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Camping and hiking thread


samurai_sarah

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Let's talk about camping, hiking and all that goes with it!

The idea for this thread started in Maxhell:

Let's gather around the campfire and share stories, compare gear, or ask questions. :)

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Ultra-light backpacking tents: freestanding or non-freestanding? I realize this is a religious issue on a par with KJV, infant baptism, and gluten-free hosts, but I bring it up because I was in a situation last year with my ultra-light non-freestanding tent where my only options were a grassy bog with standing water and granite slab. It worked out because I just used the tent sans poles as an oversized bivy sack. But if anyone here has an ultra-light 1 or 2 person freestanding tent that they just love, I'd like to hear about it.

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Our Nemo tent (it's not for sale anymore, I think the updated version is the Hornet?) is / can be semi freestanding. We've never really needed it to be; we camp/backpack in the same type of terrain every summer. Our biggest issue tends to be wind. (Ok, it's my biggest issue. I can stand being warm and wet. I can stand being cold and wet. I can't stand being cold, wet, and unceasing winds.) 

That being said, i love my ExPed sleeping pad. Pricey but so light and so comfortable. I'm just worried that at somepoint it will get a hole I can't fix on the trail. 

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On 7/11/2017 at 2:16 PM, Maggie Mae said:

Our Nemo tent (it's not for sale anymore, I think the updated version is the Hornet?) is / can be semi freestanding. We've never really needed it to be; we camp/backpack in the same type of terrain every summer. Our biggest issue tends to be wind. (Ok, it's my biggest issue. I can stand being warm and wet. I can stand being cold and wet. I can't stand being cold, wet, and unceasing winds.) 

That being said, i love my ExPed sleeping pad. Pricey but so light and so comfortable. I'm just worried that at somepoint it will get a hole I can't fix on the trail. 

I just looked at the Nemo Hornet and I think I'm in love. I really like that you can dispense with the fly and be able to stargaze while waiting to fall asleep.

I'm with you on the wind. It makes every weather condition worse. Breeze, yeah, when it's hot, but even when I'm not cold or wet, I hate the way it makes the tent (Sierra Designs Lightning UL) flap like it's going to blow away and take me with it.

I have a Klymit insulated sleeping pad and yes, I worry that some night the dog's toenails will go through it and the rest of my trip will be very uncomfortable. But I love that it packs down so much smaller than my old foam sleeping pads, and is comfortable even when I sleep on my side.

Because I'm older than dirt and have arthritis in my spine and just about everywhere else, I try to go ultra-light on everything, except the pack itself, which I just do not want to have fail on me. 

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  • 2 months later...

Really!?!! How have I missed this thread???!!!

Compared to you all, I'm just a day hiker. My friends and I will do up to 7 miles, with 2-4 being our most common distances. If you are ever in the area (Central Oregon), I strongly recommend doing as much of the Mackenzie River Trail as you can. We did Sahalie/Koosah Falls one day and hiked to the Tamolitch Blue Pool another. It was gorgeous! 

I'm just sick about all of the fires in Oregon. We had to make several day hike changes on the fly when we stayed at Diamond Lake. Central Oregon is a mess, and they've just moved Breitenbush Hot Springs up to a Level 3- Get Out evacuation. The Columbia Gorge is heartbreaking as well. 

Since I see people listing the brands of equipment they like, I highly recommend William Sullivan's 100 hikes in the __________________________ if you plan to visit Oregon. His driving directions are spot on (as far as I've found), and he has updates on his website. 

*Titles include Northwest Oregon/Southern Washington, Central Oregon, Southern Oregon, Oregon Coast, and Eastern Oregon.

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  • 3 weeks later...

We are within day-hiking distance of Mt. St. Helens, and I wanted to report on one of the most stunning views I've encountered.  We parked at the Johnston Ridge Observatory and hiked about 4-1/2 miles to Harry's Ridge.  The hike was a little challenging right around mile two, but that weeds out the crowds.  At the top of the ridge, in addition to St. Helens on our right shoulder, Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood are right there, with Spirit Lake below.

It was a beautiful day, interesting landscape, fall foliage, and we pretty much had the viewpoint to ourselves for a picnic lunch.  Not positive, but I think the observatory closes around November 1 for the season, so check before you go.

I like the William Sullivan series, too, but this hike is found in another great series "Day Hiking [Mount St. Helens]" co-authored by Craig Romano.

A favorite Oregon hike with a fabulous vista is Saddle Mountain.  On a clear day, you can see the mountains and coastline.

We are older, so are also looking for day hikes.  We've discovered that ten miles is pretty much our daily limit.  We are always looking for hikes/walks and have discovered that almost every community has some sort of trail system or walking route.

 

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@CTRLZero, I hope you've had the opportunity to do Lewis River Falls, south of Mt. St. Helens. We did that the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend and it was beautiful! It's around 6-7 miles, but I didn't find it too strenuous. 

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11 hours ago, Audrey2 said:

Lewis River Falls, south of Mt. St. Helens.

Thank you for the recommendation!  Last year we hiked nearby (Ape Cave, Lava Canyon), then drove down to the Columbia River Gorge via the back roads that go past the trailhead(s) you mention.  I'll definitely add it to our list, as we want to explore more of that area. 

Another hike on our list is outside Salem - Silver Falls.  I've heard it is very popular, so we may go on an inclement, midweek day.  We hope to get east of the Cascades once the weather gets colder. 

Thanks, again, we are always looking for ideas. 

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2 hours ago, CTRLZero said:

Another hike on our list is outside Salem - Silver Falls.  I've heard it is very popular, so we may go on an inclement, midweek day.  We hope to get east of the Cascades once the weather gets colder. 

Thanks, again, we are always looking for ideas. 

I've done Silver Falls once and enjoyed it. Mt. Angel isn't far from it. It's a neat little town with a strong German influence. Shellberg Falls is a little south of Silver Falls and it's a nice hike that is less crowded. I haven't be to Marys Peak west of Corvallis, yet, but that looks good as well. On a clear day, you can see from the Pacific Ocean to the Cascades, from what I hear.

If you camp, too, I strongly recommend a couple of days at Detroit Lake, on 22 east of Salem.  From that campground, it's a really easy drive onto 126 South to go to Clear Lake, Sahalie and Koosah Falls, and the Tamolitch Pool. All are parts of the Mackenzie River Trail, and some of my favorite hikes. While in the area, take 126 south to 242 east into Sisters. You drive through an interesting lava field and past summer great hikes. We liked Proxy Falls and the Dee Wright Observatory. There are other hikes not far from Detroit Lake that are on my radar that we haven't done- Marion Lake and the Metolius River come to mind. Also, don't miss Opal Creek. It's about a 7 mile hike, past some old logging equipment and through the old timber town of Jawbone Flats, before passing some pools and heading back.

I'm not sure that me favorite Gorge hike will be available this year- Upper McCord Creek Falls and Elowah Falls. If you don't have a problem with a narrow trail and heights, you get a great view of the Gorge on the way to Upper McCord Creek Falls. Unfortunately, from what I've read, it sustained a lot of damage from the Eagle Creek Fire.

I don't know if you have seen Hiking Waterfalls in Washington (co-authored by Adam Sawyer but can't remember the other guy) but it's a good book as well. Adam Sawyer also did Hiking Waterfalls in Oregon.

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@Audrey2 - Thanks for all the recommendations.  I will definitely include Shellburg Falls when I'm in the area for the Silver Falls hike.  I've driven through some of the other areas you've mentioned, and am taking notes for a hiking trip there.

I grew up in the Gorge area, and was visiting there (Stevenson, WA) when the forest fires erupted and hikers were being evacuated off the trail systems.  I've been reading updates on trail restoration, and there is a lot of enthusiasm for getting those trail systems back into action.  It's a sad situation, especially since the fire around Cascade Locks was caused by a stupid kid with fireworks.

Weather dependent, we may hit the Upper Lewis River trail system next week.  Thanks, again!

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On 11/07/2017 at 9:43 PM, Black Aliss said:

Ultra-light backpacking tents: freestanding or non-freestanding? I realize this is a religious issue on a par with KJV, infant baptism, and gluten-free hosts, but I bring it up because I was in a situation last year with my ultra-light non-freestanding tent where my only options were a grassy bog with standing water and granite slab. It worked out because I just used the tent sans poles as an oversized bivy sack. But if anyone here has an ultra-light 1 or 2 person freestanding tent that they just love, I'd like to hear about it.

Late to the party - sorry. Uh, I agree with you that this is a religious question. I don't like UL, but love free-standing tents. My current one is neither UL, nor free-standing: http://www.vango.co.uk/gb/tents/1130-banshee-300.html

It just does what it says on the package, no more, no less. :)

On 13/07/2017 at 6:03 AM, Black Aliss said:

I have a Klymit insulated sleeping pad and yes, I worry that some night the dog's toenails will go through it and the rest of my trip will be very uncomfortable. But I love that it packs down so much smaller than my old foam sleeping pads, and is comfortable even when I sleep on my side.

Neoair or Exped are my friends. Inflatable mattresses with an R value that make sleeping so much more comfy. Neoair comes with a lifetime guarantee. Exped is more comfortable IMHO, but they're a bit more irritating about their guarantees.

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@CTRLZero, Siouxon Falls and Falls Creek Falls in southern Washington are also on my radar, but I haven't done either yet.

On Mt Hood, we've enjoyed the Salmon River Hike, Little Crater Lake to Timothy Lake, Umbrella Falls, and Tamanawas Falls. 

I'll try to stop now- I love to hike!

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  • 1 month later...

We are considering a road trip from Las Vegas to Salt Lake City in late March.  We plan to explore and hike along the way.  I've ordered a hiking guide for the Utah state/national parks, but if anyone has personal knowledge of interesting hikes between those two cities, I'd love to learn about them.  Any tips on places to visit, stay or avoid are welcome.  Thanks!

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  • 3 months later...

We did some hiking through Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks.  Just wow!  Even though we went in the off-season (there were still patches of snow), it was fairly crowded.  I can't even imagine what a transportation logjam it must be during peak season.  But so amazing!

On another note, and I don't remember exactly where this was discussed, I see that the big hike in national park admission fees is being reconsidered.   So, happy hiking! 

 

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Went out with a couple of friends on Saturday to Soapstone Lake and Lost Lake off of US 26 in the Coastal Range not far from Seaside, Oregon. Both were nice hikes. If anyone is considering a trip to the Oregon Coast, Newport or further north, I'd recommend Soapstone Lake if you want to get away from ocean crowds. It's about 2.8 miles. There were lots of newts in Soapstone Lake. 

A couple of weeks ago, we went to the Tillamook Forest Center on OR 6 in the Coastal Range. It was a nice place to look. There are several hiking possibilities there on the Wilson River. If anyone is flying into Portland and driving to the coast, it is a nice place to stop. The museum is free, but they do take donations. The fire lookout tower that is part of the museum is interesting as well.

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  • 1 month later...

Have had a couple of adventures since my last post. A couple of weeks ago, we went to Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. We did the car tour (and saw lots of turtles) and the hike that takes you past the replica of the Chinook plankhouse. Unfortunately, the plankhouse was closed. It was a pleasant way to spend a lovely Sunday afternoon. Yesterday, we hiked Beacon Rock (much easier than I thought it would be, thanks to gradually sloping ramps) and saw a lot of damage from last September's fire across the river on the Oregon side. Then we went to the Bonneville Dam visitor center on the Washington side. It was a great tour. My friends thought it was much better than the tour of the Oregon side Bonneville Dam. Here as well, and it was sad to look across the river and see all of the burnt trees, which were in the vicinity of where the fire started.

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The last time we went to Beacon Rock was the same time the fire had just started raging out of control.  We were actually at the Bonneville Dam visitor center that same day (we had to leave because they closed early due to smoke).  I will be returning this summer for a run near the area of the fire.  I'm sure I'll experience some sadness, but I've heard restoration efforts are ongoing.

I haven't been to the Ridgefield NWR, but it's on my list of things to do this summer.  Thanks for the recommendation.  Have you been to the Steigerwald Lake NWR in Washougal?  My sister says it's a nice walk, and I believe they are planning an art walk along one of the paths.  Another on my to-do list.  We did hike the Cape Horn Trail (open seasonally).  Spectacular, but needs some improvements and it was fairly strenuous.

Happy hiking!

 

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Thank you, @CTRLZero! We did Steigerwald Lake last year on a very warm day in June. We were there in the morning, about 9:30, then drove out to the Maryhill Museum on 14. It was a really nice day and a great walk. We did the short part of the Cape Horn Trail a few years ago in March, so I didn't get to see the things on the bottom, although I've seen the word waterfall, so its in the queue to do the whole thing. My two friends I hike with a lot have done the whole thing. If you haven't been, Fort Cascades by the Bonneville Dam (WA) is also a very pleasant hike that is a bit over a mile, as I recall. 

Also, I love using the William L. Sullivan hiking books for Oregon and a little bit of Southwest Washington. I also like oregonhikers.org. Do you have any recommendations for good hiking books/websites that are more descriptive for Central/Eastern Washington? I would also be interested in Southwest/south central Oregon, even going to the Centralia area and a bit east, and the Raymond/ Aberdeen area. I did pick up the Mountaineers books for the Snoqualmie Region, Eastern Washington, and the Central Cascades. (I'm looking at 1-2 hour drives from the Ephrata, Wenatchee, Moses Lake area, but am willing to drive up to three hours to see really cool things.) I now am visiting a friend in that area, and am looking for easier hikes to take him on. I know Sullivan's directions tend to be right on, and I like the way he describes the hikes. 

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We have an REI ultralight that is no longer made, and it's basically free standing, although does require staking the back two corners.  We've used it one time on a river trip, but if I ever back pack again, I'll likely use it.  The overnight hike I'd really like to do again is the Fish Canyon and Owl Canyon Loop on Cedar Mesa in southeastern Utah.  As I recall you hike down Owl and come back out Fish, and the trail loops back to the parking area, but it can be done in either direction. 

Links

BLM brochure

Detailed description

Any fj-ers into bike packing? We're flirting with the idea. 

 

 

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I'm away from Washington state right now, and away from my stash of hiking books, etc., but a website I can recommend with up-to-date information is that of the Washington Trails Association (wta.org). 

In the Centralia area, there is a very long rails-to-trails (Willapa Hills) which we enjoy.  We usually start at the eastern trailhead, but it can be accessed in various places, including Rainbow Falls State Park.   There is a nice stretch in the Raymond area, too.  As I recall, it had some sculptures along it.  It is still a work in progress in some areas.

There is a short, but panoramic, hike in the hill above Centralia - Seminary Hill Natural Area.  We hiked that when the fall colors were at their peak and it was gorgeous.

A recent hike on the way to the coast (near Montesano, WA) was very nice, Preachers Slough.  A Department of Corrections work crew was tidying it up for the season.

In central Washington, we've hiked around Alta Lake (Pateros, WA), but I know there was a forest fire in the area, so be sure to check before you head to that area.  It was a few years ago.

I'll stop now.  Getting excited to return to the Pacific NW and get back on the trails!

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

We had a nice adventure today. My friends and I went to Falls Creek Falls not far from Carson. It was a bit over three miles, and the three tiered waterfall was monstrous! You couldn't see all three tiers at once! The two miles of the gravel road to get there were really bumpy. Glad my friend has a truck, although several people did it in a car.

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10 hours ago, Audrey2 said:

My friends and I went to Falls Creek Falls not far from Carson.

I looked up this hike in my "Curious Gorge" hiking book.  Did you climb up the root gully route (the book's description) to the top?  Sounds challenging, but awesome.

In July, we are headed to the John Day Fossil Beds in Oregon.  If we take the back roads through Carson, we may give it a try.  If not, it's on my list -- Fall Creek Falls in the fall!

 

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No, we just stuck to the popular 2 mile in and out (close to four round trip). We stop and take lots of pictures, so it took us about 4 hours, and we were ready for real food. My guy friends went part way up, closer to the second tier. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

@Audrey2 - We had the best of intentions to hike to Falls Creek Falls a couple days ago, but took a wrong turn (or rather, missed a turn) and ended up halfway to Mount Adams!  We'll try again some other time.  We did hike up the Lewis River and viewed Miller and Curly Creek Falls.  Very much recommend Curly Creek Falls, which is unlike other falls I have seen.  It's a short drive down an easy gravel road (about 3/4 mile) off FR 90.

On another hike up to the Nancy Russell Viewpoint on Cape Horn, we encountered a large group of hikers on a commercial tour of the Gorge.  The tour operator had to reroute their scheduled hikes to the Washington side, since there is so much fire damage in Oregon.  I'll be interested to see what the status of the Oregon trail system in that area is in coming months and years, but just eyeballing it with binoculars from across the river, it looks devastated.  Very sad.

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