.14 mi
Elev. gain: 883 ft
Moving time: 2:51:46
Avg pace: 16:57
Calories: 1,727
Total time: 2:58:02

AllTrails map
(left: Madrona Trail terminus; right: Trailhead)

This place is suitable for all fitness levels. There are long switchbacks so elevation gains are gentle throughout. Each trail junction is marked with a sign: map of the area, red dot for "You Are Here", which trails are open to hikers, bikers, and horses, and the locations of each bench to take a break & enjoy the surroundings.


I took the Woodland/Ayeekwa/Witches Butter Trails to the Chehalem Ridge Trail, then partly on the Madrona Trail. The elevation drops about 350 ft through a series of switchbacks. I chose not to go to the end. On my way back, I took the Mampaɬ Trail up to the top of Iowa Hill.

It was overcast but looks like great views of the farmland below.

I returned to the parking lot on the Timber Road, then the Woodland Trail. Just a bit over 10 miles and about 900 ft of elevation gain.

Chehalem Ridge Trail

Chehalem Ridge Trail

Iowa Hill

Iowa Hill

Iowa Hill

Iowa Hill

Iowa Hill

Witches Butter Trail

Friday, January 20, 2023

Hike: North End of Forest Park 22, Portland, OR

Getting There

Take NW Skyline Blvd north from NW Germantown Road. The Skyline Blvd Trailhead is 1.6 mi and a parking are available on right (east) side of the road.

AllTrails map

The Hike

Length: 10.49 mi
Elev. gain: 2,178 ft
Moving time: 3:14:58
Avg pace: 18:36
Calories: 1,961
Total time: 3:21:10

Steps: 22,433
Floors: 259
Cals: 3,336

The forecast showed clearing skies into the afternoon. It was pretty foggy above 500' and on Skyline Blvd. The out-n-back section of the hike was pretty cool (temp) but was a good warmup.

As I was going along Wildwood, I encountered another hiker with a dog. He stopped at Benjamin G. Collins bench and I mentioned it was my favorite bench when I walked by, which prompted to ask if I wanted to sit there. I backpedaled inadequately "no, no.. I just acknowledge it when I come by here." I said have a good day.

It was pretty muddy in spots and I noted several downed trees since I was here a month ago. In fact, a few must have been recent because you had to crawl over them. One was on Newton Road and another major detour on the Wildwood near the Newton Road parking lot. At the bottom of the ravine along Newton Creek/Road. (Keeping the trail crews busy.)

As I was heading south towards Germantown Road, it looked like the sun was finally breaking through the clouds.

I made it to the top of the BPA climb in about 23 mins, my usual ascent time. I stopped briefly at the picnic benches at the end of BPA Road.

It was really socked in about 2/3rd of the way up to the top. No sun today. The powerlines disappeared into the mist.

There was a toy horse attached to a telephone pole. Just some random Portland shit, like the horses "hitched" to the metal rings in town.



Sunday, January 15, 2023

Hike: Nesmith Point Trail, Upper & Lower McCord Creek, Warrenton, OR

Nesmith Point Trail #428

Getting There

Take I-84 East into the Columbia River Gorge. Take Exit 35. Follow NE Frontage Road for 4mi to the trailhead parking lot.

It's located about 6 miles east of Multnomah Falls and about 6.5 miles to Cascade Locks + Bridge of the Gods.

I knew when I left the house that I was in for some rainy hiking conditions, wherever I chose to go. I looked at the forecast for the area, it was rain, rain, rain and some wind. Fortunately, the temperatures were in the mid-40s.

I did some research and found a hike I'd never heard of, Nesmith Point, above Elwah Falls & McCord Creek Falls. I'd done the falls hike years ago. When I've driven by this trailhead in the summer, the parking lot is usually full.

On a rainy January, I was one of 3 cars.

The Hike

Length: 8.46 mi
Elev. gain: 2,077 ft
Moving time: 3:17:26
Total time: 3:20:14
Avg pace: 23:21
Calories: 1,985

Steps: 19,671
Floors: 198
Cals: 3,121
Zone Minutes: 73 (Fat Burn),
                      12 (Cardio/Peak)

I had my sights on Nesmith Point but thought it looked like a longer hike than I had time for and energy. I just wanted to take a look and see how far I could get before I needed to start my descent.

It was smooth sailing for the first 1 1/2 miles. You zigzag through some trees but reach an area where you cross a boulder field twice and hike along steep hillsides under huge rocky overhangs. I started to get into more snow covering the trail.

I realized about 1/2 way that I'd left my microspikes in the car! dammit! I remembered packing them but never putting them in my pack. D'oh. Where I turned around, it was steep and I wouldn't have had a good time with only my boots & poles. I was sure to encounter more snow so even if I'd made it through that section, I wouldn't get much further.

Good thing because looking at the 3D map, it's a steep trail, even with the switchbacks. It does look like it levels off and the approach to the viewpoint follows the ridgeline.

I started my descent. I knew I had more daylight so figured I'd explore McCord Creeks (Elowah Falls, Upper McCord Creek Falls). 

I went to the end of the upper falls trail. Then, back down to the lower falls trails. Looks like there used to be a bridge so you could keep going east.

I hiked back to the parking lot, then walked the frontage road to the Gorge Trail #400. I was pretty overgrown but still not bad to follow.

I crossed a sketchy section where the cliff had eroded. I hesitated but went anyway. Some butterflies.

I followed this trail all the way to the falls, and the other side of where the bridge was supposed to go. It was smashed up but a recognizable section.

On the way back, I got nervous again going through this section. I held onto some branches and squeezed by. Whew!

I was bumbling along back to the frontage road. I wasn't thinking and slipped on some roots and ended up on the ground. Yikes! I was getting a bit complacent on the easy terrain. I'd been so careful up to now.

Reminded me of that fall on the Mineral Creek Trail near Kachess Lake. I wasn't being careful. Gotta respect the trail and remember there's probably not going to be anyone to get me out.

AllTrails map

Elowah Falls

Upper McCord Creek Falls

Lower McCord Creek Falls

Hamilton Mountain from Oregon

Top of my hike up Nesmith Point trail #428

Top of my hike up Nesmith Point trail #428
AllTrails map

Friday, January 13, 2023

Hike: Hamilton Mountain up-and-back, Bonneville, WA

Getting There

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.

The road was opened and clear. There were only 3 other cars in the lot.

The Hike

Length: 6.09 mi
Elev. gain: 2,224 ft
Moving time: 2:45:13
Total time: 3:09:10
Avg pace
: 27:08
Calories: 1,661

Despite the rainy forecast, it looked like the wind was light so figured I'd take another run at my favorite mountain. When I drove by the trailhead last week, I saw the road was clear (it had been closed at the end of December).

The trail was in great shape all the way to the top. Just two weeks ago the snow and ice was prevalent from the start; I wore microspikes the whole time.

I saw two pairs of hikers and a solo hiker with a dog; accounting for all the cars in the lot. I had the place to myself!

There was a bit of snow in the last 50m or so. It was soft and slushy and easy to punch through.

I only saw one tree that was broken across the trail and you have to go under.

The fog was dense for the first 1000 ft. I didn't notice emerging out of it on the ascent but when I got to Little Hamilton, I could see for miles in each direction.

I photographed a raven preening its partner.

While taking photos on the descent, I heard voices from above. Two guys had done the Hardy Creek/Saddle Loop. If they'd started after me, they were making amazing time. Otherwise, someone was parked on Hwy 14. IDK.

The scenery was spectacular with fog in the Gorge. I loved how only the top of Beacon Rock was visible.

Epilogue: I think I've reached a pretty good level of hiking fitness. Of course, always room to improve but I felt great on the descent and when I got home. Not residual muscle soreness or issues with knees, ankle (more than usual), or IT band/hammies. 

I got some Nuun tablets at New Season but have yet to try them out. I got another big bottle of Gatorade for this hike. I really want to try coconut water but it can got back quickly. Anyway, I'd like to try something other than pure water in my hydration pack.

Edit: From my limited research, putting any BUT water in hydration packs is a bad idea. I'll stick to using my water bottle for powders and tablets.

Saturday, January 7, 2023

Hike: Wahkeena Trail to Devil's Rest, Corbett, OR

Wahkeena Creek

Getting There

I was not planning to hike here when I left the house. I headed north from my house to WA-14 East. I was contemplating doing Hamilton or Hardy Ridge. When I got to Beacon Rock, the road to the trailhead was open but I kept going.

I was low on fuel but didn't take the time to top up at N Bonneville or Cascade Locks. After crossing the river, I decided to take another run at Devil's Rest.

Again, I liked being able to park between the eastbound and westbound lanes, instead of having to get on the Historic Hwy. Plus, real or imagined, I'm guessing this parking lot is "safer" due to high turnover and cameras.

The Hike

Length: 8.64 mi
Elev. gain: 2,513 ft
Moving time: 3:32:52
Total time: 3:48:33
Avg pace: 24:39
Calories: 2,140

AllTrails map

First hike of 2023! Returned to the Wahkeena Trail (420) via Multnomah Falls. My intention was to reach Devil's Rest via the Angel's Rest Trail (415).

I geared up and headed straight for the Return Trail #442 to get to Wahkeena Falls trailhead.

At the top of the switchbacks, I took the Angel's Rest trail #415. I didn't expect to head north but it did. Finally I started the switchbacks up the ridge. I found a mix of mud, snow & ice.

I reached the Primrose Path junction and followed for a couple hundred feet but bailed soon after cuz it was steep and narrow. (It's about 700' climb over 0.4mi.) I've never been up here so opted for the main trail. 

Wahkeena Creek (near Angel's Rest trail junction)

I returned to the junction and continued on Angel's Rest #415. When reached the next turn (Lily's Lane) I considered the time and it still seemed like I was a ways away from my goal. I only went a few hundred feet then aborted that one too. Too many unknowns: return routes, distance, downfall/obstacles, and it was already 2:30p. Darnit! Close but too far to reach Devi's Rest today.

I started down the Angel's Rest to
back Wahkeena Creek. Instead of starting my descent, I continued east to the Vista Point Trail (419). The trail is narrow but easy to follow. From the viewpoint I could see my car way down there 🤣. 

Columbia River from Vista Point viewpoint

I descended back down and rejoined the Wahkeena Trail (420) then, back to the parking lot via the Return Trail (442).

Hindsight: I think a clockwise loop via Devil's Rest Trail (420C) would best in winter. I'll have to come back a third time to finally reach Devil's Rest!