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Coastal Range Hiking Oregon Trip report

Killin Wetlands & Elk & Kings Mountain Loop

The weather finally cooperated enough for us to get back to our originally planned 2022 hikes. For this outing we were heading back to one of our earliest hikes, Elk & Kings Mountains (post) to see how much we remembered from that first visit. When we made the conscious choice to take up hiking in 2010 the loop over Elk and Kings Mountains was our eighth hike. One of only a handful of hikes rated “Very Difficult” in all five of Sullivan’s “100 Hikes” guidebooks, and the only one in the Oregon Coast book, this had been quite the challenge for us. We were curious how nearly 12 years of additional hikes, and age, might change our experience this time around. We were also hiking the trail at a better time of the year having tackled it in the heat of mid-August the first time around. Our hope was that the earlier visit would provide a different experience with wildflowers and with the streams and creeks along the route.

Before we started the difficult loop though we stopped at Killin Wetlands Nature Park just outside of Banks, OR for a short warmup hike on the 0.7 mile loop. An unintended result of having altered the plan for our two previous outings was that this stop would mark our third straight outing visiting an Oregon Metro managed park. (Orenco Woods)(Chehalem Ridge)
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We set off on a clockwise loop on the Peat Swamp Trail then stayed left at its junction with the Waterfowl Way Trail.
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IMG_9959Peat Swamp Trail.

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Our 6am start time paid off as we were not only the only ones at the park but we spotted a deer (too quick for a photo), two otters, several families of Canada geese, and a gadwall and a mallard.
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IMG_9963One of the two otters that were swimming in the wetlands.

IMG_9974Mallard

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IMG_9972The gadwall amid a family of Canada geese. When we got home and looked closer at the picture we realized that one of the round shapes we took for a clump of mud was actually an animal. We can’t make out the tail to know for sure whether it was a beaver or a nutria but we’d like to think it was another beaver.

IMG_9973The beaver? turned a bit in this photo but we still couldn’t make out the tail. It does appear relatively large when compared to the adult goose though.

Waterfowl Way made a 180 turn and headed uphill through some small trees to return to the Peat Swamp Trail.
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We stayed left again and completed the short but eventful loop.
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From Killin Wetlands we headed west on Highway 6 to Elk Creek Campground and the Elk Mountain Trailhead.
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We set off on the Wilson River Trail which began a 0.2 mile climb to a junction with the Elk Mountain Trail.
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IMG_9998Fairy bells and bleeding heart.

IMG_0003Elk Creek below the trail.

IMG_0005Junction with the Elk Mountain Trail

While it had been sunny at the wetlands we had dropped under some clouds as we descended to the Wilson River Valley and found ourselves hiking steeply up into fog.
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IMG_0014Paintbrush

IMG_0015Parsley

IMG_0016Blue-eyed Mary

IMG_0022Viewpoint along the Elk Mountain Trail.

IMG_0029The blue sky is up there.

IMG_0033Snow queen

IMG_0035The trail was as steep and rough as we’d remembered.

We did climb out of the cloud to find that blue sky again.
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IMG_0043White service berry blossoms and a huckleberry plant.

The trail made a series of ups and downs along a ridge crossing four saddles before climbing to the 2788′ summit of Elk Mountain.
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IMG_0062Violet

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IMG_0076Red-flowering currant

IMG_0083Trillium

IMG_0087Anemone

IMG_0092Monkeyflower

IMG_0100One of the saddles.

20220521_084754Chocolate lily

IMG_0116Elk Mountain summit.

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We spent a little time resting at the summit where we found a lone blooming beargrass with more to come.
IMG_0134Kings Mountain from Elk Mountain.

IMG_0123Wilson River

IMG_0124Pacific Ocean

IMG_0129The blooming beargrass below some red-flowering currant.

IMG_0131Beargrass

While the 1.5 mile climb to this summit had been hard the next mile of trail beyond the summit took it up a notch. The trail dropped nearly straight down the rocky west face of Elk Mountain requiring us to use our hands as we climbed down the damp rocks.
IMG_0136Looking down the trail.

IMG_0137Heather on her way down.

After navigating the rocky descent the trail passed along some cliffs then climbed atop a narrow rocky ridge which it followed to an old roadbed where the hiking became temporarily much easier.
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IMG_0153On the ridge.

IMG_0156Dropping down to a saddle along the ridge.

Near the start of the road bed we spotted a hermit warbler eating something off of some huckleberry bushes.
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This was the first time we’d seen one of these pretty little birds, at least that we are aware of. Who knows how many we’ve seen fly by and not been able to identify them.

IMG_0163Mercifully on the old roadbed.

We followed the old roadbed for about a mile as it climbed to a junction at a saddle.
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IMG_0170A clump of trillium.

IMG_0171Little moth.

IMG_0180Getting closer to Kings Mountain.

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IMG_0187Paintbrush

IMG_0189Coming up to the junction.

We turned left onto the Kings Mountain Trail which according to the pointer was 1.3 miles away.
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The trail continued to follow an old road bed for a little over half a mile before dropping steeply to a ridge and switchbacking around an outcrop and finally crossing over a saddle.
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IMG_0198Phlox, paintbrush, and chickweed.

IMG_0203Still on the old road.

IMG_0206At the ridge end above the saddle, the trail dropped down to the left then through the saddle.

IMG_0208Below the outcrop headed to the saddle.

Probably the most memorable part of our first hike here was needing to use a rope that had been affixed to a stump to descend a steep chute. While we both remembered that we had forgotten at what point we’d encountered the rope and after the steep drop off of Elk Mountain we convinced ourselves that the rope had been there. As we passed over the saddle we realized our mistake as the stump and rope were here and the 12 years had not been kind to the trail here.
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IMG_0210Heather getting ready to start down.

Kings Mountain TrailThe chute in 2010.

The rope was quite a bit longer this time, out of necessity, but we made it down and continued on. From here the trail passed below some sheer cliffs which had been a very nerve wracking experience in 2010. Apparently somewhere during the 549 outings that we’d done between visits I’d gotten much more comfortable with narrow trails with steep drop offs because this time there were no nerves but there were a couple of spots that required the use of hands to get up.
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IMG_0216The trail is down there somewhere.

20220521_110629Trillium

20220521_110646Bleeding heart

IMG_0225Fringed kitten-tails

20220521_114513Glacier lily

The trail then climbed to a high point along the ridge which Heather initially mistook for the summit of Kings Mountain. She was less than thrilled when I pointed out the actual summit a short distance, and one saddle, away.
IMG_0229Coming up to the high point.

IMG_0230Kings Mountain

IMG_0231View SE from the high point.

We dropped down to the saddle then made the final climb to Kings Mountain. We had seen a small number of other hikers up to this point but found several others here having come up from the Kings Mountain Trailhead.
IMG_0237Dropping to the last saddle.

IMG_0238Summit register at Kings Mountain.

IMG_0239Pacific Ocean in the distance.

IMG_0241View north.

IMG_0245Other hikers at the summit.

IMG_0244Valerian

IMG_0248Saxifrage, possibly Saddle Mountain saxifrage.

IMG_0250Phlox, paintbrush, parsley, blue-eyed Mary, and chickweed.

From Kings Mountain the Kings Mountain Trail dropped steeply downhill for 2.5 miles to a 4-way junction with the Wilson River Trail. While the trail is steep and rough in a couple of spots it’s nowhere near as gnarly as the Elk Mountain Trail. We had remembered the descent as having given us trouble but in those days we hadn’t used hiking poles. Armed with proper poles this time the descent went much smoother.
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IMG_0255One of the rougher sections.

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IMG_0272Wood sorrel

IMG_0279Woodland buttercup and candy flower.

IMG_0281The 4-way junction.

We turned left on the Wilson River Trail to make the 3.5 mile hike back to the Elk Mountain Trailhead. While the hike had been challenging we’d been doing pretty well but we’d forgotten to bring any electrolytes with us and while we had plenty of water we both started feeling a bit off. We paused at Dog Creek which is right near the junction for a bit of a break before continuing on the final stretch.
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IMG_0285Dog Creek

The Wilson River Trail passed a wetland fed by several small streams before making a long gradual climb up to the junction with the Elk Mountain Trail.
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The wetlands

IMG_0295One of the smaller streams.

IMG_0302Monkey flower

IMG_0305Lily that will bloom in a few weeks.

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IMG_0309Fringecup

IMG_0314Coming up on a footbridge across Big Creek.

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IMG_0319Big Creek

IMG_0322Pacific waterleaf

IMG_0325Steadily climbing.

IMG_0327A pea or vetch.

IMG_0329Unnamed stream crossing.

IMG_0332Miterwort

IMG_0338Rosy Birdsfoot Trefoil

IMG_0344The third type of monkey flower we saw on the day.

IMG_0349The junction is on the saddle ahead.

From the junction we dropped down to the trailhead where we thankfully had some meat sticks waiting that provided some much need salt and protein.
IMG_0352Cars to the left through the trees, we made it.

So what did we learn revisiting this challenging hike after 12 years? One is that we are more comfortable with sketchy trails and exposure after having experienced both many times since then. Secondly our bodies are 12 years older and they reminded us of that toward the end of the hike. Finally we were reminded that as much as we have learned about hiking such as the advantage that trekking poles can provide we are still prone to making mistakes and underestimating what we might need such as the electrolytes. It will likely be quite a while before you find us on a hike without some handy.

Aside from both stops being loops our two hikes for the day couldn’t have been much different from one another. The 0.7 mile loop at Killin Wetlands was short with a well graded trail that gained a total of 60′ of elevation while the Elk and Kings Mountain Loop and been over 11 miles (It’s just under 11 if you don’t wander around with over 4000′ of elevation gain. The gains were often steep, as were the losses, requiring the use of hands at times and included steep exposed drop offs. It was obvious from the number of other trail users that we encountered that most people stick to the out and back up to Kings Mountain but if you’re an experience hiker looking for a challenge or an early season training hike this is a great option. Happy Trails!

Our track for the Elk & Kings Mountain Loop

Flickr: Killin Wetlands and Elk & Kings Mountain

Categories
Coastal Range Hiking Oregon Trip report Willamette Valley

Chehalem Ridge Nature Park – 05/14/2022

May continues to be wet this year despite being in the midst of a drought. Hopefully these rainy days will help with that to some extent but in the meantime for the second week in a row we found ourselves looking for a “Plan B” hike that was more inclement weather friendly. We decided on the recently opened (December 2021) Chehalem Ridge Nature Park. Located in the Chehalem Mountains this 1260 acre park is managed by Metro which also manages Orenco Woods where we had started last week’s hike (post). Chehalem Ridge offers a network of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails but does not allow pets/dogs. The park website states that the park is open from sunrise to sunset which I mention because Google seemed to think it opened at 6:30am and entries in the Oregon Hikers Field Guide (Iowa Hill & Chehalem Ridge) give the hours as 8am to 7pm. With sunrise being a little before 6am this time of year we gambled on the Metro website hours and arrived at the large Chehalem Ridge Trailhead at 6am to find that the gate to the trailhead was indeed open.
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We had spent most of the hour drive passing through rain showers but there was no precipitation falling as we prepared to set off. We stopped at the signboard to read up on the park and to study the map to confirm out plan for the hike.
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Simply put the plan was to stay right at all junctions. This meant taking the Timber Road to the Ammefu (mountain in Atfalti (Northern Kalapuya)) Trail back to the Timber Road then to the Ayeekwa (bobcat in Atfalti) Trail to Witches Butter to the Chehalem (outside place in Atfalati) Ridge Trail. We would then follow the Chehalem Ridge Trail (detouring on a small partial loop) to the Madrona Trail and follow it to it’s end at a loop near some madrone trees. Our return would be back along the Madrona Trail to the Chehalem Ridge Trail (skipping the partial loop this time) to the Mampaꞎ (lake in Atfalati) Trail then right on the Zorzal (Spanish for thrush) Trail back to the Mampaꞎ Trail to Iowa Hill where the Mampaꞎ Trail ends in a loop around the hill. From Iowa Hill we would return to the Timber Road via the Mampaꞎ Trail and follow the road downhill to the Woodland Trail which we would follow back to the trailhead. The route could have been confusing but Metro has done an excellent job with not only placing posts identifying the trails at all of the junctions but also including maps on top of the posts.
The other nice touch is that the maps on these posts were oriented differently to align with the direction of the trail with north identified in the legend which made them quicker to read.

We set off down the Timber Road past the first of three figures located throughout the park representing the traditional storytelling of the Atfalti.
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IMG_9691The Castor (Spanish for beaver) Trail on the left, this was the only trail in the park that we didn’t hike on during our visit. It was always a left turn.

IMG_9695Fawn lilies

IMG_9697Our first right turn (left was a short connector to the Woodland Trail).

IMG_9698Again the posts and accompanying maps were some of the best trail identifiers we’ve run across.

IMG_9700Bench at the viewpoint along the Ammefu Trail.

IMG_9701We had to imagine the view today.

IMG_9702The second figure.

IMG_9708Back at the Timber Road and another short connector to the Woodland Trail.

IMG_9709Fog on Timber Road

IMG_9712Passing the Woodland Trail on the left which would be our right turn on the way back.

IMG_9713Christensen Creek

IMG_9714Right turn for the Ayeekwa and Witches Butter Trails.

IMG_9715Witchs Butter on the left and Ayeekwa on the right.

IMG_9716Trillium

Some of the trails were gravel which helped keep mud from being an issue given the damp conditions. In fact there was only one spot (along the Madrona Trail) where mud was an issue at all.
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IMG_9719Another bench, this one overlooked Christensen Creek.

IMG_9720Common blue violet

IMG_9722Pioneer violets and a strawberry blossom.

IMG_9726Mushrooms under a fern.

IMG_9727Popping out on the Witches Butter Trail.

IMG_9728Witches Butter Trail

IMG_9737Witches Butter Trail winding through Douglas firs.

IMG_9742Turning right onto the Chehalem Ridge Trail.

IMG_9745There was a little more mud on the Chehalem Ridge Trail.

IMG_9754Spring green carpet.

IMG_9756A good example of the differently oriented maps, on this one north is down.

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IMG_9759Another fir plantation. The land had been owned by a timber company prior to being purchased by Metro in 2010.

IMG_9760Start of the Chehalem Ridge Loop. We went right which simply swung out along the hillside before dropping down to the Madrona Trail in 0.4 miles.

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IMG_9763The loop continued to the left but we turned right onto the Madrona Trail.

The one thing that was hard to distinguish on the maps was the topography so we were a little surprised when the Madrona Trail continued to descend the hillside. (Had we read the Oregon Hikers Field Guide more closely we would have been prepared.) The trail switchbacked a total of 11 times before arriving at an old roadbed which it continued along to the right.
IMG_9769Still cloudy and gray but we’d experience very little if any precipitation yet.

IMG_9772Lots of tough-leaved iris along this trail.

IMG_9773One of several blooming dogwood trees.

IMG_9774View on the way down.

IMG_9775Madrone trees began to be a common sight as we descended.

IMG_9776One of the 11 switchbacks.

IMG_9777We hadn’t seen a lot of mushrooms recently but this hike had plenty.

IMG_9781Following the roadbed.

The trail left the roadbed at a post and dropped down to the 0.1 mile loop at the end of the Madrona Trail.
IMG_9783Aside from one other very small (3 in diameter) tree this was the only obstacle we encountered all day.

IMG_9784The start of the loop along with several madrones.

As we started back from the loop Heather mentioned that there should be a deer in the brush nearby and I jokingly said that there probably was and pointed out a game trail heading down to a small stream. As soon as I had finished my remark Heather spotted a doe that emerged from the bushes along the game trail. The doe made her way to the far hillside before we could get a good look at her.
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After watching the deer for a while we began the climb back up to the Chehalem Ridge Loop. It had felt like we’d come a long ways down but the climb back wasn’t any where near as bad as we expected it to be (In reality we’d only lost about 400′). It was as we were hiking back up that the first vestiges of blue sky appeared.
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IMG_9811The Tualatin Valley and Coast Range.

We stayed right at the Chehalem Ridge Loop to finish that loop and then retraced our steps on the Chehalem Ridge Trail back to Witches Butter Trail junction where we stayed right on the Chehalem Ridge Trail to its end at a three way junction. We had only seen 3 other people all morning, a trail runner on our way to the Madrona Trail and two hikers as we were coming back. We did however need to keep our eyes out for other trail users.
IMG_9819Either these worms were racing or it was a bird buffet. The rain had brought a lot of earthworms onto the trails.

IMG_9821Another trail user a rough skinned newt.

IMG_9824A closer look at the rough skinned newt.

We also spotted a pileated woodpecker at the top of a dead tree. Between the distance and other trees in between I couldn’t get a good picture.
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IMG_9831It had been so foggy when we had come up the Witches Butter Trail that we hadn’t realized that there was a giant green field nearby.

IMG_9834The end of the Chehalem Ridge Trail with the Mampaꞎ Trail to the right and a very short connector to the Timber Road to the left.

We briefly followed the Mampaꞎ Trail then turned right onto the Zorzal Trail.
IMG_9836Sunlight hitting the Mampaꞎ Trail.

IMG_9837Fairy slippers

IMG_9842Squirrel

IMG_9845The Zorzal Trail to the right.

IMG_9847Toothwort along the Zorzal Trail.

IMG_9848Stripped coralroot

The Zorzal Trail swung out and then rejoined the Mampaꞎ Trail near the Timber Road. We yet again turned right, crossed the Timber Road near a gate and continued on the Mampaꞎ Trail.
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The Mampaꞎ Trail passed along Iowa Hill before turning uphill and entering a wildflower meadow on the hilltop where a loop began.
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There was a large amount of lupine in the meadow but we were several weeks early and only a few plants had any blossoms. There were a few other flowers blooming and many more to come over the next few weeks.
IMG_9860An assortment of smaller flowers.

IMG_9861One of the few lupines with blossoms.

IMG_9865Camas buds

IMG_9870Oak tree on Iowa Hill. Most of the larger green clumps are lupine.

On the western side of the loop was a horse hitch, bike rack and stone circle where we sat and took a break.
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IMG_9873The third and final figure was also located near the stone circle.

As we sat and enjoyed the sun breaks and views we began spotting a few other wildflowers hiding in the lupine.
IMG_9874Yarrow

IMG_9876More lupine starting to blossom.

IMG_9877Tualatin Valley

IMG_9880Plectritis

IMG_9886Believe this is a checker mallow.

IMG_9888Parsley

IMG_9894Camas

IMG_9899Iris

IMG_9906White crowned sparrow

Buttercups in the lupine.

After a nice rest we finished the loop and headed back to the Timber Road which we followed downhill for six tenths of a mile to the Woodland Trail.
IMG_9913Turning down the Timber Road.

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IMG_9919I’m not good with these little yellowish birds. It could be an orange-crowned warbler.

IMG_9921Black capped chickadee

IMG_9924Approaching the Woodland Trail on the right.

IMG_9927Woodland Trail

We followed this trail for 1.4 winding miles back to the trailhead.
IMG_9930Candyflower

IMG_9932Coming to a switchback.

IMG_9936We ignored a couple of shortcuts that would have led back to the Timber Road.

IMG_9943We also skipped the Castor Trail which would have slightly lengthened the hike.

IMG_9946Lupine along the Woodland Trail as we neared the trailhead.

IMG_9947Much nicer conditions than we’d had that morning and way nicer than anything we had expected.

Our hike came to 12.1 miles with approximately 1200′ of elevation gain utilizing portions of all but one of the parks trails.

Again we had been fortunate enough to avoid any significant precipitation. The weather forecast had kept the crowds away though and we only encountered about 15 other hikers all day, the majority of which had been during the final hour of our hike. We were very impressed by the park and have put it on our list of nearby go to destinations when weather or other factors keep us from going someplace new. The number of different trails provide for hikes of various lengths with none of the trails being too challenging. There was also a decent variety of scenery in the park and it looks like the wildflower display on Iowa Hill toward the end of May will be amazing. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Chehalem Ridge Nature Park

Categories
Coastal Range Hiking Oregon Willamette Valley

Orenco, Noble & Miller Woods and Erratic Rock State Natural Site – 05/07/2022

A wet weather system along with a small chance of thunderstorms led us to look for a plan “B” for our second outing in May. Looking ahead to the hikes on our 2023 list for April/May gave us a suitable alternative so we moved a 2022 hike to next year and moved up an outing to visit four parks, two in Hillsboro and two SE of McMinville. These hikes were all located within an hour of Salem allowing to stay relatively close to home and we figured that the less than ideal weather might make for less crowded trails. We decided to start at the northern most trailhead and work our way south.

We arrived at the Orenco Woods Trailhead (open dawn to dusk) just before 6am and headed past the restrooms to an interpretive sign in front of the McDonald House.
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Beyond the house the path forked with the right hand fork leading to the Rock Creek Trail while the left fork led to the Habitat Trail which is the way we went.
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20220507_060901Camas

IMG_9282Lupine

IMG_9275Habitat Trail

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After a third of a mile we arrived at the Rock Creek Trail near NW Cornelius Pass Road where we made our first wrong turn of the morning. We initially turned right which would have led us back into Orenco Woods.
IMG_9292We’ll blame our inability to read this sign on it still being early in the morning. We started down the path ahead before quickly questioning the direction and correcting course.

IMG_9295He probably knew which way he was going.

IMG_9296Heading the right way now.

From Orenco Woods the Rock Creek Trail follows the sidewalk along NW Cornelius Pass Road north 150 yards to a crosswalk where it crosses the road and follows NW Wilkins Street west another third of a mile.
IMG_9299NW Wilkins

The trail crosses NW Wilkins St below some power lines at a crosswalk and resumes as a paved path.
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While there are no more sidewalk stretches of the trail until the Rock Creek Trailhead at NE Rock Creek Boulevard there are three other road crossing; NE Walker, NE Cornell, and NE Evergreen Parkway. Fortunately all of these road crossings are at signaled crosswalks.

A little over a half mile from Wilkins Street we arrived at the start of a loop in Orchard Park
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We stayed left planning on completing the loop on our return.
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IMG_9313Another trail user

Two tenths of a mile from the start of the loop the trail split. We didn’t see a sign/map here and didn’t consult the maps we had on our phones and mistook the left hand fork as simply a spur trail to a parking lot in the park and we stayed right. This was our second wrong turn of the morning.
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This path led downhill and crossed crossed Rock Creek without realizing that we had curved a full 180 degrees.
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IMG_9324Fringecup

The trail split again two tenths of a mile later and here we veered left thinking it was the continuation of the Rock Creek Trail.
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After a short distance the pavement ended at a circle of stone benches.
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A well worn dirt path picked up here along a fence line behind some apartements
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IMG_9332Spotted towhee

IMG_9334Stellar’s Jay

This dirt path ended after a tenth of a mile at what turned out to be NW John Olson Avenue but we didn’t figure that our right away. We didn’t see any signs for the trail here so we finally consulted the maps we had in our phones but even then didn’t realize our mistake. On the map there was a slight jog right coming out of Orchard Park before crossing NE Walker so we headed right to the next street corner where we read the street sign realized this was NE Walker. The full extent of our mistake still wasn’t clear though as we followed the dirt path back past the stone benches to the fork where we’d veered left. It was here that we made our third and final wrong turn of the morning. We were actually on the Orchard Park Loop and not on the Rock Creek Trail which had veered left up to the parking lot while we had gone downhill to the right. Not realizing this we took the right hand fork which recrossed Rock Creek and then climbed back up to the Rock Creek Trail at the start of the loop
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We almost made our fourth mistake here as we didn’t initially realize that we had made the full loop. It wasn’t until we spotted some familiar looking camas nearby that the light bulb went off.
IMG_9343Second time staring at this sign.

Having finally figured it out we headed north through Orchard Park again but this time hiked uphill through the parking lot to NE Walker.
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IMG_9347

IMG_9349Not sure exactly how to interpret this scene – mourning, a murder, or breakfast?

IMG_9350The slight jog right along NE Walker.

We crossed NE Walker and a tenth of a mile later crossed NE Cornelius Pass.
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The next three quarters of a mile proved to be the most active for wildlife even though portions of it were between the creek and residences.
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IMG_9361Bridge of Rock Creek

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IMG_9363Look a pointer for John Olsen Avenue (just a lot further north).

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IMG_9366Mallards (A pair of wood ducks flew off at the same time the mallards headed downstream.)

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We had stopped while I attempted to get a photo of a small yellow bird that was bouncing around in a tree when we heard a branch/tree crack nearby. While I continued to try and get a picture Heather went over to the creek to investigate. It turned out to be a beaver which had been one of the animals left on our list that we hadn’t yet seen on a hike (or drive to one). Before she could get my attention (or a photo) it disappeared underwater so I still haven’t seen one in the wild.
IMG_9368Here is the only photo that I could even get with the little yellow bird visible at all.

IMG_9374NE Evergreen Parkway

Two tenths of a mile beyond NE Evergreen the trail passed under Highway 26 and in another 400′ arrived at the Rock Creek Trailhead.
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This was our turn around point so we headed back the way we’d come. We checked again for the beaver but it was no where to be found. Since we had inadvertently completed the Orchard Park Loop earlier we went straight back through the park and made our way back to Orenco Woods. At the entrance to the park we forked left staying on the Rock Creek Trail. (Retracing the short distance that we had hiked in the morning when we had made our first wrong turn.)
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Two tenths of a mile into the park we came to a footbridge over Rock Creek.
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After crossing the bridge we forked left and then took another left back on the Habitat Trail.
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IMG_9396Checkermallow

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The trail looped around and downhill to pass under the footbridge before arriving at small pond with a viewing platform.
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Beyond the pond the trail climbed back uphill near the McDonald House. We turned left here and made our way back to the trailhead.
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While it had remained cloudy all morning there had not been any noticeable precipitation during our 7.5 mile hike here.

The orange portion is the wrong turn on the Orchard Park Loop

From Orenco Woods we drove to the Baseline Road Trailhead at nearby Noble Woods.
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Our plan here was to make a counterclockwise loop using the outer most trails.
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From the trailhead we headed downhill to the right behind the rest rooms.
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Even though we were less than a mile from Orenco Woods we spotted a few flowers that we hadn’t seen during that hike.
IMG_9424Trillium

IMG_9426Solmonseal

20220507_092026_HDRFawnlilies

The trail leveled out to cross Rock Creek.
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20220507_092158Aven

A short spur trail on the other side of the creek theoretically led to Rock Creek but the recent rains had swollen it enough that the trail ended before the actual creek.
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We continued on the loop climbing toward Borwick Road Trailhead but before reaching the grassy park at that trailhead we turned right leaving the paved path for a compacted gravel/dirt trail
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This trail swung to the west before making a 180 degree turn and leading to the Borwick Road Trailhead. Near a viewpoint and bench Heather spotted a barred owl being harassed by a robin.
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IMG_9462Rock Creek from the viewpoint.

20220507_093329_HDRThe back of the owl (middle tree 2/3 of the way up)

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The viewpoint was near the turn of the trail so we got some more glimpses of the owl through the trees after the turn. A second owl began hooting and this one wound up flying off to have a conversation. We hiked past the parking area at the Borwick Road Trailhead and hopped on a the trail the map called a “wood-chip” trail. In truth it was mostly mud at this point.
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IMG_9474Violets

We stuck to the outer trail when this trail forked.
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We arrived back at the paved loop near Rock Creek. We turned right onto it, crossed Rock Creek, and then climbed back up to the Baseline Road Trailhead.
IMG_9481Swollen creek

20220507_094724Fairy bells

20220507_095156Cinquefoil

IMG_9482Nearing the trailhead.

The loop here was just over a mile.

We had once again been sparred any precipitation and as we drove to our next stop at Miller Woods found ourselves under blue skies and bright sunshine. Miller Woods however was under cloud cover but we were feeling pretty confident and put all our rain gear into our packs before setting off from the trailhead. While it had been our first visit to Orenco and Noble Woods we had hiked here in March, 2020 (post).
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On our previous visit we had taken the yellow Outer Loop and had considered taking one of the other trails this time but a portion of the Discovery Loop was closed due to hazardous conditions (appeared to be a slide/washout) and the Oak Summit Trail didn’t look as interesting as the Outer Loop so we followed our route from 2020 except for a short section that had been rerouted.
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From the kiosk we followed the yellow pointers downhill through the grass passing camas and birds along the way down.
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IMG_9493A wren and a white-crowned sparrow

IMG_9496American goldfinches

IMG_9499Tree swallows

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As we neared the tree line the precipitation finally arrived and a light rain began to fall.
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We stopped in the trees to put our rain jackets on and then began descending through the forest to an unnamed stream.
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IMG_9511Bleeding heart near the stream.

The trail then turned NNW leveling out a bit above Berry Creek as it traversed the hillside.
IMG_9514Berry Creek down to the right.

IMG_9516There was a lot of wild ginger on the hillside.

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Not long after donning our rain jackets the rain stopped and sunlight began to break through again.
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The trail climbed as it came around the hill and we spotted a deer in the distance.
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It was a young one that was munching on plants along a service road. As we made our way by on the trail Heather noticed the mother bedded down on the road.
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After leaving the deer the trail soon began to descend and leave the trees.
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It was here that the trail had been rerouted since our 2020 visit. In 2020 the trail veered left to a service road and made a right turn along the road back to the tree line before reaching a bridge across a creek. Now the trail simply headed downhill sticking to the treeline.
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IMG_9544Iris

IMG_9546Buttercups

One of the neat features at Miller Woods is the wildlife survey covers which are liftable metal covers that could house wildlife. We had yet to lift one and see anything more than ants though until the cover near the creek. Lifting this cover revealed a small snake.
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IMG_9549Small garter snake

We gently replaced the cover and continued on the loop which reentered the trees after crossing the creek.
IMG_9552Approaching the bridge and creek.

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20220507_114520 Striped coralroot

It was shortly after crossing the bridge that we discovered the trail closure which ended the question of whether we would do the different, shorter loop this time or repeat our previous hike.
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Doing the longer 4.5 mile loop turned out to be great as the weather stayed dry and we spotted several more deer and some birds along the way.
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IMG_9574Sparrow

IMG_9583Doe just hanging out in a patch of poison oak. (It doesn’t bother deer.)

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IMG_9585Nearing the high point of the trail at K.T. Summit

IMG_9586Spotted coralroot

IMG_9589K.T. Summit

IMG_9591A very cool madrone tree.

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IMG_9598Two more deer with a third off camera.

Another neat feature that was new for us this visit were a number of signs along the trail identifying different evergreen trees in the Miller Woods Diversity Area.
IMG_9613There was at least one identifier for each tree listed on this sign. The signs were particularly nice because many were next to younger trees which made it easier to see the needles and bark instead of just look at a trunk and having to look up to try and see other details of the trees.

A couple of examples.
IMG_9614Western white pine

IMG_9616Western larch

IMG_9623Vanilla leaf

20220507_124234Fairy slippers

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The trail passes above the entrance road and swings out before dropping down to what you expect to be the parking area (there is a signed short cut to it along the way) but the Outer Loop actually loops back behind the parking area and pops out of the trees near a the pond that the Discovery Loop goes around.
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IMG_9649Frog near the pond.

Another new feature was a platform over the pond.
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IMG_9656Red-winged blackbird

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After taking a break on the platform we hiked uphill to the parking area and headed for our last stop.

2022 track in orange

The Erratic Rock State Natural Site is located just off Highway 18 between McMinville and Sheridan. There are no amenities at the site, just a quarter mile paved trail uphill to the rock from a small pullout along Oldsville Road. While it is less than 30 miles from our house that is a stretch of highway that we never find ourselves on. I realized when I was planning this outing that it would only add about 10 minutes to our drive home from Miller Woods to detour to the site so I added it to the plans.

We missed the little pullout but found a wide section of shoulder to pull off on and walk back to the signed trail.
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The Erratic Rock is a 90 ton rock from the Northern Rocky Mountains that wound up over 500 hundred miles away on a hill in Oregon after being deposited here after one of Lake Missoula’s floods.
IMG_9666Interpretive sign at the start of the trail.

We were in a pocket of mostly blue sky as we headed up the trail.
IMG_9667Vineyard along the trail.

Although short the trail gains over 100′ in the quarter mile to the rock and we had already hiked over 13 miles, we were relieved when we saw the trail begin to crest.
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Seeing the rock there and knowing how far it had to travel to wind up there made it an impressive sight. The views from the hill were also quite nice making it a worthwhile detour.
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Our total for the day came to 13.8 miles with only 920′ of cumulative elevation gain. Individually each of these hikes are worth a stop and they all have things to offer young hikers. It turned out to be a fun combination with a unexpected amount of wildlife sightings and aside from the 10-15 minutes of light rain had been a surprisingly dry day. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Orenco, Noble & Miller Woods and Erratic Rock State Natural Site

Categories
Columbia River Gorge South Hiking Oregon Trip report

Memaloose Hills, Mosier Plateau, and Hood River Pipeline Trails – 5/01/22

We welcomed the month of May by kicking off our official hiking season. We took advantage of a one day window of dry weather and headed toward the eastern end of the Columbia River for a pair of short wildflower hikes near Mosier, OR followed by a third short stroll in Hood River along an old pipeline. During wildflower season sunny weekend days mean crowds so we got an extra early start and headed out the door a little before 5am hoping for a little solitude at least to start with.

We chose to start our morning at Memaloose Hills, the furthest east of our three stops and the most popular. We had visited the area in April of 2018 (post) when you could park at a rest area along Interstate 84. That is no longer allowed so we parked at the Memaloose Overlook along Highway 30 which is now the de-facto trailhead for the unofficial trails here.
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IMG_8826Looking west down the Columbia River from the overlook.

After a brief visit to the overlook we crossed the highway to pick up the well defined trail.
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From the highway it was just under three quarters of a mile to a junction where the trail splits with the left hand fork climbing to the top of Marsh Hill and the right fork to Chatfield Hill. There are a few ups and downs along this stretch as the trail passes through oak woodlands before crossing a small creek just before the junction. We took our time admiring the wildflowers and to watch a pair of deer.
IMG_8831Naked broomrape and poison oak

IMG_8835Woodland stars

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IMG_8837Lupine

IMG_8848Paintbrush

IMG_8855Larkspur and parsley

IMG_8862Balsamroot

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IMG_8885

IMG_8897Chocolate lilies

20220501_070033Giant blue-eyed Mary

IMG_8918Coming up on the creek crossing.

On our previous hike we had only taken the left-hand fork to Marsh Hill so today we went right first and headed for Chatfield Hill.
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This section of trail passes through a grassland as it wraps around a small pond then passes a fence before turning up Chatfield Hill after a third of a mile.
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IMG_8928Ground squirrel on the other side of the fence.

IMG_8930Looking back at the pond surrounded by trees.

IMG_8933Heading up Chatfield Hill.

The trail gained a little over 250′ in 0.3 miles as it climbed through wildflowers to the top of the hill. The cooperative weather provided us with some great views of Mt. Hood.
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IMG_8947Fiddleneck and other wildflowers in front of Mt. Hood.

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Near the top of the hill Mt. Adams came into view to the north.
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IMG_8984The Hood River Bridge spanning the Columbia River.

IMG_8985Lupine, balsamroot, and paintbrush

IMG_8986Balsamroot

IMG_8988Large-head clover

20220501_074950Large-flower Triteleia

We took a short break before heading back down and then made our way back to the junction and turned right to head up Marsh Hill.
IMG_9005Hummingbird

IMG_9009Balsamroot on Marsh Hill

The climb up Marsh Hill was more gradual and in a third of a mile we found ourselves at the top looking at Mt. Hood and Chatfield Hill.
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IMG_9029Lupine and balsamroot

IMG_9032I think this is longhorn plectritis

After another short break we returned the way we’d come and at the junction began finally running into other hikers. Our early start had paid off again having had both hill tops to ourselves. Once we got back to the car we drove west on Highway 30 into Mosier for our next hike on the Mosier Plateau Trail. We parked in a signed parking area along the highway just west of a one lane bridge spanning Mosier Creek.
IMG_9041Sign for the parking area (If this small lot is full there are other options nearby.)

To reach the trail we had to walk across the bridge then turned uphill at a bench.
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The trail climbed a tenth of a mile to a viewpoint bench just beyond the historic Mosier Cemetery.
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A better viewpoint was just 150 yards further along at a railing overlooking Mosier Creek Falls.
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We continued on detouring to visit the rocks above the falls.
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Shortly beyond the falls the trail began a steep climb via a series of switchbacks and stairs to reach the plateau.
IMG_9089Looking up the hillside.

IMG_9091Red-stem storksbill

IMG_9099Vetch and balsamroot

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IMG_9108Silver-leaf phacelia

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We followed the trail as it wound along the plateau gradually descending to the start of a signed loop.
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IMG_9129Coyote Wall (post) across the Columbia River

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We went clockwise around the loop which brought us to the edge of the plateau above I-84 and Highway 30.
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20220501_093608Gold star

20220501_093624Fiddleneck

20220501_093631Balsamroot

IMG_9158View east.

IMG_9159Mosier to the west.

It was warming up nicely on our way back and the pollinators were starting to come out.
IMG_9165Gray hairstreak

IMG_9167Busy bumblebee

IMG_9172A duskywing (propertius?) on vetch.

IMG_9175Propertius duskywing

IMG_9177Poppies opening up to the Sun.

20220501_102516Bachelor button

We passed quite a few groups heading to the plateau on our way down and more were on there way as we loaded back into the car. From Mosier we returned to I-84 and drove west to Hood River where we took exit 64 and made our way to the Powerdale Powerhouse Trailhead. The hike starting here is described in Matt Reeder’s “PDX Hiking 365”. (The Mosier Plateau hike is also featured in that book.) While we have been focused on completing William L. Sullivan’s series of hiking guidebooks (post) we have been working in Reeder’s hikes more and more. While many of the hikes show up in each author’s books Matt throws some unique and more obscure hikes into his books which we appreciate.
IMG_9185The old powerhouse.

The hike here may not exactly be well known to hikers. The many access points to Hood River attract fishermen and in the Summer folks looking to escape the heat. The trail starts on a gated road then quickly crosses ACTIVE railroad tracks.
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IMG_9194Stellar’s jay near the tracks.

We crossed the tracks and turned left walking along them for about a tenth of mile before the trail jogged slightly to the right to follow the route of the former penstock which led from the decommissioned 1923 Powerdale Dam on the Hood River to the powerhouse.
IMG_9195The trail ahead to the right.

We followed this dirt path for a little over half a mile before arriving at the pipeline bridge spanning the Hood River where we crossed on the catwalk atop the pipe.
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For the next 0.6 miles we followed the catwalk along the pipeline which ends abruptly at a 2006 washout that also led to the removal of the dam up river.
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IMG_9221Monkeyflower

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IMG_9229Looking back from the turnaround point.

We headed back passing a few hikers along the way. We were also under the watchful eye of the area wildlife.
IMG_9234Lizard

IMG_9241Mallard

IMG_9243Scrub jay

IMG_9247Starlings

IMG_9251Osprey

The three hikes came in at 3.3, 3.2 and 3 miles respectively for a 9.5 mile day with a little over 1400′ of cumulative elevation gain. The short distances and convenient locations make any of these hikes nice for a quick stop and we saw several younger kids at both Mosier Plateau and the Hood River Pipeline (watch for poison oak). The combo of hikes made for a nice variety of scenery with waterfalls, snowy mountains, wildflowers, and wildlife along with the unique experience of hiking along the pipeline. (FYI – The grate on the catwalk might be hard on puppy paws.)

While we aren’t quite finished with all of our home improvement projects it was great to get our hiking season off to a good start. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Memaloose Hills, Mosier Plateau, and Hood River Pipeline Trails

Categories
Hiking Oregon Salem/Albany Trip report Willamette Valley

Ankeny Wildlife Refuge – 04/23/2022

For the last six months we’ve been having projects done around the house and while everything at home has seemed to be in a state of upheaval work has felt just as chaotic. The end of our projects is in sight just barely overlapping with our hiking season. This is the most I’ve looked forward to a hiking season yet. I am a very introverted person and while hiking can be physically exhausting, for me it provides a mental recharge. Spending time relaxing at home is typically another way that I recharge but with all the projects going on I haven’t been able to get that same relaxed feeling this off-season.

Part of being an introvert is that socializing, especially in larger groups, is draining. It’s not that it isn’t enjoyable, it certainly can be, but it is exhausting and I haven’t been in a place where I’ve felt like I had the energy to interact with people beyond work recently (close family excluded). Heather on the other hand is more extroverted than I am. She still has some introvert traits but on a scale of introvert to extrovert she is closer to the extrovert than where I land. Before hiking season started she wanted to have a few friends over to see the progress thus far on the home. I thought it was a great idea but I also didn’t personally feel up to it despite how much I enjoy the group she was planning on inviting. To Heather’s credit she understood so in the interest of mental health I got an early jump on hiking season.

After doing a few last minute chores to help get the house ready for guests I headed out the door a little before 6am to make the 25 minute drive to Ankeny Wildlife Refuge. I had made a solo trip here last April (post) during a vacation week that Heather didn’t share. While I (we) typically don’t revisit places/hikes that close together the opening of the Ankeny Hill Nature Center in February was a good excuse for another visit. The website for the Nature Center listed “dawn to dusk” as the hours but I arrived just minutes before sunrise (6:14am) to find the gate still closed. A lower parking lot along Buena Vista Rd S was also gated closed with a sign stating it was due to ongoing construction. After reading the sign I wasn’t sure if I was too early or if the center was actually closed even though the website indicated it was open. A mystery that I would solve later though as I had some hiking to do.

The trail system at the Nature Center is less than a mile so I had planned on re-hiking some of my routes from the previous year and any areas that had been closed on that visit that might be open this time around. It had been a clear morning at our house and remained that way all the way to the Nature Center but as soon as I passed the lower parking lot I entered a fog bank which covered my first stop at Eagle Marsh.
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I could hear geese and ducks on the water but seeing much let alone taking pictures would require the fog to relent a bit. I set off along the dike road around the marsh hoping that the rising Sun would simultaneously take care of the fog and raise the temperature from the mid-30’s.
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IMG_8745Camas

IMG_8748Black phoebe in the fog. It’s the only one seen all day so despite the poor quality I kept the photo.

IMG_8761Wet spider webs are the best.

IMG_8758There was a brief respite in the fog before it rolled in again.

IMG_8765The fog bank waiting to move back in.

The section of the Eagle Marsh Trail on the SE side of Willow Marsh had been closed last year making the lollipop loop showed on the Refuge Map impossible but this year there were no signs indicating it’s closure. Like last year I headed clockwise around Willow Marsh passing between it and Teal Marsh.
IMG_8764Teal Marsh

The grassy track here was very damp and my feet and lower legs were soon soaked (and cold!) but I distracted myself by watching for birds.

IMG_8771Northern flicker

IMG_8772A very grumpy looking spotted towhee

IMG_8775I have a hard time identifying some of these little birds. This one may be an orange-crowned warbler.

DSCN1310A bald eagle that was across Willow Marsh.

DSCN1317Female red-winged blackbird

DSCN1313Buffleheads

DSCN1324A less grumpy looking spotted towhee

As I came around Willow Marsh I took a very short detour to check out the Sidney Power Ditch before continuing around the marsh.
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DSCN1331Here comes the fog again.

DSCN1335Black capped chickadee

Yellow-rumped warbler (Audubon's)Yellow-rumped warbler (Audubon’s)

DSCN1342Red-winged blackbird

Marsh wrenWrens can be tricky too, I think this is a marsh wren.

DSCN1349White-crowned sparrow

DSCN1360Song sparrow

IMG_8779Eagle Marsh, still can’t see much.

I had considered driving back to the Nature Center to see if it was open but in the end decided to make that my last stop and instead drove to the Pintail and Egret Marshes Trailhead.
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I started by taking the 0.13 mile boardwalk to the blind overlooking Egret Marsh where there wasn’t anything to see at the moment.
IMG_8783Bashaw Creek

DSCN1369Egret Marsh from the blind.

After the obligatory boardwalk I walked west along the shoulder of Wintel Road just over 150 yards to a small pullout on its south side where I passed through a green gate to find another damp grassy track. I had passed through the same gate on my prior visit and taken the right hand fork away from the road. This time I went left following the track along the road for three tenths of a mile to the entrance road for the Rail Trailhead.
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Up to this point I had encountered a total of 3 people but at this trailhead there were several cars and a half dozen people milling about. I headed out on the rail trail and skipped the boardwalk portion where most of the people were headed and continued straight through more wet grass to the dike near Killdeer Marsh.
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DSCN1375Lots of fringecup along the trail.

DSCN1376Purple deadnettle and field mustard

DSCN1377Common yellow-throat

I looped counter-clockwise around Killdeer Marsh forgetting how muddy it was on the western side.
DSCN1380Looking back along the eastern side of the marsh. There was a lot less water this year.

Killdeer MarshWater level on 4/13/21.

There were also fewer birds than on either of my previous two visits but I did see the only norther pintails of the day here.
DSCN1385Seeing them was a lot easier than getting photos.

After looping around that marsh I headed east along the dike where again there was a lot less water in Dunlin Pond this year compared to last.
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I followed the dike around what was left of Dunlin Pond to the eastern end of the boardwalk.
DSCN1397Canada flamingo?

DSCN1399American robin

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DSCN1403Dunlin Pond from the boardwalk.

I could hear people approaching on the boardwalk so after a quick stop I continued north on the grassy track returning to the gate at Wintel Road and followed it back past the Pintail and Egret Marshes Trailhead to the Pintail Marsh Overlook.
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I turned right from the parking area following a sign for the seasonal photo blind. On last years hike I had attempted to go around Egret Marsh but had been turned back by a closure sign just beyond the blind and had to return to the parking area via a short loop around Frog Pond. There were no closure signs this time so I continued on past the short loop passing the blind at the end of the boardwalk trail.
DSCN1424Egret Marsh

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DSCN1436Ring-necked ducks.

DSCN1433Anyone know if this is a female cinnamon or blue-winged teal?

DSCN1432Another yellow-rumped warbler (Audubon’s) showing off its yellow rump.

DSCN1430Egret Marsh

DSCN1431The trail around Egret Marsh.

When I arrived at the service road between Egret and Mallard Marshes I passed a sign saying the area was indeed closed. I don’t know if that sign was left over or if the sign at the other end had gone missing. In my defense the refuge map shows it as part of the trail system and there is nothing online or posted at Pintail Marsh stating that there is a closure but had I been coming from this end I would have respected the sign. This is not the first time that we’ve been on a trail with no indications of any closure only to pass a closure sign at the other end. For the land managers out there could you please post at both ends of closed sections (or remove the signs from both ends if it has been lifted)? It would sure help those of us that are trying to do the right thing.

Back to the hike though. The service road ended a short distance away to the right in a flooded field.
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There was a lot of activity near the end of the road.
DSCN1441I think these might be long-billed dowichters. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

I turned left and then quickly turned right on the dike between Mallard Marsh and Mohoff Pond. There were lots of geese, ducks and coots here but they did there best to keep plenty of distance between themselves and me.
DSCN1460Heading to the right turn. Egret Marsh is on the left and Mallard Marsh on the right. A huge flock of geese had just taken to the sky.

DSCN1466Killdeer

Yellow-rumped warbler (Myrtle)Today I realized that there are two yellow-rumped warblers, this one is a Myrtle, note the white throat compared to the yellow throat of the Audubon’s above.

DSCN1473Northern shoveler

DSCN1477Mohoff Pond and Mallard Marsh

DSCN1479Canada goose with various ducks in the background. At least one of the ducks is a ruddy duck which is one I hadn’t seen yet (that I know of). They were too far to get clear photos of though.

DSCN1482Canada geese and northern shovelers giving a good size comparison.

DSCN1486The black dots in the sky here aren’t geese, they are little insects that followed me along the dike.

DSCN1483Not Canada geese flying over.

DSCN1489Immature bald eagle.

DSCN1498Sandpiper

When I reached the end of Mohoff Pond I turned left around it and headed back toward the Pintail Marsh Overlook.
DSCN1510Greater white-fronted geese, another first.

DSCN1513Bushtit. Several flew in here but I couldn’t make them out once inside so I took a few pictures hoping to get lucky.

On my way back a hawk and an immature bald eagle put on an areal display.
DSCN1517Can anyone ID the hawk? Another thing that I find difficult.

DSCN1534Swimming lessons, Canada goose style.

From the overlook I walked back along Wintel Road to the Pintail and Egret Marshes Trailhead to retrieve my car then drove back to the Nature Center where I had attempted to start my day. The lower trailhead was still gated but the entrance road along Ankeny Hill Road was no longer gated. There were just a handful of cars here as I set off on the short loop trail.
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The loop offered nice views, interpretive signs, and a surprising variety of flowers. As a bonus a pair of great blue herons where stalking the hillside in search of snacks.
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DSCN1540Buttercups

DSCN1543Meadow checker-mallow

DSCN1547Columbine

DSCN1550Yarrow

DSCN1552Possibly Nelson’s checker-mallow

IMG_8810Lupine that will be blooming soon.

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DSCN1573Iris

DSCN1575Swallows

DSCN1578Mary’s Peak (post) in the distance, the highest peak in the Oregon Coast Range.

The Nature Center is a really nice addition to the Refuge providing a great opportunity for kids to get out on a short educational trail. The rest of the refuge as usual did not disappoint, plenty of wildlife and a great variety to boot. The three stop, 11.3 mile day was just what I needed and Heather had a great time entertaining. With any luck the home improvements will be over in a couple of weeks and we will both have started our official hiking seasons. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Ankeny Wildlife Refuge 2022

Categories
Hiking

What’s Next – 2022 and Beyond

From late Autumn to mid Spring we drop our hikes to roughly one a month. There are a few reasons that we do this. One factor is how busy life gets during the holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Years. A second reason is that the weather is much more prone to being less than optimal for both hiking and driving. The primary reason though is simply to give ourselves a break which allows our bodies to (hopefully) heal from any nagging injuries and keeps us from burning out on hiking. This 6 month on, 6 month off approach has worked out fairly well for us and by the time our “hiking season” rolls around we are refreshed and excited about hitting the trails in earnest again.

Typically after the holiday season my focus turns to planning, both for the current year and future years. Over the last few off-seasons I’ve created plans through 2029. On average each year consists of 63 hiking days and almost 700 miles. While I stopped at 2029, each off season allows me to rearrange the hikes adding newly discovered destinations and rescheduling or removing hikes that have been lost or damaged by fire, floods, or logging activities. Other hikes need to be moved due to temporary closures for improvements or pandemics. An added benefit of scheduling like this is the ability to pivot easily mid season if the planned hike is not viable; we already know some of the other best hikes for that time of year and cuts down on research.

So what is next? We currently have 508 hiking days lined up between now and December 31, 2029 with only about 20 of those days being exact repeats of an outing from a previous year. Nearly all of which are the hike back to a trailhead from a planned camp site. Even after having completed several of our hiking goals such as visiting all of Oregon’s designated wilderness areas (post), hiking in all of Oregon’s counties (post), and hiking all 100 featured hikes in William L. Sullivan’s guidebooks (Central Cascades, Coast, NW Oregon) there are still a lot of nearby trails, or at least sections of them that we haven’t explored. We do still have two of Sullivan’s books to finish, the Eastern and Southern Oregon regions (post) so those hikes are obviously included in the future plans. Currently 24 of the remaining hikes are on the schedule for 2022 with a few more on standby if they are reopened this year. (Several trails are currently closed due to wildfires in 2020.) Over the next three years we have 12 trips planned to finish off the 47 remaining hike in southern Oregon and we have 6 trips planned in the next 4 years to complete eastern Oregon.

We did attempt to get our hands on permits to hike the Wonderland Trail around Mount Rainier, but while we did manage to land early access to reservations we couldn’t make an itinerary work. We had a short window in August that we needed to fit the 10 day hike into but came up one campsite short no matter where we tried to start from or which direction we went around the mountain in. We will keep trying and hopefully some year will be able to take on this challenging 93 mile loop.
Wonderland Trail - Mt. Rainier National ParkWonderland Trail sign from our 2015 Northern Loop Hike (post)

We began 2022 with 65 planned hiking days and have completed 4 so far: (Balch Creek, Yakona Nature Preserve), CZ Trail – East Fork Nehalem River Section, and Balfour-Klickitat & Lower Klickitat Trail. That number includes hikes in Washington and California. While we aren’t going to be able to take the Wonderland Trail around Mt. Rainier we do have a hike around another mountain in the Cascades planned for this summer, Three Fingered Jack.
Best view of Three Fingered Jack so far

Eight wilderness areas are on the schedule. One of these, the Siskiyou Wilderness in NW California, would be new to us. The others being the Mt. Adams, Eagle Cap, Mt. Jefferson, Waldo Lake, Rogue-Umpqua, Sky Lakes, and Red Buttes Wilderness areas. We are also planning on spending some time in Crater Lake National Park this year.
View from Mt. ScottCrater Lake from Mount Scott – 2014

With any luck we will finally be able to cross Mt. Ireland off our to-do list. In 2017 snow caused us to skip a planned hike to the lookout.
Mt. Ireland from Baldy LakeMt. Ireland from Baldy Lake

The following year lightning cancelled our plans after having spent 5 days in the Elkhorn Range.
Mt. IrelandMt. Ireland from the Elkhorn Trail before the storms moved in.

Looking further ahead our bucket list of hikes includes expanding the area that we visit with trips to the Olympic, North Cascades, Yellowstone, Glacier, Death Valley, Yosemite, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Great Smoky Mountains, and Hawaii Volcanoes National Parks in the United States as well as Yoho and Banff National Parks in Canada. We also plan on spending some more time hiking in Idaho and have at least one stop planned in both Nevada and Missouri.

Who knows how many of these hikes we will actually get to experience but as long as we are around (and healthy enough) we’ll be chipping away at them. The list and timing is fluid with new hikes coming onto our radar and existing hikes occasionally vanishing, whether it be due to floods, fires, logging, or simply lack of maintenance. What the list gives us is motivation and hikes to look forward to. Happy Trails!

Categories
Columbia Gorge North Hiking Trip report Washington

Balfour-Klickitat and Lower Klickitat Trails – 04/02/2022

We have spent much of our hiking “off-season” addressing long overdue house projects including replacing siding, windows, floors, and now countertops. Hopefully the projects will be done shortly after our official hiking season starts. In the meantime we welcomed the start of a new month with an outing to Lyle, WA for hikes on a pair of trails along the Klickitat River. Our first stop, on the west side of the river, was at the Balfour-Klickitat Trail. The site of a former ranch this day-use area includes a short interpretive loop, picnic tables, and a wildlife viewing path.
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IMG_8374Rowena Plateau and Tom McCall Point (post) on the Oregon side of the Columbia River

We headed counter-clockwise on the loop which provided views of the Columbia River and across the Klickitat to Lyle.
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The trail then turned inland along the Klickitat where a noisy group of domestic geese drew our attention to a pair of common mergansers and great blue heron.
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IMG_8405A blurry heron along the river.

We spotted a number of smaller birds in the bushes and trees as we made our way around the loop. We also took a quick detour downhill to a picnic table overlooking the river.
IMG_8407Acorn woodpecker

IMG_8417Scrub jay

IMG_8418View from the picnic table.

A short time after returning to the loop we came to a sign for the Wildlife Viewing Area near a bench where we made another short detour.
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IMG_8425This trail was not paved.

IMG_8428Woodland-stars

IMG_8434View from a bench at the end of the trail.

IMG_8435Mallards on the water below.

After checking out the wildlife viewing area we completed the 0.75 mile loop which brought our stop here to a total of 1.3 miles. We hopped in our car and drove across the river on Hwy 14 to the Lyle Trailhead. Here the 31-mile long Klickitat Trail begins. This Washington State Park trail follows the historic rail bed of the Spokane, Portland, Seattle Railway (SP&S). A 3 mile section of the trail north of Klickitat, WA is currently unhikeable due to a missing bridge over the Klickitat River effectively splitting the trail southern and northern sections of 13 and 15 miles respectively. We hiked 3.8 miles along the end of the northern section from Harms Road in 2014 (post).
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IMG_8449Starting at mile 0.

The trail starts by passing some private homes in Lyle but soon provides views down to the Klickitat River. Across the river we spotted a number of deer working their across the hillside and a bald eagle surveying the river below.
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IMG_8458Keep your eyes out for poison oak which was prevalent along the trail. Luckily the trail is nice and wide so avoiding it was easy enough.

IMG_8469Heather spotted these three deer across the river.

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IMG_8474Another group of deer.

IMG_8487Bald eagle

We had chosen this hike based on Matt Reeder’s entry in his “PDX Hiking 365” guidebook where he recommends a late March visit for wildflowers. We kept our eyes out for flowers as we went and were not disappointed.
20220402_080542Larkspur and woodland-stars

IMG_8491Buttercups

IMG_8493Pacific hound’s tongue

IMG_8495Milepost 1

IMG_8496Saxifrage

IMG_8500Balsamroot

At the 1.7 mile mark we crossed the river on a Fisher Hill Bridge. The view was great and included a series of small cascades on Silvas Creek.
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IMG_8504Silvas Creek

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We continued north on the trail passing some nice views of the river which were briefly ruined by the smell of rotting flesh (fish?) which brought back memories of the decomposing whale we passed several years ago on our Floras Lake Hike (post).
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20220402_083857Blue-eyed Mary

At mile two we passed the Lyle Falls Facility which is a fish monitoring station.
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Beyond the fish facility the gap between the trail and the river closed and the views become even prettier.
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IMG_8526Seasonal pool along the trail.

The only mountain view of the day was along this stretch with Mt. Hood making an appearance to the south.
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IMG_8536Common mergansers

A short distance upstream we passed a screw trap, an instrument used to trap and count young fish.
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We continued upriver until we reached milepost 6 where we called it good and turned around. I had gotten myself confused by misreading Reeder’s hike description and thought that there was another bridge around the 5 mile mark and had originally planned to turn around at that but since it didn’t exist (and we didn’t realize that until after passing MP 5) we made MP 6 the turnaround marker.
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IMG_8542Popcorn flower

IMG_8544Columbia desert parsley

IMG_8546Lupine

IMG_8549Balsamroot

IMG_8554Shooting stars

IMG_8560Buttercups

IMG_8561Waterleaf

IMG_8567A balsamroot amid pungent desert parsley

IMG_8564Big-leaf maple trees lining the trail.

20220402_091018Big-leaf maple blossoms

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IMG_8574Gold stars

IMG_8583Larkspur, poison oak, and buttercups

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IMG_8589Spotted towhee

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IMG_8600Squirrel

IMG_8609Dillacort Canyon

20220402_101749Red-stem storksbill

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After turning around we took a brief break on a rocky beach near MP6.
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On our way back it had warmed enough for the butterflies (and moths) to come out and we watched for them along with anything we’d missed on our first pass.
IMG_8633Couldn’t get a good look at this small moth but it was pretty.

IMG_8643Anise swallowtail

IMG_8644Sara’s orangetip

IMG_8654Grass widow

20220402_112438Slender phlox

IMG_8672Heading back.

IMG_8685Immature bald eagle

IMG_8688Propertius duskywing – Erynnis propertius

IMG_8690The mergansers had moved to the near bank.

IMG_8698Hood behind some clouds.

IMG_8700Ground squirrel

IMG_8708Mourning cloak

IMG_8718Lizard

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View from the Fisher Hill Bridge in the afternoon.

IMG_8741Arriving back at the Lyle Trailhead.

Some backtracking and detours brought our hike to a little over 12.5 miles here giving us close to 14 miles on the day with only a couple of hundred feet of elevation gain.

Rattlesnakes and ticks are present in the area but we encountered neither on this day. It was a nice break from the projects at home and a good way to end our off-season. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Blafour-Klickitat and Lower Klickitat Trails

Categories
Coastal Range Hiking Oregon

Crown Zellerbach (CZ) Trail – East Fork Nehalem River Section 03/05/2022

So far in 2022 the first Saturday of every month has come with a dry and at least partially sunny forecast which meant for the third month in a row we took our hike on the first weekend. We tend to take for granted the opportunities we have to get out and enjoy nature but this outing was different. For more than a week we’ve watched as the Ukrainian people have been forced to fight for their freedom and country. We continue to pray for their safety and an end to Russian aggression.

For our March hike we decided to check out the Crown Z Linear Trail, also known as the CZ Trail or Crown Zellerbach Trail. The 24.8 mile long CZ Trail runs between the cities of Vernonia and Scappoose following former (and sometimes active) logging roads open to hikers, bicycles and horses. Multiple trailheads make it possible to hike shorter segments as either out-and-backs or between trailheads using a second car. For our first visit we used the Oregon Hikers field guide which breaks the trail up into five sections. We picked section four, the East Fork Nehalem River Section, which runs between the Nehalem Divide and Wilark Trailheads.

We began at the Nehalem Divide Trailhead which provided the shorter drive of the two and also allowed us to begin the day with a downhill.
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A 100′ path leads downhill from the trailhead to the CZ Trail which passes under the Scapoose-Vernonia Highway (if you’re heading toward Vernonia).
IMG_8227Heading down the connector trail.

IMG_8228Trial sign at the jct with the CZ Trail.

IMG_8230CZ Trail passing under the highway.

We followed the road downhill for approximately 3/4 of a mile to an interpretive wildlife sign where a path behind led downhill to the East Fork Nehalem River. The river isn’t much as it isn’t far from the headwaters, but a short distance up river is a pair of small waterfalls with the western end of the Nehalem Divide Railroad Tunnel.
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IMG_8244Light from the eastern portal is visible at the other end but the tunnel is not safe to enter without at least a hard hat.

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After checking out the old tunnel we returned to the CZ Trail and resumed our hike toward the Wilark Trailhead.
CZ Trail

East Fork Nehalem RiverThe East Fork Nehalem River next to the trail.

We detoured again briefly to check out a small seasonal fall just off the trail.
Season fall along the CZ Trail

CZ TrailIt was a little muddy in places.

Interpretive sign along the CZ TrailAnother of several interpretive signs along the trail.

Indian plumNot much in the way of flowers yet but there were a few indian plum starting to blossom.

A little under four miles from the Nehalem Divide Trailhead we arrived at the Floeter Trailhead.
CZ Trail arriving at the Floeter Trailhead

Interpretive sign along the CZ Trail

Beyond this trailhead the CZ Trail immediately crossed an unnamed creek on a bridge.
Footbridge near the Floeter Trailhead

Unnamed creek

After crossing the bridge we detoured here yet again passing over the highway to a small trail sign for Scaponia Park.
Scaponia Park across the Vernonia-Scappoose Highway

Trail to Scaponia Park

This short path dropped us into the 7 acre park which has 12 campsites and a short network of trails. We turned right on the park entrance road then crossed the East Fork Nehalem River on a footbridge to do a short 0.4 mile loop utilizing a second footbridge to return to the road near the campground.
Scaponia Park

East Fork Nehalem River in Scaponia Park

One of two footbridges in Scaponia Park

Trail in Scaponia Park

Second footbridge in Scaponia Park

East Fork Nehalem RiverEast Fork Nehalem River

After our little loop we returned to the CZ Trail and continued west.
Sign for the CZ Trail in Scaponia ParkPointer for the CZ Trail in Scaponia Park

CZ Trail

For the next three quarters of a mile the trail parralled the highway.
Log home across the highway

American kestralAmerican kestral

The trail veered away from the highway again after the highway crossed the river putting it between the road and the trail.
East Fork Nehalem River

Just over two miles from the Floeter Trailhead we arrived at the former site of Camp 8, a logging camp established in the 1920’s.
CZ Trail nearing Camp 8

Interpretive sign along the CZ Trail

Interpretive sign along the CZ Trail

Robin at Camp 8Robin in the meadow that once was Camp 8.

Beyond the Camp 8 site the trail crossed the East Fork Nehalem River then climbed to the highway passing mile marker 19 along the way.
CZ Trail crossing the East Fork Nehalem River

East Fork Nehalem River

CZ Trail mile 19The orange mile marker 19 ahead.

This short section was full of birds.
JuncosJuncos

Varied thrushAnother not great picture of a varied thrush.

SparrowSparrow

Vernonia-Scappoose Highway at the Wilark Trailhead

We turned around at the highway and headed back.
CZ Trail at the Wilark Trailhead

The clouds finally began to break up after we passed Camp 8 and soon we found ourselves under a bright blue sky.
Blue sky begining to emerge

Grey jayA grey jay enjoying the emerging sunlight.

CZ Trail

CZ TrailBlue sky near the Floeter Trailhead.

Surprisingly until the final tenth of a mile we hadn’t seen a single other trail user when a lone mountain biker zoomed past us heading downhill. Including our three detours our hike came in at 12.7 miles with a little over 650′ of elevation gain. A good early season workout with some nice scenery and interesting history.

At some point down the road we will return to do another section of the trail but for now this was a fun introduction to CZ Trail. Happy Trails and Slava Ukraini.

Flickr: CZ Trail – East Fork Nehalem River Section

Categories
Hiking

Hiking Oregon’s Counties

A couple of years ago, while going over some maps, I realized that we were probably pretty close to having hiked in all 36 of the Oregon’s counties. Some further analysis revealed that not only were we close but there were only two counties that we had yet to hike in – Umatilla and Gilliam. (At first I thought it was three including Union but we had actually crossed into Union County on two different days during at 2016 backpacking trip in the Eagle Cap Wilderness.)

While there were hikes in Umatilla County in our plans, several of Sullivan’s featured hikes are in that county, we had no planned hikes in Gilliam County. With little public land agriculture is the primary economy with an average farm size of 4,200 acres. At first glance I wondered if there were any hikes to be found but as luck would have it the John Day River acts as the divide between Gilliam and Sherman County. Along that divide is Cottonwood Canyon State Park with the Lost Corral Trail (post) located on the Gilliam County side. That hike was quickly added to the 2021 schedule and the pieces were in place to finish another hiking goal. That goal was reached on June 13th when we stepped onto a trail at the Cold Springs Wildlife Refuge in Umatilla County (post).

More information on Oregon’s counties can be found on the Oregon Secretary of State County Government page here. Below is a list of the counties with some basic statistics and one memorable photo from each.

Baker Area 3,089 Sq ft Population 16,910 Year Est. 1862
First Hike – 2017 Total Days – 8
Summit LakeSummit Lake, Elkhorn Mountains

Benton Area 679 Sq ft Population 94,665 Year Est. 1847
First Hike – 2009 Total Days – 12
South side of Mary's Peak summitWildflowers on the summit of Mary’s Peak

Clackamas Area 1,884 Sq ft Population 426,515 Year Est. 1843
First Hike – 2012 Total Days – 42
Mt. Hood from Yocum RidgeMt. Hood from Yocum Ridge

Clatsop Area 1,085 Sq ft Population 39,455 Year Est. 1844
First Hike – 2013 Total Days – 10
View from Ecola State ParkEcola State Park

Columbia Area 687 Sq ft Population 53,280 Year Est. 1854
First Hike – 2018 Total Days – 2
Oak IslandOak Island

Coos Area 1,629 Sq ft Population 63,315 Year Est. 1853
First Hike – 2017 Total Days – 8
Cape Arago Lighthouse from the Oregon Coast TrailCape Arago Lighthouse

Crook Area 2,991 Sq ft Population 23,440 Year Est. 1882
First Hike – 2012 Total Days – 6
Wildflowers along the Independent Mine TrailIndependent Mine Trail, Ochoco National Forest

Curry Area 1,648 Sq ft Population 23,005 Year Est. 1855
First Hike – 2016 Total Days – 12
LupineBoardman State Park

Deschutes Area 3,055 Sq ft Population 197,015 Year Est. 1916
First Hike – 2006 Total Days – 45
Middle and North SisterThree Sisters Wilderness

Douglas
Area 5,071 Sq ft Population 112,530 Year Est. 1852
First Hike – 2012 Total Days – 23
Upper Kentucky FallsUpper Kentucky Falls

Gilliam Area 1,223 Sq ft Population 1,990 Year Est. 1885
First Hike – 2021 Total Days – 1
Jeep track dropping into Esau CanyonEsau Canyon

Grant Area 4,528 Sq ft Population 7,315 Year Est. 1864
First Hike – 2017 Total Days – 15
Strawberry Mountain from the Onion Creek TrailStrawberry Mountain

Harney Area 10,228 Sq ft Population 7,280 Year Est. 1889
First Hike – 2018 Total Days – 9
Surnise from the Borax Hot Springs TrailheadBorax Springs Trailhead

Hood River Area 533 Sq ft Population 25,640 Year Est. 1908
First Hike – 2012 Total Days – 33
Mt. Hood from Owl PointMt. Hood from Owl Point

Jackson Area 2,801 Sq ft Population 223,240 Year Est. 1852
First Hike – 2015 Total Days – 15
View from Lower Table RockView from Lower Table Rock

Jefferson Area 1,791 Sq ft Population 24,105 Year Est. 1914
First Hike – 2008 Total Days – 27
Goat Peak and Mt. JeffersonMount Jefferson Wilderness

Josephine Area 1,641 Sq ft Population 86,560 Year Est. 1856
First Hike – 2016 Total Days – 5
Paradise Lost room, Oregon CavesParadise Lose, Oregon Caves National Monument

Klamath Area 4,105 Sq ft Population 68,075 Year Est. 1882
First Hike – 2012 Total Days – 20
Crater Lake from Mt. ScottCrater Lake National Park

Lake Area 8,359 Sq ft Population 8,075 Year Est. 1874
First Hike – 2037 Total Days – 9
Barnhardy RoadHart Mountain National Antelope Refuge

Lane Area 4,620 Sq ft Population 381,365 Year Est. 1851
First Hike – 2011 Total Days – 74
South Sister from Husband LakeSouth Sister from Husband Lake

Lincoln Area 992 Sq ft Population 48,305 Year Est. 1893
First Hike – 2010 Total Days – 15
God's ThumbGod’s Thumb

Linn
Area 2,297 Sq ft Population 127,320 Year Est. 1847
First Hike – 2007 Total Days – 50
Mt. Jefferson from the junction of the Hunts Creek Trail and Pacific Crest TrailMount Jefferson Wilderness

Malheur Area 9,926 Sq ft Population 32,105 Year Est. 1887
First Hike – 2018 Total Days – 3
Timber GulchTimber Gulch

Marion Area 1,194 Sq ft Population 349,120 Year Est. 1843
First Hike – 2006 Total Days – 46
Sawmill FallsSawmill Falls

Morrow
Area 2,049 Sq ft Population 12,825 Year Est. 1885
First Hike – 2019 Total Days – 1
McCormack SloughMcCormack Slough

Multnomah
Area 465 Sq ft Population 829,560 Year Est. 1854
First Hike – 2012 Total Days – 13
Upper McCord FallsUpper McCord Falls

Polk
Area 745 Sq ft Population 83,805 Year Est. 1845
First Hike – 2010 Total Days – 7
North Fork Siletz RiverNorth Fork Siletz River

Sherman
Area 831 Sq ft Population 1,795 Year Est. 1889
First Hike – 2017 Total Days – 3
View from the Ferry Springs TrailDeschutes River State Recreation Area

Tillamook
Area 1,125 Sq ft Population 26,530 Year Est. 1853
First Hike – 2010 Total Days – 18
Cape LookoutCape Lookout

Umatilla
Area 3,231 Sq ft Population 81,495 Year Est. 1862
First Hike – 2021 Total Days – 5
High point on Ninemile RidgeNorth Fork Umatilla Wilderness

Union
Area 2,038 Sq ft Population 26,840 Year Est. 1864
First Hike – 2016 Total Days – 3
Glacier Peak and Glacier Lake from Eagle CapGlacier Peak from Eagle Cap, Eagle Cap Wilderness

Wallowa Area 3,153 Sq ft Population 7,160 Year Est. 1887
First Hike – 2016 Total Days – 11
Ice LakeEagle Cap Wilderness

Wasco
Area 2,396 Sq ft Population 27,295 Year Est. 1854
First Hike – 2014 Total Days – 10
Tom McCall Point TrailRowena Plateau

Washington Area 727 Sq ft Population 620,080 Year Est. 1843
First Hike – 2015Total Days – 8
Henry Haag LakeHaag Lake

Wheeler Area 1,715 Sq ft Population 1,440 Year Est. 1899
First Hike – 2016 Total Days – 5
Painted HillsPainted Hills, John Day Fossil Beds

Yamhill Area 718 Sq ft Population 108,605 Year Est. 1843
First Hike – 2015 Total Days – 3
Niagara FallsNiagara Falls

Happy Trails!

Categories
Hiking

Progress Report – 500 “Featured Hikes” – February, 2022 Update

Sometime back in 2016 we committed to making a serious attempt to complete a couple of hiking goals that we had discussed. One was visiting all of the federally designated wilderness areas in Oregon, which we accomplished in 2021 (post), and the other was hiking at least a portion of all 100 featured hikes in at least one edition of William L. Sullivan’s “100 Hikes” guidebook series. Sullivan splits the State up into five areas, Oregon Coast & Coast Range, NW Oregon & SW Washington, Central Oregon Cascades, Southern Oregon & Northern California, and Eastern Oregon. Five areas times 100 featured hikes in each comes to a grand total of 500 featured hikes.

In 2020 we completed the Central Oregon Cascades Area (post) and followed that up in 2021 by finishing both the Oregon Coast (post) and NW Oregon (post) featured hikes leaving just Eastern and Southern Oregon & Northern California.

In our 2020 update we stated that we ended that year having checked off 401 out of the 500 featured hikes based on the following editions of Sullivan’s books:
“100 Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades” 4th Edition 2012
“100 Hikes/Travel Guide Oregon Coast & Coast Range” 4th Edition 2016
“100 Hikes/Travel Guide Northwest Oregon & Southwest Washington” 4th Edition 2018
“100 Hikes/Travel Guide Eastern Oregon” 3rd Edition 2015
“100 Hikes/Travel Guide Southern Oregon & Northern California” 4th Edition 2017

In order to finish the Oregon Coast book we switched from the 2016 4th edition to his earlier 2009 3rd edition due to the continued closure of the Salmonberry Railroad which lowered the number from 401 to 397. So while we sit at 99/100 for that 4th edition reverting to the 3rd edition made it possible to check that area off. We also had failed to count our Collings Mountain Loop (post) in Southern Oregon as having completed a portion of Sullivan’s Applegate Lake hike so we were actually at 398 of 500. (We plan on hiking more of the trails at Applegate Lake in 2022.)

In addition to the 9 hikes to finish out the Oregon Coast Book, and 6 hikes for NW Oregon, we managed to check off 13 featured hikes from the Eastern Oregon book ending the year at 73. Unfortunately we made no headway on the Southern Oregon & Northern California book. The impacts of various wildfires thwarted all our plans to visit that area in 2021 and in all honesty making us question if we will ever actually be able to finish that one. We do have several trips planned this year and over the next couple in hopes of making our goal but if the wildfire seasons of the past couple of years continue it is going to be difficult. We did move from the 2017 4th edition to the 2021 4.2 edition due to Sullivan swapping out a couple of fire damaged hikes for more accessible ones.

If conditions cooperate we will remain on track to complete the Southern book in 2024 and the Eastern book in 2025. Nearly all of the hikes remaining in the Eastern book are located either in the Wallowa Mountains or Hells Canyon in the NE corner of the State. Mount Ireland is the lone hike outside of those two areas and it is on this years list.

Finally in 2021 we also completed the 5th edition of the Central Oregon Cascades book. When we completed that area in 2020 the final hike, Erma Bell Lakes, technically finished both the 3rd and 4th editions but it was the 4th we were focusing on due to some crossover between that 3rd edition and the 3rd edition of the Eastern Oregon book.

As we head into the 2022 hiking season we are at 426 out of 500 featured hikes or 85.2% of our goal.
100/100 – “100 Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades” 4th Edition 2012 (also 3rd & 5th editions)

100/100 – “100 Hikes/Travel Guide Oregon Coast & Coast Range” 4th Edition 2016

100/100 – “100 Hikes/Travel Guide Northwest Oregon & Southwest Washington” 4th Edition 2018

73/100 – “100 Hikes/Travel Guide Eastern Oregon” 3rd Edition 2015

53/100 – “100 Hikes/Travel Guide Southern Oregon & Northern California” 4th Edition 2021

With Sullivan continuing to release new editions and updated versions I’m sure we will have plenty of ideas going forward. We are also working our way through hikes in several of Matt Reeder’s guidebooks (The Ruddy Hill Press).

Whether or not we actually reach our goal of all 500 is secondary to the all of the amazing places our chasing the 500 has led us to. Happy Trails!