Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Eagle Creek Trail Overnight Trip

Eagle Creek Trail in the Columbia River Gorge.

Southern Jim, Utah Mike, Kpine and myself (hikin_mike1960)

Total mileage 15.5 miles

Directions: Take I-84 east to exit 41 and follow the signs for Eagle Creek Trail.

It was an overcast day with showers in the forecast. Temperature in the high 40's to low 50's. Great weather to take a walk with Mother Nature. We decide to get out town for a few days and needed to do a shake down hike for our upcoming adventure (5 days in the Goat Rock Wilderness Area) this coming August. I will talk more about it on upcoming entries.

As we wondered up the trail we were greeted by thousands of wild flowers that litter the forest floor, bright colors were every where. I love this time of year just for that. We got an early start to beat the crowds and our goal was to camp at the 7 1/2 mile camp. It is a nice spot to get to and most of the sights are next to the creek. Utah Mike has only been in the state for about 2 months and never been out hiking here in the Great Northwest. He was very impressed with all the color and waterfalls.

I have to say we were pretty lucky on the hike in. It only sprinkled rain on us a couple of times. But when we finally arrived at camp and were setup. The skies opened up and the rain fell steady for the rest of the day. OK, it did let up about an hour before we called it a night. I was impressed with Utah Mike's fire building talents. He started us a small fire and kept it going even when it was raining and nothing but wet wood. I love the smell of camp fire smoke. I did something it do not do very often and took a nap. It was very relaxing and just what the doctor ordered.

One of the things I enjoy about our overnights is that we like to eat good and love to try new ideas. Southern Jim was in charge of dinner and I did breakfast. For dinner Southern Jim cooked up four packages of Alfredo noodles, butter, foil packed chicken. tuna, smoked salmon and some Cajun seasoning. I must say he receive very high reviews on the meal (OK, it was damn good). He is requested to do it again when we go to Goat Rocks Wilderness Area later this summer. Then later that night Kpine made rice pudding. It was a nice way to end the day and yes, it stopped raining.

It was a cold damp night out in the woods but I felt I had a good night sleep. There is something about sleeping by a running creek that makes me relax. The tent finally kicked me out and my partners were slowly breaking down their tents. I worked my way over to the make shift kitchen we set up and started some coffee. There is nothing better then that first cup of joe out in the woods. For breakfast, I made omelets in a bag. A friend show this tasty treat to me and I had to try it out for myself. Take and mixed up two or three eggs in a bowl. Like you were going to make scrabbled eggs and pour it into a zip-lock freezer bag. I added a hand full of diced ham, cheddar cheese and some cooked mushrooms. I placed the bags in the freezer until morning and then in camp set them out to thaw. The next day, I placed them into a boiling pot of water for about 13 minutes. Once time was up, we dumped then into our bowls and they were got in a heart beep. The omelets were very lite, fluffy and tasted dang good. They were requested for repeat preformances on later hikes. Plus there was little mess to deal with once the eggs were done.

With camp broke down and our packs on our back, we head out down the trail. The weather was great for hiking with a slight breeze, sunny and temps in the high 50's. The wild flowers were out in force and better then the day before. As we wondered down the trail we past fellow backpackers breaking down to head home. The place filled up quick last night. The trail was crazy going out with all the day hikers joying the sun and great outdoors. This is one of my favorites hikes but the bad side is there are too many people.

To close the ice tea was good on the drive home. My wife and daughter made me a cake and cooked dinner for me. It was nice to come home.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tanner Creek Trail in the Columbia River Gorge, OR

Tanner Creek Trail in the Columbia River Gorge, OR
Hikin_mike1960 and Miss Mimi (a.k.a. George)
Distance: 2 miles

I turned the "Big 5-oh" Friday (April 9th) and I received one of the best gifts a dad could ever ask for. I took my 3 year old daughter to Bonneville Damn Fish Hatchery to feed the fish and the ducks. Then we drove to the other side of I-84 to hike up Tanner Creek Trail. It is a two mile loop just off of I-84, exit 40.

She was very excited about the fish and loved feeding them. Plus the ducks joined in the action with a little snack for themselves. It was the best 75 cents I ever spent. She was also impressed with the viewing windows in the sturgeon ponds because of the big trout and the big fellows were head level with her. After the visit with the fish, we headed to the gift shop were dad got to learn about patience with the "Please don't touches", Because we all know little girls love to look by touching all the pretties. We left the gift shop with some salmon jerky which Miss Mimi loved and some cold drinks.

On to the next adventure, the hike started off on a service road which runs along side of Tanner Creek for about a 1/4 of a mile. It gave Miss Mimi a change to run and climb on a couple of rocks. I love the little ones exploring the big world. She picked up rocks, pine cones and one of her favorites, sticks to look at and throw. It was fun to watch. As the service road ended we crossed a bridge which had the first waterfall of the days adventure. She would stop and stick her head through the rails trying to get water drops on her tongue.

Tranner Creek Trail is a well traveled trail, which makes it a great place to take the little ones. It is wide enough that we could walk together holding hands. I would hate for her to tumble down the side into the creek. I kinda like her a little and would hate to see her hurt. At about a mile in we came upon Wahclella Waterfall. It is one of my favorites in the gorge. We found a nice spot to sit and rest. After a little snack Miss Mimi threw a bunch of rocks into the creek. She was having a ball and was all amiles.

The return hike back was pretty much all down hill. We made great time and she was full of energy, running and giggling. I had to laugh because we were maybe five minutes in the truck heading home and she was out like a light. She did great out there and listend well. I need to find another short hike to take her on and help her learn to love the great outdoors like I do. Camping with her this year will be exciting.