Tag Archives: spring

Spine of the Ridge

After a very awesome Saturday the week before in Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument I wanted to go back. Checking the weather there was a chance of rain and it would be cold but I was determined to get out to the mountain. The scenery was just to good to pass up. Just sitting at the overlook after a good day at the park….amazing. I wanted that feeling again.

The weather in Portland was overcast when I left. For some brief moments on the highway it was raining. When I was getting close to the science center part of the pass was completely fogged over which was shocking to see so. I knew the weather was not going to play along for the day but I was going to the make the most of it. It is true that the weather can change quickly on the mountain.

When I got to the parking lot it was raining slightly so I sat around for 30-40 minutes waiting for the weather to clear up. I had gear for the cold but not the best equipment for rain. No matter. I would just wait it out. Things eventually cleared up enough that I could start my hike up the mountain. I was unsure how far I would get but that didn’t matter much. I just wanted to get as high and as far as I could along the South Coldwater Trail.

Less than a mile into the hike rain started to fall. Eventually it was so heavy I took an opportunity to sit under a tree and get out of the rain. I was going to wait it out and I couldn’t have picked a better spot. The tree I was under was dense enough that I never got wet. There was a perfect rock that was my seat so I didn’t have to sit directly on the ground either.

You can see more storm clouds are rolling in across the valley.

It was peaceful sitting under that tree listening to the rain fall. On occasion runners would pass me on their way down the mountain. They really got caught out in the rain but it didn’t matter. Each one of them just continued down like nothing was happening. I just continued to sit on the rock watching nature.

Eventually the rain stopped and the humidity picked up big time. I continued up the mountain but not for much longer. The skies cleared some but as I got higher up the ridge line I could see dark clouds rolling across the valley towards me. It wasn’t raining now but it was going to again. I got to a good spot, enjoyed the view for a few minutes and then headed back.

The mountain won this round but I am determined to come back. The trail follows the ridge line which is why I want to hike this trail. I figure some good views of St. Helens if I can get high enough and then just the valley and down across the ridge. Doesn’t hurt that Coldwater Lake is also at the base of the mountain. Something else to look at as you climb up the trail. I’m excited to see what this trail is like. I will be back.

Hummocks Trail May 2021

I have a regular Friday meal with the family and over dinner we discussed a hike. It was going to be a nice spring weekend and I wanted to get outside as did Tracy so we planned to head to Mount St. Helens for a hike. Tracy has done the Hummocks trail before and it was a good suggestion for relatively quick weekend hike around the park.

In under two hours we where at Coldwater Lake and the parking lot for the Hummocks. This is a small 2.5 mile loop on the west side of the mountain. This part of the forest got blown out when the mountain blew. This trail takes you around the area and shows you the destruction that occurred. As it meanders around the Hummocks you get some good views of the mountain and the creek below. It’s easy to imagine the volcanic ash racing down the valley destroying everything in its path. It has been many years since the blast and nature is slowly starting to rebuild from the destruction.

Since the hike wasn’t very long we headed down to Coldwater Lake for some lunch. The lake itself is rather large with a trail that goes completely around it. We parked and just headed down to a small dock they have. While there saw several boaters getting in and out of the water. Looks like you are allowed to have small human powered canoes and kayaks on the lake, nothing motorized. There is no beach but we settled in for some food and some good weather under the trees. There was a breeze coming off the lake that helped cool things off and really just make you want to kick back and relax.

It was just to perfect an afternoon and I didn’t want to head home just yet. On the way in I noticed a small pull out overlook that I wanted to head back to. It had a really good view of the mountain in the back ground. Windy as crap on the ridge but a nice time just relaxing. Managed to get some writing done and just enjoy the remainder of the afternoon in the park and in nature.

Spring is still here and right now the weather is just perfect at times. The sun will be out, the skies are clear and the temperatures are still crisp. Today was one of those days. Just a perfect afternoon outside enjoying nature and all she has to offer. Just have to remember to keep getting out this season. After such a long time being cooped up in my house it feels good to get out into nature.

Snow in the Mountains Still

First signs of snow on the trail. It was exciting to see.

I gotta say this past weekend was a perfect spring weekend here in Portland. The temps where in the low 80’s with a good breeze coming off the coast. The sky was a crystal clear blue without a cloud in sight. Saturday and Sunday I got outside for extended periods of time and so did a bunch of others.

I started my morning as I often do on a Sunday. The Post, coffee, and music on vinyl before getting my act together and heading up into the mountains. I gathered the last few items for my day bag and hit the road. Such a beautiful weekend for a drive into the mountains.

Initially I plan to hike up another trail but I ran into a problem getting to the trail head. You have to take the fire road which wasn’t a problem for my car. It was the bridge being out over the water being blocked that was my problem. I have no problem going around the sign but when it’s used to close a bridge I will trust the sign and not cross. I headed back to 26 and a near by ranger station a few miles down the road to look for a new hiking spot.

I just wanted to hike in the mountains. If I could get a good view of Mt. Hood all the better but it wasn’t a requirement. It was too nice of a day to not be out and that was my only objective. A few miles up 26 I found another trail called Hidden Lake. This is about a 5 mile hike up to the Pacific Coast Trail further up the mountain. Some recent posts on All Trails indicated this trail was covered in snow which eventually made it impossible. The fact that there was snow intrigue me and was a big reason why I hiked this trail. It’s the middle of May, a perfect spring weekend, and there’s still snow on the mountain? I had to see for myself.

Near the end of the turn off is the trail head. Plenty of parking but its also secluded to be careful not to leave anything in your car. The first portion of the trail was really nice. Steep at times but no visible snow. Nice and cool under the tree canopy this high in the mountains.

Hidden Lake

About 1 or 1.5 miles up the trail I hit my first patches of snow. It was mostly off trail but they started to appear regularly as I got further up the trail. The snow soon started to cover the trail but I was able to follow the path of those before me and make my way up the trail. By the time I got to the lake I could no longer follow the trail. I couldn’t head further up the trail but I could see the lake so made my way over to it.

There was no trail around the lake so it took a bit of work for me to reach the other side but eventually I did. The side of the lake is pretty steep and the snow made it slow going but worth it. I found a nice spot under a tree and had lunch while I soaked up nature. The entire hike to the lake I never saw another person which was nice. It was cold here too so the misquotes and other bugs where not around to pester me. I ate my snacks and enjoyed the solitude. I managed to get some writing done and even a drew on the cover of one letter I sent.

This late in the season it was awesome to see snow in the mountains. Honestly I should expect this but coming from the lowlands of Virginia we never got this. I certainly want to come back and see the lake without the snow. Also to make it further up the trail with the goal of reaching the Pacific Crest Trail.

Washington Has Spring Too

It’s been a lazy Easter Sunday. The weather here has been clear and cool all day with no signs of rain. I took the opportunity to catch up on the news, listen to music and enjoy some coffee. By late morning it was time to get motivated and get outside. Since I was already in Washington I wanted to take the opportunity to hike. I wasn’t exactly sure where but I knew if I headed east along 14 I would stumble upon a trail. A quick search of the Bonneville area had some promising results.

Besides knowing there was a trail head I couldn’t find much information about this location. Despite my lack of knowledge or maybe because of it I decided this would be a good place to spend the afternoon. My first thought was to hang out along the river near the damn. Get a little writing done or maybe some art. While driving I settled into a groove and decided a hike was a better activity. I had no idea what hiking trails were around but that was part of the fun.

By the time I got to the lot it was already early afternoon. There were some spots available but I could tell it was packed earlier in the day. Such a nice weekend it was no surprise everyone was getting outside. When I passed Beacon Rock it was packed for example.

I parked and started looking for a trail map. This area around the damn was part of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area so I was expecting a map of the area. They had toilets but I could not find a trail map which was disappointing. If I can get into a place I know I can get out of it at least. My backpack has basic provisions so that wasn’t a worry.

The trail is marked as Tamanous Trail #27 and from what little information I could find about this trail is it’s a part of the Pacific Crest Trail. I have heard of this trail but never actually been on any section of it. Back in Virginia the Shenandoah National Park had parts of the Appalachian Trail which I had hiked on numerous occasions throughout the park which is kind of cool. This was my first experience on the Pacific Crest Trail and I was excited because I didn’t know where I was going.

What I found that day is really just a spur that connects to the Pacific Crest Trail. You eventually come to a T and you have to go left or right, either direction as long with PCT. If you go left there is a sign on a tree that marks the trail for you. It also states that you are on private land so don’t fuck things up or they could close the section off. Heading right there was nothing so I choose right since it was not marked and went down which I figured was towards the river.

Unfortunately this section just heads down the mountain to the highway and a small parking lot. I headed back up and went left for a while to see what it was like. Nothing special, just a bunch of trees and underbrush in the forest.

First hike this spring in Washington and Mother Nature is putting on a show as the season starts to change. I didn’t get any writing or drawing done today but that was quite alright. The temps where still good and the flowers slowly started blooming to welcome the summer months.

First Day of Spring

March 19th 2020. First day of spring and while this should be a festive time celebrating new beginnings and the coming bounty is just all seems weird. Covid-19 is taking over and lots of people are fearful and panic. Nature doesn’t care. She moves to her own drum and right now its the first day of spring. The weather perfect. Mostly clear with the sun still out shining brightly later in the afternoon. It was even hot with temps in the low 60’s. Reminds me there are a lot of good things in this world.

Many of the stores around my neighborhood are closed. Others that can stay open are but you can tell they are hurting for business. We will get through this but we must do it together.