Indian Point Loop Trail

Evergreen Hiker

Challenging your lungs in a tug-a-war with your legs, the Indian Point Loop Trail leads up into the high cliffs of the Columbia River Gorge for spectacular views worth the battle.

From Indian Point – an outcropping of rocks along a rocky ridge – enjoy 180-degree views of the Columbia River as well as the Washington bank and the tree-lined slopes of the neighboring cliffs. I unfortunately did this hike on a cloudy day, but even in the fog the site was pretty spectacular and every once in a while the dense white cloud layer would swirl away for peak-a-boo views of the river below.

Indian Point

Too see these sweeping panoramas though, be prepared to climb! The first four miles of this hike is all up hill. Gaining 2800 feet, this hike isn’t for those looking for a fast up and down half-day hike – unless you are the Speedy Gonzales…

View original post 558 more words

Cape Horn Loop Hike

Evergreen Hiker

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.”  ~Kahlil Gibran

Cape Horn hike viewpoint

With high cliff views of the Columbia River Gorge from the Washington side, the Cape Horn Loop Trail is a 6.8 mile loop that meanders through the woods to pop out points with wide open views of the river. Maintained by an active trail association, the Cape Horn loop is clean and clear making it a popular hike for outdoor lovers of all ages.

The lower portion of the Cape Horn trail is closed annually from February 1-July 15 to protect sensitive Peregrine Falcon habitat, so if you visit during this time frame make sure to save time to return on the trail to the parking lot.

Getting there: From Portland take I-5 or I-205 north to WA SR-14 east to milepost 26, turn left on Salmon…

View original post 16 more words

Top 10 Northwest Snowshoe Areas

Evergreen Hiker

When the snow starts to fall and you just can’t stand being cooped up any longer, head out hiking. Grab a friend, some poles and a pair of snowshoes and try one of these fun snowshoe trails around the Pacific Northwest. You might just bump into me this winter!

Oregon

Tumalo Mountain, Bend

A 4-mile trail leading up the side of the mountain, this trail offers amazing views of Mt. Bachelor and the Three Sisters from its peak. While its hard to get lost on Tumalo Mountain’s flanks, be wary that there is no visible trail in the winter. Located off Cascade Lakes Highway across from Mt. Bachelor at Dutchman Flat Sno-Park.
View from Tumalo Mountain

Gold Lake

An idea hub for winter adventures, Gold Lake offers scenic trails for all ages. Travel around the lake from hut-to-hut and and enjoy the area’s varied trails. Good for beginners to advanced snowshoers and Nordic skiers…

View original post 413 more words

Everest or Bust!

Evergreen Hiker

In 2 months and 22 days, I will be set out on the adventure of a lifetime.

With two strong feet forward, I am going to trek to Everest Base Camp with Ace the Himalayas and my best friend. A 16-day round trip, we will hike the 40 miles to the highest mountain in the world (from Lukia to Everest BC) and enjoy daily visits to cultural sites, traditional villages and tea houses. Walking alongside mountaineers heading up for their attempt at the summit, the experience I imagine will be surreal and breathtaking – literally and figuratively.

I’m not yet sure where else this trip will take me, but I do know for sure that it represents a new direction and new path for my life. I will be leaving behind my job, my apartment and my comfort zone in Portland, Oregon and setting forth on the trail.

“It is not…

View original post 31 more words

A Fiery Fall on the Eagle Creek Trail

As cool weather settles into Oregon and fog hangs on the banks for the Columbia River Gorge, the Eagle Creek Trail illuminates in the fiery tones of fall. Following its colorful path – especially against the evergreen backdrop and contrasting grey sky – I savored and soaked in the mists of the new hiking season.

Eagle Creek

This recreation area featuring several routes of various lengths is a popular hiking spot for locals all summer long. However, once the crowds hunker down inside for Oregon’s rainy season, the true beauty of this trail unwraps.

With springs of water showering down, the trail follows the rugged cliff banks of Eagle Creek past several beautiful waterfalls. Perfect for all ages and abilities (unless you’re afraid of heights), this trail remains relatively flat as it weaves along the cascading river.

Lower Punch Bowl Falls

The first few miles of the trail lead hikers past Metlako Falls, Punchbowl Falls and Loowit Falls to High Bridge. Crossing the deep cut Gorge, the bridge serves up views of the sheer, carving power of water.

Punch Bowl Falls

With leaves of crimson and yellow lining the path through the lush rainforest, six miles into the hike, the trail reaches Tunnel Falls. About midway up the span of the waterfall, a passageway is carved behind the tumbling water. Created in 1910, the tunnel transports hikers along the amphitheater of cliffs for more spectacular view of this amazing water.

Tunnel Falls

Tunnel Falls

To complete the hike to Tunnel Falls (with time for photography stops) give yourself at least 2.5-3 hours each way. If you do go in the fall or winter, be prepared with a good rain coat and backpack cover because even if it is not raining from the sky, the cliffs spray down plenty of water to get you equally as wet.

Driving directions:

Follow I-84 for 45 minutes east from Portland to exit #41. At the bottom of the ramp turn right on Eagle Creek Lane. Go about 1/2 mile to the end of the road to park at the trail head.

Saddle Mountain Hike

Located just a few miles off of highway 26 near Seaside, Oregon this spectacular hike takes you high into the coastal range – 3,283 feet to be exact for views of the ocean, mountains, Columbia River and surrounding forests. A 5.5 mile round trip hike, the walk up Saddle Mountain is steep at times with grated fencing underfoot to help retain the trail and your footing, but the views just get better and better as you climb.This is a great half-day hike, especially if the coast Gods grace you with a clear sky.

Along for the ride, my nephew came with us on his first hike ever! He didn’t make it quiet to the top with his parents, but for a 13 month old, he is a tough kiddo.

Escape the sand or city with your family to walk this trail together!

Here are more photos from the hike:

View from half way up

View from half way up!

Standing on the edge

Me standing on the edge of one of the trails.

Last pitch of Saddle Mountain

Last section of the hike and by far the steepest!

Summiting the South Sister

Climbing the last stretch, a mile straight up through red-brown silt and gravel, I kept my eyes on the peak ahead. The blue sky over the rounded bulge summit at 10,358 feet beckoning me like a turquoise pendant. Reaching the top of this mountain however, awarded me with a hiking high better than any jewels could offer.

Hitting the trail, I completed the first hike of my “10 hikes in 10 years” plan by summiting the South Sister in central Oregon. The third largest mountain in Oregon and the highest of the three sisters, the South Sister is one of few climbs of its size in the state that doesn’t require technical equipment. A 12-mile round trip trail leads from the base of the valley at Devils Lake up the mountain plains then finally along a rocky ridge to the mountain’s summit. Continue reading

Gluten-Free Hiking

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were the staple food of my childhood. Anyone else? From the playground to hiking trails, the sticky-sandwiches were Ziplocked and stashed in my pack on an almost daily basis.

So you can feel my despair, when all of a sudden…no more PB&J. It’s the Gluten-Free (well, almost GF) life for me now. So here are three of my favorite gluten-free hiking snack alternatives to keep you feeling like that energizer-bunny, school kid on every mile.

Recipe for a good hiking snack:

  • packed with protein and calories
  • light weight to carry
  • doesn’t need to be refrigerated

Trail Mix

Try making your own! It’s cheaper, plus then you don’t have to pick out all the ingredients you don’t like. I enjoy a simple mixture of raw almonds with white raisins and chocolate chips.

trail mix

Rice cakes with peanut butter

Slap two of these together and enjoy almost like a real PB&J! If you want to mix it up more, try the apple cinnamon cakes with almond butter or nutella.

Apr:11

Home made granola bars

These are way cheaper than the prepackaged snacks and customizable to be gluten-free – just make sure to use GF rolled oats. I like adding sunflower seeds, toasted almonds, white chocolate chips and coconut to my creations. Just bake and wrap in plastic to make it to-go friendly. Here’s a tasty recipe!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

What is your favorite treat to bring hiking?

*Always check package descriptions and ingredients when buying gluten-free snacks.

Cooling off Along the Waters of the Columbia River Gorge

Headin east from Portland along highway 84, we raced the rising summer sun. Warming from the tip-top cliffs of the river valley down to the curving road that hugs the waters’ shore, the sun kissed the Columbia River Gorge as we set off on a day-long adventure.

Following the Historic Columbia River Highway (highway 30), from just east of Troutdale, we dotted our way slowly along the winding road in search of the scenic byway’s many waterfalls – and boy did we discover our fair share of tumbling water!

The drive started with a quick stop at the Portland Women’s Forum State Scenic Viewpoint to take in the dramatic landscape from the mouth of this scenic byway. From here we could see the jagged cliffs of the Gorge, the shimmering blue river and our second stop, Crown Point Vista House, an octagonal shaped observatory built in 1916.

Columbia River Gorge

Escaping deeper along the highway, we rounded the corner to our first waterfall, Latourell Falls. Located within Guy W. Talbot State Park, this thin stream of water left both our mouths hanging open in awe. Plunging 224-feet from a wall of basalt, the white water impressively contrasted with the dark rock and neon green lichen that highlighted its face.

Latourell Falls

From here we continued along highway 30 to Shepperd’s Dell Falls. A series of trickling plateau, this grouping of falls took you down below the highway to catch some cool spray before hopping back in the car to take off to Bridal Veil Falls. Elegantly streaming like a wedding veil in two separate falls, this waterfall gushes with glory before it descends into the Columbia River.

Bridal Veil Falls

Next up, cascading also in two folds, Wahkeena Falls steps down 242-feet through a crack in two rock outcroppings surrounded by the forest’s lush greenery – making it quite the sight. Originally known as Gordon Falls, this waterfall was re-birthed Wahkeena – meaning “most-beautiful” in Yakima Indian – in 1915 with the completion of the highway.

Wahkeena Falls
Following the dirt trail from Wahkeena Falls for a half-mile, we finally made it to the granddaddy of waterfalls along the Columbia River Scenic Highway, Multnomah Falls. Oregon’s tallest waterfall, Multnomah cascades 620-feet in total and is fed by natural underground springs that originate at Larch Mountain. Spanning over the second fall, Benson Bridge offers visitors a unique viewpoint of the upper falls in all its glory.

Multnomah Falls
But the fun didn’t end there! Before taking the westward journey back to Portland, we cruised down the end of the scenic highway past Horsetail Falls and finally ended the day exploring the mouth of Oneonta Gorge (can’t wait to return and do this whole hike – looks epic!) as the sun started to fall in the sky.

Have you ever driven this scenic highway? What is your favorite waterfall along the route?