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.
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).
MCormack Slough in the Umatilla Wildlife Refuge.
Looking towards Hells Canyon from Freezout Saddle.
Wenaha 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.
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).
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).
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.
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.
Road walk at Henry Haag Lake
Decommissioned road to Baty Butte.
Cross 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.
Snow falling on our Freezout Saddle hike.
Rain shower approaching at Cascade Head.
Taking 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 Mountains from the Feezout Saddle Trail.
View from Cascade Head after the shower.
View 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.
Neat 3D display at Wildwood Recreation Area.
View atop Huckleberry Mountain.
Even on that day blue sky made an appearance before the end of our hike.
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.
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 Creek – Coast Range
Dry Creek Falls – Columbia River Gorge, OR
Camassia Natural Area – West Linn
Two Chiefs and Table Mountain – Columbia River Gorge, WA
Oak Island – Columbia River
B.C. Creek Falls – Wallowa Mountains
Harsin Butte – Zumwalt Prairie
Sardine Mountain – Willamette National Forest
Gorton Creek Falls – Columbia River Gorge, OR
Mt. Hood from Lost Lake
Mt. Hood from Vista Ridge
Sand Mountain Lookout – Willamette National Forest
Cape Kiwanda and Haystack Rock from Sitka Sedge Beach
High Lake – Mt. Hood National Forest
Tidbits Mountain – Willamette National Forest
Bunchgrass Meadow – Willamette National Forest
Breitenbush Cascades – Willamette National Forest
Mt. St. Helens from Cinnamon Ridge – Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
Mt. Jefferson from Bear Point – Mt. Jefferson Wilderness
Sawmill Falls – Little North Fork Santiam River
Three Fingered Jack, The Three Sisters, and Mt. Washington
Scramble route to Baty Butte – Mt. Hood National Forest
Boulder Lake – Mt. Hood National Forest
Drift Creek – Drift Creek Wilderness
North Sister and Thayer Glacial Lake – Three Sisters Wilderness
North Sister, Middle Sister, and The Husband from Four-In-One Cone – Three Sisters Wilderness
Mt. Hood from Tumala Mountain – Mt. Hood National Forest
Bull of the Woods Lookout – Bull of the Woods Wilderness
Mt. Hood from Elk Cove – Mt. Hood Wilderness
Mt. Jefferson and Hunts Cove – Mt. Jefferson Wilderness
View from Olallie Butte – Warm Springs Indian Reservation
Lillian Falls – Waldo Lake Wilderness
Olallie Mountain Lookout – Three Sisters Wilderness
King Tut – Crabtree Valley
Mt. Jefferson from Ruddy Hill – Mt. Hood National Forest
Henry Haag Lake – Scoggins Valley
Waldo Lake and the Cascade Mountains from The Twins – Deschutes National Forest
Bobby Lake – Deschutes National Forest
Indian Henry’s Hunting Ground – Mt. Rainier National Park
Fog over the valley from Mt. Pisgah – Eugene, OR
Twin Peaks and Gifford Lake – Olallie Lake Scenic Area
Mt. Adams from Lookout Mountain – Badger Creek Wilderness Area
Mollala River Recreation Area
View toward Washington from the Pacific Crest Trail near Indian Mountain – Mt. Hood National Forest
Clackamas River – Mt. Hood National Forest
Forest Park – Portland, OR
Tilikum 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