A pivot to and Elk and a King – Hiking the Elk Mountain to King Mountain loop


Sunday, 20-Aug-2023

The day before, Jess and I had gone to a work event of mine – a fairly impressive shindig at a nearby resort, where we got the chance to meet and greet with various coworkers, play games, and give a rather epic showing for ourselves at Laser Tag.

We had our backpacks packed and ready in the car, so when we left we headed directly East, toward Mount Hood for a weekend of backpacking… nothing heavy, mind you, but a good opportunity to get the legs moving and get ourselves into the woods to relax and disconnect from the world.

Unfortunately, this was the Pacific Northwest in Wildfire season… and the Wildfires had turned on us a bit overnight. The air was rough, Jess’s asthma was kicking in, and the sky had taken on a singularly ominous “blood orange” hue. Backpacking up on the mountain simply wasn’t in the cards.

Instead, we simply laid low – headed back to Wilsonville, had a lovely relaxing afternoon and evening, and then headed out toward the coast in an attempt to evade a bit of the smoke.

Our goal was a hike I hadn’t done in years – the Elk Mountain and Kings Mountain loop. Interestingly, I’d last done it with Daniel, during another bout of wildfire-induced smoke… Thinking back, it wasn’t any less smokey then, and it wasn’t any less smokey now…

Maybe this isn’t the best hike to do in the smoke?

Ehh, we did it anyways.

The nice thing about wildfire smoke, if there is a nice thing to be said, is that the light can be stunning. It’s a sort of golden hour that lasts all day long… if you can push through the burning lungs and painful eyes, some great views can absolutely be had of the Sunlight filtering through the clouds and smoke and into the trees.

We hiked, we rested, we ate and drank. We drank tons of water, and even took a few moments to fly the drone around… not that it got any particularly good views, but it was definitely fun none the less.

After the drive home, we stopped to grab dinner from the grocery… and saw our extra little neat view of the day – a “do it yourself convertible”, complete with an anti-theft Club, since… you know… doors didn’t exist.

Kinda cool. Interesting weekend. I’ll take it.

Leave a Reply