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…

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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…

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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…

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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.

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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.

Worldwide Recess Day: #Take10

Who else agrees that recess was one of the best things about elementary school? From the monkey bars to tether ball, it was all about getting outside, burning off some excess energy and having fun!

Now that I work inside all day…plus some of the night, taking a ten minute break can be hard to come by – but even more important for staying healthy. So as part of Keen’s Recess is Back program, I challenge you to take a 10 minute break on September 14th to get outside! Whether you walk to the Starbucks ten blocks away instead of the one around the corner or you go for a short run – or you could even play office hopscotch – just do something, anything…come’on its RECESS!

So how about it? Who wants to play today?

Recess Day Keen

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?

Hiking the Seclusive Siuslaw National Forest: Kentucky Falls

After two failed attempts to find Kentucky Falls, I finally made it to this beautiful forested hike deep in the Siuslaw National Forest. Featuring three tumbling waterfalls, the Kentucky Falls trail is a fantastic 4-mile half-day hike that follows a bubbling creek through the shade of lush trees. An out and back trail that starts with a steady downhill climb, the hikes showcases some of Oregon’s best cascading water. (One more Bucket List hike checked off!) Continue reading