2022 Hiking Challenge

Okay, I'm back for a fourth year of hiking documentation!  I've discovered I really like having a yearly record of hikes - it's been fun to go back and see how many miles I've trod and remember the wonderful places I've been.  I enjoy recording all my hikes so much that I'm creating yet another page for 2022.

But should I continue the yearly hiking challenges?  Well, they do get me out hiking more, so yes, I've decided to continue.  That decided, what should my hiking goals be for this year?  I pondered this for quite a few days, the main question being, "Do I up the ante or set modest goals instead?"  Several thoughts on both ends of the spectrum ran through my head.  One school of thought: "Do you really want all that pressure?  You didn't accomplish most of last year's goals, maybe it's time to choose something more realistic."  However, the other voice in my head reminded me "You're not getting any younger, good health is not guaranteed, and if you want to do ambitious things, the time to act is now."

Well, the second voice in my head won out.  I've decided to go big this year.  Yes, there's lots of things that could derail me - weather, wildfires, COVID, another health emergency.  But you don't know if you don't go, so I've decided to aim high and challenge myself.  Not sure if I'll be able to complete all these goals but even if I don't, I'm gonna have fun trying!

And so.....(drumroll) it's time to unveil my hiking goals for this year.  I bring you the 2022 version of my hiking challenge:

  • 30 new PCT miles for 2022.
  • 5 backpacking trips (a goal I didn't accomplish for the last two years, but 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.
  • I'm gonna hike the Hardy Ridge trail once every month of 2022. 
  • And, perhaps the most audacious goal of all - 100 hikes in 2022!  Yes, you read that right.  I'd considered this particular challenge for last year but at the last minute chickened out.  Not this year!  I'm going for the gusto!

Wish me luck (I'm gonna need all I can get!)  And please follow along throughout the year to monitor my progress.


Hike No. 1 - 1/1/22 - Dry Creek Falls via the PCT, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.  Hubby and I kicked off 2022 with a quick ramble through the snow to Dry Creek Falls.  It was a cold day (eighteen degrees when we started!) and the trail tread was very icy.  But the partially frozen waterfall was most lovely, as were the icy cliffs surrounding the falls.  Short, but sweet, it was good to get out and enjoy some exercise on the first day of a new year.  5.3 miles, 1000 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 2 - 1/9/22 - Gnat Creek Trail, Oregon Coast Range.  After a week of solid rain, I was more than ready to get outside!  Catherine and her daughter joined me exploring a new trail in the Oregon coast range.  We wound through a lovely, mossy forest following gushing Gnat Creek.  The trail passed through a fish hatchery (we used their nice picnic area for a lunch break) and then continued on through more beautiful green woods.  We even saw Sasquatch! (well...actually it was a cute wooden cutout)  A small slide on the trail about a half mile from it's terminus caused us to turn around prematurely, but as Catherine said, it just gives us a reason to come back.  6.8 miles, 1000 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 3 - 1/12/22 - Cape Horn, Columbia River Gorge, Washington.  Finally a rain-free, sunny weekday!  Perfect for a hike.  I convinced my friends Debbie and Barry to join me (it didn't take much persuasion) on a ramble along the Cape Horn Trail.  This trail's close proximity to Portland makes it a favorite if one is wanting a nice hike without a lot of driving.  It's a trail I usually don't visit during winter months, but I noticed lack of leaves on the trees opened up great views of the Columbia River that are hidden in warmer times.  Debbie even showed us a new viewpoint that Friends of the Gorge have created.  All in all, a spectacular day!  7.3 miles, 1600 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 4 - 1/15/22 - Boomscooter, Unfit Settlement, and Hares Canyon Trails, Stub Stewart State Park, Oregon.  This fairly new state park in the Oregon Coast Range has been around since 2007 but today I finally decided to check it out.  Bonus - it's only a 40-minute drive from home!  I discovered there's a plethora of short trails here, so I cobbled together a loop using three of them.  Lots of lovely mossy, forests and a couple of nice viewpoints.  It wasn't too busy, especially for a sunny Saturday.  I'll certainly return again to check out some more trails!  5.2 miles, 1000 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 5 - 1/16/22 - Unnamed trail below Coyote Wall, up the cliff, return on Little Moab Trail, Coyote Wall, Columbia River Gorge, Washington.  I teamed up with friends Young and John who introduced me to a new trail that climbed through the valley below Coyote Wall.  It didn't take long for us to encounter snow, and the first 2.5 miles was slow going, post-holing through about a foot of crusty snow.  Then John had us climb a scary steep (but thankfully short) and slippery trail up the cliff itself to the top of Coyote Wall.  After a well-deserved lunch break we made our way down via the Little Moab Trail.  Although the day was foggy, we did get a few views once we descended below the cloud layer.  A challenging day in the gorge, but lots of fun hiking in the snow.  5.3 miles, 1700' elevation gain.

Hike No. 6 - 1/21/22 - Trillium Lake, Mt Hood National Forest.  After catching a nice sunrise at Timberline Lodge, I headed back down Timberline Road to the Trillium Lake trailhead.  The trail was so packed down, I didn't need my snowshoes and instead just walked in.  After a foggy start, the skies cleared just in time for my arrival at the lake.  Mt Hood looked as good as she always does, and my early start meant having the lake to myself nearly the entire time.  A good short, but sweet early morning adventure!  4.35 miles, 443 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 7 - 1/29/22 - Hardy Ridge Trail, Columbia River Gorge, Washington.  Yes, this year I'm serious about my "hike Hardy Ridge once a month" goal.  So today I checked the January edition off my list.  Snow at the top of the ridge limited how far I traveled and I only made it to the first viewpoint.  Also I didn't take the east trail back down per my usual loop route, due to a large amount of icy snow.  So today's trek ended up as an out-and-back on the west Hardy Trail.  I lost one of my gloves on the way down, and not keen on climbing back up for it, decided just to write off the loss.  Then a nice trail runner caught up to me and - he had my glove!  His kindness made my day.  An icy, but sunny and windy day in the Gorge.  7.5 miles, 2250 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 8 - 2/2/22 - Upper Twin Lake from Barlow Pass Trailhead.  New snow had finally fallen on Mt Hood and I took advantage of it by going snowshoeing on groundhog day.  Trying to keep out of the ski tracks, I ended up breaking trail for most of this hike.  It was hard work and I ended up with blisters on both my heels.  Although the weather wasn't sunny I still enjoyed views of the new-fallen snow on the trees.  Another good outing!  7.6 miles, 1350 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 9 - 2/5/22 - Klickitat Trail, Columbia River Gorge, Washington.  This hike was more of a photo outing, but Cheri and I did cover 4 miles on trails, so I'm counting it!  We first hiked the short Klickitat-Balfour Trail in search of eagles.  Many eagles were found, and photos taken.  Then, hoping for more eagle sightings, we crossed to the other side of the Klickitat River and hiked a couple miles on the Klickitat Trail.  The steep gorge of the Klickitat River was quite lovely, and I'm going to plan a return trip for just hiking and scenery photography.  Total milage between the 2 trails was about 4 with negligible elevation gain.

Hike No. 10 - 2/7/22 - Moulton Falls Loop, SW Washington.  I've passed by this area many times on my way to the Silver Star Mountain Trailhead, but never stopped.  Until I saw a photo of the lovely arch span bridge on this trail that intrigued me to check it out.  I hiked a loop suggested in the Oregon hikers website, starting on the Bells Mountain North Slope Trail, stopping by Moulton Falls County Park, and then returning on the Moulton Falls Trail.  The second growth forest along the first trail was green and moss-covered and I had the place to myself.  But after stopping by the Moulton Falls Park area (and finding that bridge!) I ran into lots of people, even on a weekday.  I ended my trek with a fast 2 miles on the Moulton Falls Trail back to my car.  The East Fork Lewis River was beautiful and it was a pleasant 7.7 miles and 1000 feet of elevation gain.

Hike No. 11 - 2/9/22 - Dalles Mountain Ranch Loop trail, Eastern Columbia River Gorge, Washington.  I hiked with some of my old trail buddies John and Dorene plus Debbie and Barry today.  It's been way before pre-pandemic times since I've hiked with such a large group of friends and it was absolutely wonderful!  We had a sunny, lovely day and even a strong wind didn't deter our glee in visiting this beautiful wide-open country.  We saw lots of Lewis woodpeckers (and I kicked myself for not packing my zoom lens).  It's amazing to think that in two short months this area will be covered with spring wildflowers.  7.5 miles, 1000 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 12 - 2/23/22 - Cape Lookout, Oregon Coast.  I teamed up with friends Debbie and Barry again for a jaunt at the northern Oregon coast.  Having not hiked the Cape Lookout trail for several years I decided we were due for a visit.  This trail has a reputation for being extremely muddy. However, it was an unseasonable frigid day, and we discovered many of the muddy sections were frozen.  Instead of mud, it was ice we had to carefully navigate.  But as the temperatures rose there was still plenty of mud to wade through!  (Running the ice, mud, and tree root gauntlet made us compare this trail to army basic training!)  We lunched at trail's end entertained by a curious chipmunk and friendly song sparrow.  The sunshine was wonderful, giving us spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean.  Another great day at the coast!  5.6 miles, 1000 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 13 - 2/26/22 - Hardy Ridge Trail, Columbia River Gorge, Washington.  Today was time for the February edition of my Hardy Ridge monthly hike.  There was considerably less snow than in January, but the wind was absolutely howling!  I made the climb with friends John and Young, and we didn't make it very far past the first viewpoint on the ridge.  After beating a hasty retreat we made up milage with a side trip on the Hardy Bridge Trail.  Despite the windy, cold weather it was nice to get out - and I just barely beat the day's predicted rainfall!  9.5 miles, 2650 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 14 - 3/1/22 - Cooper Mountain Nature Park, Portland West Metro.  Several days of heavy rain kept me housebound.  Finally I couldn't take it anymore and headed out to a local nature park for a wet "close to home" hike.  The rain transitioned to sprinkles for most of the time and I got a good 4.3 miles and 400 feet of elevation gain for my efforts.

Hike No. 15 - 3/2/22 - Chehalem Ridge Nature Park, near Hillsboro, Oregon.  Morning commitments that day prevented traveling anywhere far for a hike, so I again turned to a local park to get some miles in.  This was a brand new nature park that I'd wanted to explore.  The rainy weather kept people away, and I had the place to myself for the entire time.  Funny story, I was so intent on getting out of the house I forgot my backpack sitting by the door!  I made do, but missed having my trusty gps to give me an accurate record of mileage and elevation gain.  Nice trails, lovely woods, but not much for views.  Still it was nice to only drive for a half hour to get in a good hike.  6.6 miles, 200 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 16 - 3/12/22 - Hollie's Point of View and Bumping Knots Loop, Stub Stewart State Park, Oregon.  I took a hiking hiatus for a week of skiing in Central Oregon, but today was back in my boots exploring another part of nearby Stub Stewart State park.  It was a beautiful morning to prowl the mossy forests of the coast range, and these two trails were beautiful.  The best part, even though it was a Saturday, I only met a handful of people the entire time.  You can't say that about any of the Gorge trails!  I finished before the day's predicted rain began to fall and was back home for a restful afternoon.  7.65 miles, 1500 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 17 -  3/16/22 - The Labyrinth to Catherine Creek loop, Columbia River Gorge, Washington.  Debbie and Barry joined me for a wonderful loop through the Labyrinth over to the cliffs below Catherine Creek, up to Atwood Road, and back.  The day's highlight was coming upon a tree full of squawking Lewis woodpeckers!  I lugged my big zoom lens along and it came in handy for some great images of the birds.  Purple grass widow flowers were also blooming and it was a sunny but windy day.  7.5 miles, 2000 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 18 - 3/18/22 - University Falls, Oregon Coast Range.  I had just a short amount of time today so I squeezed in a quick hike at the nearby coast range.  The trail to University Falls is always a pleasant stroll and today's overcast but dry skies made the mossy greens absolutely pop!  I once again hefted my big zoom lens in my backpack hoping for a glimpse of some pygmy owls, but there were none to be found.  But it's always great to get outside and saunter in a beautiful place.  5.7 miles, 925 feet elevation gain.


Hike No. 19 - 3/20/22 - Hardy Ridge, Columbia River Gorge, Washington.  Time for the March edition of my Hardy Ridge hike challenge.  The calendar said today was the first day of spring, but you'd never know it on top of Hardy Ridge!  Temperatures were downright frigid and the sky was spitting snow at the higher elevations.  Hiked with my hubby and we didn't make it very far past the first viewpoint before we got stopped by snow - again.  That's three months in a row I've been skunked in reaching Phlox Point.  Maybe in April I'll be successful...  Constrained by time we did a shorter loop, going down via the road.  But I got it done for the month of March.  8 miles, 2100 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 20 - 3/23/22 - Trail of Ten Falls, Silver Falls State Park, Oregon.  Usually an autumn destination, today I chose to come here to see the waterfalls in all their spring runoff glory.  I wasn't disappointed!  It misted/light rained on and off all day, soaking me, my backpack, and camera bag.  But conditions were perfect for photographing waterfalls.  The bright green hues of early spring were in full force and I even spotted a couple of tiny wildflowers blooming.  I visited 8 of the 10 featured waterfalls and covered 7.2 miles and 800 feet elevation gain.  Not bad for a soggy spring day!

Hike No. 21 - 4/9/21 - South Caddywhomper Way Trail, Stub Stewart State Park, Oregon.  After a couple weeks of traveling I'm back on the hiking trail once again!  I'm really liking this "new to me" state park only a short drive from home.  Today I tried yet another new trail.  I didn't like this one as well but it was still good for some exercise.  Spring has sprung - electric green new leaves are everywhere as are the wildflowers.  I saw lots of trillium, yellow violets and even some calypso orchids!  6 miles, 1050 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 22 - 4/13/22 - Champoeg State Park, Oregon.  It's been a week of frightful weather, beginning with an unexpected snowstorm on Monday followed by torrential rain.  So when I saw a clear couple of hours on Wednesday afternoon, I summoned friends Debbie and Barry for a short jaunt through a nearby state park.  It was more of a birding outing than hike, with sightings of acorn woodpeckers and sparrows topping the list.  Nice to get out for a few rain-free hours!  4.35 miles, 200 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 23 - 4/17/22 - Dalles Mountain Ranch Loop from Crawford Oaks trailhead, Columbia River Gorge, Washington.  The wildflower bloom was on, and I was determined not to miss it.  So, taking advantage of a rare dry day, I joined my friend Catherine and her husband and daughter for a romp through the famous flower fields.  Things didn't get off to a great start when I noticed a tick on my pant leg in the parking lot.  But thankfully no other ticks were spotted the entire day and we had a great hike enjoying mother's natures flower garden.  The balsamroot flowers looked a bit past prime (I think last week's snowstorm didn't do them any favors) but the lupine was just getting started.  It was weird to think that just two months ago when I'd previously hiked here this place was a brown, barren plain.  7.2 miles, 1200 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 24 - 4/19/22 - Rowena Crest and Memaloose Hills, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.  Today's hike(s) were a wildflower reconnaissance to check the status of this spring's bloom.  After Cheri and I wandered around the Rowena Plateau I introduced her to the beauty of Chatfield Hill.  The flowers were just getting started at Rowena, but they were going strong in the Memaloose Hills.  I'm planning another trip in a week or so to hopefully catch full lupine bloom.  4 miles, 300 feet elevation gain.

Photo by Cheri

Hike No. 25 - 4/24/22 - Amanda's Trail, Oregon Coast near Cape Perpetua.  I took a quick trip to the coast to one of my favorite places, Cape Perpetua.  I'd heard of an interesting trail nearby created as a memorial to the forced relocation of local Native American tribes.  A woman named Amanda De Cuys was a blind native woman captured along with her tribe and force marched 80 miles to a reservation.  The highlight of this trail is a statue in Amanda's honor.  I hiked the trail in reverse, starting at Cape Perpetua stone shelter.  It was a lot of ups and downs through typical thick coastal forest, but I finally reached said statue.  And it was a beautiful place where many people had left necklaces and other offerings.  After reaching the statue, I turned around instead of hiking all the way into Yachats.  4.7 miles, 1350 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 26 - 4/25/22 - Cook's Ridge and Gwynn Creek Trails, Oregon Coast near Cape Perpetua.  Many hiking trails are found south of Yachats spreading out into the coast range.  These two trails were hiked as a loop using one mile of the Oregon Coast Trail to reach my starting point.  I loved the huge old-growth Douglas Fir and Sitka Spruce trees on this trail as well as the abundance of white trillium flowers.  A beautiful quiet saunter through lovely coastal forests. 6.65 miles, 1500 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 27 - 4/27/22 - Hardy Ridge, Columbia River Gorge, Washington.  Today it was time for the April edition of my Hardy Ridge monthly hike.  I was happy to see bright green new leaves and a few small wildflowers on my way up.  I also noticed glacier lilies just starting to bloom on the ridge.  However, my conquest of Phlox Point was foiled by some lingering snow.  I made it farther today than the past three attempts, so maybe I'll get there next month!  My left foot appears to be having trouble with plantar fasciitis so the return trip was a bit painful.  Hopefully I can get a handle on this so it doesn't doom the rest of my hiking plans!  8.3 miles, 2270 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 28 - 5/3/22 - Triple Falls Trail, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.  This trail, closed since the devastating 2017 wildfire, finally reopened a month ago.  One of my favorite gorge trails, the abundance of waterfalls gave this short trail a lot of "bang for the buck."  So I recruited Debbie and Barry to join me in a long overdue visit.  The record April rainfall had all the waterfalls positively gushing and the wildflowers were out in huge numbers.  Although it was sad to see so much forest destruction, on the positive side it did open up more views.  Took the Oneonta Trail to the scenic highway on our return trip, so made a loop out of the hike.  So good to be back on this trail!  It was like seeing an old friend after a long absence.  5.1 miles, 1100 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 29 - 5/11/22 - Mosier Plateau and Rowena Plateau, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.  Today's walking adventure combined two short wildflower-rich trails.  First I climbed up Mosier Plateau and reveled in not only the amazing river views but also the abundance of colorful wildflowers.  Lupine was at peak and everywhere!  Then I drove over to nearby Rowena Crest and hiked out on it's wide-open tableland.  Again, wildflowers were mighty fine.  A great way to spend a rare (this year anyway!) sunny spring day.  Total mileage 5, total elevation gain, 925 feet.

Hike No. 30 - 5/15/22 - Lyle Cherry Orchard Trail, Columbia River Gorge, Washington.  I'd been wanting to check out the wildflower bloom on this trail.  However, continuous rainy weather kept me away and when I finally got there today it was almost too late.  The prolific lupine bloom saved the day, however.  In the wildlife dept, I saw a western tanager, a baby rattlesnake (I think) and picked up a tick on my pants (which was whisked away very quickly!)  I didn't cover the entire trail - my plantar fasciitis riddled left foot continues to interfere with this year's hiking goals.  But I did cover a respectable 3.5 miles and 1100 feet of elevation gain and beat the afternoon's rainstorm.

Hike No. 31 - 5/16/22 - William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge, near Corvallis, Oregon.  Friends Debbie and Barry were interested in a birding hike and since I'd never visited this particular wildlife refuge I was all in.  We first explored the Woodpecker Loop, where besides seeing a red-breasted sapsucker, we also saw a orange-crowned warbler and flycatcher.  Then we waded through a super-muddy trail to the Mill Hill Loop, where Debbie heard and then spotted a wrentit.  It was a lovely place and fun to see and learn about some "new to me" birds.  Hoping for some good photographs, I hiked the entire way holding my huge zoom lens!  A good workout, that's for sure.  5.75 miles, 600 feet elevation gain.

(Photo courtesy of Debbie)

Hike No. 32 - 5/17/22 - A short portion of the Boundary Trail and Hummocks Loop, Mt. St. Helens, Washington.  I'd been wanting to visit MSH for some time and when a sunny day was finally forecast, I hightailed it up I-5, high gas prices be damned!  I was hoping to capture photos of the resident mountain goats, but they were too far away for good images (although of course I tried!)  Late season snowfall covered the trails around Johnston Ridge, so I only hiked about a mile on the Boundary Trail before turning around.  I then drove to lower elevations and sauntered along the Hummocks Trail, always a good spring hike.  Besides stunning mountain views, I also spotted birds and two elk!  A great morning spent in one of my favorite places.    Five miles and 800 feet elevation gain between the two trails.

Hike No. 33 - 5/21/22 - Hardy Ridge, Columbia River Gorge, Washington.  Time for the May edition of my Hardy Ridge hiking challenge.  This time I finally got all the way to Phlox Point - no snow to be seen anywhere!  Woo-hoo!  Glacier lilies were blooming and I spotted a few small patches of phlox at the top.  It was a gorgeous sunny, blue-sky day - very much appreciated after so many days of rain.  My foot behaved and I was able to cover the entire distance with minimal pain.  8.8 miles, 2400 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 34 - 5/23/22 - Wilson River Trail from Elk Creek Campground, Oregon Coast Range.  It was a lovely rain-free day.  I didn't want to waste this good weather so of course I went for a hike.  Wanting to keep drive time to a minimum I headed towards the Coast range and hiked a portion of the Wilson River Trail.  First I hiked towards Idiot Creek, hoping the seasonal bridge would be in.  When I found it wasn't yet, I turned around and hiked the other direction, past Elk Mountain trailhead for about two miles.  Lots of wildflowers blooming and a good trail for some exercise.  My foot wasn't too happy with me though....  5.8 miles, 1050 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 35 - 6/22/22 - Multnomah-Wahkeena Loop, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.  I did not intend for nearly a month to pass between hikes, however, a 2-week South Dakota trip coupled with a persistent case of plantar fasciitis has had me sidelined most of June.  When I couldn't take the inactivity any more I decided to tough it out with a short hike in the Gorge.  Debbie and Barry joined me on the first warm, sunny day this spring/summer (or so it seemed!)  Wildflowers were going gangbusters and their presence helped take my mind off of my throbbing foot.  I survived, and hopefully there will be more hikes in my near future.  5.7 miles, 1600 feet elevation gain.

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