Month: August 2017

Dog Mountain for the Doggos

Dog Mountain is an out an back bitch of a hike just outside Stevenson, Washington. Along the Columbia River Gorge it’s obviously going to be gorgeous. First, I’ll warn you. If you don’t like hiking, don’t do it. Don’t think about it, don’t ask about it, just go home and eat a burrito, like I kinda wish I would have. If you go May (April if you’re lucky)-June you’ll see the most beautiful mountainside of wildflowers. I was skeptical, like the more I hike up this freaking mountainside, the more I thought, why am I doing this. But when you get to the clearing and see wildflowers nearly as far as the eye can see.. you’ll be okay fine, it’s worth it. Would I do it again? LOL no. It’s only 6.5 miles out and back, but with (what they tell me) is a 3,000 feet elevation gain (I think it’s more), it can be a bit painful at times. Every single switch back is relentless with its climb up hill. Bring water, and bring your dog. Cause you know, it’s Dog Mountain and people take that literally. It was the most dogs I’ve ever seen on one hike. I brought my five pound chiweenie, and she probably did better than me if we are being honest. I did spare her the hike down by putting her in my pack, and it probably saved my ego and little. After the first set of switchbacks there is a fork in the trail. I stuck to the right, and it got me to the top. The left does as well but I haven’t hiked it, I’m not sure if it’s a little easier or more steep. If you stayed to the right you’ll come to a clearing in the trees and you first patch of wild flowers. There is a bench on the right overlooking the gorge. This is a great place to stop and rest. I’d LOVE to tell you that this is a good place to stop and turn around if you want an easier hike, but it’s just not. If you keep going, you’ll know what I mean. It’s tempting to turn back here, but continue on through another patch of forest and the next clearing will be the last. The final stretch of trail takes you through an open mountain side covered in flowers. The yellow daisy like ones dominate, but there are red paintbrush and a few purpley types mixed in. I’m not a botanist, sorry. At the top there is a bench to take in all the views. On a clear day you can see Mt.Hood peaking out above the foothills.

Take I-84 East and cross at Bridge of the Gods, or just cross on I-205 and head East on hwy 14. If you take hwy 14 the whole way it’s a little slower but I think it’s a more peaceful drive with pull offs to view the gorge that you don’t really get on the Oregon side. I-84 stresses me out, it’s loud and boring, but either way will get you there. The parking lot is right off hwy 14 on the left with a big sign, it’s hard to miss. From what I understand it’s always fairly crowded, especially if you go during the wild flowers. Why would you go when there are no flowers? I don’t understand why you’d submit yourself to such torture with no wild flowers.

Abiqua Falls

A short, beautiful and somewhat adventurous hike in Oregon. Just a little ways outside of Scotts Mills, arguably the most beautiful waterfall in Oregon.

To get there, take hwy 213 out of Silverton, turn right on Mt.Angel Scotts Mills Road which will turn into Crooked Finger Road. After approx 13.5 miles, turn right on an umarked forest service road. After a quarter mile or so you’ll see a road to the left that’s used for dirt bikes/atvs, continue straight for about a mile. You’ll come up on a dirt parking lot on the right, park here if you don’t have a high clearance 4×4. If you do, continue straight. The road will narrow and is not maintained. There is limited parking at the end, but a few spots along the way if you sense it’ll be full. To avoid crowds go in spring or after Labor Day or go during the week.

If your hike begins at the first parking lot you’ll have a couple miles down the bumpy gravel road to walk, which makes this about a 5.5 mile out and back hike. If your vehicle makes it to the end, your hike will be under 2 miles out and back. Just before the end of the road you’ll see a trail with a sign stating its private property but open to the public. The trail starts off pretty easy and then gradually you’ll lose elevation. After a half mile you’ll come to the two difficult portions of the hike. It’s very steep, and and uneven footing. If it’s been raining, good luck, I can’t even imagine. There are ropes attached to help you down/ back up, so utilize those! Once down to the river you’ll head to the left and it follows the water until you get to the falls.

The falls are mostly dramatic because of the basalt columns they are falling over. Rivaled only by the basalt columns seen in Vik, Iceland, the columnar basalt shaped as a bowl provides a unique setting you can’t see many other places. If you’re lucky and you came on a slow day, you’ll have the place to yourself to sit, relax and eat that dang sandwich you hopefully remembered.