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! 

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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.  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.




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