Dalles Mountain Ranch

  • Level: Easy (Beginner level: challenging)
  • Length: ~5.5 miles
  • Elevation: >1,000 ft. gain
  • Type: loop
  • Open: all year, peak wildflower time is mid-April to mid-May
  • Permit: Discover Pass or $5
  • Drive time from Portland: 1h30m
  • Google map: “crawford oaks trailhead”
  • Features: Eastern Gorge, spring wildflowers, waterfall

Every day that has passed in the week-and-a-half since I did this trail, I’ve felt like I was hoarding it. It was so unbelievably beautiful. You must go before the flowers go to seed and it gets too damn hot. There’s very little shade and it’s been so gross in Portland that I wasn’t even thinking about sunscreen yet and got pretty badly burnt. WEAR SUNSCREEN. Continue reading “Dalles Mountain Ranch”

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Latourell Falls

  • Level: easy (Beginner level: challenging)
  • Length: 2.3 miles
  • Elevation: 600 ft. gain
  • Type: loop
  • Open: all year
  • Permit: n/a
  • Drive time from Portland: 35m
  • Google map: “latourell falls”
  • Features: Columbia River Gorge, waterfalls, views

The only good thing about my stupid meniscus tear is getting reacquainted with the shorter, less difficult trails I haven’t done in years. Although, this one was plenty difficult for where I’m at right now. I didn’t quite have to take any breaks, but I was moving up those inclines at a snail’s pace. I mean absolutely nothing disparaging by this, it was perfect. Continue reading “Latourell Falls”

Beacon Rock

  • Level: easy (Beginner level: challenging)
  • Length: 1.8 miles
  • Elevation: 600 ft. gain
  • Type: out and back
  • Open: all year
  • Permit: Discover Pass or $10
  • Drive time from Portland: 45min
  • Google map: “Beacon Rock State Park” but the actual trailhead is around milepost 35
  • Features: Columbia River Gorge
  • Pair with: meander through Beacon Rock State Park or do the Hamilton Mountain trail in addition.

I adore Beacon Rock! It’s one of my go-tos for bringing friends, or when I just want to play nature gym, meaning I’ll hike it a few times in one go to get my elevation gains without spending hours on a long trail. I do this one a lot. Continue reading “Beacon Rock”

Cape Horn (+ writing)

“I look around and try to notice everything I possibly can, something I do when I need to get out of my head. Drenched neon mosses and licorice ferns growing off every alder trunk. The remaining leaves, a yellow deserving of new definition. The fog swirls thicker. Gratitude for green. All year, the seasons haven’t known whether to shit or get off the pot, but it is distinctly becoming winter, which isn’t so stark in Northwest Oregon, but actually kind of luscious, lively, magical. I’ve been going through my days like I’ve lost my magic and I hope to get some back today. I listen to the trees, the hollow roar of the Columbia River Gorge and the distant noises of highway fourteen. The sounds fill me up and I imagine them pushing out my pain.” Continue reading “Cape Horn (+ writing)”

Klickitat Rail Trail

  • Level: Easy to Moderate Beginner Level: Doable, turn around whenever you feel like it!
  • Length: +/- 7.8 miles
  • Elevation: +/- 270 ft. gain
  • Type: Out and back
  • Open: all year (but read below)
  • Permit: n/a, $2 for bridge crossings
  • Drive time from Portland: 1h30m
  • Google map: n/a, I-84E to Hood River Bridge (exit 64). Turn right on 14 for 12.8 miles to Lyle. Turn left on Centerville Hwy for 0.4 mile, fork left to stay on the hwy and continue 14.5 miles. Turn left on gravel Harms Road for 0.5 miles to the trailhead on the left, just after green metal bridge
  • Features: spring flowers, rimrock cliffs, grasslands, butterflies, great bird watching and wildlife: marmots, snakes, deer, etc

Portland life hack: sometimes, just an hour east, the sun is shining! I did this on a gross day in Portland, but out here it was over seventy degrees and sunny. Continue reading “Klickitat Rail Trail”

Angels Rest

  • Level: Moderate
  • Length: 4.6 miles
  • Elevation: 1,500 ft. gain
  • Type: Out and back
  • Open: all year
  • Permit: n/a
  • Drive time from Portland: 30m
  • Google map: “angels rest”
  • Features: Columbia River Gorge, Coopey Falls, views out the yingyang

Angels Rest, you are the McDonalds Value Menu of trails and I’m lovin’ it. So much bang for your buck and because of this, it gets really crowded. SO CROWDED. This used to be a go-to of mine, but despite it’s amazing beauty, it’s been downgraded because people. Hence why  it hasn’t been profiled here until now. Regardless, I highly recommend it. It’s a great trail for people who want to work on their elevation gains and it’s one of the closest Gorge trails to Portland. I have a particular fondness for it because it’s one of the first “hard” ones I ever did. I think it was 2012 or so and I was still in The Fog© of my life: hungover, unhealthy, sad, negative, angry, ashamed, but still somehow hopeful. It crushed me like a bug. I learned what a “false summit” is. I cried, I fell in mud, I almost turned around twice, but when I got to the top, I felt like such a bad ass. It started my love affair with hiking. Continue reading “Angels Rest”

Travel Journal: May 13 – 15, 2016

Locations: Eastern Washington Scablands, Palouse Falls, Wallula Gap, Two Sisters, Hat Rock, Pasco, Tricities, Maryhill Stonehenge

Real talk, this camping trip happened about a month and a half ago, but I was just so off my game, I’m only getting to it now. The details are fuzzy. In mid-May, Brie and I spent a weekend in eastern Washington’s Channeled Scablands. The Scablands were created by the Missoula Flood during the Ice Age, which began in western Montana, stretching down as far as Eugene, Oregon. The flood created massive coulees, waterfalls, canyons, basalt buttes and giant boulders that appear to be strewn about the land with no rhyme or reason. It’s an enchanting landscape, reminiscent of Ireland. Despite some misadventures, I loved this trip and I can’t wait to go back and see all of the things we didn’t have time for. Sometimes, shit goes wrong and it can suck in the moment, but it’s all adventure to me. Nature isn’t following any rules. It’s unpredictability is part of the magic. I will choose adventure again and again and again. Continue reading “Travel Journal: May 13 – 15, 2016”