2023 Hikes

Well.....last year's hiking challenge got totally blown out of the water by a nasty case of plantar fasciitis that lasted for months.  I debated continuing the hiking challenge for 2023, just reinstating the same goals.  But after two years of health issues derailing my plans, I've decided to take a year off.  So for 2023 I'm going to use this page to merely document the hikes I take.  Nothing more.  

This list of hikes with photos is for my own benefit.  Blog readers are welcome to follow along with my progress.


Hike No. 1 - 1/6/23 - Stub Stewart State Park loop - Boomscooter, Unfit Settlement, and Hares Canyon trails, Oregon Coast Range.  My first hike of the year was with good friends Debbie and Barry.  Wanting something close to home, I suggested my go-to state park, nearby Stub Stewart.  We had a good trek through winter-mossy trees, featuring a Great Horned owl fly-by and a pygmy owl hoot.  And we just barely beat the forecasted rain.  5 miles, 1000 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 2 - 1/14/23 - Trail of Ten Falls, Silver Falls State Park.  Hubby and I were debating where to hike to escape the rain.  Checking forecasts, it appeared Silver Falls SP would be dry in the afternoon so we went for it.  After driving through a torrential downpour, we were delighted when upon arrival, the skies cleared and we had a nearly rain-free hike.  Due to the abundant rainfall, all the waterfalls were at their swollen best.  I don't usually come here in the winter but discovered this season is just as scenic.  7.2 miles, 800 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 3 - 1/16/23 - Cape Horn Loop, Columbia River Gorge, Washington.  Finally a rain-free day!  Never one to waste a good weather day in the winter, I recruited friends Debbie and Barry to join me for a trek around Cape Horn.  Funny, we realized that the last time we did this hike was almost exactly a year ago.  Being today was a holiday we definitely were never alone!  But the trail never felt super crowded and we enjoyed great views along one of our favorite Gorge trails.  7.3 miles, 1650 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 4 - 1/20/23 - White River snowshoe, White River Snopark, Mt. Hood, Oregon.  I got up early this morning to catch sunrise at Timberline Lodge.  After the sun had done it's thing, I wasn't ready to drive all the way home yet.  So I motored over to nearby White River snopark and snowshoed up the canyon.  It had been many years since I'd been here and the lovely blue sky day was a perfect reintroduction!  3.5 miles, 800 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 5 - 2/25/23 - Labyrinth to Catherine Creek Loop, Columbia River Gorge, Washington.  Well, a combination of traveling, ski trips, bad weather and a bout of COVID meant not much happened in the hiking department during February.  But a rare sunny day finally got me out on the trails with friends Young, John and Steve.  I was battling an allergy attack all day, but an itchy, runny nose wasn't going to stop me!  We hiked through the remnants of a mid-week snow storm and the patchy white stuff made the scenery even better.  It was wonderful to be out on the trails again.  7.4 miles, 2100 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 6 - 3/6/23 - Tamanawas Falls, Mt Hood National Forest.  There's nothing prettier than a frozen waterfall, except maybe a frozen waterfall in the snow.  Tamanwas Falls in the winter checks both boxes.  I'd been wanting to make a trip here for awhile, so today I bit the bullet and made the drive.  There was much more snow along the trail than I've ever seen, and the snow/ice formations around the waterfall's base were quite amazing.  It even began to snow right before I left the falls.  A short, but sweet snowshoe trek!  4.3 miles, 800 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 7 - 3/26/23 - Catherine Creek loop, Columbia River Gorge WA.  Weather was predicted to be rain-free and wildflowers were blooming in the eastern gorge, so I recruited Debbie and Barry to join me on a flower-finding mission.  Wanting to add some mileage to the usual, paltry 3-mile Catherine Creek hike, Barry found a longer loop on his hiking app.  It turned out to be a winner!  Grass widows and yellow bells were blooming, so they kept my camera busy.  Great day to be outside, 5.3 miles, 1500 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 8 - 4/8/23 - Stub Stewart State Park, Oregon Coast Range.  Wanting a quick hike and short drive, I headed over to this nearby state park for an afternoon ramble.  Was hoping to spot some pygmy owls, but apparently they were all hiding today.  But I did spot a few trilliums in bloom, so at least I had something to photograph.  4 miles, 400 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 9 - 5/8/23 - Memaloose Hills, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.  After being in Ireland for nearly 2 weeks, I was afraid I'd missed the Gorge spring wildflowers back home.  Lucky for me, the bloom was late this year, so everything was at peak about the time I returned.  Our wet spring produced one of the most prolific and vibrant spring wildflower shows I've ever seen!  3.2 miles, 550 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 10 - 5/11/23 - Mosier Plateau and Chatfield Hill, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.  My friend Debbie wanted to see the Gorge wildflowers, so I headed back to the Mosier area for more wildflower eye candy.  We first hiked up the Mosier Plateau where the flowers were at peak and very colorful.  Then after a quick lunch we hiked up nearby Chatfield Hill.  The recent hot weather was already taking its toll on the blooms - they were much better when I was here three days prior.  But it was still stunning and I didn't mind hiking this trail twice in a week.  Another great spring day in the Gorge!  5 miles, 900 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 11 - 5/18/23 -Bayocean Spit, Oregon Coast.  It had been beastly hot for over a week.  Originally Debbie and I had planned to hike in the Gorge, but with this unfavorable forecast we pivoted to the coast instead.  It was a refreshing 60 degrees and misty at the trailhead.  We started along the Tillamook Bay side of the spit, where the yellow gorse was blooming profusely.  Debbie spotted a number of birds and I had fun trying to photograph them.  The ocean side of the loop was fairly absent of birds, but on the plus side it wasn't very windy!  A nice way to beat the heat and get a hike in.  8.4 miles, 100 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 12 - 5/21/23 - Hamilton Mountain, Columbia River Gorge, Washington.  I'd heard the larkspur was blooming profusely on the trail here, so I rallied friends Young and John to join me for a Sunday ramble.  It was a lovely cool, cloudy day, perfect for tackling a steep climb!  The larkspur was as stunning as promised.  We had a great lunch on the saddle, taking in the tremendous views of Table Mountain and the eastern Gorge.  I survived the steep climb - I guess my fitness isn't as bad as I thought.  8 miles, 2500 feet elevation gain.  So nice to catch up with my friends!

Hike No. 13 - 6/12/23 - Cascade Head, Central Oregon Coast.  Time to get back hiking after a lengthy road trip!  A calendar photo inspired me to return to this breathtaking hike on the Oregon coast.  I'd only hiked Cascade Head once before, over 10 years prior.  I was disappointed to find foggy skies, but luckily they intermittently cleared so I could at least glimpse some of the amazing views.  Wildflowers were blooming and I saw a herd of elk.  The climb was as much of a slog as I remembered.  But wonderful to beat the inland heat and get a hike in.  4.5 miles, 1250 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 14 - 6/14/23 - Mirror Lake to Tom, Dick and Harry Mountain, Mt. Hood National Forest, Oregon.  Teamed up with my friend Debbie for a visit to Mt. Hood to see if any rhodies were in bloom.  (I discovered the bloom was just getting started.)  I usually avoid this trail in the summer due to it's wild popularity, however I had a good time catching up with my friend and enjoying the late spring wildflowers.  Heavy clouds foiled the mountain view on top and it was extremely windy.  However a couple of ground squirrels in pursuit of my peanut butter sandwich kept me entertained.  8.3 miles, 1600 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 15 - 6/20/23 - Wilson River Trail, from Elk Creek to Idiot Creek Loop Road, Oregon coast range.  I wanted to get in a hike but didn't want to drive across town.  The coast range to the rescue!  I decided upon this "new to me" section of the Wilson River Trail.  It was a lovely uphill romp through lush coastal forests with very few views.  Only saw two other hikers all day.  Cloudy skies kept things cool, but the rain held off until I was finished.  8 miles, 1600 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 16 - 6/21/23 - Upper Salmon River Trail, Mt Hood National Forest, Oregon.  Friends Debbie and Barry joined me for a visit to this lovely trail that follows the wild and scenic Salmon River.  It was a beautiful day.  We saw a few wildflowers and plenty of butterflies.  Heard many birds but only a little wren decided to show himself.  8.5 miles, 1400 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 17 - 6/24/23 - Grassy Knoll Trail, Gifford Pinchot National Forest, SW Washington.  The last time I remember hiking this trail was way back in 2012.  This trail is known for fantastic late spring wildflower displays but it requires a long drive on a windy gravel road to reach the trailhead.  But it was high time for a revisit so I recruited Young and John to join me (coincidentally they were with me for the 2012 hike!)  The flowers weren't as good as I remembered - but I did remember the steep climbing trail to reach Grassy Knoll!  It was a warm day and the cold post-hike beer tasted mighty good.  Only made it to Cold Spring Camp before turning around.  Still we covered a respectable 7.7 miles and 2000 feet of climbing.

Hike No. 18 - 6/26/23 - Eagle Creek, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.  This is such a classic trail and one of my most favorite in all of Oregon.  When friends Debbie and Barry suggested a hike here I was all in.  Not far from the trailhead we had our first bird sighting, a Wilson's warbler right next to the trail!  We continued to see other birds, which was unusual because they usually hide in the foliage.  There were also a few wildflowers still blooming and lots of butterflies later in the afternoon when the temperature heated up.  It got a bit warm on the return trip but it's always a great to visit this wonderful place in the Gorge.  Made it to High Bridge and turned around for a respectable 8.2 miles and 840 feet of climbing.

I failed to get a picture of myself, so here's one of my friends

Hike No. 19 - 6/27/23 - Boundary Trail from Hummocks parking lot to Johnston Ridge Observatory, Mt. St. Helens, Washington.  I'd been wanting to get up to MSH for some time.  Unfortunately a huge landslide ripped out a portion of the road to Johnston Ridge (and stranded several people) so it was off the table for the season.  However, I knew a way to reach JRO from the Boundary trail and recruited my friend Catherine to join me for this latest adventure.  It was foggy to start with but as we climbed the clouds lifted for an amazing view of MSH herself.  We made it all the way to JRO and saw the 7 stranded vehicles in the parking lot (sadly where they will stay until the road is fixed.)  Wildflowers were blooming like crazy, especially near JRO.  It was an amazing day to be hiking at one of my favorite places to visit.  9.7 miles, 2000 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 20 - 7/2/23 - Hoh River Trail to Five Mile Island campground, Olympic National Park, Washington.  While camping at nearby Kalaloch Beach for the holiday weekend, my hubby and I decided to revisit this well-known rainforest.  We last hiked here in September of 2010, in a huge rainstorm.  Well the summer's dry weather has even affected this mossy rainforest.  It was still a lovely place, full of hanging moss, lush ferns and humongous trees.  But the vegetation looked dry and some of the moss even appeared brown.  It was a hot day, so I was glad this trail was mostly shady.  We covered a whopping 10 miles with probably 100 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 21 - 7/7/23 - PCT from Lolo Pass to Timberline Trail junction with side trip around Bald Mtn., Mt. Hood NF, Oregon.  After dropping hubby at the airport for a business trip I continued on to Mt. Hood for a hike.  Wanting to check out the rhodie bloom I opted for this portion of the PCT which had nice blooms in past years.  Well, I was a bit too late, for the bloom was on its way out - but I did see lots of other wildflowers and many butterflies.  A nice romp through the woods, I was done by noon before the heat of the day.  7.2 miles, 1400 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 22 - 7/12/23 - Silver Star Mountain Loop, Gifford Pinchot NF, Washington.  I love hiking Silver Star Mtn when the wildflowers are in bloom.  It's one of my favorite summer hikes.  But it's been 3 years since I've been up there - health issues put a damper on my hiking for the last two summers.  So today was my triumphant return to the area.  I hiked my usual lollipop loop, up to Silver Star summit from Grouse Vista TH, then a loop on Ed's Trail, before returning to just below the summit and retracing my steps back to the trailhead.  Flowers weren't as good as in past years - I suspect I missed the peak bloom.  But Ed's trail always delivers and it did again today.  It was quite a slog hiking the first three miles - a wake up call to how out of shape I am!  But it was a lovely day and I enjoyed returning to one of my favorite places.  10 miles, 3000' elevation gain.

Hike No. 23 - 7/13/23 - Iron Mtn/Cone Peak Loop, Willamette NF, Oregon.  On my way over the pass to Central Oregon I stopped by and revisited this lovely flowerful trail.  Although peak bloom was over for some species, it was going strong for others.  Add to this a large amount of butterfly activity and it was a recipe for a lovely time!  5.5 miles, 1300 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 24 - 7/14/23 - Paulina Lakeshore Trail, Deschutes NF, Central Oregon.  I recruited my friend Kim to join me on a hike exploring the shore of Paulina Lake.  It was a hot day but thankfully much of the hike was in shade, either from trees or the high bank.  The lake's blueish color was quite lovely and we enjoyed watching multiple butterflies flutter in the sunshine.  Covered about 5.2 miles and 600 feet of climbing.  Enough to earn our beer!

Hike No. 25 - 7/18/23 - Truman and Loowit Trail loop, from Windy Ridge, Mt. St. Helens, Washington.  A huge lupine superbloom at Mt. St. Helens was all over social media - so of course I had to go check it out.  The only problem - due to a road washout and construction, the drive to get there took about 4 hours.  But I sucked it up, and endured the drive.  I'm so glad I did!  I've never seen such a high concentration of lupine anywhere.  It coated the ground purple.  I spent a happy five hours trekking around snapping copious images.  I arrived back at my car about an hour before sundown.  Initially I was going to sleep in my car and drive home the next day, but the thought of sleeping in my own bed inspired me to drive home that night.  Brutal!  But the photos I got were so worth it.  9 miles, 1400 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 26 - 7/23/23 - Timberline and other hiking trails in Mt. Hood Meadows area, Mt. Hood NF, Oregon.  It was time to check out the wildflower situation up on Mt. Hood.  So I recruited my friend Young to join me for a romp through the Mt. Hood Meadows hiking trails.  It's always fun to trek through my winter playground during the summer.  We found the flowers beginning to bloom and they were terrific!  There was a trail race going on the same day and the runners passing by kept us entertained.  Another perk about hiking at Meadows (besides the nice bathrooms with running water) is enjoying a post-hike brew on the deck!  6.2 miles, 1100 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 27 - 7/26/23 - Mazama Trail to Cairn Basin and McNeil Point, Mt. Hood NF, Oregon.  I teamed up with my buddy Catherine to revisit this alternate trail to the flower fields on Mt Hood's NW side.  The Mazama Trail lived up to its long, steep reputation, but there were wildflowers and views to distract us.  Upon reaching the Timberline Trail, we headed over to Cairn Basin and had lunch by the old stone shelter.  The wildflowers on this stretch of the trail were amazing - tons of magenta paintbrush, lupine, and beargrass.  Since we were so close, on a whim we decided to add on a trip up to McNeil Point, and after a 3-year absence it was good to take in the sweeping views from its meadows.  Ended up tallying 11.5 miles and a whopping 3200 feet of elevation gain!  Needless to say, I was a bit tired!

Hike No. 28 - 8/10/23 - Elk Meadows Trail with a side trip up the Gnarl Ridge Trail, Mt Hood NF, Oregon.  Debbie, Barry and I joined forces for a lovely summer trip to Mt. Hood.  Wildflowers were still blooming at Elk Meadows and it made a nice lunch spot.  We navigated many blowdowns on both the perimeter trail and Gnarl Ridge Trails.  But the weather was perfect, the bugs practically non-existent, and we were visited by many friendly Gray Jays eager to steal our lunches.  8 miles, 1500 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 29 - 8/12/23 - Paradise Park Loop, Mt. Hood NF, Oregon.  I heard the wildflowers were peaking on the Paradise Park trail.  So I rallied my friend Young to join me to check things out.  One of my favorite summer wildflower hikes, the last time I'd been here was in 2020.  Reaching the grand meadow, the flowers were plentiful and at peak color.  Oh it was fabulous!  Beyond the meadow, things just got better as we passed by an area jam-packed with lupine.  After visiting the lovely high alpine meadows, we traveled back via the PCT, meeting several thru hikers.  The final climb out of Zigzag Canyon was hot and painful as was the next 2.5 uphill miles back to Timberline Lodge.  But we survived and celebrated with beer and burgers.  A whopper of a hike - 13.7 miles and 3000 feet elevation gain.  But seeing those flower fields was totally worth it!

Hike No. 30 - 8/18/23 - Cape Falcon, Oregon Coast.  Catherine and I had originally planned to hike to Neahkahnie Mtn from the Oswald West SP parking area.  But a half mile down the trail we discovered a bridge was out so we had to change plans.  Pivoting to the Cape Falcon Trail, we had a nice trek to an amazing ocean overlook.  5 miles, 800 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 31 - 8/22/23 - Tilly Jane Ski Trail to Cooper Spur stone shelter, Mt. Hood, Oregon.  I'd been wanting to hike this trail and check out the wildflower bloom.  Well, I was almost too late.  Our recent hot weather spell has taken a toll on the mountain plant life.  Still I was able to spot a few late stragglers - pearly everlasting, goldenrod, asters and a few nice patches of lupine.  The trail was as steep as I remembered.  Luckily it was a cool day so the uphill wasn't quite as unbearable.  Made it up to the stone shelter for lunch and enjoyed the views. Then it was down, down, down, and some more down.  8.3 miles, 3000 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 32 - 8/23/23 - Lower and Upper Twin Lakes, Mt. Hood NF, Oregon.  I'm trying to get my buddy Kim out hiking more, so today I introduced her to the Twin Lakes Trail near Mt. Hood.  It was a perfect day - moderate temperatures, sunny skies and not much wind.  There weren't many people at either lake - and only one group camping at Upper Twin Lake.  There were, however, lots of hungry gray jays that looked forlorn enough to trick me into feeding them.  I got Kim to cover 6.7 miles and nearly 1000 feet of climbing.  Not bad!

Hike No. 33 - 8/26/23 - Vista Ridge Trail, Timberline Trail to Elk Cove, Mt Hood NF, Oregon.  I'd gotten intel of a fantastic fireweed bloom Mt. Hood's Vista Ridge Trail, so of course I wanted to check it out.  Recruiting my buddy Young to accompany me, we set out on the long drive over three winding Forest Service roads to reach the trailhead.  The day started out warm, and just got hotter as we climbed the shade-less ridge through an old burn zone.  About 2/3 of the way up the trail we reached the fireweed zone - and oh, what a beautiful sight it was!  I've never seen such a high concentration of fireweed blooms ever.  After many, many photos I finally tore myself away for the rest of the hike.  And, icing on the cake, the huckleberries were in full bloom and plentiful!  A most excellent day on the mountain, 8.75 miles, 1900 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 34 - 8/30/23 - Mirror Lake, Mt. Hood NF, Oregon.  Blogging buddy Susan was in town and asked if we could hike together.  Well of course!  So we headed up to Mirror Lake, on the slopes of Mt. Hood for a short jaunt.  Our long dry spell finally broke and we had a misty, sometimes rainy hike.  But that was okay with me, we needed  the moisture.  Sadly, the cloudy, foggy conditions at the lake meant Susan didn't get to see the great view of Mt. Hood.  But there were a few fall leaves already turning and many chipmunks to provide entertainment.  5 miles, 800 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 35 - 9/7/23 - Big Timber Creek Trail, Gallatin National Forest, Montana.  While visiting my son last week, he wanted to take my hubby and I to a spectacular trail he'd hiked recently.  It was a long 2 1/2 hour drive to the trailhead deep in the Crazy Mountains.  But it was oh so worth it!  We followed a burbling creek through a valley lined with amazing mountains.  Our destination was Twin Lake, a scenic water body tucked below several high peaks.  The men spent their time casting for trout, while I took photos and enjoyed the views.  Nice to hike in another state!  8 miles, 1700 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 36 - 9/11/23 - Chehalem Ridge Nature Park, west of Hillsboro, Oregon.  I wanted to get a hike in but didn't want to drive far, so this nearby nature park fit the bill.  I decided to hike the most far-flung trail in the park and it was a long, muggy slog.  I have to say the trails here are the most boring I've ever hiked.  Just a lot of forest and hardly any views.  (And the views they have are just of nearby farmland.)  Don't know if I'll hike here again anytime soon, but at least I explored most of the trails.  And got in a good workout!  9.3 miles, 1100 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 37 - 9/18/23 - East Crater Trail to PCT loop, Indian Heaven Wilderness, Washington.  Hiking the Indian Heaven Wilderness is one of my autumn traditions.  This area is known for its prolific huckleberry production, and these bushes turn absolutely lovely colors in the fall.  As always, it's a long, dusty drive over gravel roads to reach the trailhead.  But I was rewarded with lots of good leaf hues, and a foggy, damp morning that made the colors pop.  And the huckleberries were huge, sweet and plentiful this year - the best I've seen in a long while!  I enjoyed the cool temperatures - and hope that our hot summer days are finally in the rear view mirror.  9.7 miles, 1450 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 38 - 9/21/23 - Skyscraper Pass, Wonderland Trail, Mt. Rainier NP, Washington.  I'd been wanting to make my yearly trip to MRNP all summer, but something always got in the way.  Then I saw the weather was forecasting two sunny days before a huge rainstorm was to arrive.  Seeing my good weather window was fast closing, I dropped everything and headed up north.  Since the flowers were now long gone, I went in search of fall colors and animals.  I found marmots (one popped out of a hole right next to the trail!) and a herd of mountain goats.  Although Skyscraper Pass was windy and cold, the views were worth the discomfort.  8.2 miles, 1750 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 39 - 9/21/23 - Palisades Lake Trail, Mt. Rainier NP, Washington.  I had a little bit of time left in the day so decided to explore a bit of this trail below Sunrise Point.  The fall colors here were great and I passed by a huge talus slope with pikas!  I got lots of photos of the cute little potatoes.  Only made it as far as Clover Lake, before impending darkness made me turn around.  But the highlight of the hike was hearing elk bugling and spotting a cow elk!  A short but sweet afternoon ramble, 3.5 miles, 900 feet elevation gain.


Hike No. 40 - 9/22/23 - Naches Peak Loop, Mt. Rainier NP, Washington.  The next day of my trip I decided to revisit this favorite trail.  I'd hiked it before in August at peak wildflower bloom, so was eager to see what it looked like in the fall.  Oh, the leaf colors were spectacular!  It took me a long time to cover this very short distance trail because there was so much beauty to photograph.  And as expected, the trail got very busy later in the morning.  Now I'm not sure if summer or fall is my favorite season here.  4 miles, 700 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 41 - 9/29/23 - Umbrella Falls Loop, Mt. Hood NF.  It's my most favorite time of the year - hiking when the fall colors are out!  And the Umbrella Falls Loop always puts on a nice show of autumn hues.  It was a drizzly day but I consider that perfect weather for photographing waterfalls, especially multi-tiered Umbrella Falls.  The rain held off until I was done at the waterfall, but was with me for the last half of the hike.  Oh well, after such a dry summer I don't mind a little precip at all!  4.5 miles, 1000 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 42 - 9/30/23 - South Coldwater Trail to (almost) the Boundary Trail, Mt. St. Helens, Washington.  This trail is one of my favorite fall color hikes but it's long and arduous.  So I hadn't hiked here for 3-plus years.  But I recruited friends Debbie and Barry to join me on this challenging trek.  The road to the trailhead was still closed, necessitating a one-mile roadwalk to get there.  But it was a lovely sunny day, with enough chill in the air to keep us from overheating on the climb.  We didn't quite make it to the Boundary Trail junction, the last mile was so steep and taxing Debbie and I both decided we'd had enough!  The fall colors were as spectacular as I expected and I took way too many photos.  A long, but great day.  13.5 miles, 3200 feet elevation gain.  A monster hike!

Hike No. 43 - 10/2/23 - Todd Lake Trail and the Deschutes River Trail from Benham Falls, Central Oregon. Visiting Kim in Sunriver, I decided to take her on a couple of hikes.  We circled lovely Todd Lake, and after a quick lunch break ambled along the mighty Deschutes River for a bit.  The autumn hues were great and the aspen trees were just beginning to turn.  I even saw a pygmy owl!  Thankfully the rain held off until we were finished with the second hike.  Total distance for the two hikes - 6 miles and 400 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 44 - 10/21/23 - Eight mile loop, Mt. Hood NF, Oregon.  After a 2-week hiking hiatus, due to a family trip home, I was itching to get back on the trail!  Struck by larch madness, I decided to check out the Western larches on Mt. Hood's eastern slopes.  Friends Debbie and Barry joined me for this "larch march."  We struck gold (literally!) upon discovering the larches in full fall regalia.  Due to many photo stops, it took quite a bit of time to walk the one mile through this golden forest.  But totally worth it!  After lunching at Flag Point Lookout, we continued the loop through more lovely fall scenery.  The weather couldn't have been better for a late October day.  7.75 miles, 1250 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 45 - 10/26/23 - Dry Creek Falls via the PCT, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.  The weather forecast was for dry skies so I recruited my buddy Kim to join me for a hike to this beautiful waterfall in a unique basalt amphitheater.  Well, the weatherman totally blew it, because we had rain nearly the entire time!  Despite the water falling from the sky we still had a good hike.  Fall colors were just starting and we saw quite a few mushrooms.  Good to get out despite the rain - 4.8 miles, 1000 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 46 - 10/29/23 - Hamilton Mtn, Columbia River Gorge, Washington.  Fall is the best time to hike this favorite loop trail in the Gorge.  I recruited friends Young and Kelly to join me on a perfect weather day.  It was a tad bit windy at the top, but then the wind always seems to blow on the summit.  Although most of the leaves are still yet to turn, we did spot lots of fungi in the forest.  Great time with friends!  8.2 miles, 2700 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 47 - 11/5/23 - Multnomah-Wahkeena Loop, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.  This little loop trail in the Gorge is a gem, especially in the fall.  My friend Catherine joined me for an early romp to beat the forecasted afternoon rain.  We hit the Gorge in peak leaf color and it was breathtakingly amazing!  Although a bit overcast, the fog in the trees made for some awesome images.  I took so many photos but I'm not sorry.  Best of all, we were able to finish before any raindrops fell.  5.5 miles, 1700 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 48 - 11/8/23 - Eagle Creek Trail to 4 1/2 mile bridge, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.  Autumn is the very best time to hike this stunning trail and after Sunday's lovely trek at Multnomah Falls I was ready for more Gorge time.  So I recruited Debbie and Barry to join me for what's turning into an annual November romp.  The previous days had seen heavy rainfall and this was the first sunny day.  That meant there were waterfalls everywhere and the sun lit them up wonderfully!  The trail was absolutely beautiful and I took sooo many photographs.  Instead of turning around at High Bridge like we normally do, we added an extra mile and made it to 4 1/2 mile Bridge (which is actually at 5 miles.)  Glad we did, because this mile was the most scenic of the entire trail (in my opinion.)  Another outstanding day in the Gorge, 9.75 miles, 1000 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 49 - 11/10/23 - Triple Falls Trail, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.  It's been such a fantastic fall season in the Gorge, I just had to make one more trip before all the leaves blow away.  Today's trek visited four waterfalls along this short, but scenic path.  Another dry day and more colorful forest to document photographically.  Triple Falls won for prettiest cascade.  I don't think I've ever hiked this trail in autumn but after today's visit I'm gonna make it an annual event.  5.25 miles, 1300 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 50 - 11/16/23 - PCT from N. Bonneville Trailhead to Gillette Lake, Columbia River Gorge, Washington.  It was a rare sunny November day and I wanted to take full advantage of such nice (dry!) weather.  So I invited my buddy Kim on a short romp on the PCT.  I'd hiked this trail last November and remembered some really nice fall colors.  However, what I didn't remember is last year's hike was in early November - and by now most of the leaves had already fallen.  Still it was nice to be out and the highlight of my day was getting some up-close photographs of a red-breasted sapsucker woodpecker.  5.6 miles, 950 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 51 - 11/17/23 - Cape Horn Trail, Columbia River Gorge, Washington.  Another nice day, another great hike.  This time, I recruited Debbie and Barry for one of our favorite fall trails.  It was super-windy so we didn't linger at any of the viewpoints.  But there were still many golden leaves hanging on and the river views from this trail are always some of the finest.  7.3 miles, 1900 feet elevation gain.

Hike No. 52 - 12/13/23 - Various trails around Stub Stewart State Park, Oregon coast range.  I've been busy visiting family for the past few weeks, but was finally home long enough to get in a hike.  Windy weather in the Gorge forced me to trek close to home.  Stub Stewart State Park is always good for a quick getaway.  Although the trails don't have earth-shattering beauty, they fit the bill for a quick local hike.  Not many people here today, and I only spotted two birds.  But I got in a respectable 5 miles and 875 feet of elevation gain.

Hike No. 53 - 12/20/23 - Multnomah-Wahkeena Loop, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.  I'd heard the Ornament Trail was back open, so my original plan was to pay it a visit.  However, two weeks ago several atmospheric rivers swept through the area, dropping multiple inches of rain, and causing landslides all over the Gorge.  Rumor had it there was a big washout on the main trail heading up there.  I recruited Debbie to go check things out.  Sadly, the reports were true.  We discovered the trail had a huge divot, and it was roped off (even if we wanted to bypass the slide, it was much too dicey for our skill levels.)  So we ended up backtracking and hiking the Multnomah-Wahkeena Loop.  However, the Wahkeena Trail wasn't immune to landslides - we picked our way through three of them.  According to a fellow hiker one of the slides had just happened that morning!  We got more excitement than we bargained for but it was still great to get in a hike on a rare dry and sunny winters day.  6.5 miles, 1800 feet elevation gain.

Landslide at Fairy Falls

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