Indian Point hike

I have a sedentary job and I’ve been disgustingly sedentary on my free time this winter. So today I was looking for a whip-my-ass-into-shape hike where I wouldn’t encounter mobs of people. So I settled on Indian Point.

The gate is open at the Herman Creek Campground so you can drive all way the trailhead. The lot there had more than 30 cars when I pulled in right after 10:00. Yikes!

Within the first quarter mile I saw several trillium blooming alongside the trail. The forest is very much cloaked in winter right now, though, with no vegetation leafing out yet.

 

Cool tree leaning over the trail:

 

So much moss!

 

I decided to take the Gorton Creek Trail up and the Nick Eaton Ridge Trail down. There’s no scenery along the GCT so I just powered up the trail one step at a time, wondering how I could let myself get so out of shape over the winter.

I finally made it to the steep booth path that goes down to the point and made my way down. When I got to Indian Point I was surprised to see that the place was deserted. I headed out on the rocks a short ways, took a few quick pics, and then beat a hasty retreat. A fierce icy cold wind was blowing and it instantly numbed my bare fingers.

 

I ate a quick snack in the trees where it was slightly less windy before heading back up to the main trail. I picked up the cutoff trail and headed over to Nick Eaton Ridge, then headed downhill. I was pleasantly surprised to find a series of small meadows, and then a huge meadow, along the upper stretches of this trail. I could see Bonneville Dam and I even got a peekaboo view of Mt. Hood!

 

Except for the trillium near the trailhead these grass widows and goldstars were the only signs of spring on the whole hike.

 

After a long grueling descent down all those switchbacks (oh my poor knees!) I finally reached the Herman Creek Trail. There’s an old mossy trail sign near the junction, although not as near as you would think.

Back at the trailhead I saw that parking had overflowed and cars were parked in the campground, and I saw some parked down on the road as well. Sheesh! I feel lucky that I only saw 20 people on my hike!

A walk through the Labyrinth

Greg and I headed out to the eastern Gorge for some exercise on Sunday. We parked at Rowland Lake and headed up the Labyrinth. We were hoping for sun and warmth. But it was overcast and 40 degrees when we left the car at 11:00, and overcast and 50 when we got back to the car.

Walking west on the old highway and passing the waterfall:

 

We picked up the trail heading uphill and we immediately ran into a WTA group doing trail work. Here is a picture I took at the end of the hike, showing the new trail on the left and the decommissioned trail on the right going straight up the hill.

They told us we were the first hikers to walk on the new trail they had just re-routed. Thanks for your hard work, WTA!

I had never hiked this trail before and was pleasantly surprised that it more or less followed a creek with a number of little waterfalls. Fun!

 

Unfortunately waterfalls aren’t photogenic in winter because of all the leafless vegetation detracting from the scene.

 

We saw several different kinds of wildflowers, especially desert parsley and gold star. We even saw the very first balsamroot of the season! The grass widows are on their way out.

 

The higher we got, the better the views became.

 

We reached a viewpoint where we had a rest and a snack before continuing.

 

The last push before reaching the junction with the old road.

 

Crossing the rickety bridge on the old road.

 

Some more photos:

We looped down through the Coyote Wall area, where we encountered dozens and dozens of cyclists going up. Then after awhile we encountered dozens more going down. You can’t usually hear them coming and I felt like I needed a rearview mirror on my hat!

We did about 5.75 miles with 1300 feet elevation gain.

Spike

Saturday afternoon when we were having that glorious sunny weather around here, my neighbor’s cat, Spike, was roaming around. He’s a pretty sweet and friendly guy and I discovered that he is also great in front of the camera. He loves rolling around on the ground, which is why he’s so dirty, although it’s a shame since he has the most beautiful coat!

Meet Spike

Yes, I know I'm beautiful

Pose for the camera

Watching the action

Contemplative cat

Sunny spring walk

Greg and I went for a walk in Forest Park this morning. It was a crazy beautiful day so we did a three-mile hike along Fireland 15 and the Wildwood Trail. We found some geocaches along the way, enjoyed the fresh air and sunshine, and generally felt happy to be alive.

Moss

Winter at Tamanawas Falls

I haven’t been up to the mountain in two months, what with other commitments and a wretched cold at the beginning of February that knocked me flat. Worst cold I’ve had in a LONG time. Weeks ago my sis and I had marked this Saturday on our calendars as a snowshoe day, and even though it looks like tomorrow will be better for it she works on Sundays and I have a class, so today was the day!

We headed over to Tamanawas Falls and found the lot empty when we pulled in shortly before 10:00. As we packed up to hit the trail I realized that I forgot my camera. I have never done that before. Nuts! Well, I’d have to rely on my Droid RAZR.

We could see that the snow was hard packed so we left our snowshoes in the car, put on our Yak Trax, and set off.

 

Navigating the bridge was tricky. A ridge of frozen snow ran the length of it.

 

A fallen tree knocked out the railings on the west side of the bridge. It’s amazing that it didn’t take out the whole bridge.

 

Down the snowy trail. Oh that came out so dark! I’ll never forget my camera again!

 

Crossing Cold Spring Creek:

 

Observing the way that snow has piled up and then melted on tops of logs and rocks was really interesting:

 

I love this creek!

 

There was a sketchy section where the snow trail skirted this hillside and became very very narrow. I took this picture on our way out, although it doesn’t really convey how tricky it was to get around that tree.

 

And then we reached the falls. Ah, lovely!

 

The camera on the Droid (or any smart phone for that matter) does not provide a wider angle like I’m used to. This is a stitch of two horizontal shots.

 

We didn’t linger long since Deb had to work this afternoon. We had encountered no one on the hike in and we encountered no one on the hike out. It was such a mild day (probably about 40 degrees) that we saw a family having a picnic at the trailhead picnic table!

Goodbye, winter! I’m done with snow for the season and I’m off in search of sunshine and wildflowers until next winter. I’m SO excited for this: