Tag Archives: Columbia River Gorge

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 🙂

June 10th, 2018. Going back into the Columbia River Gorge

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Saturday, 10-June-2018

 

It’s been a while since we’ve been in the Gorge.  I mean, technically we’ve been there a lot, since the Thousand Acres dog park is just barely within the limits, but I’m not counting that right now because I don’t want to.

ANYWAYS.

We drove out to the Gorge!

It wasn’t a perfectly sunny day, but I’m being honest when I say that the rain clouds actually added to the beauty of the drive.  Sunny is all well and good, but the dappled sunlight and rolling clouds really made the drive seem… epic?  Adventurous?  Rough and tumble?  I’m not sure which words to use, but suffice to say that it was really pretty.

 

Our goal way to check out Vista House, via the Portland Women’s Forum view point.  We hadn’t originally planned on seeing the View Point, but that’s part of a fun scenic drive, right?  Stopping randomly to see the sights?  It was excellent, and a really great view of both the gorge and Vista House itself.  And Ollie got to stand on a water fountain.  So… there’s that, which is pretty fun.

Vista House itself was not quite what I expected, but it still exceeded expectations anyways.  For one reason or another, I was expecting an actual House, sort of like an Inn?  Or maybe a Frank Lloyd Wright building?  Instead, it mostly reminded me of a tomb.  Which isn’t really the goal, I would assume, but hey.  It is what it is, and this was a small marble building, designed as a circle with a vaulted ceiling.  And I was just in Rome, where there’s a bajillion of those all dedicated to dead people.  So.  You know.  Expectations.

So the adventure was excellent.  Simple, straight forward, and enjoyable.  Exactly what we needed on a rainy Sunday.

Henry’s Visit – climbing Rooster Rock

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Henry’s Visit – climbing Rooster Rock

Saturday, 12-August-2017

 

Sarah’s brother came to visit!

I’d met Henry before, but this was going to be the first time that we got to spend time together her in Oregon – Henry was out for a conference, but had scheduled some extra time to hang out and go on some adventures with us.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to spend the whole time hanging out, as I had to fly back home for an unexpected funeral, but we were able to get a few adventures in before he flew back to Australia…

 

One of our goals for Henry’s visit was to take him rock climbing outdoors – we did some climbing while visiting Scotland for Christmas, but that was inside, and only on top rope… From what I remember, Henry’s never actually been climbing outside, or done any multi-pitch climbing.  We had to remedy that.

Instead of trying for a huge climb, we decided to take it a bit easy… I was still a little hesitant with my knee, so combining that with the fact that Henry didn’t have any climbing shoes led us to a short few pitches at the entrance of the gorge: Rooster Rock.

The climb went lovely!  Henry enjoyed himself, and got a chance to get some really good pictures from the top of the spire.

 

I… I don’t know what else to write.  Climb good.  Views good.  Adventure good.  Rappel down good.  Walk back to car, drive home, eat dinner.  Good.