Sunday, January 31, 2016

Indian Point Loop

Today Emily and I decided to get Leo out for a hike.  We had skied the weekend before with Ian at Meadows ($80) so we didn't want to spend the money again for ski tickets.  Instead we picked a nice 8 mile loop in the Columbia Gorge that we hadn't hiked yet knowing that we might encounter snow but risking it anyway.  Read on...

As usual in our old age we got a late start in the afternoon around 1pm at the Herman Creek Trailhead.  The hike gained over 2,800 feet in elevation so I knew it would be a good day of exercise for us.  What I didn't expect was all the blow down we would have to crawl over and through on the trail up!  Apparently, the storms in December that caused all the flooding and the small landslide over I-5 near Woodlawn also damaged the trails in the gorge.  It wasn't terrible, like the approach to Baker that year was, but it slowed us down a bit.  

Besides the blowdown we also encountered two men in their 40's heading down the trail asking us if we were planning on doing the full loop to the higher elevation.  They were all rigged out with gators and poles and jackets and it gave us a little concern about a slippery trail down but we continued on anyway.  We ran began to ran into snow about 800 feet below our high point but it wasn't too bad and it actually looked amazing on the hillsides around with the Gorge in the background on the way up.

There was ice on all the branches but only on one side indicating that whatever storm had blown through the area had a pretty dominant and strong wind direction.  When we reached the top of our loop we were only in about 6 inches of snow and it wasn't slippery at all.  No view from the high point though, we simply turned downhill towards Indian point.  My worry was that the downhill would be a disaster without hiking poles but it wasn't slippery at all and we made great time.

When we got to the turn off for Indian Point it took us a few minutes to find the path as there was still snow everywhere.  We beat our way through some brush down to a place where we could see the pointy rock outcrop of Indian Point but it was clear from all the snow on the rock and the exposure on either side of the narrow ridge out to it that it would be very stupid for us, especially with Leo, to try to make it out to it.  Another time.. In warmer weather perhaps without Leo, but not today.  Instead we snapped a few photos and headed down the trail to make it out about 30 minutes before dark.  A pretty uneventful hike with minimal views since we couldn't actually safely make it out to the point we came there to see... Oh well... We still love the gorge!

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