Hike 57 – Wahkeena-Multnomah Loop

Wahkeena Pano

Last year my sister and I hiked Wahkeena Falls in the fall. It was one of our favorite hikes, by far. I can’t even begin to explain how incredibly beautiful it was. My sister really wanted to hike it again this year, but she just couldn’t fit it in around wedding planning, so I did it solo. It was still pretty darn cool.

Recently one of my friends posted a picture of her hiking view from Angel’s Rest on Instagram. It was a really pretty picture, and I liked it. The ex, who also follows her, commented “best hike in the gorge.” False. If you never go on hikes in the gorge and that’s the one that you always do, then yes, you might think it’s “the best.” But really, it is not. That is quite frankly naivete. Wahkeena is a far superior hike to Angel’s Rest, as is Hamilton Mountain, Coyote Wall, and a couple others. Angel’s Rest is pretty in a few spots (on the scree field and when you get to the top) but it’s mostly a view-less hell of switchbacks. The other hikes listed here are far superior. I dislike when “know-nothing-know-it-alls” speak as experts from a perspective of ignorance. I am an expert now. I know. Thanks 52 hikes in 52 weeks.

The Wahkeena Loop does have one problem, the Multnomah Falls part sucks big time (Like Tommy Tomasino – that’s a The Sixth Sense reference). The Wahkeena side is incredible. It’s mostly uphill, but it stays next to a raging creek/river and has numerous waterfalls and bridges. In the fall, coupled with the leaves, it’s breathtaking. The entire hike is 4.9 miles with 1600 feet of elevation change, but it’s entirely uphill one way and entirely downhill the other. It’s nice to have that triumphant moment when you’re half done and have reached the top. That happens at a crazy intersection of several trails that is poorly signed. Luckily, I remembered the correct trail to take. And here’s the best thing, the most beautiful part of the hike is on the downhill side toward Multnomah Falls.

The falls above Multnomah are so much more than Multnomah itself, because you can actually get close and experience them. There are many and they are powerful and cold. Even though it was October and far too cold to swim, I found a swimming hole and desperately wanted to jump in. The water was so clear and I just have this thing about water. I put my feet in, but stopped there because I still had a long way to go. In retrospect, I should have jumped in. I wish I would have.

Like last time I hiked the loop, when I reached the paved portion of the Multnomah Falls trail it was just a huge disappointment. It was crowded with people who don’t like hiking and have no trail etiquette. I was beyond frustrated. Next time I do this hike I’m going to hike to the top of Multnomah and then go back over to Wahkeena. I’ll just avoid the insanity all together. When I got down to the return trail, it was closed. I had to walk back on the road and the drivers were really really rude. It just cemented my plan to never go that way again.

I started the day with a migraine. That’s why I went hiking. Sometimes I have migraines for three or four days straight, especially in this last year. Nothing makes them go away. Nothing even dulls them. But, every single time I hike with a migraine, by the time the hike is done, it is gone. As I was descending Multnomah, my head still hurt. I thought the magic was gone, but when I got to the car I was fine. Hiking cures what ails you, physically and emotionally. I’m so fortunate to know that.

For information about the Wahkeena-Multnomah Loop click here.

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Hike 55 – Old Salmon River Trail

Josh Salmon Rive

 

At CRMS we try very hard to acknowledge and honor each other’s birthdays. The problem with Josh’s birthday is that it comes so early in the school year that we often don’t have anything planned until the last minute. Beginning of the school year brain is a stressed brain. This year though, we didn’t let Josh down. Mostly because he planned his own shindig. We hopped in the Subaru, stopped in Welches for provisions, and spent a lovely late afternoon on the Salmon River with our feet in the water. We even saw a huge salmon. It was a fabulous day. Evidence of its glory is the picture of the birthday boy above. Because I had such a brilliant Friday for Josh’s birthday, when Sunday rolled around I wanted to hike the trail.

My sister was working, of course, so I called my friend Ryan Goldberg. We hit the trail at the first parking lot so that we could get the whole trail. If you struggle with hiking it has a lot of entrances and you could easily shorten the hike. It’s also mostly flat. I injured my knee pretty bad in August. I was really scared I had torn my meniscus again. In fact I was convinced I had torn it again and avoided even going to the doctor for awhile. Flat sounded good for “old swollen joe” which is what I call my knee when it’s acting up. After I finally did visit my doctor, she told me it just has some inflammation. I have to do stretches and ice it. In summary, I’m getting old. Lame. I refuse.

The Old Salmon River Trail is 5 miles round trip. It stays mostly on the river and has some truly lovely bridges (features) built into it. My sister and brother in law placed some of my aunt’s ashes on the trail last time we were there, so it will always be sentimental for me. Especially since yesterday would have been her birthday, she’s on my mind.

The trail was Grimm mossy, much dryer than last time I ventured down it’s winding path, and mostly uneventful until we got close to the end. Some people were camping just off the trail and using the actual trail as their bathroom. Super classy. I wanted to yell at them, but I didn’t want any of the creepy old men to try to fight Ryan. People who use a trail as a bathroom probably aren’t to be reasoned with.

On the way back to the car, we stopped at the same place where we had spent Josh’s birthday. Ryan had carried, unbeknownst to me, beers for both of us in his backpack. We enjoyed them, and I put my feet in the river, again. We also saw a salmon again. It was a really good day.

For information about Salmon River click here.

Hike 54 and 56 – Timothy Lake

On a whim, I decided to hike around Timothy Lake by myself one Sunday. It was the first Sunday in September. It was absolutely lovely. The previous summer, my sister, her husband and I accidentally hiked around Timothy Lake, and we got horribly lost and ended up hiking about 17 miles with no food or water. At the end we were also in the dark and we had no light source. It was a silly misadventure. I was hoping to actually hike around the lake this time and to pinpoint where we had gone so horribly wrong the first time. I figured going in the opposite direction would remedy the situation. I was also feeling like I needed to hike long distances in preparation for my thru hike with Lacey Wroblewski this coming summer. I already mentioned it before, but it’s been awhile. I am hiking the John Muir Trail from Vermillion Valley to Mt. Whitney. I am scared and beyond excited for it, but not at all physically prepared.

Anyway, I decided that adding an extra mile or two was a good idea. I parked on the fire road, instead of in the park, which actually saves money if you don’t have a NW Forest Pass (which I do), but anyway, I hiked in on the PCT. Part of the trail around the lake is the PCT and that’s where I hit it. I headed counter-clockwise around the lake and only passed a few people here and there. In no time, things were looking familiar and beautiful. I went through the crazy North Arm which has water the most beautiful color of green and then I stopped for a snack. I even remember what I ate: freeze dried peas and curried cashews. Best. Snack. Ever. I took off my shoes and dipped my feet in the lake while ants attacked the log I was sitting on. It was so peaceful. Then I put my shoes back on and continued on my way.

The trail is well maintained and easy to follow. Unlike last time I hiked it, it is also well-signed. All of the signs are brand new and lovely. Those signs sure would have been nice when we hiked it the first time!!! Eventually I made it back to where our campsite was when we got lost and was able to see where everything went wrong last time. Honestly, the part we missed was the least exciting part. It just winds through the campgrounds…boring.

I made it back, almost missing a turn again, to the PCT and back to the car. I was really proud of myself for doing a 15 mile hike, but it is totally flat. Now I just needed to add some serious elevation.

Two weeks after I hiked it by myself, I headed back up to Timothy Lake with my friend Ryan Goldberg. We parked kind of by the dam and did all the boring campground stuff first. We also ate Subway from Sandy at the lovely picnic tables before we even started. The hike was still awesome, even though I had just done it, despite my weird hip pain for the second half of it. When we finished up we changed into swimwear and jumped into the lake. It would have been a perfectly lovely day had the air not been too thick to breathe due to the fire raging near the Clackamas River. After our swim we enjoyed some great beers, thanks to Ryan being the best, and headed home.

Both hikes were fabulous. I can’t believe I didn’t know about Timothy Lake until I was 34 years old.

For information about Timothy Lake click here.

Hike 53 – Enid Lake

I honestly have no answer, no reason at all, for why it has taken me so long to write this. I also don’t know why I haven’t been hiking. It’s not like I have less time now. My sister works basically every weekend, so I have definitely lost my hiking buddy, but is that really an excuse? I don’t think so. Hiking is my happy place. I was talking to my friend Jeremy about it last night, in fact. I love it and I hate it. I love it because it is so good for my soul, and I hate it because it is so hard on my body. I love it more, and in the long run so does my body. So again, why haven’t I been hiking? I don’t know. I’m broken in some way. I’ve been spending most of my time lying around watching tv. Today and yesterday, I literally watched the entire first season of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Yeah, broken. I’m not going to settle for broken though, so I’m updating the page and I’m getting back at it.

In August, shortly after my last post,  my sister and I did go on a hike. We headed up Highway 26 to the Enid Lake hike. It begins on the Pioneer Bridle Trail. The trail starts right on Highway 26. It’s very near the pull out for chaining up when it’s snowing. What I didn’t realize, because I didn’t read the entire description, is that it pretty much hugs the highway the entire route. Do not like. It was lovely, don’t get me wrong, but there is something about not being able to hear cars and other people that is so soothing. Add to it, that when we hiked this route it was when they were blasting on the highway so there were tons of workers and machinery everywhere…very un-zen.

There were some fabulous things about the hike. Notably, the delicious huckleberries that were in full bloom brightened up the hike quite a bit. We ate so many that we felt a little sick. We also got to take a nifty tunnel. It was strange. Somebody had spray-painted the word BATS all over it and then there were pictures of both baseball bats and bats, you know the flying things. Somebody had a lot of time on their hands.

The hike was 9.5 miles round trip and 1570 feet in elevation. I didn’t really look that up ahead of time. My sister did not appreciate it. She was looking forward to a chill hike because she was in the middle of wedding planning and just wanted a break. Oops. Many complaints were had. As I’ve mentioned before, I enjoy it when she complains. It’s amusing to me. It was so long ago, I’m having trouble remembering what we talked about. However, I do remember that I had just had “active-shooter” training at school. Although that sounds terrifying, it was actually empowering. I learned take-downs. You better believe I used a tree in the woods as a doorway and took Jessie down. I had to show her what I learned, right? I did it slow, like half speed. She was fine.

When we finally arrived at Enid Lake. It did not impress. Enid Lake is not so much a lake as it is a small pond and/or swamp. As far as 9+ mile hikes too close to the highway go, it was definitely underwhelming. We laughed, heartily, at it’s pathetic-ness. Then we headed back.

The thing about this hike is, it wasn’t that good, but it was still so much better than how I spend my time on any other day. Hiking is always good. Even when it’s bad, it’s good. Even when it’s a stupid swamp by the highway, it’s better than most things. Get out there. Find yourself. I know I need to . . . again.

For information about Enid Lake click here.