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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Hamilton With the Hubby

I can probably count on one hand the number of times this past year my hubby has accompanied me on a hike.  He's a die-hard fisherman, his off-time filled with trips to the river chasing the elusive salmon.  But every once and awhile I can get him to join me for a ramble.


This way to the summit!

My friends Young and John had invited me to a post-hike beer fest in the gorge town of Stevenson, WA.  They planned to hike Table Mountain, a very strenuous climb with over 3000 feet of elevation gain.  My foot wasn't quite up for that, so I decided to visit nearby Hamilton Mountain instead.


Looking down from Rodney Falls

I had to do a little convincing to get Roger to come along, but the promise of cold beer afterwards sealed the deal.


Crossing the bridge

Hamilton Mountain is one of my go-to Gorge hikes.  Located on the Gorge's Washington side, once across the Bridge of the Gods, it's just a short jaunt down Hwy 14.  An eight mile loop climbs 2000 feet to tremendous views.  A perfect trek for this lovely spring day.


Oregon Grape (in Washington)

The Hamilton Trail has a little bit of everything.  Lovely mossy forests, waterfalls, birds-eye Gorge views, wildflowers, and a charming creek.  From the trailhead, it's a quick 1-mile jaunt to Rodney Falls, a unique 50-foot cascade that emerges from an enormous rock cavern.  A long, sturdy bridge crosses the waterfall's base, getting visitors close enough to feel it's spray.


First grand Gorge view

Once past Rodney Falls, the climbing began..  Roger and I switchbacked through thick forest, occasionally rewarded with a glimpse of the mighty Columbia River, getting farther below every time.


Peek-a-boo through rock crack

Since January, my hubby has been hitting the gym in earnest.  By early April, he'd lost a total of 21 pounds.  The payoff from these tough workouts was very evident as Roger quickly left me in the dust.  I swear someone strapped a jet pack on him!


Tall cliffs at midpoint

About halfway up the mountain, the forest opens up and our trail passed by an amazing viewpoint.  Steep cliffs dropped nearly vertically.  The panorama of forest and river below was truly jaw-dropping. 


Expansive view from the cliffs

Here's what our viewed looked like.  Not bad, eh?  A little reward for all that tough climbing!


Larkspur

Unfortunately, our climb wasn't finished yet.  Nearly a mile of switchbacks still awaited us.  Ugh!  I puffed along, watching my hubby practically gallop up the trail.  Luckily, there were lots of pretty flowers to distract me (and give me an excuse to take a photo **ahem*** rest breaks).


At the summit proper

But all that uphill trudging finally paid off as I puffed the final yards to the summit proper.  Although the trail provides many great vistas, Hamilton's summit is sort of overgrown.  You have to look over the tall bushes to get your views.  No matter, we'd made it.  Roger and I found a bare spot to sit and enjoy our lunch.


Trillium

Instead of returning on the same trail, I always turn a hike up Hamilton Mountain into a loop.  Some of the best views are along a high saddle directly north of the summit.  After finishing our lunch, that's where Roger and I headed.


Roger tries to photograph some flowers

Prior to reaching the saddle, we passed through some second-growth woods teeming with wildflowers.  The colorful displays even enticed my hubby enough to stop and take pictures!


Red Currant (I think!)

There were lots of these red, flowery bushes, that I think are currant.....you readers can correct me, if I'm wrong.


Columbia River and Gorge from the saddle

And then we popped out onto the wide-open ridgeline of the saddle.  It's here you'll find the best views of the entire hike.


Looking back across the saddle

We could see across the Columbia to the Oregon side of the Gorge.  I spotted mighty Bonneville Dam, spanning the entire river.  And Table Mountain dominated the eastern skyline.  We waved to Young and John somewhere on it's slopes.


Trail sign fun

Then, from the saddle, a mix of trail and old roads took us downhill to charming Hardy Creek.


Wandering through the woods

One final trail led us along this creek, through gorgeous woods.


Salmonberry

Filled with more lovely spring wildflowers.


Bleeding Hearts

Finally, we ended up re-joining our original trail near Rodney Falls. Crossing under it's mighty cascade, I took advantage of good afternoon light to get a decent photo.


Rodney Falls in better light

By the last mile, my foot was beginning to ache, and I was quite ready for a cold brew.  The trail roller-coastered a bit until finally settling on a constant downhill grade.  A clearing for huge powerlines offered a final glimpse of the mountain we'd just conquered.  Fabulous late afternoon light filled the sky, and it was too tempting not to get some final shots.


Last expansive view before the trailhead

Although my uber-fit hubby spent most of his time way ahead of me, I still enjoyed having him along on a hike.  And now it was time to reap the rewards of our day's exertions. 

Bring on the beer!


Sharing with:  Wednesday Around the World and Our World Tuesday.

29 comments:

  1. Linda, I love walking in places like this!!! Your photos are amazing, brilliant and captivating!

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  2. Looks like you had a wonderful hike. Lots of beautiful views and wonderful flowers. A cold beer sounds like a perfect way to end the day.

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  3. A great tour with beautiful pictures.

    Greetings - Monika

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  4. You find the coolest places to hike.. Wow!
    Loved the views and all the wildflowers.
    And congrats to Roger!

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  5. Great hike up Hamilton Mtn. Thanks for taking us along !

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  6. Wow, Linda the views are just stunning.. You do find some lovely places for your hikes.. The wildflowers are all beautiful too. Thanks for taking me along the easy way with your beautiful photos.. Have a happy Thursday!

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  7. What an amazing way to spend the day! Beautiful photos.

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  8. Now that looks like a fabulous hike, and it looks like summer! Glad you got Roger out on the trail. Getting my wife out of her sewing studio is equally rare!

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  9. Some lovely pictures of flowers. Glad you enjoy the hiking.

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  10. That's a great hike, Linda. I sure would like to take it, and I will if I ever get down that way. Great pictures! :-)

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  11. Gotta love those photo stops for a rest!

    My hubby doesn't like really long hikes...yet he is always well in front of me, he's got strength and stamina and could go for miles and miles if he had to. I'm the one who likes distance.

    But this 8 miles falls under our "keep it under 10 miles" general rule. I'm pinning this one for future reference, it's a beauty. We may just be in that area next summer.

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  12. Amazing the power of beer! :) Just love the wildflowers! And the views!!

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  13. You both deserved a beer after that amazing hike Linda. What amazing views and I thank you so much for sharing all that beauty with us.

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  14. What a great hike! You will have to take all your readers fishing with Roger someday! Those flowers are so very pretty! Salmonberry especially...wow! I like Rogers shirt even if I don't watch football:)

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  15. I enjoyed reading about your adventurous outing with your hubby.Gorgeous pictures and info.

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  16. Gorgeous pictures of gorgeous country! Tom The Backroads Traveller

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  17. Linda this was awesome. It was nice to see your hubby along with you on this hike. The views of the Columbia River here were outstanding and the wild flowers were so pretty. I really enjoyed this post. Makes me wish I were younger and could hike like you do.

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  18. Beautiful! I love this part of the gorge. And good for your husband for his exercise and weight loss goals.

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  19. Oh wow these are super beautiful views...breathtaking actually. If we live close by, I guess I'll buddy up with you guys. I love mountains.

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  20. LOVE THAT SHOT looking down on the bridge from Rodney falls, and of course all of the scenery is amazing. Looks as if your husband had a good time too!

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  21. another fabulous series of gorgeous images. such beautiful scenery you have in Oregon.

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  22. My husband doesn't hike with me often so it's great when he does. Looks like another great day!

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  23. Nice series- lovely flowers and neat bridge

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  24. Hi! It'S very nice to go hiking with your husband. Mountain scenes and wild flowers are very beautiful. I hope you will able to go to the Table Mountain in near future.. THanks for sharing.

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  25. What a great hike - hopefully it will be hiking season here soon and I can start heading up in elevation!

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  26. Beautiful photos and so nice to see Roger on the trail with you.

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  27. Dearest Linda; How fabulous it must have been to walk the 'The Hamilton Trail' I always LOVE to see your wonderful trip♡♡♡ Love the pictures of pretty flowers as well(^_^)v
    Sending Lots of Love and Hugs from Japan to my Dear friend in America, xoxo Miyako*

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  28. What wondrous views and flowers! My hubby likes to take the occasional photo but he never looks at them after they are uploaded.

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