Hike 43 – Lost Lake Butte

Majestic Mt. Hood from the butte

We did not mean to end up at Lost Lake. We didn’t have directions to get there. We didn’t know anything about the hike. We were headed elsewhere and we got tired of driving. After some discussion, it became clear we were going to Lost Lake. Neither of us had ever been there (except maybe as small children but we didn’t remember it). Before we lost phone service, my sister quickly got us some directions, a place to park and an excellent little hike.

The hike is a short 4.6 miles with 1270 feet of elevation. We were hoping for something longer today, since it was so beautiful, but sometimes you take what you can get. It was actually quite the butt-kicker, so in the end, it worked out. We parked just outside the main entrance to the campground and hit an old trail that connected us up with the butte trail without us actually having to enter the park and pay the fee.

This connector trail, the Old Skyline Trail, was around before the PCT. When my sister was reading the directions, she kept reading that part, which was absolutely not important and quite annoying, over and over and over again. So….just in case you wanted to know, “Before the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) was constructed in the 1960s, the Oregon Skyline Trail traversed the crest of the Cascades, with remnants like this one bypassed by the new PCT.” I told her if she said it one more time I was going to punch her in the throat. She, of course, read it again. I did not punch her in the throat. Empty threats.

The Old Skyline Trail was mostly flat. It really just lead up to the actual trail. You are surrounded on all sides by giant rhododenderon bushes. They were fragrant and just past blooming, but the bees were out in full force. I have a pretty extreme bee phobia. I’m actually afraid of most things. Life is quite terrifying for me. But bees, they really are one of my biggest fears. They were humming and circling us through this entire flat portion. I was definitely on edge. One landed on my face. I don’t know what happened. I couldn’t remember. I can’t remember now. Somehow, as I reacted to it touching me, I went from standing on a perfectly good trail to upside down ON a rohodenderon bush about five feet off of the trail. I couldn’t even get up. My sister had to pull me out of it. I wish it was on camera, because I honestly don’t know what happened. Good thing we weren’t hiking Eagle Creek or something else with a shear ledge. Geez, talk about over-reaction, am I right?

The hike was entirely uphill. I have said this before, but I was exaggerating. It’s what I do. I am not exaggerating this time. It was not super steep, except in some parts, but it was literally every single step of the whole 2+ miles uphill. At the very top there was this flat section for about 15 feet, then it went uphill again. We definitely struggled up it and as usual on the big uphills, my sister was really far in front of me. It was a solitary hike for the entire uphill. We saw one other group and we weren’t together…lots of introspection ūüôā

When we made it to the bluff, it was all worth it. The view of majestic Mt. Hood was incredible. I can’t even explain it and the photo in no way does it justice. We just stood in awe for several minutes. After we had our fill, we headed back down and meandered through the campground so that we could actually get a glimpse of the lake. There were several trails with “switchbacks.” We got very frustrated and just started tromping through the woods. The whole point of switchbacks is to negate elevation. You can’t just randomly create winding flat trails and force people to walk extra distance when all they want is to see the damn lake. Well, I guess you can, but you can’t expect people to stick to them. We practiced very bad trail stewardship. When we arrived lake side, it did not disappoint. I highly recommend a trip to Lost Lake.

For information about Lost Lake Butte click here.


Hike 42 – Hardy Creek Loop

This hike was fraught with difficulty. We basically just laughed all day at the frustration. On Instagram, I call our hikes misadventures. They definitely are.

I woke up super early, for me, and started eating breakfast. My sister, who generally sleeps several hours later than me, called me at 9:15 to see if I was up. “Early start!” is what I thought immediately. I was super excited for an early start because honestly I had a lot of work to do after the hike. I geared up and headed to her house. That is where the insanity began.

My sister’s apartment was entirely surrounded by the Rock n’ Roll half marathon. The route literally circled her place. I could NOT get to it. I left my house at 9:45. It usually takes me 15 minutes to get there. I arrived at 11. I finally was able to use I5 to get to her. If you see a map of where we both live, you will understand how ridiculous that is. Finally…we were on the way.

We were headed toward Molalla, to the Molalla River Recreation Area which is maintained by the Bureau of Land Management. The feds know what they are doing. The whole area is well-maintained, well-signed, and just fancier than what we are are used to. But all of that happened after we got there. We were not there yet.

We stopped in Woodburn to get Subway. We needed to eat before the hike since we got such a late start. The Subway where we stopped had one employee and apparently every person in the town of Woodburn wanted Subway that day. We were there for about 45 minutes. It was so silly we just laughed and laughed.

Ok, so now we were headed to the trailhead. I did not look closely at how far it was. When we finally entered the Recreation Area, there was a sign that said 19 miles. We both groaned…and, my gas light came on. I started doing the math – 40ish miles just to get back to here. We were going to run out of gas.

We proceeded anyway because my middle name is Danger. Then, we couldn’t find it. We drove and drove and drove and drove looking ¬†for that damn trail head. We were headed to the Table Rock Hike. We never made it. We got discouraged, and scared, and worried about gas, and we headed back to the trailhead that we had already passed. We had no information about the hike and no service on our phones to look anything up. We just needed to get out of the car before we lost our minds.

There were maps at the trailhead?!!! It was awesome. There were a million options for trails. We just kind of decided as we hit intersections and tried to keep track of where we were headed so we could get back. It started to rain. We stopped and put our coats on. It started to pour. We stopped and put our rain pants on. When we stopped we saw the first of three crazy huge ant hills. They were seriously like a horror movie. I got too close to one and they attacked my shoes. Scary.

We probably hiked 4 miles. I have no idea about the elevation. Despite the rain, it was a lovely hike. It reminded me of home. The fields that we walked through looked just like the fields in front of my parents’ house that I spent my entire childhood in. ¬†The trees that were down over one section, my sister decided, “Gave us an extra workout.” It was the best signed trail we have ever hiked. We knew exactly where we were the whole time. It’s odd to me that that Huckleberry Trail contains exactly zero Huckleberry plants though. Where did the name come from?

For information about Hardy Creek click here.

Hike 41 – East Portland Sunday Parkways


Sunday Parkways started again, woohoo!

Last year we missed the first one. ¬†This year we almost did too. Sunday was Mother’s Day. My mom made the most incredible brunch for her mom, my grandma. My aunt Barb was there too. It was so yummy. I ate roughly 10 lbs of food. ¬†We definitely needed to walk that off.

When I got to my parent’s house, I had no idea where we were going to hike. We needed something close and easy because we were making dinner at my place for the parents. We had to fit our hike in between a Mother’s day festivity sandwich. The first thing my dad said was, “So are you guys doing the Sunday Parkways thing today?”

That was it. He saved us. Not only was it perfect, but we had vowed to walk every Sunday Parkways. Plus, it was the East route. It started 20 blocks from my house! The whole loop was 7 miles. The majority of it was on the Springwater corridor, but it also wound through many neighborhoods. It was very different from every other route we have been on before. One, it was in sketchy-ish neighborhoods. As we have used to describe other things, it was more methy. Usually, when we walk Sunday Parkways, we see beautiful neighborhoods that we wish we could live in. That was not the case this time. Two, they only closed half of the road. This left traffic on the other side which was almost always moving too fast, and it left a very small route for two way traffic to get through. I very much hope this is just because it was the methy, east route and not a new trend in Sunday Parkways. The best part of Sunday Parkways is the absolutely car free environment.

It was warm on Sunday. We got hot for sure. Neither of us had any chapstick with us. My sister was complaining about her chapped lips when suddenly we happened upon a tube of her favorite, Burt’s Bees, in the street. She looked right at me and earnestly said, “You can’t use street chappy.” ¬†She said this like I needed to hear it. Ummmm, of course you don’t.

My sister was breaking in her new hiking boots on this walk. That was a bad idea. She got crazy awful blisters and couldn’t finish. The route was closing anyway since we got a late start, so I left her in a park and finished on my own. I returned with the car and saved the day. Then we made delicious tacos and watched Real Time with Bill Maher after lying in the sun with Remington. All in all, it was a lovely day.

For information about Sunday Parkways click here.


Hike 40 – Lower Salmonberry River

When my sister and I did the Wolf Creek Trestle hike, we loved it. The tunnels, which of course had bears and axe murderers in them, were very creepy and remote, but the hike was so neat. When I found out there was another hike on the same disused railroad, I was totally excited. It wasn’t as awesome, but it was still a really good time, especially since I got to laugh at my sister all day.

The Lower Salmonberry part of the railroad is definitely easier to find. It’s on an actual road and not in the middle of no where. When we hit the tracks it was sprinkling lightly, but it soon began to rain really really hard. Our rain gear was no match for it. It wasn’t just the rain either. The Scots Broom that blocked our path was soaked and we had to walk through it. It wasn’t very long before our jeans were soaked through. My sister had a small V-shape on the back of her upper leg that was dry. The rest of her jeans were totally wet. I can’t actually see the back of my legs, so I don’t know. One thing I do know is that I got huge soapy bubbles on the knees of my jeans. Apparently my washing machine isn’t removing all of the soap. Good to know, I suppose.

The trestles we crossed were beautiful and even our foe (the Scots Broom) was a lovely shade of ¬†warm yellow. There were flowers everywhere. When you are wearing a hat and a hood, it is hard to see all of the cool stuff around you. One of the features of the hike is a large water tower. I was looking forward to seeing it and insisted, after my sister begged to turn around, that we continue until we reached it. When we got to it, I didn’t even see it. I was literally standing three feet away from it and she had to point it out to me. Did I mention it was raining really hard?

My sister did not want to finish this hike. She wanted to turn around a long time before I would let her. I wanted to see the water tower and the train cars left behind that were mentioned in descriptions of the hikes. Maybe I shouldn’t read the descriptions anymore. This was a similar scenario to the damn light house on the Warrior Point hike. I HAD to see it. At one point we crossed a creek that was pretty deep and wide. She was so frustrated with me she just stomped right through it. It was so funny.

One of the highlights of the hike was my sister being so upset. Something about sisters, it is absolutely hilarious when your sister is annoyed or frustrated. She laughs at me. I laugh at her. We both know that all it does is exacerbate the situation, but that doesn’t stop us. She was sooo mad. She hates being wet. She was cold. Her raincoat was leaking. Her “waterproof” boots with the fancy waterproof membrane were also soaked through. I know all of these things because she kept saying them. Then she stopped talking and just walked¬†faster and faster and faster. She was just a speck in the distance. If she had to finish, she was doing it fast. More hilarity.

When I finally caught up, in the most exasperated voice, she said, “I know what this waterproof membrane in my boots is for.” I decided to bite, “What?” She answered with a gruff voice as she powered up her walking speed again, “It keeps the water in my boots. I’m walking in boot soup.”

Boot soup is disgusting. I do not recommend it.

We did eventually see all of the sites. We were finally heading back. It was an 8.2 mile hike round trip with almost no elevation. We are often relieved when we reach the end of a hike, but never so much as today. I had a bag of Goodwill-bound clothes in the hatchback, which we promptly raided. My sister basically took off all her clothes and put my old ones all over her. She had a sweat shirt on her feet, another on her legs, an old brown sweater around her waist, and a few shirts on her torso. She was also wrapped in my Ducks poncho. I just changed my shirt. There was nothing left for me after we got her warmed up.

I had a great day. I’m pretty sure Jessie didn’t.

For information about the Lower Salmonberry Hike click here.