Thursday, September 4, 2014

Hiking: Wyeth to North Lake

It's tough to select which of our hiking, climbing, backpacking, and boating trips from this summer to feature on Garth's Blog.  This month and next, I'll try to pick the recent outdoor stories which highlight as many different groups of my adventurous family, friends, and students as possible.

Later this fall, I hope to also compile a "catch-up" photo post to feature the adventures I'll skip over (including recent international trips!). Click here for our earlier summer catch-up post of hiking photos!

The reported steepness of the Wyeth Trail to North Lake was daunting enough to deter a couple of my friends from joining us on our hike earlier this summer. But our fantastic crew (pictured above in Marc's group photo-- me, Nader, Marc, Tatiana, Magnus, Jenny, Scott, plus Ola) who committed had few problems with the difficulty.

The 12.8 mile out-and-back hike gains 4220 feet of altitude in a relatively short distance. I forgot to snap photos of anything but the flat sections. I blame our engrossing conversations on the trail.

Magnus and the rest of us lace up boots at the trail head. Thanks to Marc for this other photo as well!

Heading over to the Harphan Creek crossing

After heading uphill, the mostly wooded scenery opens up for a view of the Columbia River Gorge and Mount St. Helens

Ola and Tati find a friend on the trail

A quick break while crossing a talus slope

We entered the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness area and were soon treated to a view of Mount Defiance, one of my favorite butt-kicker trails.

Click here for birthday photos from one of my many hikes up Mount Defiance, the highest point in the Columbia River Gorge.

On one of the steeper sections, we finally broke up into two groups: a fast group and a faster group. Those of us in the faster group reached North Lake a little sooner.

But when we reached our destination, we all had plenty of time and freedom of choice to relax, eat, and take a brisk swim in the frigid lake.  Refreshing!

Even after hiking back down from North Lake to the Wyeth trailhead together, we still couldn't get enough of each other. A few of us met at the Cascade Locks Ale House for some post-hike munchies (some day I'll order something OTHER than a Reuben sandwich, I promise!) and more great conversation.

The comically tall soft serve ice cream cones that we picked up afterwards from the East Wind Drive-In somehow managed to dwarf our smiles for the drive home from Cascade Locks.

But not by much.

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