First off – There were no Coyote sightings at Coyote wall. Weak, I know, but hey. C’est la vie.
Second off – woo hiking! We’re still doing our training hikes, building our endurance and strength back up, and this was one more step on that ladder – a bit longer, a bit higher elevation gain, slightly heavier packs… slowly but surely, you know?
Coyote Wall is something that we’ve hiked before, but hadn’t made it all the way up to the top of before. It’s out in the Columbia River Gorge, it’s got great views, and it’s just long enough and has just enough elevation gain to make it a legit challenge for us right now. It’s pretty ideal, honestly.
We started in late, as a way to dodge the morning rain, and arrived just as the sun was starting to burn through the clouds. It was beautiful, and we started into the hike with extremely high spirits, and energetic squealing from both Sarah and Ollie. I, being the professional adult of the group, merely squeaked under my breath and smiled a lot.
The start of the trail is a bit dull, thanks to it being a section of the old gorge highway… but it’s still pretty beautiful, since I use “highway” very loosely here… we’re talking 1.5 cars wide, semi-paved… this isn’t a modern road, but one of the original roads going down the gorge as a pleasure road instead of a working road.
But once we broke onto the main trail (with a little bit of help from a random trailrunner), the views and the terrain took a huge turn for the impressive. We worked our way up an endless series of switchbacks, constantly moving upwards along the ridgeline toward the trees in the far distance. The terrain was mostly grasslands with random spurs of rock sticking out – Ollie’s ideal running ground, incidentally – with almost nothing blocking our views of the gorge stretching out below us.
As we got higher we started being able to see the edge of the Columbia Gorge Plateau in the distance and the vineyards dotting the landscape in between… it honestly seemed like something out of a fairytale, or maybe Lord of the Rings?
Anyways, the weather held out on us, staying beautiful right up until the point when we stopped for lunch. We’d decided that it was about time to turn around anyways (a late start means a late lunch, which means tired legs), but the rain definitely helped us feel better about our decision.
It didn’t last long, thankfully, but it did seem to have kept everyone else off the trail for the day… we’d seen the weather report of course, but had decided that the middling chance of rain wouldn’t be enough to stop us from taking a day hike. But I guess other people didn’t feel the same way, because we saw almost no one for the whole trip; it was beautifully abandoned, which just added to the sense of wonder and fantasy that we’d felt on the way up. And the views were even better on the way down too! Since we were facing down-hill, toward the Columbia River itself, we were able to spend the entire time just watching the landscape… it did make placing our feet a little tough, I’ll admit, but the distraction was absolutely worth it 🙂