2021 Hiking Challenge

I enjoyed documenting all my hikes for the past two years, so decided to continue this tradition for a third year.  However, for 2021 I've decided not to aim for a certain number of hikes and instead will simply see how many I complete for the year.  (I briefly thought about trying for 100 hikes, but really don't want that kind of pressure)  However, I did establish a few goals for the coming year:


  • 30 new PCT miles for 2021
  • 5 backpacking trips (a goal I didn't accomplish in 2020, I'm gonna try again)
  • 25% of my hikes must be on "new to me" trails
  • One hike must be a long (16+ mile) dayhike
  • One hike must be a high elevation gain (4000 feet plus) dayhike
  • Capture a creative selfie for each hike and post it on this page
  • And.....I'm gonna hike the Hardy Ridge trail once every month of 2021! 


So once again, follow along and see how I do! 



Hike No. 1 - 1/9/21 - Hardy Ridge with side trip to Hardy Bridge Trail, Columbia River Gorge,Washington.  Starting the year out with an old favorite.  This close-to-town trail boasts fantastic Gorge panoramas and is wonderful year-round.  Today I encountered strong winds and ice on the ridge but persevered and was treated to some amazing views of a snow-covered Mt Hood.  Mt Adams and the tip of Mt Rainier were also visible.  Wonderful to get out and enjoy the sunshine.  10.3 miles, 2900 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 2 - 1/16/21 - Coyote Wall, Columbia River Gorge, Washington.  I left the house early hoping to catch a spectacular sunrise from the top of Coyote Wall.  Instead it was another foggy fail.  But the early bird gets the trails to herself and I enjoyed a mostly crowd-free hike.  5.7 miles, 1650 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 3 - 1/20/21 - Frog Lake, Frog Lake Buttes, Lower Twin Lake.  After hiking this loop last year, I'd been wanting a revisit.  Unfortunately the lack of snow for the past two weeks, and torrential rainfall has reduced the trail to an icy ribbon.  Left my snowshoes in the car, microspikes were today's traction device of choice.  Survived the very steep climb up Frog Lake Buttes, and after searching around for the viewpoint, finally followed some snowmobile tracks to an awesome overlook with Mt Hood front and center  Finished up by visiting my favorite gray jays at Lower Twin Lake.  Good day in the woods!  9 miles, 1900 feet elevation gain. 


Hike No. 4 - 1/29/21 - Multnomah-Wahkeena Loop, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.  Today I chose an old favorite.  This scenic loop trail never fails to disappoint and is wonderful year-round.  After trudging uphill past a foggy Multnomah Falls I climbed until hitting scattered snow at the Wahkeena junction.  After a nice lunch break at lovely Wahkeena Spring, I zig-zagged back down the Wahkeena Trail.  6.2 miles, 1650 feet elevation gain.


Hike No. 5 - 1/30/21 - Wilson River Trail, Jones Creek Trailhead to about 3 miles west, Oregon Coast Range.  Hubby and I tried to beat the afternoon's forecasted rain with a quick hike on the Wilson River Trail.  I forgot how beautiful this trail can be - the bare moss-covered trees are incredible!  And the blue-gray waters of the Wilson River are lovely too.  We spotted several steelhead fisherman on the banks.  A good morning's trek, and hubby got his steps in for the day!  6.7 miles, 800 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 6 - 2/2/21 - Tamanawas Falls, Mt Hood National Forest.  I'd been wanting to photograph this lovely waterfall in the snow.  Although the day's forecast looked promising the trail was nothing but an icy ribbon - no new snow to be found.  And the morning light was awful for photography.  So I had to settle for a photo of Cold Spring Creek instead.  Still it was a beautiful hike!  3.8 miles, 750 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 7 - 2/2/ 21 - Wahclella Falls, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.  Today was a waterfall two-fer!  Since these are separate trails, I'm counting them as separate hikes.  This was my first visit post-Eagle Creek fire, and I was happy to see minimal fire damage.  The mossy trees lining lovely Tanner Creek are always a delight to see.  Got caught in a downpour and briefly lost my lens hood, before I grabbed a long stick and fished it out of the crevice it had fallen into.  Just a baby hike - 2 miles, 380 feet elevation gain - but it packs a lot of scenery.

Hike No. 8 - 2/5/21 - Gales Creek Trail to Storey Burn Trail loop, Oregon Coast Range.  How much do I love this trail?  Well, today's trek was a third time in 9 months!  A wonderful rain-free winter's day with my friends Debbie and Barry.  I haven't found a month I don't like in the Coast Range, and winter with it's green mossy trees and leaf-free vistas is just as nice as any of the other seasons.  The only downside to today's adventure was accidentally stepping in in a huge pile of poo and getting some of it on my backpack - which made for an icky clean up once I got home.  (People, pick up after your dogs!!)  8.5 miles, 1700 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 9 - 2/24/21 - Mirror Lake snowshoe, Mt Hood National Forest.  A sunny day was forecast for the mountain, so I rose early to beat the crowds to this very popular trail.  This paid off as I was the first hiker that day!  This gave me the honor of breaking trail through lovely fresh, powdery snow.  I was the only one at Mirror Lake the entire time so got plenty of opportunities for photo ops of Mt Hood against the newly-fallen snow.   4.8 miles, 800 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 10 - 2/27/21 - Hardy Ridge, Columbia River Gorge, Washington.  Today's hike was supposed to be the February edition of my monthly Hardy Ridge hiking goal.  However, hubby and I were met with the leftovers from a huge snowstorm that hit the Gorge two weeks ago.  We made it 2.5 miles wading through deep, wet, slushy snow before we both cried uncle and turned around.  Still it was a nice day to be outside, and it was fun to see one of my favorite trails covered in snow.  I even made a tiny snowman!  5 miles, 1200 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 11 - 2/28/21 - Ski up from Timberline Lodge to Silcox Hut, Mt Hood.  My friend Catherine wanted to try out the new climbing skins for her skis, so I took her up to Timberline Lodge and we skinned up to the top of the Magic Mile Chairlift.  Although we could've climbed further, poor snow conditions dictated an early turn around.  Still we logged 2.5 miles and 1000 feet of climbing on a beautiful sunny winter's day.

Hike No. 12 - 3/2/21 - Tilly Jane Ski Trail, Mt Hood.  I took advantage of a sunny midweek day to tackle one of my favorite ski tours.  Although Mt Hood was partially obscured by clouds most of the time, I enjoyed lovely blue skies and soft snow.  And I survived the climb to the A-frame cabin!  6 miles, 2000 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 13 - 3/7/21 - Edison Snopark Snowshoe Trail to Edison Shelter, near Bend Oregon.  While vacationing in Central Oregon, I talked my good friend Kim into trying a snowshoe trip.  In my comings and goings to Mt Bachelor I'd passed by the Edison Snopark many times and decided to check out it's trails.  My brother Dale also joined in the fun on this sunny Sunday.  The trails were well marked and wandered through beautiful Ponderosa Pine forests.  We trekked to a small wooden shelter for a quick snack break and then followed the short snowshoe loop trail back to our car.  3.2 miles, 500 feet elevation gain, and I think I may have hooked Kim on snowshoeing!

Hike No. 14 - 3/12/21 - Labyrinth Trail to Catherine Creek then to Little Maui Trail, Columbia River Gorge, Washington.  I've hiked many trails in both the Coyote Wall and Catherine Creek areas.  But I'd never explored the Labyrinth Trail located smack dab in the middle.  So I did a huge exploratory loop, going up the wonderful Labyrinth Trail then east on Atwood Road to the first Catherine Creek trail junction (where I'd hiked the previous year).  Then I turned around and headed in the opposite direction to the Old Ranch Road and Little Maui Trails.  Grass widows were blooming everywhere and they were so pretty!  I was a half mile from finishing my hike when I took a bad fall and hurt my left wrist.  Luckily urgent care confirmed it was only a bad bruise!  That didn't lessen my enjoyment of this hike.  Amazing sunny day in the Gorge - 8.75 miles, 1800 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 15 - 3/15/21 - Pinnacles Trail, Cottonwood Canyon State Park, Oregon.  I've been wanting to visit this relatively new state park in north central Oregon and finally got my chance!  This trail followed the north bank of the John Day River past tall basalt cliffs.  The barren, dry, sagebrushy landscape was so different from the lush forests near Portland.  It was an extremely windy and cloudy day so light wasn't great for photography.  But I enjoyed the hike, even though the last mile of the trail was closed for eagle nesting season.  7 miles, 300 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 16 - 3/16/21 - Lost Corral Trail, Cottonwood Canyon State Park, Oregon.  Today I explored the south banks of the John Day River via this scenic trail.  More towering cliffs, brushy flats, and rocky tread.  The middle portion of the trail was extremely scenic, featuring expansive river views.  The sun finally came out and I hiked in a t-shirt for the first time this year!  9.4 miles, 450 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 17 - 3/17/21 - Hard Stone Trail from Lone Tree Campground, Cottonwood Canyon State Park, Oregon.  Hike No. 17 on the 17th!  :)  For my final day I took an early morning stroll from the campground down this beautiful trail, again following the John Day River.  This was my favorite trail so far at Cottonwood Canyon.  The scenery was absolutely stunning.  5 miles (from campground), probably 200 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 18 - 3/20/21 - Elk Creek Trail, Oregon Coast Range.  I'd hiked a portion of this trail last May after a 7-week hiking hiatus.  Out of shape, I'd pooped out before the junction with the Elk Mountain Trail.  So today I recruited hubby to join me for a rematch.  Lots of greens - moss, lichen and ferns lined the forest for the first two miles.  However, the last mile was a snowy slog through nearly a foot of sloppy white stuff (Hubby commented, "Why are all my hikes with you in the snow?").  But I persevered and this time made it to my destination (and have the photo to prove it!)  8 miles, 2000 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 19 - 3/23/21 - White River Snopark and Frog Lake, Mt Hood National Forest, Oregon.  I decided to combine these two short snowshoe treks into one entry.  Cheri and I caught sunrise at White River Snopark and then snowshoed about a mile along the river to capture some lovely morning light on Mt Hood.  We then drove up the highway and snowshoed another mile into Frog Lake in hopes of catching another Hood view.  Sadly, by then the mountain had been obscured by clouds.  But the sunny weather and new snowfall made for a beautiful outing.  4 miles, not much elevation gain.

Cheri took this fantastic photo of me!

Hike No. 20 - 3/27/21 - Klickitat Rail Trail via Swale Canyon, Washington.  I'd read many trip reports about this hike in Washington's extreme eastern Gorge.  Curiosity got the best of me and I made the long, 2-hour drive to the trailhead to check it out.  I started at the Harms Road trailhead and hiked west.  The trail follows an old rail bed along Swale Creek through a very scenic canyon.  The old railroad trestles have been restored and crossing a couple of these long, curving bridges was a highlight.  Desert parsley was in bloom and although I heard tons of meadowlarks, I couldn't get a photo of any.  Had the trail to myself the first half of the hike, but met with lots of hikers and bikers on the return trip.  A lovely sunny (although windy) day!  12.3 miles, 600 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 21 - 4/7/21 - Memaloose Hills and Rowena Plateau, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.  It's spring wildflower time once again!  After being denied last year, I was bound and determined to make up for 2020's lost season.  After catching sunrise at Memaloose Overlook, I wandered around nearby Rowena Plateau, snapping pics of blooming balsamroot.  Then I returned to the Memaloose trailhead to bag Chatfield and Marsh Hills.  Balsamroot was especially prolific on Chatfield Hill and lupine was just beginning to bloom.  Super windy but wonderful day in the flower-filled gorge!  6 miles total between the two hikes, 400 feet elevation gain.

(No flowers were harmed in the creation of this image)

Hike No. 22 - 4/13/21 - Misery Ridge Trail, Smith Rock State Park, Oregon.  I was in Central Oregon for a week of skiing, however an extremely windy forecast on the mountain forced me to make alternate plans for the day.  Lucky for me, Central Oregon has a plethora of wonderful places to hike.  After photographing an eagles nest (with babies!) in the early morning, I headed up Misery Ridge to take in the stunning scenery.  I was almost blown off the trail on my descent, but held things together and returned to my car in one piece.  5 miles (including a bit of the rim trail) and 800 feet elevation gain.

Just me and the Monkey Face!

Hike No. 23 - 4/19/21 - Dalles Mountain Ranch Loop, Columbia Hills State Park, Washington.  The flowers were out in force, and I wasn't about to miss this year's show.  I'd hiked part of this loop early last March, way before the spring bloom, so I really wanted to see this trail decked out in wildflowers.  Let's just say I wasn't disappointed.  An amazing display of spring!   7 miles, 1200 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 24 - 4/21/21 - Sevenmile Hill, The Dalles, Oregon.  I'd heard that the SE slope of Sevenmile Hill had some dazzling wildflower displays, so decided to check things out for myself.  Today's hike was more of a route-finding exercise.  There's no developed trails on this parcel owned by the Forest Service so I had to pick my way uphill aided by a loosely described route lifted from the Oregonhikers website.  But - oh the wildflowers!  Yes, the rumors were true.  Balsamroot colored the slopes yellow.  Lupine put on an awfully nice show too.  Couldn't find the eastern fenceline for the loop hike, so ended up trekking cross country back to my original uphill route and following it down.  Was paranoid about picking up ticks, but it appears I dodged the bullet (so far anyway!)  4.6 miles, 1600 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 25 - 4/28/21 - Rowena Plateau, Memaloose Hills, Mosier Plateau, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.  Today's hike was a three-fer.  I took three short hikes on a balsamroot quest and lumped them together in one hike.  I caught sunrise on Rowena Crest, then joined Debbie and Barry for a trek up the Memaloose Hills.  We then drove over to nearby Mosier and hiked the short but steep path up to Mosier Plateau.  Lots of wildflowers still, but the balsamroot was definitely on it's way out.  Beautiful sunny day in the Gorge!  Total mileage - 8 miles 1600 feet elevation gain between the three hikes.

On Mosier Plateau

Hike No. 26 - 4/29/21 - Hardy Ridge, Columbia River Gorge Washington.  Well, I missed March's Hardy Ridge hike, so I really needed to get one in for April to keep with my monthly goal.  It was a unseasonably hot day (almost 80 degrees!) and my unacclimated body had a hard time with the toasty temps.  But wildflowers were blooming - bleeding hearts and yellow violets near the trailhead, and glacier lilies and trilliums on the ridge.  Happy to see the trail without snow - and those views from the ridge are always a treat.  9 miles, 2350 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 27 - 5/3/21 - Tom McCall Point, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.  While photographing on Rowena Plateau last week I looked longingly up at Tom McCall Point, but knew I didn't have time to hike the trail.  That's why I returned early this morning to catch sunrise and check out the wildflowers.  A windy morning, I moved fast to keep from getting chilled.  Clouds moved in soon after I arrived on top, so was thankful for my early start.  Even saw a doe and two fawns on my way up!  Flowers are still going strong.  3.8 miles, 1050 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 28 - 5/5/21 - Lakes Trail to South Coldwater Junction, Mt St Helens, Washington.  My plan was to get some wildlife shots while hiking around the north side of Coldwater Lake.  Instead the only wildlife I encountered was some Canadian Geese with goslings.  The elk herd that I've seen on this trail before was nowhere to be found.  Despite the lack of wildlife and incredibly strong winds, I had a nice trek.  Always love visiting MSH and it was cool to see the forest sporting brand-new greenery.  9.5 miles, 1600 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 29 - 5/11/21 - Valley Trail to Heceta Head with a side trip to Hobbit Beach, Oregon Coast.  While on a photography trip to the Central Oregon coast I slipped in a short hike one of the afternoons.  From my yurt at Carl Washburne State Park, I took the Valley Trail to Heceta Head Lighthouse.  Lots of climbing over multiple tree roots!  But the coastal forest was interesting, as they all are, and I even spotted several lovely wild irises in bloom.  I added on the 1/2 mile trek to Hobbit Beach, but high winds kept me from spending any time there.  6.5 miles, 1500 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 30 - 5/14/21 - Saddle Mountain, Oregon Coast Range.  It had been many years since I'd hiked this trail.  It's been closed for over a year due to COVID.  Known for amazing views and a dazzling spring wildflower displays, I decided it was time to reacquaint myself with Saddle Mountain.  It was a warm but lovely day and I spotted many early season bloomers.  Ate lunch on top with a trio of 70+ year old ladies that were most inspiring (they still ski, backpack, and are trying to visit all of the National Parks).  Another great day in the PNW!  5 miles, 2000 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 31 - 5/16/21 - Lower Salmon River Trail, Mt Hood NF, Oregon.  I'd been wanting to check out the wildflowers on this lovely romp through mossy old growth forests.  Don't know why I picked a weekend to do so, though.  Lots more people on the trail than I was used to.  (Weekday hiking has spoiled me already!)  We've had an extremely dry spring, and it was sad to see the normally green, lush and mossy forests looking dry and almost brown.  Only 5 miles and 400 feet of elevation gain today.

Hike No. 32 - 5/19/21 - Hardy Ridge, Columbia River Gorge, Washington.  Time for the May edition of my monthly Hardy Ridge hike.  This time Phlox Point lived up to it's name.  The phlox bloom was off-the-charts phenomenal!  It was a chilly, cloudy day with a couple of short-lived sprinkles and tiny hail thrown in.  Added on the Hardy Bridge Trail for a wee bit of extra mileage.  10.5 miles, 2800 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 33 - 5/22/21 - Nick Eaton Ridge and Gorton Creek Trail, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.  One of my favorite spring hikes, I recruited Catherine to join me for this quad-busting climb to a ridge high above the mighty Columbia.  It was great to reconnect with my friend, and the abundance of wildflowers was a lovely surprise.  8.7 miles, 3000 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 34 - 5/29/21 - Boundary Trail, Truman Trail to Loowit Junction, Mt St Helens, Washington.  I'd been wanting to get back to MSH for some wildlife photography.  After a mountain goat sighting on the cliffs below Johnston Ridge right off the bat, the only other wildlife I encountered were birds (lots of elk tracks and poop though).  But I did hike a "new to me" trail, the portion of the Truman Trail between the Boundary and Loowit Trails.  This route took me through the heart of the blast zone, with amazing views of Spirit Lake and close-ups of the MSH crater.  Luckily it was a windy day, otherwise this shadeless route would've been mighty toasty.  12.5 miles, 2300 feet elevation gain.

Loowit Trail junction

Hike No. 35 - 6/1/21 - Cape Falcon via Elks Flat Trail, Oregon Coast.  My son was in town and it's always been our tradition to go for a hike.  Unseasonably hot weather forced me to choose a trail at the cooler (I hoped!) Oregon coast.  I'd planned to hike Neakahnie Mountain, but unfortunately the trail was closed, so we instead headed the opposite direction towards Cape Falcon.  I discovered this amazing overlook off the Elks Flat Trail which was a great start to our hike.  The rest of the trek was mostly winding through muggy coastal forest, stepping over numerous  tree roots and wading through an extremely muddy section of the Cape Falcon Trail.  It was an unheard of 80-plus degrees on the coast making for a sweaty, uncomfortable return trip, especially on the steep uphill sections.  But we lived to tell the tale!  Wonderful day with my son - 7.5 miles, 1700 feet cumulative elevation gain.

Hike No. 36 - 6/3/21 - Kings Mountain, Oregon Coast Range.  From experience I know Kings Mountain puts on a good spring wildflower show around late May.  Today I huffed, puffed, and sweated to the top to check things out.  I'm happy to report the wildflower bloom was colorful and lovely!  Temps were a bit on the warm side, but I survived.  And I'm really enjoying this midweek hiking stuff - only saw a handful of other people the entire time.  5.3 miles, 2565 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 37 - 6/8/21 - Multnomah-Wahkeena Loop, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.  Visited this favorite Gorge loop hike with good friends Debbie and Barry.  Although I usually avoid the Gorge during summer months, crowds weren't too bad and bonus - I discovered a plethora of wildflowers on the trail between Multnomah Basin and Wahkeena Falls.  The old burn area was bursting with greenery and flowers of all colors.  Even saw a few woodpeckers taking advantage of the charred trees.  I had a nice time catching up with my friends.  5.5 miles, 1650 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 38 - 8/21/21 - Maple Trail, Forest Park, Portland.  Oh, I can't tell you how good it felt to return to the trail today!  After 2+ months of recovery from brain surgery and subsequent gastrointestinal issues, I finally felt well enough to attempt a hike.  And I'm happy to report my first hike post-surgery was back in Portland (yes, I'm finally home).  It was good to walk through Oregon's lush forests and catch up with my buddy Catherine.  Although I only covered a paltry 5.5 miles and 600 feet elevation gain it felt like a million bucks.

Hike No. 39 - 8/30/21 - Bear Grass Trail, Mt Hood Meadows, Oregon.  I invited friends Debbie and Barry to join me in checking out the new hiking trails at Mt Hood Meadows ski area.  It was a perfect day weather-wise, moderate temps, sunshine and a little wind to keep things from getting too hot.  We enjoyed Trail #1 (aka the Bear Grass trail) as it twisted and turned through ski runs and under the lifts.  Summer wildflowers were winding down, but I noticed a hint of fall colors just getting started.  It was great to be out hiking on Mt Hood after a long absence.   4.75 miles, 800 foot elevation gain.

Hike No. 40 - 9/7/21 - Crescent Beach Trail, Ecola State Park, Oregon Coast.  Looking for shorter hikes to build my endurance back up, I looked to the Oregon coast.  I love the area around Cannon Beach, so after visiting Hug Point at low tide, I decided to hike down to this lovely secluded beach.  The trail was longer and steeper than I recalled (it's been 8 years since I hiked here) so despite the short distance it was a good challenge.  Midday light wasn't great for photos but I enjoyed watching a bunch of pelicans diving for fish.  Was too lazy to prop up my big (5D Mark IV) camera for a self portrait so instead I turned the camera on myself for a true selfie.  3.6 miles, 310 feet elevation gain 

Hike No. 41 - 9/10/21 - Wilson River Trail, Jones Creek to (almost) Footbridge Trailhead, Oregon Coast Range.  Friends Debbie, Barry and I had originally planned to do a hike on Mt Hood's east side.  However that morning we discovered it was raining in the area we'd planned to hike.  So instead my friends and I headed to the nearby Coast Range and hiked along the Wilson River.  We all remarked the weather was a total flip-flop - usually the Coast Range is rainy and the mountain is dry.  It was a lovely day and fall colors were just beginning to show themselves.  8 miles, 875 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 42 - 9/11/21 - PCT to Sawtooth Mountain and (almost) Woods Lake, Indian Heaven Wilderness, Washington.  An absolutely incredible day!  Catherine and her hubby Larry joined me for a "new" hike through the Indian Heaven Wilderness.  It was a long drive to the trailhead, but once we stepped out of the car, I was dazzled by the bright fall colors of the huckleberry bushes.  It got better as we began to hike - the fall colors were at peak and I took so many photos in the first mile my friends began to wonder if we'd ever finish this hike!  Climbing up Sawtooth Mountain was a highlight - the views of Mt Adams and St Helens were first-rate.  We ate lunch at a perfect spot, with a front-row view of Mt Adams.  After lunch we wandered down to a lake we thought was Woods Lake, only to discover a sign as we were leaving that said Woods Lake was 1/4 mile further down the trail.  Oh well, gotta save something for another time.  9 miles, 1500 feet elevation gain on a perfect fall day!

Hike No. 43 - 9/14/21 - Sheep Lake to Sourdough Gap, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington.  I'd missed my annual summer trip to MRNP so decided to go in the fall instead!  A description of this hike on a Facebook page intrigued me, but photos of the spectacular fall colors sealed the deal.  Yep, the turning huckleberry and mountain ash leaves were most lovely and Sheep Lake was charming.  Sourdough Gap was windy, so I took a few photos and promptly turned around.  This hike follows the PCT the entire distance, so not only did I hike a new trail, but logged 3 more PCT miles.  A nice way to spend a sunny late summer afternoon.  6.5 miles, 1200 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 44 - 9/15/21 - Crystal Lakes, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington.  Searching for another new MRNP hike I stumbled across this one.  Reading that the hike gained 1600 feet in the first 1.3 miles almost made me reconsider.  But I sucked it up and went for it anyway.  The first 2.5 miles climbed steadily through dark, boring forest and I thought "this better be worth it!"  Then I hit gorgeous lower Crystal Lake - rimmed by three tall mountain peaks, the fog just rising from their summits and lots of fall color.  But the best was yet to come - the half mile between Lower and Upper Crystal Lake was full of crimson, orange and yellow slopes, cloudy skies making the colors pop.  Upper Crystal Lake was even more scenic, misty clouds cloaking the surrounding mountain summits giving it a mysterious feel.  And the autumn hues - fantastic!  Yes, it was worth all the climbing!  6.7 miles, 2600 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 45 - 9/21/21 - Mirror Lake and Tom, Dick and Harry Mountain, Mt Hood National Forest, Oregon.  A quick afternoon getaway up to Mt Hood to check on the fall color situation.  This outing didn't start out well - I got stuck in downtown traffic on the way to the trailhead and almost considered heading back home.  But I persevered and was glad I did!  The lake was lovely, and I had the summit of Tom, Dick and Harry Mountain all to myself.  It was a sunny day, so I got views of 5 Cascade peaks.  Fall colors were just getting started, but there were some good patches of vine maple.  7.7 miles, 1500 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 46 - 9/23/21 - Indian Racetrack Trail to Red Mtn Lookout, Indian Heaven Wilderness, Washington.  The Indian Heaven Wilderness is known for it's fantastic fall color displays, so I wanted to do another hike here before the color was gone.  Although I'd been to Red Mtn Lookout before, access was via another trail.  So today's hike was a new route for me.  The first mile climbed through a boring forest, but the second mile was full of colorful huckleberry bushes.  The small pond at Indian Racetrack was also colorful.  I had a clear sky so all the mountains were visible from Red Mountain's summit.  A lovely early fall day!  7.5 miles, 1800 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 47 - 9/29/21 - Placid Lake Trail with side trip to Chenamus Lake, Indian Heaven Wilderness, Washington.  Fall is the best time to visit IHW and I'm making it this year's goal to visit all the trails here that I've never hiked.  Today's trail was the second-to-last "new to me" trail - only one more to go!  It was a chilly morning - 37 degrees at the trailhead, and the vegetation was wet from recent rainfall.  I was going to explore a "lost trail" between Chenamus Lake and the PCT but the sopping wet vegetation and a flooded trail made me change plans.  Instead I did an out and back on both the Chenamus and Placid Lake trails.  Fall colors were in their full glory and I even got a few glimpses of Mt St Helens.  But the highlight of the morning was having a black bear run across the road in front of me on the drive in!  Another great fall day in the PNW.  8 miles, 1300 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 48 - 10/1/21 - Three Corner Rock, Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Washington.  It had been many years since I'd hiked with my good friend John.  So we reconnected via a short trek to Three Corner Rock, a old fire lookout sight atop a huge rockpile.  We hiked the PCT for 1.5 miles before intersecting with a road to the summit.  It was a beautiful (but windy) day and all the Cascade peaks were on full display.  John took an alternate route back to the PCT that involved a short bushwhack (It's not a hike with John unless a bushwhack is involved!)  Vine maple was showing off it's fall best and the foggy woods in the morning made good photo ops.  4.75 miles, 1300 feet elevation gain.

Nerdy engineers with gps units and matching hats!

Hike No. 49 - 10/4/21 - Clear Lake Loop, Willamette National Forest, Oregon.  One of my favorite places to see fall color, I introduced Cheri to this beautiful lake in Central Oregon.  We hit peak leaf hues and had a fabulous afternoon hiking around the lake.  Lots of photos may have been taken!  Cheri shared this great photo she took of me.  5.6 miles, 500 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 50 - 10/7/21 - Boulder Lake, Bonney Meadows, Mt Hood National Forest, Oregon.  I'd been wanting to check out this trail for weeks, but every time I tried to schedule an outing something would come up.  But finally my friends Debbie and Barry saw a good weather day in the forecast and said "let's go!"  Fall colors were fabulous the entire trek, but they were especially breathtaking at Boulder Lake.  Although it was a long drive to get there we all agreed the trail was totally worth it.  8.1 miles, 1600 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 51 - 10/12/21 - Cape Horn Trail, Columbia River Gorge, Washington.  Not wanting to waste a good weather (aka "dry") fall day I decided to hike a trail close to home.  The Cape Horn Trail, only 45 minutes away, (minus any traffic tie-ups) fit the bill.  This time I hiked the loop in reverse, taking on the boring road walk first.  Autumn colors were just getting started and I had the lower portion of the trail nearly to myself.  Midweek hikes rock!  A good quick ramble without a long drive, I ended up getting home an hour before the predicted rainfall began.  7.2 miles, 1700 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 52 - 10/15/21 - Eightmile Loop, Mt Hood National Forest, Oregon.  Today I was on a mission - to find larch trees.  I'd heard this trail had bunches of 'em, so I packed up the car and headed east of Mt Hood for an old-fashioned larch march.  Not only did I find the coveted conifers that turn color in the fall, I also saw deer, chipmunks and a barred owl!  The larches were just getting started so this might mean a return trip next week to experience them in their full glory.  But that's okay, the trail was beautiful and I wouldn't mind  hiking it again.  7 miles, 1200 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 53 - 10/16/21 - Hummocks Trail and two miles of the Boundary Trail, Mt St Helens National Volcanic Monument, Washington.  It probably wasn't the greatest idea to try two hikes in two consecutive days.  But today's weather report was so spectacular I couldn't stay home.  I rose early and drove 2 hours to hike at Mt St Helens.  Hoping to spot elk or mountain goats, I lugged my big 800mm  zoom lens in my backpack.  I think the combination of the added weight and fatigue from the prior day's hike (and long drive) took a toll on me.  When my head began hurting in the incision area I took this as a sign to head back to my car.  Although it's been 4 months since my surgery, I have to remind myself that my body is still healing.  Still, it was a beautiful day and I'm glad I made it up to MSH one final time before winter hits.  6.5 miles, 1400 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 54 - 10/22/21 - Pinnacles Trail, Cottonwood Canyon State Park, Oregon.  Last March I visited Cottonwood Canyon SP for the first time and loved it so much I reserved another cabin for October and brought my hubby.  On the lookout for Bighorn sheep, we hiked 2.5 miles on the Pinnacles Trail.  Although no sheep were spotted, the fall colors lining the John Day River were lovely.  We would've hiked the entire trail, but dark rain clouds looming in the western sky changed our minds.  It was a good leg-stretcher and start to a relaxing weekend.  5 miles, 200 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 55 - 10/23/21 - Pinnacles Trail, Cottonwood Canyon SP, Oregon.  Yeah, you read that right!  Hubby and I hiked the same trail for two consecutive days!  This hike started out as a "let's go down the Pinnacles Trail a little ways to see if we can spot any Bighorn sheep," then morphed into a "let's go just a little bit farther" until we found ourselves at trail's end.  This time we DID spot Bighorn sheep - right next to the trail!  Very exciting and yes, I did get lots of photos.  The rocky pinnacles at the end were very cool - something I missed when I hiked here in March as then the last mile of the trail was closed for golden eagle nesting.  Again, we ended up racing incoming rain on the way back, but luckily returned to our cabin without getting soaked.  9 miles (from our cabin) 200 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 56 - 10/28/21 - Wolf Tree and Homestead Trails, Smith Rock State Park, Oregon.  On the way to visit my daughter, I spend a fine morning hiking around one of my favorite state parks.  Instead of taking Misery Ridge trail (which I've done a bazillion times) I instead tried two new short trails that followed the Crooked River.  The Wolf Tree trail was on the west/north side and the Homestead was on the east/south side.  Fall color was still hanging on, and I spotted some waterfowl in the river.  It's always sunny and beautiful in Central Oregon!  5 miles total, 700 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 57 - 11/2/21 - Eagle Creek Trail, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.  Oh I've waited 4 long years to hike this trail!  In September 2017 a kid playing with fireworks ignited an inferno that scorched this beloved trail, and half the Gorge too.  Although it's been open for several months, I waited for a cloudy November day when I knew there wouldn't be as many hikers.  Debbie joined me for this trek and we loved all the brilliant fall colors that made the burned out areas look much better.  Lots of familiar places are still the same - the cliffs with cable handrails still in place, Punchbowl Falls, and the dramatic deep gorge right before High Bridge.  We only hiked as far as High Bridge for today - I'll save Tunnel Falls for later!  It was wonderful to finally be back on my favorite Gorge trail.  Kind of like reconnecting with a long-lost friend.  8.5 miles, 800 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 58 - 11/7/21 - Dry Creek Falls, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.  With cold, rainy winter weather starting up, it's back to the Gorge once again!  This trail is great for fitting a short hike into one's day.  Catherine and I did a morning trek to this lovely waterfall in an attempt to beat the forecasted afternoon rain.  Fall colors were still holding on, and it was great to catch up with my friend.  5 miles, 900 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 59 - 11/8/21 - Hamilton Mountain, Columbia River Gorge, Washington.  One of my favorite fall gorge trails, it's a tradition of mine to hike Hamilton Mtn on Veteran's Day.  But with an unfavorable forecast for that day, I decided to do this hike early and take advantage of sunny weather.  I was disappointed to see recent winds have blown many of the leaves from the trees already.  But there's still lots of beauty to be found.  8 miles, 2600 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 60 - 11/14/21 - Hardy Ridge to ridge trail junction, and Hardy Bridge Trail, Columbia River Gorge, Washington.  Time to revisit an old classic!  I'd hoped to hike this trail every month of 2021, but, well you know how that turned out...... My friend Young joined me and it was great to catch up.  She was recovering from an ankle injury and I from brain surgery, so we compared recovery notes.  High winds forced us to abort our bid to hike the ridge, so we settled for a jaunt over to Hardy Bridge instead.  We still ended up with 9.6 miles and 2300 feet of elevation gain.  Not too shabby!

Hike No. 61 - 11/17/21 - Herman Creek Trail, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.  I met up with friends Debbie and Barry for a mellow November hike in the Gorge.  Although the day was extremely windy, once we passed the Gorton Creek Trail turnoff, we dived below the ridge and escaped the wind.  I always forget how lovely this trail is - with lots of ferns, quiet woods, and a 100-foot waterfall.  Although this place didn't escape the 2017 fire, the forest is recovering nicely.  8.5 miles, 1600 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 62 - 11/21/21 - Ape Canyon Trail, Mt St Helens, Washington.  A clear, rain-free day was forecast, so I invited Catherine to join me for a trek up the Ape Canyon Trail.  Although I've only visited this trail during the summer flower season, a recent online trip report inspired me to visit during late fall.  About 3/4 of the way up we hit a small amount of snow and by the time we reached the Loowit Trail junction it was all snow!  But the day was warm (almost too warm!) so we basked in the sunny glory while eating lunch.  Catherine noticed a bunch of mountain goat tracks and we even spotted two goats high up on a nearby hill.  Gotta take full advantage of the rare warm, sunny days in November and today we did just that.  9.5 miles, 2000 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 63 - 11/26/21 - Steelhead Falls, Central Oregon.  This hike was so short I wasn't originally going to include it in my yearly tally.  But the waterfall at trail's end was really cool I decided to add it to the list anyway (that and I actually got a photo of myself by the falls).  While visiting my daughter over Thanksgiving, I convinced hubby to drive to this unique, wide, green-colored cascade.  It was worth the 30-minute drive to the middle of nowhere and steep downhill hike into the Deschutes River Canyon.  2 miles, 225 elevation gain.

Hike No. 64 - 12/8/21 - Catherine Creek, West trail to Atwood Road, Upper Labyrinth Trail to Loose Lucy Trail, Columbia River Gorge, Washington.  The week's weather report wasn't encouraging - rain was predicted every day.  But I noticed the eastern Gorge looked dry on Wednesday, so decided to give it a try.  I headed out through torrential rain in the west to diminishing rainfall.  But by the time I arrived at the Catherine Creek Trailhead, clearing skies gifted me a rainbow.  I took it as a good omen.  I tried a new route - the western trail to Atwood Road (which I'd done last year) but instead of going east I headed west and took the Upper Labyrinth and Loose Lucy Trails westward to make a nice loop. The scenery on Loose Lucy Trail was outstanding.  I really liked this route and think it will become a regular trek in my yearly rotation.  The weather held and I even enjoyed sunshine and blue skies!  A nice escape from the rain, 5.8 miles, 1975 feet elevation gain.

 Hike No. 65 - 12/14/21 - Short Loop, Edison Butte Snopark, near Bend, Oregon.  I almost didn't include this hike due to it's short distance.  But it was a lovely snowshoe stroll on a sunny winter's day in Central Oregon so I thought it deserved mention.  I took my friend Kim with me, and since she's only ever snowshoed once before we decided to take it easy.  The snow-covered Ponderosa Pines along this trail were absolutely beautiful, as was the new-fallen, powdery snow, which sparkled in the sunlight.  A nice outing with a good friend, 1.5 miles, 100 feet elevation gain.

(I used Kim's photo because my selfies weren't very good)


No comments:

Post a Comment

Don't be shy! Please leave a comment.