Tag Archives: Columbia River Gorge

Sunday, 24-Feb-2019 – Hiking to Angels Rest, Columbia River Gorge

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Sunday, 24-Feb-2019

 

Sarah and I have been having rather amazingly relaxing weekends – getting things done around the house, decompressing from the weeks, and trying to keep calm amid the swirling chaos of my new job and Sarah’s art fair deadlines.

For the most part, we’re doing well and staying sane.

But… it’s not easy, and sometimes what we need is an escape into the mountains.  Or, in this case, the cliffs of the gorge.

 

This weekend was kind of rough, starting out… we knew that we wanted to go on some sort of adventure, but couldn’t decide what to do or where to go.  The mountains of the Pacific Northwest had gotten hit pretty hard the previous week with snow, so all the major peaks were under avalanche warning – those weren’t an option.  Long drives were possible… but we honestly couldn’t see ourselves sitting in the car for four hours after the craziness of the week.

We ended up cutting ourselves some slack, and taking it easy: The Columbia River Gorge is right in our back yard, after all, so why not take advantage of that?  Especially when it’s being blanketed in a new coat of light snow!

 

We packed the night before, poured a thermos of coffee that morning, and drove in.

Honestly, there’s not much to say about the hike.  It was simple, it was beautiful, and it was easy.  It was, with all of those, exactly what we needed.  A chance to get into the woods, to feel the wind and the snow, and to enjoy the stillness of the winter air.  Or, the stillness of the air being broken by the sound of Ollie sprinting up and down the trail, loving every second of being able to play in the snow.

It was a good hike.

 

Hiking Cape Horn. In the rain. Hiking stupid cape stupid.

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Sunday, 07-October-2018

I didn’t like Cape Horn. Sarah didn’t like Cape Horn. Ollie loved Cape Horn, but also hated Cape Horn.

It was long, not super pretty, near the highway, it was raining, and Ben and Sarah wouldn’t let Ollie jump off the 100+ft cliff. Jerks. There was a Snickers bar halfway down. Ollie’s confident she could have gotten it.

Honestly, it wasn’t that bad. I think we were just kind of worn down from the week before, and we definitely weren’t super energetic about the whole situation. Also, we ate Burger King for breakfast. Also Starbucks. We ate two fast food breakfasts. Around 10:00. So… Brunch. We made poor life decisions.

Those decisions, regarding food, definitely didn’t help us power through the hike. But power through we did, crushing the miles and switchbacks. We went fairly slowly, to be fair, but we did keep going. That’s the key, right? Showing up and giving it your best, day in and day out?

Ollie… Ollie didn’t go slowly. She zoomed. Nonstop.

The viewpoint came, and the viewpoint went. The views were honestly lovely and amazing, but they weren’t quite enough to redeem the hike for us. They were great, yeah, but we’d lived in Hood River for a year, two for me. I’d somehow gotten almost immune to the views? Or the rainy mist was getting to me, one or the other.

Something that was amazing?

Sandwiches while watching a barge maneuver around the shallows. We’ve been rocking the baguette sandwiches recently – prosciutto, brie, and apple slices on a fresh sea salt and rosemary baguette. No mist or slimy trail could beat that kind of sandwich!

We hiked it. A little over seven miles. Up and down and around. Some good views, some good food, lots of switchbacks. Ehh. I know we’ll appreciate it later in the week, when we’re all strong, but for now… Ehh. We got out of the house and got moving.

And sometimes that’s enough of a victory in itself.

Hiking Coyote Wall, in the Fall

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Sunday, 16-Sept-2018

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 🙂