Saturday, March 11, 2018
What a gorgeous day! Greg was out of town so I did a solo hike at Tracy Hill, which is in the Catherine Creek area in the Columbia River Gorge. My start point was just a short distance east down the road from the main Catherine Creek trailhead.
The trail starts out on an old jeep track. On this crystal clear day I started getting views of Mt. Hood right away:
There were still a few grass widows around:
I also saw plenty of gold stars:
I love the ponderosa pines here:
At 0.8 mile there is a junction where I went straight. The jeep track from the left would bring me back here at the end of the hike. I continued hiking uphill, then the track turned into a trail and emerged into a huge sloping meadow:
As I got higher, the views got better. The snowy bump at center is Lookout Mountain:
And Mt. Hood was glorious!
1.9 miles into the hike I reached the top of the meadow where someone has made a makeshift bench. It’s a great spot to stop and enjoy the views, which is exactly what I did.
I loved the gnarled branches on this old oak tree:
I spotted a lizard in this hole. See him?
How about now?
The trail passes through an oak forest:
And emerges into another meadow with yet another view of Mt. Hood:
I passed an old cattle pond that is fed by a spring:
I wanted to get further up the hill and pick up another old jeep track so I left the trail and cut up through the meadow, although it turns out if I had stayed on the trail a bit further I would have intersected a path that headed uphill. I found said path as I got higher:
The trail connected with another old jeep track:
Which entered a very pleasant forest:
At the three-mile mark I came to a more developed-looking road:
This spot was also the site of some logging:
I made this my turnaround point. Back out in the open meadows I put down my sit pad on the trail and sat down to enjoy the view for awhile:
I had a good view of the Columbia Hills to the east. Great place to see balsamroot in about six weeks!
After soaking up the sunshine for awhile I continued on. The trail descended down into the canyon of Catherine Creek:
A peek at the Columbia River as the trail descends:
I picked up another jeep track:
Which connected me back to the original trail where I returned to my car. It was a 6.5 mile loop with 1,700′ elevation gain. Great hike!
Here is my track:
And here is the video: