GORGEous day!

IMG_5336Today I went with Tim and hike two peaks in the Columbia Gorge. The day was spectacular. A warm early spring has reached the NorthWest, and though we are pining for snow on our mountains, it makes for great hiking weather.

Indian Point can be found off of exit 44 on Route 84 heading East from Portland. You’ll need a Northwest Forest Pass to park. This is a great day hike and training hike for putting in miles and elevation, plus it offers some spectacular views of the gorge on clear days.

The trail starts at the Herman Creek trailhead and there are a couple of ways you can get to the side trail to Indian Point. We took the Gordon Creek Trail which was a steady climb UP to the small turnoff to Indian Point. The small trail to the point offers a great view of the point, and a warning that if you have any fear of heights at all, then this is about as far as you will go.

IMG_5340We worked our way out step by step on the the increasingly loose talus pile that fell off in what seemed to be every direction possible. There was one indian pit where we hunkered down and ate our lunch, which is ironic as these were the places they would send the coming of age to fast themselves into hallucination. (Hey, that’s the story I heard and I’m sticking to it).

IMG_5343There is a small point at the end of the of the trail which I wouldn’t climb for the price of anything. .  Tim was nervous enough looking at it, I’m sure it was eminent death.

IMG_5350We made our way out by hiking out down the Nick Eaton Ridge Trail. It was a lovely switchbacking descent back to the base of the gorge where the parking lot was. We took a short drive to Mitchell Point where Tim needed to redeem a himself of a picture he attempted to take last Thursday but failed.

IMG_5354This is exit 58 off of 84 East. A few short turns here and there will get you there. This hike is quite short, just about 2 miles round trip, but it is a very steady UP, over 1000 ft elevation gain in a mile. Again, the views of the gorge offered here are quite lovely, and as long as heights don’t keep you frozen, you can sit up top and enjoy the spectacular Columbia River Gorge.

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Happy Trails!

Denny

 

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Dog Mountain Hike – Woof!

DOG MOUNTAIN – COLUMBIA GORGE Moderate to Difficult 1500 ft – 2900 ft elevation gain 3 – 7 mile loop Passes required: Either NW Forest Pass or you can pay at the trail-head $5.00/day Directions: From Stevenson, WA: Travel east on Washington State Route 14 for 10 miles. Trailhead parking is available between mileposts 53 and 54 by the Dog Mountain Trailhead sign. From Portland, OR: Travel west on Interstate 84 to Cascade Locks exit #44.  Follow the off ramp under the interstate and take the first right to the Bridge of the Gods across the Columbia River. At the stop sign, turn right (east) on Washington State Route 14 and travel 12 miles. Between mileposts 53 and 54, there is a large sign for the Dog Mountain Trailhead. Park in the pullout on the left. There are some hikes that leave you breathless with a gasping WOW, and Dog Mountain does not fall short!  The climb up to the summit is substantial. It’s a calf-building, quad-ripping, ass-buster, and though we went on a Tuesday morning, I can see how this trail would be packed on a weekend. Best time to go: End of May for full bloom wildflowers!Image You start off right at the edge of the spectacular Columbia Gorge and begin a trek UP into the dense evergreen doug-fir forest and the beautiful trilliums. Climbing through the smells are divine with pine and the birds are full of song.Image You will have a check-point to take one of two paths to the Summit. We opted for the “More  Difficult” path which is where we got our leg and cardio workout. Image Climb, climb, climb you go and after leaving the density of the forest you come to the mountain top meadows At the end of May this is a spectacular array of wildflowers, busting with the bright yellow of balsam root and sprinkled with red Indian paint brush, chocolate lilies, wild strawberries and purple lupins. The first glimpse takes your breath away as the edge of the mountain top overlooks the Columbia River Gorge and Oregon! Image Photographer’s Dream – Bring your camera – you’ll kick yourself if you don’t! Image We had a great time – I’m sure you will too! Bring a lunch so you can picnic at the top. Layers of clothing, sturdy hiking boots, lots of water and a genuine smile are all good things to take along with you. You might consider some trekking poles for the descent as it can be a bit of a knee buster! Image Be sure to stop at the East Wind Drive-In in Skamania on your way out – it’s on the Oregon side of just under the Bridge of the Gods.  The iced-cream is two feet tall! Also – Skamania is Sasquatch nation – so be prepared to site big-foot! DSC_0170 Happy Hiking! Denny, Tim & Jeff Image