Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Two Portland-Area Hikes You NEED to Try

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Helloooo readers if there are any of you today - I'm currently back in Portland trying frantically to find a job and stay sane while living at home. The ways I'm staying sane? Redecorating my dad's house (see how I mentioned a bit of a family structure shift here - we're all still recovering a bit), spending as much time as possible outside, and doing everything I can to take advantage of PDX while I'm here, because who knows where the next few months/years will take me!

Like I said, I've been trying to get outside as much as possible. For me, that means doing something I've grown up with - walking trails in and around the Columbia Gorge, Portland area (hi, Forest Park), or the Cascades/Mt. Hood. I joke with my dad that you can tell if a person is from Portland based on their approach to hiking - if they won't shut up about it and have it on their Bumble bio, they're probably from California.

Here's my first fave --

McNeil Point 

Yes, it's actually called McNeil Point - for years I thought my dad was joking with me because that's our last name. 
  • Difficulty: Moderate to difficult - it's nearly 10 miles round trip on sort of a lasso type loop, and there's a part toward the end (when you're almost to the little hut at the top) when you're legit scrambling straight up loose rocks. That's kinda hard when you're out of shape like me.
  • Perks: The view of Mt. Hood is insane. Once you get to the top, it feels like you could just about walk right onto the side of it. The wildflower fields throughout the whole hike are gorgeous at the right time of year, too.

Catherine Creek

There are actually a ton of trails in this area - it's right across the Hood River bridge in the Columbia Gorge. Stop at White Salmon or Hood River on your way home for a beer!
  • Difficulty: This is a multi-pronged answer due to Catherine Creek's multiple trails. There's an ADA accessible paved trail across the road from the trailhead I usually go to, and it still offers a gorgeous view of the Columbia River Gorge (obviously very easy, good for all ages and abilities). There's also a short 2-mile loop that I've been doing with my family as long as I can remember, and that's easy as well. Beyond these trails, there are networks that lead as far up the ridge as you choose to go - it's great for exploring but can get a little bit steep and rocky as the views get better.
  • Perks: My dad always says that when it' cloudy in Portland, it'll be sunny near Hood River. And generally, he's right about that - it's rare to hike Catherine Creek on a cloudy day, which is awesome because the view of the Gorge to the east and of Mt. Hood to the west are phenomenal, and the meadows and wildflowers are pretty as well.

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