#116 (hike#6 Opal Creek)

Opal creak trail is located close to Detroit, OR and is considered an easy trail, which I agree as long as you stay on the main trail. Also it’s good to note that the road getting to the trailhead is not well maintained and riddled with potholes and washboard sections. At the beginning of the trailhead there are bathroom facilities but it’s the typical not so clean parks and recreation facilities. 

If you venture off the trail and decide to get closer to the water then it becomes moderate as you’ll need to scamper and climb down and over rocks. Then on the ascent back to the trail, you’ll need to climb up the side of the hill. 

Although the trail is predominantly an in and out trail, there are a lot of off shoots to explore. There must have been some dredging work in the past life along this trail as there are heavy machinery left just off the trail. 

There were no signage these relics from the past were there if you look to the south of the trail. You’ll just have to explore off the trail as I’m sure I missed most of it since I didn’t start looking until I got a third of the way down the trail. 

I’m sure it’s not advisable, but my hiking party also walked through some culverts as they were big enough for a 5’6″ person (that would be me btw) to walk through. 

If I could walk through that pipe, you can just imagine how much water would be flowing through them during the run off of the snow melt. 

As a lesson learned, allow for more time if you’re hiking this trail as you’ll want to explore the off trail scenery. 

We only allotted for a half day and we only made it just after the half way mark before we had to turn back. 

I’ll need to return one day to finish this trail. 

Hike #6 summary:

  • place: opal creek in Detroit, OR
  • miles hiked: 4.5
  • trail type: in and back
  • elevation change: 800′
  • weather: sunny with a slight breeze
  • temp: middle 50s 
  • hiking time: 4 hours because we explored side trails and scampered through culverts

#hiking #trails #outdoors #living #opalcreek #pacificnorthwest #menshealth #portland

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Hike #5: Angels Rest Trail

Angels Rest Trail is rated as easy trail but should be rated as moderate as there are rocks you’ll need to scramble over to reach the breathtaking views. 

 There is ample parking on a designated lot for the trail as well as an overflow lot a few hundred feet away. There is also plenty of street parking. One thing to note is there are no bathroom facilities. The nearest is 0.8 miles west at the Bridal Veil trailhead. 

The Angel Rest trailhead starts at the street level across the designated parking lot. The trail climbs steadily up and rises 1384 feet in about two miles. So be prepared and bring lots of water. 

Although my AllTrails ap indicated the trail to be open from June to November, it was open when I went in March. There were signage to instruct hikers to remain on the trail. So perhaps parts of the spur trails were closed until June. 

The trail steadily climbs for 0.5 miles before the first switchback. At the end of this first section, you’ll be rewarded with a view of a waterfall. I’m not sure of the official name for the waterfall but you’ll actually hear the water before you see it. 

 The next section before encountering another switchback is also about 0.5 miles long. At the end of this leg you’ll cross over the stream on a wooden bridge. This stream feeds the waterfall from the first section. Before crossing the bridge there are a few spurs off the trail that allows you to access the water. It’s a great spot to cool during the hotter summer months.  

The next 0.5 mile section is lined with trees and the climb continues. This is where the trail became a little slippery.  

I would recommend to have proper hiking shoes and not where tennis shoes. Some hikers had tennis shoes and had little to no traction. During the summer months this trail would be dry but during this time of year it’s best to wear hiking boots. 

The next section of the trail switches back to the direction of the Columbia River and curves around the base of the rock outcropping of angels rest. Since it was still winter and the trees were not fully clothed in their summer foliage, views of the snow covered mountain range in Washington state could be seen. 

 The trail here is a mix of muddy patches and as well as rocky terrain. Where this section curves, be sure to take in the breathtaking views. 

The next section was again lined with trees and the path became more slushy. At least that’s the terrain during this time of the season. After traversing through the sludge, the next section has a few short switchbacks then opens out onto a rock cropping.  

If you hadn’t removed your top layer this would be a great spot as your gear would not get soiled from the muddy trail. This is also a great place to rest and take pictures. 

The trail resumed at the end of the rock outcropping and after taking the next switchback, it continues to climb to the second rock outcropping. This one is a much smaller outcropping than the lower section. Passed the second outcropping are several lookout points that require some rock climbing onto a few mini rock towers. Take care climbing these structures as once on top there is a good 500 foot drop to the canyon below. 

Going passed the mini rock towers is the main viewing section of the Angels Rest Trail. Luckily the weatherman was right and the early morning rain gave way to clear skies. On windy days, remain a safe distance from the edge as there are no handrails to help protect you from falling over. 

Today, there was only a slight breeze and clear skies. It was a spectacular view!!

Hike #5 summary:

  • place: Angel Rest Trail in the Columbia River Gorge
  • miles: 4.2
  • trail type: in and back
  • elevation change: 1384′
  • weather: sunny with a slight breeze
  • temp: low 50s 
  • completion time: 3 hours

#hiking #trails #outdoors #living #angelresttrail #pacificnorthwest #menshealth #portland

Hike #4: Hoyt Arboretum

I only had time for a short hike again this past weekend. I wanted some moderate elevation gain or at least some varying terrain. Using the AllTrails app, I found a trail close by…about 10 miles away. 

The Hoyt Arboretum is tree covered and has various intertwining trails that also cuts across paved roads.

Luckily the roads crossed while on the trail were not heavily traveled with cars so crossing them would not be as dangerous. 

Now because there are many variations of this trail system, you could easily get turned around on this particular hike so take caution and ensure you have a tracking app or some way to pin your starting location with your smart phone. Also if you’re hiking solo (which I normally do) let someone know where you are in case they need to send out a search party.

Now onto my hike…

The trail starts across the street from the visitor center. This is the only part of the trail where the most cars would be seen. After crossing the street the path leads to a four way intersection. 

Going straight would lead to a pavilion with  enough tables and benches to accommodate picnicking for large groups.  

Taking a left  would take one trail and taking a right would go to different trail. 

At this point of the trail, the path was paved and easy to traverse. It’s also its widest here. Again as I normally do I started my hike taking the trail to the right 

After about 10 yards, the path sloped down and intersected into another trail.  

The direction on my trail app instructed that I take a left at the intersection. 

As instructed, I turned left at the intersection and followed the trail as it meandered through the first set of trees. There was one tree that had a three large branches that I nicknamed three fingers. 

 Shortly after the three fingered tree, the trail intersected a road. I wasn’t sure if it were a service road but it was definitely wide enough for multiple vehicles. 

I continued passed the road and followed the trail to the redwood section of the trail.  

 After entering the redwoods about 100 feet, a deck appears that allows for a scenic view of the undercarriage of these massive giant trees. 

 After the observation deck, the path maze steered me across a couple of switch backs and at one point ran parallel with one of the paved roads, but only for a short distance. The path then intersected with another trail named Fir Trail. 

I took a left as guided by my app and followed the trail to another set of switch backs. At about the third switch back, there was an option to make a left which bypassed the remaining set of switch backs.  

I decided to maintain the course and follow the main trail. I crossed the footbridge and continued through the next set of switch backs.  

 Coming out of the last switch back was an incline that crossed another paved road. The trail continued on the other side of the paved road and immediately began its climb.  

 The trail rose steady over the paved road and also became muddy as the gravel transitioned into natural dirt path. There were some evidence that hikers ahead of me slipped as their shoe prints were elongated from a normal size print to a smear of mud.  

I shortened my stride to ensure my footing and to minimize the potential of slipping. 

At the top of the incline the trail leveled and curved around the knoll where a small footbridge was constructed to allow the natural drain off of water to pass under it. 

 The trail continued and began its slight rise again while meandering through some underbrush. The trail began its descent and once again crossed the same paved road I crossed previously. 

The trail continued on the other side of the paved road and also continued its descent to the lowest point of the trail. At the bottom of the trail, the app instructed to make s sharp right. I made the sharp switch back and followed the brook back up the trail. 

 At the next intersection, I followed my app and climbed a set of wooden staircase which then led to a sharp right and a series of scalloped or half loops. The half looped path was a steady climb out of the lowest part of the trail and was the toughest part of the hike thus far. 

The trail made a final crossing of another paved road. At this point the trail  started its transition from natural path to gravel then to paved. The pavilion seen at the start of the trail had become visible once again.  

The trail ended and returned back to the four way intersection.  

Since it only took an hour, I decided to take another loop around. This time I deviated slightly and took s few different spurs. 

I returned to intersection where the pavilion was located about 45 minutes later. I made a right and headed back across the busy road to the visitor center and to my awaiting car. 

Hike #4 summary:

  • place: Hoyt Arboretum
  • miles: 3.1
  • trail type: looped twice
  • elevation change: 111′
  • weather: overcast and drizzling 
  • Wind: slight breeze
  • temp: 51 degrees 
  • completion time: 2 hours

#hiking #trails #outdoors #living #hoytarboretum #singlelife #pacificnorthwest #menshealth #portland

Hike #3: Tualatin Hills Nature Park 

I only had time for another short hike this week. Luckily I live in a city where trails are available without the need to travel long distances. 

Tualatin Hills Nature Park is a large network of paths that cut in and out of the main trail. So depending on your timeline, you can probably spend a good two hours exploring each spur.  

 My time was limited so I stayed on the main trail. The trail is used by trail runners as well as folks like me who like to hike. 

I started (as I normally do) taking the trail hugging to the right. Wonder why I never start a trail going left. It must be just how my brain works. 

I took the right at the first crossroad which meandered me through a stand of oak and fir trees. The path was paved so ideal for a good walk (or run). I came across a raised foot bridge that crosses a creek.  

In the center of the bridge was what looked like a strip of outdoor carpeting. I didn’t see water directly under the bridge but did spot water off to both sides halfway through. The standing water made it look like I was in the middle of wetlands.  

 So I’m thinking the strip of carpeting must be for traction during rainy conditions or when the creek water rises. 

It first looked like the footbridge was straight but actually makes a 90 degree right turn where more bog like setting awaited me. 

 After making the right turn, the footbridge continued through the bog like area. Along this area were several outcropping of view points. The raised footbridge continued to zigzag over the bog. 

 Passed the zigzagging footbridge, the trail followed the side of a industrial building. The trail turned left and the footbridge picked up again zigzagging over the bog like setting. 

 As the footbridge ended, the path turned left and became a natural trail with puddles of water that became muddy as many hikers and trail runners before me had traveled through it. 

At this transition to the natural dirt path, the trail narrowed. At times it became a single path and required some maneuvering over fallen trees. You’ll also need to be prepared for some mud along this stretch of this trail. 

The trail finally widened and turned into a gravel path which then blended into a paved path that had several bridges to cross. The trail then traversed over the bog area over a series of zigzagging footbridge. 

 The trail looped back and merged into the  first intersection where I took that first right as I entered the trail. I continued through the intersection which took me back to where I had parked my car.  

At the entrance to the trail was one last glimpse of the bog like area…

Hike #3 summary:

  • place: Tualatin Hills Nature Park
  • miles: 2.1
  • trail type: loop
  • elevation change: 22′
  • weather: sunny with a slight breeze
  • temp: 51 degrees 
  • completion time: 1 hour 

#hiking #trails #outdoors #living #tualatinhillsnaturepark #singlelife #pacificnorthwest #menshealth #portland

Hike #2: Cooper Mountain Nature Park 

I needed an escape (more like an excuse) to get out of the house and take in some nature. But I didn’t have time for one of those scenic hikes along the Columbia River Gorge. So I found a trail that was closer. 

 The Cooper Mountain Nature Park was an easy trail that had an elevation gain of 337 feet and lined with gravel throughout its entire 2.7 miles of hiking path, according to the information I found about this trail online. 

I started my iPhone workout app and started walking. I’ve never hiked this trail before so I started the path to the right and followed two older ladies as they entered the trails. They took the first left spur but I continued to hug the far right side of the trail. Since this is the middle of winter, there were not many flowers blooming and no animal life out and about. I decided to myself, “I’ll need to return in the spring.” 

Although nature was in hibernation, the weather cooperated and remained dry, which was not the typical winter weather in Portland. Usually there would be a constant light drizzle that kept everything damp. Today was a great surprise. Dry but breezy. 

 Rounding the first bend, the path opened into a meadow with views of the neighboring hillside. There was an informational placard near the expanse indicating the variety of wild flowers that would otherwise be in full bloom.  

I continued further down the path and stumbled onto an object that at first glance looked like a megaphone.  

As I approached the object that I was about to yell into I was stopped by the small sign near its base that read: “Listening Trumpet…For Listening, Not Shouting!”

I pulled my ear close to the trumpet and heard the howl of breeze blowing. I would guess instead of the wind, I would be hearing birds and other critters scurrying about. 

  I continued down the path keeping to the right and came across another clearing that had a similar view of the adjacent hillside. 

I followed the path as it meandered and continued its downward grade. As I’m walking along this nice slope I’m was hoping the return trip up was just as nicely sloped. 

The path made a sharp left and headed back up the knoll. The grade wasn’t too steep and I made it to the intersection that would have taken me back to the top of the knoll and to where I parked my car in no time. 

Instead of making that left, I continued to hug the trail to the right and did the small loop.  

As I entered the loop, there was a foot bridge and I could also hear a babbling brook or stream. The water wasn’t running fast but enough to make a pleasant splashing sound. 

The loop trail had a significant grade and was the most invigorating part of the path so far. I noticed several people using this loop as a workout track. I decided to take only one trip around the loop and headed back to the intersection that would take me back up the hill to my awaiting car. 

 I turned right at the intersection and found a sign stating: “Steep Trail Ahead”. There was no warning as I entered the right side of this trail a half hour previously. So I guess my hope for a nice low grade climb back to the top was not going to happen. 

Half way up the hill there was a bend that flattened out which made me think, “That’s it! That was nothing!” The flat part of this trail was only to make you think that was the only steep part of this return leg. Oh but it wasn’t. 

Around the next bend the climb returned to an even steeper grade and it added several switchbacks. Prior to the series of switchbacks, there was a bench and another listening trumpet. 

 I continued passed the resting bench and onto the series of switchbacks. The switchbacks led me into a stand of tall fir trees. Emerging out of the trees the trail finally leveled off and led to the intersection to leave the trail.

Just before reaching the intersection, there was a metal art sculpture resembling the nest of the Western Gray Squirrel. I would guess there would be squirrels out and about if it were not in the dead of winter. 

 I exited to the right and returned to my car. I ended my iPhone workout app. The total time for this trail took me about an hour to complete. But honestly if I didn’t stop to take pictures and read the signage, I would have completed the trail sooner. 

Back to the house…

Hike #2 summary:

  • place: Cooper Mountain Nature Park
  • miles: 2.7
  • trail type: loop
  • elevation change: 337′
  • weather: overcast and breezy
  • temp: 41 degrees 
  • completion time: 1 hour 

#hiking #trails #outdoors #living #coopermountain #singlelife #pacificnorthwest #menshealth #portland