The Unparalleled Cascade Views from Tom Dick and Harry

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If you’re searching for an iconic view of Oregon’s tallest mountain, Tom Dick and Harry must be added to your “must hike” list. A mere hour from downtown Portland, the Mirror Lake trailhead will take you from trafficked Highway 26 to an impressive overlook granting views of Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, Mt. Saint Helens, Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Washington, and even Mr. Rainier on very clear days.

I have twice hiked the Mirror Lake trail during the winter months when the lake is coated in beautiful white, but this was my first excursion in the summer time and first ever to the upper division of Tom Dick and Harry. Surprisingly, when you’re not trudging through snow, this hike goes quickly to the lake, but is absolutely worth the added jaunt to the top.

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Trekking to Hardy Falls and Hamilton Mountain

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The Columbia River Gorge is chock full of hikes at various skill levels, and one of the harder ascents I’ve just added under my belt is on Washington’s south side of the Bridge of the Gods. Seven miles from the bridge is the more famous Beacon Rock – a towering boulder with striking views of the Gorge (and a portion of the distance you will usually have to hike to get the same views). Directly across from the Beacon parking lot is a sign for campgrounds and access to Hamilton Mountain. Luckily this hike could easily be split into three lengths and difficulty levels: 3.2 miles (medium), 6 miles (difficult), 9 miles (more difficult). Having done the whole thing, I might opt for the 6 miler next time, but it’s still worth all the work.

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Hiking to The Wall

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I love the Columbia River Gorge. It’s incredibly beautiful and only a short drive from Portland. On weekends like two weeks ago, I just want to get away from the city and breathe in the cool, clean air and vistas. Most of my hikes have been on the Oregon side of the river, like Angel’s Rest and Wahkeena Falls, but this edition takes place just east of White Salmon, Washington at Coyote Wall.

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Marquam Trail to Council Crest

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For the average carless girl (moi), there are limited easy access hiking options, but thankfully Portland is a city full of possibilities and alternative transportation. From bike friendly streets to car sharing services, I know that my lack of car ownership will not get in the way of a good hike. My friend and I decided to take a break from the Gorge and take advantage of the local urban trails. Our destination: the Marquam Trail.

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Cannon Beach: A Whale Watching Attempt

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As I mentioned in my “Hello, Spring” post, the last week of March means whale migration and a chance to see some of the ocean’s most magnificent creatures heading north for the summer. I’ll cut to the chase: no whale photos. My friends and I saw an occasional breath on the horizon, and one swears to have seen a whale’s back, but the real gold of the day was exploring Cannon Beach, Hug Point and Ecola State Park.

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Hello, Spring!

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It’s the first day of Spring, and I’m delighted to say it actually feels like it here in Portland. The plants are budding, the skies are (thinking) about parting, and the temperature is slowly, but surely rising. This time of year, I’m compelled to start migrating from my snowboard to my hiking poles and enjoy some of my favorite Spring things. Continue reading

Ladies Weekend to McNeil Point

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There’s something to be said about female empowerment, and a group of independent women backpacking through the wilderness one August weekend. McNeil Point is a hiking shelter on the side of Mt. Hood, and can either be a hefty day hike or a multi-day trip. My lady friends and I decided to commune with nature, and make a weekend excursion out of the 8 mile trail. Continue reading