Friday, February 17, 2023

Hike: Hamilton Mountain, Beacon Rock SP, N 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 Hike

AllTrails map

Length: 6.84 mi
Elev. gain: 2,231 ft
Moving time: 3:16:04
Avg pace: 28:40
Calories: 1,972
Total time: 3:41:16

FitBit Stats:
Steps: 20,463
Calories: 3,388
Distance: 9.4 miles (incorrectly estimated by steps x tread length)
Zone Activity: 78 minutes (64 fat burn, 14 cardio & peak)

I was glad to take another spin up my favorite mountain. I'm still dealing with pain in my left foot, specifically anterior ankle impingement and plantar fasciitis. Not sure if one is causing the other.

It seems the best remedy is to stay off that foot and not aggravate the injury. However, being an avid hiker, this is difficult. I really want to get out there and take some photos and it's so beneficial for my mental well-being.

I made moderate progress on my ascent. I noticed part of the trail that were damaged due to people going around the snow. I read an article that implores hikers to just power through the mud and whatnot and avoid going off trail.

On the last section of the hike (with the 14 switchbacks), I noticed my ankle was hurting quite a bit. I made it to the top but didn't want to linger for too long because I was worried about my descent.

While this pain is not even as bad as I've felt with IT band tightness, it still worried more more. I'm 99% sure there are not fractures or damage.

Actually, as I descended the pain seemed to fade enough that I didn't notice it anymore. I made sure to stretch my calves and rotate my ankle in both directions periodically. Whew.. I wasn't as worried anymore.

I popped up to Little Hamilton for the obligatory views. It was grand as usual.

A lightly dressed hiker (or trail runner) appeared. He oohed and aahed and continued down the face of Little Hamilton. (I've done a few times in warmer weather. It's just narrow but one should exercise lots of caution.)

I proceeded back to the main trail and the switchbacks. I expected to see that hiker still on the hill or making it through the switchbacks. I didn't see him. I thought it was peculiar.

There was one guy resting about 1/2 way down. I'd intended to ask if he'd seen that hiker go by but he disappeared behind a tree at a lookout spot. I kept an eye out but never saw anyone.

I made a point to look up at the cliff (Little Hamilton), hoping I didn't see a stranded hiker or worse. Nothing.

I assumed this person was a trail runner and had already made it down much faster than I expected.

When I reached the power lines, I still had plenty of daylight so figured the views from Little Beacon were going to be excellent.

I encountered another hiker/photographer there. I said hello and climbed up to the lookout. A few mins later the photographer showed up, apparently her first time up there. I mentioned the slab of petrified wood holding the Hadley plaque.

She snapped a bunch of photos and left. I lingered for awhile, mostly to give her time to get down so it didn't seem like I was following or crowding her.

I saw her one more time in the campground. I waved and walked briskly by & back to the parking lot. 

I err on the side of caution when encountering solo hikers, esp woman. I don't know their comfort level, if they've had creepers in the past, generally just wanting a wide berth to maximize the feeling of being outdoors & enjoying the solitude.

(Big) Hamilton Mountain from Little Hamilton Mtn

Hardy Creek near Rodney Falls

Viewing platform at Hardy Falls

View from Hardy Falls.
Yeon Mountain on Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge
The faint outline of Hardy Creek at the bottom.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Hike: North End of Forest Park 23, Portland, OR

View from BPA Road

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.

Today, I was actually headed to Sauvie Island and Wapato Greenway for a short, flat hike. It was too late to get all the way out to Warrior Rock. As I approached Newberry Road, I make the quick decision to head up to Skyline.

 At the Wildwood Trail parking lot, there were 7-8 cars. I probably could have found a spot but continued to my usual trailhead. I was going to do an abbreviated version of my usual hike.

AllTrails map

The Hike

Length: 4.72 mi
Elev. gain:
1,017 ft
Moving time:
Total time:
Avg pace:

Steps: 11,458
Floors: 131
Cals: 2,568

Sidelined (sorta) due to anterior impingement and plantar fasciitis in my left foot + ankle. Argh! It happened after my last hike here. I've had range-of-motion issues since a football injury in high school in my left ankle but it's never posed this kind of problem. It could be exacerbated by the arthritis. Seems doubtful but the hike before at Nesmith Point Trail in the Gorge was where I got absolutely soaked. I wondered if this affected my boots; I tried some different sole inserts. Or, maybe I need to do more stretching before strenuous hikes. I may tried 200-400 mg of ibuprofen before the next hike to see if that alleviates the pain. All speculation.

The heel pain and ankle tightness comes and goes and are probably related to each other. I'm still waiting to get a referral to a podiatrist. I wanted to take a short hike to test myself and the weather was just too nice not to head out.


I stayed on the fire lanes in Forest Park. When I got to the Wildwood intersection, I continued on Firelane 15 to Firelane 12. Before the drop a couple were looking at their phone, probably deciding their route. I waved and zoomed by. 

When I reached BPA Road, I considered make a loop with Wildwood but kept going to the end of the road where you can see the mountains.

The Cascades were out today. The sun was reflecting off the snow on Loowit (MSH) and Klickitat (Mt Adams), and I could just make out Tahoma (Mt Rainier). Worth a little discomfort.

I could hear a puppy barking really loudly. I saw the dog before I saw the owner carrying a big stick. I made the dumb joke "is that the branch manager?". (eye roll, sigh).

On the return, I still was going to do the Wildwood section but dropped down Firelane 12 again, making this hike a true "out-n-back".