Progress Report – Oregon Wilderness Areas – January, 2020 Update

At the start of 2019 we posted about our goal of visiting each or Oregon’s legally accessible designated wilderness areas. Since that post we added two areas to our list of visited wildernesses and had one added to the list to visit.

In May we took a trip to Joseph, OR for some hikes including one that briefly entered the Hells Canyon Wilderness. Our brief time in the wilderness consisted of low visibility and some rain/snow mix, but we could at least check it off the list for now and hopefully the weather will better on our next visit.
Summit Ridge Trail

The weather and amount of lingering snow at higher elevations on that hike convinced us change our plans for the next day opting to skip a planned hike at Hat Point with it’s 7000′ elevation. Instead we decided to check off another wilderness area by driving to Troy, OR (at an elevation of 1720′) to hike the Lower Wenaha Rive Trail into the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness .
Wenaha River Trail

A bit of good news in 2019 was the creation of the Devil’s Staircase Wilderness in the Oregon Coast Range east of Reedsport. There are no official trails in this wilderness so whenever we get to visit it should be quite the adventure.

The new wilderness gives Oregon 48 designated wilderness areas (only 46 can be visited). With Hells Canyon and Wenaha-Tucannon crossed off that list it leaves us with a half dozen that we haven’t made it to yet. We had hoped to have visited them all by the end of this year, but changes to our plans in 2019 have pushed completion back to at least 2021. As our plans currently stand we hope to visit 5 of the 6 this year: Boulder Creek, Black Canyon,North Fork Umatilla, Gearhart Mountain, and Devil’s Staircase.

That will leave just the Monument Rock Wilderness for 2021. Happy Trails!

 

 

Progress Report – 500 “Featured” Hikes – January, 2020 Update

Last year we posted about our goal to complete 500 “featured” hikes from William L. Sullivan’s “100 hikes” guidebook series. We made some decent headway in 2019 especially with the NW Oregon/SW Washington area. We picked the newest version of the 4th edition of that book in Spring and completed a 13 more featured hikes from that book during the year.

In all we were able to check off an additional 24 featured hikes which included the 13 from NW Oregon, 6 from the Central Cascades, 3 from the Oregon coast, and 2 from Eastern Oregon. The one book that we didn’t make any headway with was Southern Oregon due to sticking mostly with day hikes in 2019.

At the end of 2019 we had been on 359 of the 500 featured hikes which broken down by book looks like this:
92/100 – “100 Hikes/Travel Guide Oregon Coast & Coast Range” 4th Edition 2016

87/100 – “100 Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades” 4th Edition 2012

85/100 – “100 Hikes/Travel Guide Northwest Oregon & Southwest Washington” 4th Edition 2018

53/100 – “100 Hikes/Travel Guide Eastern Oregon” 3rd Edition 2015

42/100 – “100 Hikes/Travel Guide Southern Oregon & Northern California” 4th Edition 2017

We’re hoping to have the NW, Central, and Coast books completed by the end of 2022 (the coast book hinges on the Salmonberry Railroad reopening). Despite lagging behind at only 42% completed, the Southern book would be next with a tentative completion the following year. In last year’s post I had us taking until 2027 to finish the Eastern Oregon book but after some fiddling with our future plans we have a chance to complete those hikes by the end of 2025.

I’m sure there will be some twists and turns along the way, but eventually we hope to reach our goal. Even if we don’t it should be a lot of fun trying. Happy Trails!

2019 Wildflower Gallery

One of the most challenging things about our hiking trips is attempting to identify the numerous different wildflowers that we see (and knowing if it’s an invasive like foxglove or if it’s native). We love seeing the flowers and spend much of our hikes looking for them but we’re just a couple of amateurs when it comes to knowing much about them. We rely heavily on the Wildflower Search website and more knowledgeable folks in wildflower groups for ids. Asters and fleabanes as well as many yellow wildflowers tend to give us the most trouble. On our own we probably get as many wrong as right. Even when we have a good idea we tend to use a general common name such as “penstemon” or “lupine” instead of attempting to identify the specific variety.

We saw somewhere in the vicinity of 200 different varieties of flowers. We have labeled them on Flickr with our best guesses, but in most cases the id is uncertain so any corrections/suggestions are greatly appreciated.

With that here is a fairly comprehensive gallery of the different flowers that we saw during our 2019 hikes. I’m posting these in the date order in which the photos were taken (with the exception of the first and last) but this is not necessarily the order in which we first saw them during the year.

In February we encountered our first flowers of the year.
Snow queenSnow queen

Red flowering currantRed flowering currant

ToothwortToothwort

Fairy slipperFairy slipper

Glacier liliesGlacier lilies

Chickweed monkeyflowerChickweed monkeyflower

Giant white wakerobinGiant white wakerobin

Giant fawn liliesGiant fawn lilies

Camas and plectritisCamas and plectritis

FringecupFringecup

Bleeding heartBleeding heart

BluebellsBluebells?

DogwoodDogwood

Large solomonsealLarge solomonseal

Vine mapleVine maple

Something in the pea family

Chocolate liliesChocolate lilies

ColtsfootColtsfoot

Wild roseWild rose

Wildflower at Warrior Point

Ball-head waterleafBall-head waterleaf

ArnicaArnica

ManzanitaManzanita

CurrantA currant

Jacob's ladderShowy jacob’s ladder

Oregon anemoneOregon anemone

LupineLupine

Vanilla LeafVanilla leaf

LarkspurLarkspur

Woodland starsWoodland stars

Popcorn flowerPopcorn flower

SalsifySalsify

Deadly nightshadeDeadly nightshade

Rock clematisRock clematis

TwinberryTwinberry?

BluebellsBluebells

CinqufoilCinquefoil

MeadowrueMeadowrue

VioletA violet

Shooting starShooting star

Old man's whiskersOld man’s whiskers

Western stoneseedWestern stoneseed

Blue dicksBlue dicks

BalsamrootBalsamroot

Slender phloxSlender phlox

Cutleaf daisyCutleaf daisy

Large head cloverLarge head clover

KittentailsKittentails

Hariy clematisHairy clematis

Yellow bellYellow bell

Browns peonyBrown’s peony (blossoms hadn’t opened yet)

Small flower miterwortSmall flower miterwort

VetchVetch

YarrowYarrow

HoundstongueHoundstongue

CatchflyA catchfly

Branched hareleafBranched hareleaf

WatercressWatercress

FiddleneckFiddleneck

Rough eyelashweedRough eyelashweed

PenstemonPenstemon

PhloxPhlox

Spreading dogbaneSpreading dogbane

BuckwheatBuckwheat

Scab penstemonScab penstemon

Wildflower along the Wenaha River Trail

Oregon sunshineOregon sunshine?

False sunflowerFalse sunflower?

Sticky purple geraniumSticky purple geranium

Threadleaf phaceliaThreadleaf phacelia

SkullcapSkullcap

Stream globe mallowStream globe mallow

Blue mustardBlue mustard?

ClarkiaRagged robin

Blanket flowerBlanket flower

Cusick's paintbrushCusick’s paintbrush

Wild onionWild onion

Monument plantMonument plant

RockcressRockcress

Hoary balsamrootHoary balsamroot

CamasCamas

White-stem fraseraWhite-stem frasera

Milk vetchMilk vetch

CloverA clover

Dwarf yellow fleabaneDwarf yellow fleabane

IrisIris

Wild irisIris

PaintbrushPaintbrush

Blue-eyed maryBlue-eyed mary

Cats ear liliesCat’s ear lilies

CandyflowerCandy flower

ThimbleberryThimbleberry

StonecropStonecrop

Youth-on-ageYouth-on-age

Wildflower along the Cascade Streamwatch Trail

False lily of the valleyFalse lily of the valley

CoralrootCoralroot

FairybellsFairybells

Scoutler's cordyalisScouler’s cordyalis

CoralrootCoralroot

OokowOokow

AnemoneAnemone

Bunch berryBunchberry

Rhododendron blossomsRhododendron

Wild bugbaneWild bugbane

Avalanche liliesAvalanche lilies

PaintbrushPaintbrush

Western pasque flowerWestern pasque flower

ValerianValerian

Mountain heatherMountain heather

PenstemonPenstemon

ManzanitaManzanita

Dwarf lupineDwarf lupine

PussypawsPussypaws

White dwarf lupineWhite dwarf lupine

Sagebrush false dandelionSagebrush false dandelion?

DaisiesDaisies

FoxgloveFoxglove

Self-healSelf-heal

Tailed kittentailsTailed kittentails

Wildflowers along the Grouse Vista TrailGoldenbanner?

VetchVetch?

LarkspurLarkspur

PhloxPhlox

PaintbrushPaintbrush

LupineLupine

VioletsViolets

LousewortLousewort

Marsh marigoldMarsh marigold

SalalSalal

ThistleThistle

MonkeyflowerMonkeyflower

Probably cultivated radishCultivated radish?

CloverA clover

Beach morning gloryBeach morning glory

GroundconeGroundcone

Wild roseSome sort of rose

Striped coralrootStriped coralroot

PenstemonPenstemon

Arrowleaf buckwheatArrowleaf buckwheat

Star-flower solomonsealStar-flower solomonseal

Raceme pussytoesRaceme pussytoes

BeargrassBeargrass

CoralrootCoralroot

Blue-head giliaBlue-head gilia

PenstemonPenstemon

GroundselGroundsel?

Insideout flowerInside-out flower

StarflowerStarflower

CandysticksCandysticks

Wild strawberryWild strawberry

ColumbineColumbine

Showy phloxShowy phlox

TrilliumTrillium

Bladder campionBladder campion?

CatchflyCatchfly

AsterAster or fleabane

CurrantA currant

Wood violetWood violet

PussytoesPussytoes

LousewortLousewort

Jacob's ladderJacob’s ladder?

WallflowerWallflower

Wild gingerWild ginger

Giant blue-eyed maryGiant blue-eyed mary

ConeflowerConeflower

Cow parsnipCow parsnip

tall bluebellsTall mountain bluebells

Scarlet giliaScarlet gilia

Orange agoserisOrange agoseris

Owls cloverOwls clover

A phaceliaSome sort of phacelia?

HoneysuckleHoneysuckler

Wild onionWild onion

Twin flowerTwin flower

PenstemonPenstemon

PaintbrushTwo types of paintbrush

Stream orchidStream orchid?

Tiger lilyTiger lily

Wildflowers along the Grassy Knoll Trail

PenstemonPenstemon

Field chickweedField chickweed

Wildflowers along the Grassy Knoll Trail

LupineLupine

Wildflowers along the Grassy Knoll Trail

Wildflowers along the Grassy Knoll Trail

Spotted coralrootSpotted coralroot

LupineLupine

AvensAvens?

Farewll to springFarewell to spring

PenstemonPenstemon

Washington lilyWashington lily

WintergreenWintergreen

PinesapPinesap

PinedropPinedrop

PaintbrushPaintbrush

Mock orangeMock orange

Prince's pinePrince’s pine

Bachelor buttonBachelor button

A pyrolaPyrola

Queen's cupQueen’s cup

AsterAster (or a fleabane)?

Bog orchidBog orchid

Elephants headElephant’s head

RainieraRainiera

Ghost pipeGhost pipe

Scouler's bluebellsScouler’s bluebells

MonkshoodMonkshood

MonkeyflowerPink monkeyflower

Creeping wire lettuceCreeping wire lettuce

FireweedFireweed

PenstemonPenstemon

AsterAster (or a fleabane)

SpireaSpirea

Wildflower along the Olallie Mountain Trail

HedgenettleHedgenettle

Scouler's St. Johns wort and pearly everlastingScouler’s St. Johns wort

Wildflowers along the trail to Crabtree Valley

GentianGentian

PennyroyalPennyroal

ChicoryChicory

PeaA pea?

ThistleThistle

The last wildflowers for us this year (we aren’t counting the invasive herb robert seen at Forest Park in December) was some fading pearly everlasting in mid-October.
Pearly everlastingThis pearly is in better shape from an August hike.

Hopefully we aren’t too far off on these. Names aside they are all a delight to see out on our hikes. Happy Trails!

2019 Wildlife Gallery

We had so much fun in 2018 putting together posts of the different species and varieties of wildlife and wildflowers we’d seen that year that we decided to do it again for 2019. While we didn’t see a lot of larger animals this year we did see a lot of pikas, frogs and toads, and a number of new birds.

In the spirit of Leave No Trace principles we do our best not to cause any distress to the wildlife we see by keeping our distance, not feeding them, and doing our best not to disturb or startle them in any way.

Starting out small-
Beetle on a blue dicks

Ladybug on a thimbleberry leaf

Beetle

Beetle in a rose

Green beetle

Green beetle

Dragon fly

Dragon fly

Bug shenanigans

Bee on showy phlox

Bumblebee on thistle

Wasp

Catapiller

Caterpillar

Wooly bear caterpillar

Millipede

Snail and a millipede

Slugs on skunk cabbage

Slug

Wolf spider

Crab spider

Spider on bluedicks

Spider fight

We didn’t see as many different moths and butterflies this year but we saw quite a few of several types.
Moth on the Boulder Lake Trail

Moth on rainiera

Blue copper

Blue copper on aster

Some sort of copper butterfly

Ruddy copper

Skipper

A skipper of some sort or a duskywing

Skipper

Buttefly on the Hertiage Trail

Butterfly on aster

Butterfly on the Tarbell Trail

Butterfly

Fritillary butterfly

Butterfly along the Wenaha River Trail

Butterfly on valerian

Butterfly

Butterfly

Butterfly on stonecrop

Butterflies on aster

Butterfly

Butterfly on a flower

It was a good year for reptiles and amphibians, especially frogs and toads.
Cascade toad

Toad

Western toad at Temple Lake

Frog

Frog

Frog

Frog

Frog

Frog on moss

Tree frog

Tadpole

Rough skinned newt on Amanda's Trail

Northern alligator lizard

Western fence lizard

Sagebrush lizard

Pygmy short horned lizard

Snake with an attitude

Water held a couple of creatures.
Crawdad

Fish in the Clackamas River

We had good luck with birds this year as well, being the one animal where we saw quite a few varieties for the first time (that we know of).
American goldfinch

Bald Eagle

Bird along the Boulder Lake Trail

Black-headed grosbeak

Bullock's Oriole

Canada geese

Chickadee

Clark's nutcracker

Duck on Monon Lake

Duck on Russ Lake

Ducks

Egret and great blue heron

Golden eagle being chased by a smaller raptor

Gray jay

Grouse

Hummingbird

Hummingbird on a mountain ash

Junco

Killdeer

Kingbird

Lazuli bunting

Lewis's woodpecker

Little bird along Trail 5

Mergansers

Merlin

Mountain chickadee

Northern flicker

Nuthatch

Osprey with Mt. Adams in the background

Ouzel at Sawmill Falls

Pied-billed grebe

Pileated woodpecker

Raven

Red breasted nuthatch

Red tailed hawk

Red-breasted sapsucker

Red-winged blackbird

Robin

Sparrow

Stellar's jay

Scrub jay

Swallow and a sparrow

Turkey

Turkey vulture

Varied thrush

White crowned sparrow

White pelicans

Wilson's snipe

Wood Ducks

Woodpecker

Wren

Yelllow rumped warbler

Yellow breasted chat

Yellow warbler

Yellow-throated warbler

Spotted towhee

Black-throated warbler

Small furry creatures included a number of our personal favorites the pika.
Pika

Chipmunk

GOlden-mantled ground squirrel

Ground squirrel

Belding's ground squirrel

Marmot

Squirrel

Rabbit

Finally the larger mamals which included the wildlife highlight of the year, watching a group of big horn sheep roughhousing on the far side of the Wenaha River canyon.
Big horn sheep

The deer near Wallowa Lake got into the roughhousing as well.
Deer in front of the Edelweiss Inn

Didn’t see many elk but these were at Zumwalt Prairie.
Elk

We spotted two coyotes in the brush at the Umatilla Wildlife Refuge. One’s head can be seen here as it was running off.
Coyote in the grass

There are still a handful of animals (that we are aware of) that we haven’t seen yet but continue to keep an eye out for. At the top of that list are cougar, bobcat, beaver, otter (Apparently there was one swimming in Crabtree Lake (post) while we were there this year but we didn’t notice it.) porcupine, wolf, and wolverine. The odds of seeing any of these are not in our favor, but they are out there and have probably seen us. Keeping an out for these and all the other animals we’ve seen or have yet to see is an additional motivation to get out and explore. Happy Trails (and tails)!

The Hikes of 2019 – A Look Back

2019 turned out very differently than we’d originally planned. Not long after our first planned long trip to Joseph, OR one our cats, Buddy, had some health issues. After some time at the veterinarians he was doing better but he needed to be prescribed 3 daily medications (two twice a day). We decided that being there for our friend of 17 years was more important than our remaining plans so we cancelled nearly all of our overnight trips and spent the rest of the year doing day hikes from Salem. Buddy is still with us and seems to be doing well although he sleeps more than ever and has taken to wearing sweaters for warmth.
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With us only doing the one long distance trip we didn’t make it to as many new areas as we have been in recent years. On that trip we stopped at the Umatilla Wildlife Refuge near Hermiston (post), OR and hiked in the Hells Canyon (post) and Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness areas (post).
McCormack SloughMCormack Slough in the Umatilla Wildlife Refuge.

Looking into Hells Canyon from the Summit Ridge TrailLooking towards Hells Canyon from Freezout Saddle.

Wenaha River CanyonWenaha River Canyon

Thanks to my parents willingness to take care of the cats we also managed to take an overnight trip up to Seattle in September to watch a Seattle Seahawks game stopping on the way up at Mt. Rainier National Park (post).

Cancelling the majority of our overnight trips had a couple of effects. First it reduced the number of days of hiking from an original 60 to 54. These would have been shorter hikes back to the car after backpacking or on the drive home from wherever we’d been. It also compressed the area in which we were able to hike keeping it under a 3 hour drive from Salem.
2019 HIkes

One thing that wasn’t affected was our tendency not to repeat hikes. Of our 54 days hiking only two days were repeats. For the first time we were able to hike with my brother and his family from Missouri taking them to Jawbone Flats and the Little North Fork Santiam River (post).
Little North Santiam River

The second repeat was to the old lookout site atop Maxwell Butte (post) to get the view that eluded us on our first hike there (post).
Mt. Jefferson, Santiam Lake, and Three Fingered Jack from Maxwell Butte

A visit to Four-In-One Cone, also to get a view that had previously eluded us, (post) was nearly a repeat but we started from a different trailhead making the first (and final) .4 miles new to us.
View from Four-in-one Cone

Thirteen other days did include some trail that we’d previously hiked and three more outings had turn around points that we’d previously been to but from an entirely different route. That left 35 days with entirely new trails to us. To put those figures in miles we hiked a total of 627.7 miles (according to my GPS). Only 70.6 of those miles, or just over 11%, were on portions of trails that we had hiked on in previous years.

I say “trails” but in reality not all the miles we hiked were on actual trails. Some of it was spent on paved roads, decommissioned roads, and some was entirely off trail/road.
Scoggins Creek Recreation AreaRoad walk at Henry Haag Lake

Baty ButteDecommissioned road to Baty Butte.

North Sister and the headwaters of Soap CreekCross country to Thayer Glacial Lake.

2019 was a really good year weather wise. Aside from some rain/snow showers on our Freezout Saddle hike in June and a brief stint of rain at Cascade Head and in the Mollala River Recreation Area precipitation was almost non-existent during our outings.
Marks Cabin Trail a bit below usSnow falling on our Freezout Saddle hike.

Salmon River through the fogRain shower approaching at Cascade Head.

Huckleberry TrailTaking cover under a tree in the Mollala River Recreation Area as a rain shower passes overhead.

Even on those three hikes with measurable precipitation there were breaks allowing for some sort of views.
Rainbow Framing the Wallowa MountainsRainbow framing the Wallowa Mountains from the Feezout Saddle Trail.

View from the Cascade Head TrailView from Cascade Head after the shower.

Veiw from Amanda's TrailView from the morning across the Mollala River Canyon.

Between the cooperative weather and a lack of significant wildfires in the area made 2019 a great year for viewpoints. In fact there was only one hike, our second to the summit of Huckleberry Mountain (post) where we felt skunked on views. That hike began in the Wildwood Recreation area and the interpretive trails along the Salmon River made up for the lack of views up top.
3d Model of Mt. Hood along the Cascade Streamwatch TrailNeat 3D display at Wildwood Recreation Area.

Viewpoint on Huckleberry MountainView atop Huckleberry Mountain.

Even on that day blue sky made an appearance before the end of our hike.
Mt. Hood behind some clouds

We also never got much of a view (but we did see blue sky) on our visit to Silver Star Mountain (post) but the point of that hike was to see the flower display.
Wildflowers along the Silver Star Trail

As always our hikes included a variety of landscapes, natural features, and some man-made ones. A sample of which follows. (We will cover wildflowers and wildlife in separate posts later.)
Gales CreekGales Creek – Coast Range

Dry Creek FallsDry Creek Falls – Columbia River Gorge, OR

Camassia Natural AreaCamassia Natural Area – West Linn

The Two Chiefs and Table MountainTwo Chiefs and Table Mountain – Columbia River Gorge, WA

Nature Trial at Oak IslandOak Island – Columbia River

B.C. Creek FallsB.C. Creek Falls – Wallowa Mountains

Wallowa Mountains including Hurricaine Point and Ruby PeakWallowa Mountains

Harins ButteHarsin Butte – Zumwalt Prairie

Sardine MountainSardine Mountain – Willamette National Forest

Gorton FallsGorton Creek Falls – Columbia River Gorge, OR

Mt. Hood from Lost LakeMt. Hood from Lost Lake

Mt. Hood from the Vista Ridge TrailMt. Hood from Vista Ridge

Sand Mountain LookoutSand Mountain Lookout – Willamette National Forest

Cape Kiwanda and Haystack RockCape Kiwanda and Haystack Rock from Sitka Sedge Beach

High LakeHigh Lake – Mt. Hood National Forest

Tidbits MountainTidbits Mountain – Willamette National Forest

Bunchgrass MeadowBunchgrass Meadow – Willamette National Forest

Top tier of the Breitenbush CascadesBreitenbush Cascades – Willamette National Forest

Mt. St. HelensMt. St. Helens from Cinnamon Ridge – Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

View from Bear PointMt. Jefferson from Bear Point – Mt. Jefferson Wilderness

Sawmill FallsSawmill Falls – Little North Fork Santiam River

Three Fingered Jack with Three Sisters and Mt. Washington beyond Red ButteThree Fingered Jack, The Three Sisters, and Mt. Washington

Scramble route up Baty ButteScramble route to Baty Butte – Mt. Hood National Forest

Boulder LakeBoulder Lake – Mt. Hood National Forest

Drift CreekDrift Creek – Drift Creek Wilderness

Thayer Glacial LakeNorth Sister and Thayer Glacial Lake – Three Sisters Wilderness

View from Four-in-one ConeNorth Sister, Middle Sister, and The Husband from Four-In-One Cone – Three Sisters Wilderness

Mt. Hood from Tumala MountainMt. Hood from Tumala Mountain – Mt. Hood National Forest

Bull of the Woods LookoutBull of the Woods Lookout – Bull of the Woods Wilderness

Mt. Hood and Barret Spur from Elk CoveMt. Hood from Elk Cove – Mt. Hood Wilderness

Mt. Jefferson and Hunts CoveMt. Jefferson and Hunts Cove – Mt. Jefferson Wilderness

Mt. Jefferson with Monon, Olallie and Timber LakesView from Olallie Butte – Warm Springs Indian Reservation

Lillian FallsLillian Falls – Waldo Lake Wilderness

Olallie Mountain lookoutOlallie Mountain Lookout – Three Sisters Wilderness

King TutKing Tut – Crabtree Valley

View from Ruddy HillMt. Jefferson from Ruddy Hill – Mt. Hood National Forest

Henry Haag LakeHenry Haag Lake – Scoggins Valley

View from the north summit of The TwinsWaldo Lake and the Cascade Mountains from The Twins – Deschutes National Forest

Bobby LakeBobby Lake – Deschutes National Forest

Patrol Cabin at Indian Henry's Hunting GroundIndian Henry’s Hunting Ground – Mt. Rainier National Park

Fog over the valley from Trail 17 (Theodore Trail)Fog over the valley from Mt. Pisgah – Eugene, OR

Twin Peaks and Gifford LakeTwin Peaks and Gifford Lake – Olallie Lake Scenic Area

Mt. Adams from Lookout MountainMt. Adams from Lookout Mountain – Badger Creek Wilderness Area

Huckleberry TrailMollala River Recreation Area

View from the PCT and Indian Mountain Trail junctionView toward Washington from the Pacific Crest Trail near Indian Mountain – Mt. Hood National Forest

Clackamas River at Alder FlatClackamas River – Mt. Hood National Forest

Maple TrailForest Park – Portland, OR

Tilikum CrossingTilikum Crossing – Portland, OR

There were many more great places and sights that we visited but they can’t all be included here. It was another amazing year of discovering God’s creation and we are looking forward to seeing what next year brings. For the first time I have two sets of planned hikes going into next year, one is in the hopes that Buddy continues to do well on his medications leading us to stick to day hikes through the year and the other includes long distance trips in the unfortunate event that we have to say goodbye to our furry friend.

Either way we know that we will be blown away yet again by whatever we see on those hikes. Happy Trails and Happy New Year to all!

Flickr: Album List

Maple Trail (Forest Park) and Tilikum Crossing – 12/14/2019

For our final outing of 2019 we combined a little hiking with a bit of Christmas Shopping by heading up to Portland for the day. Our plan was to do a pair of Sullivan’s featured hikes before visiting the Portland Saturday Market.

We started our morning at the 5,200 acre Forest Park for a 7.5 mile lollipop hike using the Maple and Wildwood Trails. Our hike started at the Lower Saltzman Road Trailhead

We were the second car at the small parking area where we set off past the green gate blocking further access to Saltzman Road.
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We followed the closed road for .4 miles to a junction where the Maple Trail crossed the road. Here we turned left onto that trail.
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We followed this trail for a mile and a half, ignoring side trails, as we climbed gradually to Leif Erikson Drive. It was a cloudy morning and the forest was damp but it wasn’t raining which made for a pleasant walk amid the trees.
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IMG_1975Bridge over a small stream.

IMG_1977Heading into a little bit of fog.

IMG_1981Too cloudy for any real views.

IMG_1983Leif Erikson Road.

We crossed the closed road and continued on the Maple Trail for another .4 miles to a fork where we veered right at a pointer for the Wildwood Trail.
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A short climb brought us to the Wildwood Trail where we turned right and headed up some wooden steps.
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This was our third time on the 30 mile long Wildwood Trail (11/18, 5/18) and we followed it for 3.2 miles through a variety of scenery.
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Along the way we crossed Saltzman Road.
IMG_2018Saltzman Road at the 2.5 mile mark of the 3.2 mile stretch.

Approximately .7 miles after crossing Saltzman Road we turned right onto signed Firelane 5.
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This windy track was rutted by bike tires as it made its way downhill to Leif Erikson Drive after about half a mile.
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IMG_2025Aproaching Leif Erikson Drive.

We turned right onto Leif Erikson for .2 miles to a curve with a grassy flat on the left with a sign for the Maple Trail.
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We followed the Maple Trail for 1.2 miles back to Saltzman Road where we turned left and hiked the .4 miles back to the trailhead. The forest along this section of the Maple Trail was nice and on a clearer day there may have been a few views but we settled for the trees and some passing geese.
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The trailhead was full when we got back so we quickly changed our shoes and opened up a spot for another trail user. We headed for downtown Portland for our next stop at Tom McCall Waterfront Park. We actually parked at a lot on the corner of 4th and Harvey Milk St. and walked 3+ blocks to the park.
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The Saturday Market was just a bit to the left but we went right heading for the Morrison Bridge and planning on hitting the market at the end of our loop.
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There were almost as many geese as people in this section of the park.
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We followed the Waterfront Park Trail along the Willamette River under the Morrison Bridge and toward the Hawthorne Bridge.
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IMG_2056Hawthorn Bridge

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After about three quarters of a mile we passed through the South Waterfront Park Garden.
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This was quickly followed by Poet’s Beach under the Marquam Bridge.
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After passing under the Marquam Bridge we had a good look at OMSI and the USS Blueback Submarine on the far side of the Willamette and the OHSU Aerial Tram on our side of the river on Marquam Hill.
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There was also an interesting piece of art near the Tilikum Crossing Bridge where we would be heading across the river.
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The bridge was opened in September 2015 and is restricted to transit, pedestrian, and cyclist use only.
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IMG_2083Marquam Bridge from Tilikum Crossing.

After crossing the river we turned left towards OMSI on the Eastbank Esplanade.
IMG_2085Tilikum Crossing from the esplanade.

We followed the Eastbank Esplanade for a total of 1.75 miles to the Steele Bridge. The scenery along this stretch was a bit more industrial with sections not too far from the Interstate, but there were still some interesting and pretty sights along the way.
IMG_2086Behind OMSI

IMG_2090More geese.

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IMG_2094Cormorants

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We recrossed the Willamette on the Steele Bridge arriving back at Waterfront Park near the Japanese American Historical Plaza and the Portland Saturday Market.
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We wound our way through the market visiting all the booths before returning to our car and heading home. We did manage to find a couple of Christmas gifts so it had not only been a fun day hiking but it had been productive as well. We walked about 5 miles between the loop around the Willamette and the market which was just about as much as our feet could handle for the day.

That’s it for us as far as hikes go for 2019, we hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! (and Happy Trails too!)

Flickr: Maple Trail and Tilikum Crossing

Alder Flat and the Riverside Trail – 11/09/19

We managed to stay off the trail for two weeks but a favorable forecast called us back out for our November outing.  We chose a pair of hikes along the Clackamas River east of Estacada, OR.  The Riverside Trail was another of Sullivan’s featured hikes that we’d been saving for a rainy day, but we just didn’t have many of those this year so we decided to go ahead and check it off our to do list.

Before getting to the Riverside Trail though we stopped at the nearby Alder Flat Trailhead which is located along Highway 224 just west of the Ripplebrook Guard Station.
Alder Flat Trailhead

We arrived a little before the light so we waited at the trailhead for enough light before setting off on the .9 mile trail that led to the primitive Alder Flat Campground along the Clackamas River.
Sunrise over RipplebrookThere was a nice sunrise while we waited for enough light.

Alder Flat TrailAlder Flat Trail at the trailhead.

The trail passes by an old beaver pond and through a green forest before arriving at the campground near a swimming hole at a bend in the river. Maps also show a trail around the beaver pond but we followed it briefly on the way back and it petered out after crossing the outlet creek on a log.
Sunrise from the Alder Flat TrailPassing the old beaver pond.

Old beaver pond along the Alder Flat TrailBeaver pond from the former trail around it.

Former trail around the beaver pond.The trail around the pond petered out on the far side of this log.

Alder Flat TrailAlder Flat Trail in the forest.

Arriving at the campground.

Clackamas River at Alder FlatSwimming hole (It was a little too cold today.)

Clackamas River at Alder FlatClackamas River at the Alder Flat Campground.

From the Alder Flat Trailhead it was less than a mile to our starting point for the Riverside Trail at the Rainbow Campground.
Gate at Rainbow Campground

When the campground is open you need to pay to park there. With the campground closed there is no fee, but it does add a .3 mile road walk into and through the campground to reach the trail.
Rainbow CampgroundThe Rainbow Campground

The Riverside Trail sets off at the far end of the campground following the Oak Grove Fork of the Clackamas River.
Riverside Trail

Riverside Trail

Oak Grove Fork Clackamas River

The trail climbs up to an overlook of the Clackamas River in the first half mile near the confluence of the two rivers. We both were a bit confused at first when we got to the overlook because the river was suddenly flowing in the opposite direction, then we remembered that is was a different river.
Clackamas River

Clackamas River

Beyond this first viewpoint of the Clackamas River the Riverside Trail continues a little over three and a half miles to its end at the Riverside Campground. Along the way the trail makes several ups and downs as well as dipping deeper into the forest occasionally to navigate side canyons. There were a number of viewpoints above the river as well as numerous chances to explore the river bank. The final mile and half (after passing a spur trail coming from the no fee Riverside Trailhead) did spend more time closer to paved Forest Road 46 but there wasn’t a lot of traffic and the scenery was still nice.
Riverside TrailIn the forest for a bit.

Clackamas RiverViewpoint from above.

Riverside TrailBack in the forest.

Clackamas RiverAt the river.

Sun through the trees along the Riverside TrailSun peaking through the trees.

Rock formation along the Riverside Trailone of several rock formations along the trail.

Clackamas RiverAnother view of the Clackamas.

Riverside TrailSide creek crossing.

Clackamas RiverBack along the river.

Clackamas RiverRock pinnacle in the Clackamas River.

Riverside TrailSpur trail to the Riverside Trailhead.

Clackamas RiverViewpoint near the spur trail.

Clackamas RiverViewpoint near the spur trail.

Riverside Trail

Clackamas RiverAnother rocky beach along the Clackamas.

Clackamas RiverLooking down river.

Clackamas RiverNow from above the rock beach.

Just before reaching the end of the trail at the Riverside Campground the trail passed above a deep green hole.
Clackamas River

We’d been keeping our eyes open for fish all morning given how clear the river was but hadn’t seen any until we gazed into the water here. We spotted several large fish.
Fish in the Clackamas River

Fish in the Clackamas River

The trail descended from the viewpoint above the hole to the Riverside Campground where we watched an ouzel dip in and out of the river looking for snacks.
Riverside Trail sign at Riverside Campground

Riverside Campground

Ouzel

Ouzel

Clackamas RiverClackamas River at the Riverside Campground.

We headed back the way we’d come stopping to admire some of the mushrooms and fungi along the trail.
Mushrooms

Mushroom

Mushrooms

Mushrooms

Tree mushroom

Mushrooms on a log

In addition to the fish we’d been on the lookout for rough skinned newts. As we stopped at a viewpoint looking across the river valley toward Fish Creek Mountain (post) we finally spotted one.
Fish Creek Mountain

Rough skinned newt

This is a very popular trail in the Summer based on the number of cars we’ve seen when driving past on the way home from other hikes. We didn’t see a lot of other hikers on this day although we did pass one group twice (near each end of the trail) and several others as we got close to the Rainbow Campground on the way back. The GPS said we did 9.5 miles which included several side trips along the river and to viewpoints as well as the .6 miles of road walking. For those looking for a shorter hike the Riverside Trailhead would be a good starting point or try the Alder Flat Trail which is only about 2 miles round trip.

With the Holiday Season quickly approaching it was nice to be able to get our November hike in early with such nice weather. We plan to head out once more next month to wrap up our 2019 hikes so until then Happy Trails!

Flickr: Alder Flat and the Riverside Trail

Exploring the Pacific NW one step at a time.