A Cold Hike in the Columbia River Gorge
Winter is not my favorite time of the year. I want to hike, but the bitter cold can be discouraging. In my desire to lower my “base weight” (body weight) some more, I thought I would try another challenging hike.
I arrived at the Wahkeena Falls trailhead at about 7:00am. The temperature was below freezing and stayed that way throughout the day. I put on lots of layers and had two hoodies over my cap just to be sure my ears would survive. I started out just as the daylight began to brighten.
I soon reached the bridge at the falls. It was covered with ice. With caution, I eased myself over the bridge, stopping a couple of times to take pictures, then made it to the other side without falling.
Last weeks hike to Dog Mountain must have done some good, because I continued uphill without slowing down too much and without stopping too often. The climbing helped me from getting too cold. Eventually, I found myself an intersection of trails and I continued uphill to Devils Rest.
Here is where I began to slow down. I stopped a couple of times to take pictures, but was able to make fairly good time. I had been to Devils Rest before, so I knew what to expect. After all that climbing, there was no view at the top. If you do this hike, be sure to stop and enjoy the views on the way up.
After a short rest, I decided to keep going to Angels Rest and make this hike a big loop. What you need to know before d0ing this yourself is that the trail goes downhill to Angels Rest and you will need to come back uphill again to return to Wahkeena Falls. I knew that I could go all the way to the old highway from Angels Rest, but it’s a 2.6 mile return walk on the highway and that just doesn’t sound good to me!
Angels Rest is a great destination because of the views of the Columbia River and the rock formations. Once in a while, you will hear of someone falling. If you stay on the trail, you are safe enough. Today, there was some pretty good wind gusts. Since it was cold enough already, I decided just to grab a few photos and return to Wahkeena Falls.
The total distance of this loop was about 9 miles. The elevation gain was at least 2400 feet. I did fine for most of it, but the return from Angels Rest to the car was difficult. I really need to lower my weight some more to be able to fully enjoy this type of hike.