Three Fall Hikes near Mt Adams, WA Oct. 6-8, 2021

We stayed two nights in Trout Lake, Washington, to be closer to some far flung trailheads in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. The distance may not be far, in miles, but the nature of the roads requires slow and patient driving. The trails were beautiful, in their fall colors, despite a a bit of rain and early snow.

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Trail location map

Lewis River Falls – October 6th

Knowing it would probably rain, we chose a waterfall hike through the forest. This area is extremely popular in summer. However, on this rainy fall day, we had the trail entirely to ourselves beyond the Lower Falls Overlooks near the campground.

Lower Falls: We looked from above, then from one of the downstream side trails.


Lower Falls from the overlook


Closer view of the holes in the rocky platform


Fallen leaves near the downstream viewpoint

The Lower Falls were mesmerizing:


Lower Lewis River Falls


We walked back upstream along the Lewis River for about three miles, toward the Upper Falls. We passed the Lower Falls again:


Lower Falls with a bit of fall color


We found a beach during a pause in the rain for our lunch break.


Lunch rock


Rock hopper nearby

We continued upstream to the Middle Falls:


Rainy trail – the trees sheltered us much of the time.


Middle Lewis River Falls



The main channel cuts into the rocky bench below the falls.


We passed Copper Creek Falls, a tributary to the Lewis River:


Copper Creek Falls

We paused for a rest at the Upper Falls lower viewpoint:


Upper Lewis River Falls


From here we turned back, retracing our steps through the woods, quite satisfied that we have seen most of the Lewis River Falls.


We drove on various Gifford Pinchot National Forest roads to our lodging in Trout Lake. These roads were very slow going, shifting from paved to gravel and extremely potholed!

Killen Creek Meadows, Mt Adams – October 7th

We woke to a glorious blue sky day! The mountain was out, and we looked forward to our hike to Killen Creek Meadows on the northwest flanks of Mt Adams.


Mt Adams from Trout Lake

The Killen Creek Meadows to High Camp trail begins in the forest, then emerges into tiers of meadows. We started at about 4500 feet elevation, ascending to about 6000 feet on the 12,281 foot tall stratovolcano.


Lots of red huckleberry bushes along the trail.


Fresh snow from yesterday’s storm began at about 5200 feet.


In one forest opening we could see Mt Rainier to the north.

The open meadows provide great views of Mt Adams:


We reached the junction of the Pacific Crest Trail and the High Camp trail at lunch time, after hiking 3.5 miles. The snow was getting deeper, so we decided this would be our turnaround point. We did meet one northbound hiker, Tortoise, while we rested there.


Trail junction/lunch stop


High Camp is somewhere up on this ridge


Sparkling snow

We made our way back, admiring the views and the foliage.


Clouds forming in the afternoon


Huckleberries in the snow

Killen Creek Meadows are known for summer wildflowers, and we plan to return for a future summer adventure.

Takhlakh Lake is not far from the Killen Creek Trailhead. We stopped by for the iconic view on our way back to Trout Lake.


Mt Adams from Takhlakh Lake


Glacier close ups


Northern flank


An ice cave?


Adams Glacier


Hummocky topography on the south flank

Bird Mountain Loop, Indian Heaven Wilderness – October 8th

We chose this hike on the northeast side of Indian Heaven Wilderness for our last day. Clouds were coming in, but we had excellent conditions for seeing lots of lovely fall foliage around the meadows and lakes. The trail begins in the forest, and heads up hill to the flanks of Bird Mountain.


Once again, our trail leads through red huckleberry foliage.

From the shoulder of Bird Mountain, we got views of surrounding peaks, near and far.


Mt Adams to the east


Goat Rocks to the northeast


Sawtooth Mtn, with Mt Rainier in the distance


Scree slope beneath Bird Mountain, near our return trail this afternoon.


Continuing south, we would pass near Lemei Rock.

Beautiful foliage, mushrooms, small lakes appeared in the meadows along our trail.


Mountain Ash


Small lake



We stopped by this small unnamed lake to eat lunch and admire the reflections and colors.


We took the side trail to Deep Lake, passing the Cultus Lake outlet on the way.


Cultus Lake from the Deep Lake Trail


Deep Lake


Back on the main trail, we passed Cultus Lake before taking the junction toward the Pacific Crest Trail and Clear Lake.


Cultus Lake


Clear Lake


Back on the Pacific Crest Trail, northbound


One of the scree slopes on the west side of Bird Mountain.


Another unnamed lake by the trail.

We crossed back over the northern shoulder of Bird Mountain, where we could see some views again, before descending through the scree slopes back to the trailhead. Lots of late blooming flowers and seedheads in this area.


Sawtooth Mountain, from Bird Mountain


Mt Adams


Descending the scree slope – rougher trail in here




The very last lupine of summer.

This was a very successful trip – three new trails for us, and more added to our list for the future. We’d hiked more than 22 miles, and 4000 feet elevation, and fully immersed ourselves in the autumn foliage.

Yellow bells at Tom McCall Point, knitting progress, and neighborhood sights

Tom McCall Point, March 18, 2020


Tom McCall Point, seen from near the trailhead.

We got to see the mid-March wildflower suite. Yellow Bells were sprinkled through the meadows at every elevation. I have never seen so many anywhere!


Yellow bells on the lower plateau, Mt Adams beyond.


More yellow bells, midway to the top.


Yellow bells and an early balsam root near the summit.


Compact early blooms of the purple Columbia desert parsley line my favorite trail segment that I call Parsley Alley.


Columbia desert parsley


There is a new geology sign at the summit!


Gold stars were sprinkled in some of the sunny spots.

More flowers along the trail:


Looking eastward toward Rowena as we return to the trailhead.

Hike # 33, 4.3 miles, 1300 feet.   We had no trouble keeping our distance from the few other hikers on the trail, and so far, we are still encouraged to get outside as long as we can keep our distance.

Knitting progress:

I finished the Geology Shawl.


Geology shawl, pattern by Very Busy Monkey, Malabrigo Mechita, Ninfas colorway.


I have been knitting the sleeves on my Meris sweater, put away since before our New Zealand trip.


I cast on 390 stitches for the Which Came First shawl, using the Malabrigo Mechita Piedras that my daughter picked out.

Noticed while walking in my neighborhood:

New blooms:






A camelia left in a hedge

New growth:



Tree trunk

A secret message, and interesting sidewalk cracks and patches:



Hamilton Mountain, WA, and first knit socks of 2020

January 3, 2020 – Our first hike of the New Year was to Hamilton Mountain in Beacon Rock State Park on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge. We’ve been many times, usually to see the cliffs become hanging gardens in the spring. Today we had perfect winter hiking conditions – not too cold, a bit muddy, full waterfalls, clear views from the top.


The first summit of Hamilton Mountain, as seen from the power line cut on the lower trail.


Approaching the upper cliffs, eastern gorge beyond.


Bonneville Dam, with Mt Hood appearing to the south.


First view from the summit- Mt Adams glowing in winter white beyond Table Mountain.


Wide view from the summit.


Mt Hood to the south, in low winter light.

After lunch at the summit we continued the trail to the northern saddle/plateau –


A last look back at Mt Hood.


Western gorge, filling with mist and a painterly sky.


Columbian lewisia foliage in the saddle.


Crossing over a very full Rodney Falls on the return hike.

Hike #1 for 2020, 8.2 miles, 2250 feet.



First knit finish in 2020 – traveling socks that I started last May.

Memaloose Hills Hike, and Christmas (18-59)

Memaloose Hills Hike, Oregon 12/27/2018

We went east through the gorge again to the sunny Memaloose Hills, and walked 3.2 miles, 600 feet, through the dormant winter landscape. (Hike #65 for 2018). This area is known for abundant wildflowers in spring.


View north, with a peak at Mt Adams, from the upper trailhead on old highway 30.


Ponderosa bark


Trail up to the lower viewpoint.


Chatfield Hill – our upper destination


Dan heading up Chatfield Hill in the dormant winter.


Same view in springtime….


View to the east and lower viewpoint.


View to the west from the top


Northern view toward Mt Adams


Mt Adams


Mt Hood


An apple tree and Mt Adams, on the return hike.


Apple tree

Dalles Dam

Another hiker reported seeing bald eagles at the Dalles Dam, so we drove to the Visitor Center to see them. We walked some of the paths in that area and saw interesting views of the infrastructure, but no bald eagles.


Under the freeway bridge


Looking toward the dam


A dusting of snow in the hills


Mt Hood in the distance


Zooming in – Mt Hood and The Dalles.


Bald eagles should be here


Fishing platforms


Another westward view in the low winter light.

Driving Landscape Views

I snapped photos from the freeway as we drove back through the gorge. There are great views of our hiking spots on the Washington side of the Columbia River, and I thought I did fairly well at freeway-speed photography!


Lyle Cherry Orchard


Lyle, Washington


Catherine Creek


Rowland Wall


The slope above Coyote Wall


Coyote Wall


Coyote Wall


Snow dusting the black-fringed cliffs above Cascade Locks


Corbett Point


Closer view of Vista House


I knit a star ornament for my friend who has made the costumes for a local production of Mary Poppins, I finally finished seaming the Ivy Cardigan, and I finished another round washcloth.


Mary Poppins Star


Ivy Cardigan


Wash cloth


Lovely quiet Christmas with family and friends.


Our tree.


My only new ornament – from the Jane Austen Museum in Bath, England.


Viburnum in my garden



Trapper Creek Wilderness, WA (18-46)

October 20, 2018 – Observation Peak and Sister Rocks

We hiked up and down this roller coaster trail, through autumn light and sun, to viewpoints of the surrounding Cascade mountain peaks rising above a bluish haze.

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7 miles, 1575 feet (#58)

Driving to the trailhead on Dry Creek Road we passed through a tunnel of yellow trees.


View through the front windshield…

Bunchberry and huckleberry along the trail provided some color.


At the top of the first ridge, the views from the rocky outcrop are to Mt Rainier and Mt Adams.



Mt Rainier

We then took the side trail to Sister Rocks, with a great view of Mt St Helens and Mt Hood. Lunch stop.



Dan atop Sister Rock; Soda Peaks on the left.


My shadow and Mt St Helens


Closer view


Mt Hood

The intermediate high point on the Sister Rocks spur provides an excellent view of Mt Adams.



Mt Adams


Returning to the main trail, we headed down hill, then back up to the views from Observation Peak of four tall volcanoes rising above the forested landscape.

Version 2

Mt St Helens, Mt Rainier, and Mt Adams from Observation Peak.


Mt St Helens and the Mt Margaret backcountry


Mt Rainier


Mt Adams


Mt Hood

As we departed Observation Peak I spotted what may be the last blooming aster of the year.


Mirror Lake

The lake is at the base of Vista Point in Rooster Rock State Park. As we drive through the Columbia River Gorge on I-84 we sometimes see swans here in winter. This morning, no swans, but the fog was lifting poetically, so we stopped to look at the light.



Another dishcloth finished, and I frogged and am reknitting the front of the Ivy Lace Cardigan.




Lookout Mountain hike (18-27)

Lookout Mountain, east of Mt Hood   June 30, 2018   (Hike#39)

Walking through High Prairie,



Lots of purple shooting stars and yellow cinquefoil



up a gentle grade through the forest to the ridge punctuated by red volcanic soil and a pinnacle.


Views of Mt Hood all along the ridge:


The top of Lookout Mountain comes into view:


From the top, views as far south as Broken Top,


Broken Top, North and Middle Sisters, Mt Washington, Mt Jefferson, Badger Lake, and a resident chipmunk.

and north to Mt Adams with lenticular clouds.


Mt Adams


Mt Adams

The eastern high desert:


Plenty of flowers, but there will be more! based on our past visits. 3.9 miles/800 feet.



Pinwheel quilt basted and ready for quilting.


Jane Austen’s House emerging in cross stitch.

In the Garden:


Phlox Point in Bloom (18-20)

Hardy Ridge/Phlox Point, WA    June 1, 2018    (Hike#35)

This hike was my hardest yet, post surgery – 8.2 miles/2200 feet.  The first part is a road walk through beautiful forest along equestrian trails in Beacon Rock State Park.  Then steep switchbacks lead up to the saddle of Hardy Ridge where the ridge walk to Phlox Point is lined with flowers and views of the Columbia River, Mt Hood and Mt Adams. I thoroughly enjoyed the hike, but am still feeling the last 2 miles – it was just a bit long for my stamina. I am glad I did it, as my next stage of treatment begins next week, and I don’t know if I will have a physical setback.  And I love hiking through lush blooming wildflower meadows!


Lower trail

Views from the top:


West, Columbia River


South, Mt Hood


Southeast, Hamilton Mountain


Southeast, Bonneville Dam


East, Mt Adams, Table Mountain

Phlox Point ahead –



North from Phlox Pt

Our first bear grass of the season:


So much Indian Paintbrush!

I tallied at least 51 different flowers, not counting varieties of each.

Of note, lupine, larkspur, mariposa and tiger lilies, and nodding onions were mostly in bud form, and should be blooming profusely soon.


Just a bit of knitting, and I am down to cream and white on the Elgol cross stitch – filling in the empty spaces seems to be the best soother of my current anxiety about upcoming treatment.


MEANWHILE:    The garden is almost ready for planting. And I have decided to add the England trip reports in separate posts.


Re-entry/Tom McCall Point (18-17)

After two and a half weeks in London, Cornwall, Devon, and a visit to Jane Austen’s  house and quilt in Chawton, we are back home in Portland, Oregon. I barely had time to jot notes of our adventures, let alone write  blog posts. Historical sites, museums, hiking, and travel days; navigating narrow hedgerows via Lady Google. Wildflowers were in bloom, and the weather mostly cooperated when it really mattered. I am writing this at 4 am because I am still adjusting to the 8 hour time shift. I plan to add blog posts about our adventures as I go through my photos.

Tom McCall Point, OR     5/13/2018       Hike #30 

Meanwhile, we took advantage of our jet lag by going on a hike at sunrise on our first day back. Tom McCall Point is a favorite seasonal wildflower hike in the eastern gorge (3.6 miles/1100 feet).

The early morning low light gave a luminous glow to the landscape.


Tom McCall Point – our goal


Looking back toward the Rowena Plateau trailhead and the Columbia River


Deer in the meadow below


The views opened up as we climbed higher.



Mt Hood


Early spring flowers were mostly past, but the balsam root at the top was splendid, along with lupine, penstemon, and bicolored cluster lilies.

There were only a few other people hiking that early.


Dan approaching the summit, Mt Hood beyond


Mt Adams

We had the summit to ourselves for twenty minutes before heading down.


We also took a short hike at the nearby Memaloose Overlook – I had read that bitterroot (Lewisia) can sometimes be seen blooming on the rocky cliffs nearby. We didn’t find any, but did spot some pink Clarkia blooms for the first time this season, so it seemed a worthwhile side trip.


Clarkia near Memaloose Overlook


I knit a couple of inches on my Cornwall socks while on the plane. It turns out I chose a color that reflects well the fields and seas of Cornwall.



And while we were gone, the spring turned to summer. The yard is a bit overgrown, and new flowers are blooming.

Marquam Hill, Portland, OR (18-2)

1/10/18     A different kind of Adventure of the Week:      Marqham Hill

Begins with a pre-dawn drive up Sam Jackson Road, four flights of stairs in the parking garage, into the entrance hall where I get my wristband; down to the preop suite where I wipe myself with antiseptic wipes and change into a snap on gown, booties and shower cap. That’s when it all gets real. Someone comes to start the IV;  I sign all the forms that admit knowledge of possible bad outcomes including death, and then they whisk me away into the OR ante room. I start shaking uncontrollably as they transfer me to the operating table, but they give me oxygen and then the mask, say “Count down five breaths”.  I only remember three.

Someone is tugging at a mask on my face. There are bright lights in my eyes. They are holding me in place, putting oxygen tubes in my nose, needles in my arms. I am coming awake and it is over and they say I am doing fine.

Then there are a number of hours I am in and out of awake. Dan is there holding my hand. Emily is sitting next to me giving me droplets of water and encouraging me to eat one saltine cracker that takes 2 1/2 hours. There is a light above that is too bright and one doctor says the hospital is full and I may have to stay in this space all night. It is very noisy and bright and I feel discouraged. Eventually they do find a room for me and wheel me in most carefully. Now here I have been for three days with the kindest of nurses caring for me, doctors coming and going in teams all hours of the night, needles poking, measuring ins and outs. Brian and Sean keep me company and take me on walks around the halls and I appreciate their presence. Dan is ever-present and stays the first night. Emily stays the next two nights and I slowly shed tubes and wires and medications until I feel almost ready to go home.

By day three I am feeling very accomplished to make several laps around the 10th floor neurosurgery ward, and a walk to the view plaza above the Portland Tram, resting and looking at all three snow covered peaks on the skyline on a beautiful blue sky day.


Mt Hood and lower waterfront from Portland Tram plaza


Mt St Helens and Mt Adams


Mt St Helens and a peek at Mt Rainier over its left shoulder (photos by Dan)

Friends and family have texted emailed visited called, sent flowers balloons meals good wishes. Now I just look forward to slowly getting better and less dizzy as I adjust to the new me. No more excess human growth hormone seeping from an adenoma on my pituitary. No more hidden acromegaly.

After 4 days on the hill we drive home, me shielding my eyes from the too bright sun and the overwhelming motion around me. I walk as if balancing a marble on my brittle bubble of a head, each day my equilibrium slowly increasing. In a few weeks I hope to be able to move better, drive, smell, hike…continue the adventures.

Meanwhile, the knitting:

I’ve added a few rows to the Girl From the Grocery Store Shawl, though I may rename it Girl in the Neurosurgery Ward.




25. Early Fall in the Gifford Pinchot

September 30, 2017    Rainy weekend predicted; possible dry window Saturday to the east of Portland;  Indian Heaven still closed from the Crater Fire; windy along the Columbia River. We decided to try some short hikes in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest between Mt Adams and Indian Heaven, near Trout Lake, WA.


Our first drive through the Columbia River Gorge since the fire: Good photos are posted in official feeds elsewhere.  I was pleased to see how much is not burned. That said, it was sobering to see the extent of the burn: blackened trees on the skyline, blackened forest floors down to the highway in some places, blackened trunks on still green trees.  I felt great appreciation for the fire fighting, for the massive cleanup that has already occurred, and for the challenge ahead. We will be back someday but not soon.


Through the passenger window of a moving car:  Blackened trees on the skyline; slash piles below.

We got a glimpse of Mt Adams and an intense, wide rainbow just as we entered Trout Lake.


Steamboat Mountain  (#48)

This short hike (1.5 miles, 400′) is touted by Scott Cook in his Curious Gorge book to have some of the best views of the Cascades and a relatively easy trail. The weather was not in our favor, though.  When we parked at the trailhead/quarry, we could just see the top of Steamboat Mountain from the base.


As we hiked up the well graded trail through red huckleberry the clouds closed in.


From the rocky top, I could just make out our Suburu parked at the base, but no mountains, no views.


Looking down at our Suburu (center of photo) from the top


We ate our lunch, hiked down.  We were reminded that we are now in hunting season, as people were firing guns just on the other side of the quarry.

Langfield  Falls

Driving back south toward Trout Lake, we visited Langfield Falls, just east of Tire Junction.  There is a short trail down to the waterfall viewpoint, and another user trail along the creek above the falls. A spatter of rain, a lovely waterfall.


Natural Bridge

Back to Trout Lake, then west about 5 miles, is the Natural Bridge area- a collapsed lava tube with bridges in places of incomplete collapse.  A friend from the Portland Hikers Facebook group had tipped us off to brilliant fall color here, and we found this to be true – even if we were early for the full show.  The inner collapsed tube is overgrown with vine maples that blazed in gradation through the spectrum from bright green, to yellow green, yellow, yellow orange, orange, red orange and red: the analogous colors from half the color wheel on view.  We wandered around for a while, and Dan set up his tripod as we waited for sunbreaks to illuminate the scene.


One of the Natural Bridges



Dan with tripod