Monday, June 29, 2009

Indian Point Loop

Another amazing hike! This never gets old. :)

Yesterday we headed to the gorge to hike the Indian Point Loop trail, about an 8 mile hike with 2,800 feet in elevation gain. The trail meandered through the forest out to Indian Point, and then back along another trail through Herman Creek. This was another butt-kicker!

Full map and details here

The majority of the trail is through forest, but when it did open up the views were stunning.

Across Herman Creek

The trail started out nice and wide and flat, but not for long

We seemed to kind of be at the tail end of the wildflower season on this particular trail (no meadows?? *sigh*... I think I may have gotten spoiled), but there were still some really pretty ones in bloom.

The Columbia Lily, or "Tiger Lily"

Indian Paintbrush

Pretty sure this is Showy Penstemon, but I'm not positive. Anyone know?

We came across a gnarly spider web

One thing you have too look out for on the trails is SLUGS. They are gigantic and completely disgusting. Stepping on one is like stepping on a banana peel - very slippery. Paul stepped on one once and almost bit it. :) They also leave a sick trail of slime. This is the only one we saw on this hike but it was a monster. Blech.

Next to my foot for size comparison

It was another sunny day which, once again, made everything radiate green.

Wading chest-deep through a sea of green

Off of his leash again, Buckley decided to blaze his own trail straight through a patch of wildflowers and spider webs... and the evidence is all over his face.

I'm bummed this picture didn't really turn out. You can see Mt. St. Helens right through the center of this opening, but I guess it was too bright or something. Just try to imagine it, k?

Nature makes the best picture frames... how perfect is this view?

Indian Point is at the end of a narrow, steep unmarked path that spurs off the main trail. It was kind of tough to traverse going down since it was so steep, but the payoff was worth it. Indian Point is a narrow rocky ridge that juts out into the gorge, with dramatic dropoffs on either side. The Portland Hikers Field Guide website says "Beware that this trail gets dangerous as it goes along with a narrow trail, steep drop-offs on both sides, no railings, and no warning signs. If you fell it would almost certainly be fatal." Kind of yikes.

The point is too exposed and rocky to climb, so that's about as far as one should go


I know this is freaking my mom out right now

My adventure boys

The views of the gorge from the point were amazing. Have I ever mentioned how the Columbia Gorge was created before? At the end of the last ice age, a sudden ice dam break on the Clark Fork River in Montana sent a wall of water down the river (the Missoula Floods) which cut the steep walls of the gorge along the way.

The gorge looking east. The second peak back on the left is Dog Mountain, which we hiked last month.

Looking across the gorge at Mt. Adams

The rocky trail back

A loooong way down

The trail back was a little more open, along a ridge above Herman Creek.

Herman Creek meandering into the distance

After we got back from the hike, I actually had to go straight to work for an 8 hour shift on my feet. I am hurting today! But, how awesome is it that I can do all this stuff before work??

We would love to take some of you on some hikes. Who wants to come visit?? We have a pullout couch that can be mighty comfy... luxury accommodations right here... come on!


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Double Whammy

Helloooo! It's been a fairly uneventful week for the Mayos in Portland. Oh, except that we are now officially an old married couple. Sunday the 21st marked one year for us! I managed to get the day off of work, and we had a great day together. It was almost like being on our honeymoon again - a full day of eating, drinking, and shopping. :) Although, I guess that's how I spend most of my days anyway...

We did get a couple excursions in this week as well, albeit not terribly exciting ones. The most exciting part was when Hollywood showed up at our front door! Well, really just a TNT drama series... and really just on our street. But still cool! The show "Leverage" decided to shoot this season in Portland, so they've been all over the place. They took over our block yesterday to do some shooting at Henry's Tavern and on the street. I snapped a couple photos just for fun.

Setting up outside Henry's

Their mobile workshop was parked right in front of our building

Please, allow your excitement to die down before trying to read about our bike ride...

We tackled another kind of big one on Thursday, a total 41.2 mile ride. This was a route from a book called "Rubber to the Road" that has tons of Portland area rides. Once again here is our route taken from our GPS (full map and date here):

This ride is titled "Flat Flat Flat," due to the relatively flat terrain along the way, but there was actually a good deal of climbing involved. Not so much steep, short climbs, but more like loooong stretches of a gradual incline... that can really make the muscles burn! Over the course of the route we ended up doing a total of 1,000 feet climbing, not bad!

We made our way from Mt. Tabor out to the Columbia River, which is the dividing line between Oregon and Washington. Most of the ride was through neighborhoods and pretty heavy industrial zones, but once we made our way to the water it was much nicer.

"The Peninsula" houseboat community

We followed the river up to Kelly Point Park, located at the point where the Columbia and Willamette Rivers meet. We didn't have too much time to enjoy the park since I had to work in the afternoon, but I definitely wouldn't mind coming back here. It was very peaceful.

The beach at Kelly Point Park

Great place for a snack break

The park trails were great, especially after the uber-industrial ride out there

Traditionally, our rides are thwarted at some point by Paul getting a flat tire... but not today, thanks to Paul's new Michelin Krylion Carbon tires! Booya!

No flats here

We pumped our way home super fast so that I could get to work on time (I didn't), but I wanted to stop and get a quick shot of this view of the river, downtown, and all the bridges in between.

All in all a pretty nice ride, not so much for scenery but great for fitness.

On Tuesday, we did another little neighborhood hike with Buckley. 12 miles, not too shabby! Here is our route, with the full map here.

We started out heading to the rose garden, to see if things were more in bloom. We may have caught it a few days too late this time. There were tons of roses in bloom, but most of them were already wilting. It still makes for nice colorful scenery.

We continued on some trails to take us to the top of Council Crest (which we rode our bikes to a few weeks ago), the highest point in Portland at around 1,100 feet. It was a beautiful sunny day!

Sunny days make the greens look even greener

Perfect spot for a break

Mt. St. Helens through the trees

We also came across the Vietnam Veterans of Oregon Memorial, which I didn't even know was there. It's a beautiful expansive park with lots of trees and fountains, dedicated in 1987. A very peaceful spot.

Buckley mama

A cool kind of tree-tunnel

At the top of Council Crest, we hung out at the doggie off-leash area for a while, which is nice and huge.

The dog park with our friend Mt. Hood in the background

Mt. Hood

On the trail headed back, we came across lots of salmonberry shrubs growing wild. Paul was pretty sure they were safe to eat, but just to be sure, he consulted his handy dandy field guide that I gave him for our anniversary. It is a comprehensive guide to wildlife, plants, wildflowers, trees, etc. in the Pacific Northwest.

Turned out they were safe to eat off the vine, so I went first. The one I got was not fantastic. Not bad, but extremely tart and probably not quite ripe.

This one met its fate in my belly

Overall a very nice neighborhood hike. No scary caves or 360 degree mountain views, but not bad for something so close to home.

We joined Zipcar yesterday (I'll do another post about that) so we will be heading out to do some more dramatic hikes this week. Can't wait!