Salmon Butte Hike

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Doesn’t Mount Hood look gorgeous?

We don’t go up there in the summer nearly enough. Usually it’s a winter trip with our snowshoes but over the weekend we both wanted to go for a mini day trip to try out the new Subaru! Sunday was a beautiful, clear day, expected to be nearly 80 degrees, so we packed up our hiking gear, got a take-out lunch from New Seasons and hit the road.

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We drove about an hour up towards Mount Hood just past a little town called Zig Zag and found the trailhead for Salmon Butte. It was at the very end of a long, winding road through old growth forest on a very narrow road-nearly wide enough for two cars to pass by each other (sort of). There were three or four trailheads that we spotted on the way, as well as a few campgrounds and even some rock climbers climbing a sheer wall next to the river.

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The hike went into old growth forest and there were tons of wildflowers everywhere. We smartly sprayed on insect repellant before setting out. I learned that the hard way last time we hiked! There was a wide bridge that we walked over and then the trail immediately starting going up but it was gradual. While the hike got both of our heart rates up, it wasn’t extreme and didn’t feel like a lot of work. My heart rate was around 130-145 most of the way up.

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The first mile and a half of the trail was out in the open; with tall, wild grasses on either side of the trail, tall trees dwarfing us and just the sound of distance rapids on the creek below. It was nice in the sun when we were in the exposed part of the trail, but the shade was also nice too. There were about four or five little creeks/mini waterfalls that we had to cross. Some had stepping stones–but most of them did not. There were a few that were a little more challenging to traverse. Of course, Bella just tromped on through the water without even noticing!

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Around a mile and a half we stopped in the shade to eat lunch. Bella was getting a little tired I think. She had on her booties because her paws weren’t 100% healed quite yet and I didn’t want to take a chance that they got worse. I gave her some water in her little doggy travel cup and she slurped that up in no time.

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After lunch and a lot of water later, we continued up the trail. This part of the trail was mostly in the forest, completely covered. It wasn’t chilly in the shade at all, in fact it was still really warm. The trail narrowed and while there was sort of a cliff to one side, it was a gradual slope into the brush and trees.  The ground was soft with pine needles.

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We stopped to rest a lot on the hike. Bella was panting A LOT! I was getting worried that she was overheating or overdoing it on the hike, even with lots of breaks and lots of water. Her pack wasn’t heavy–it had her little fabric water dish, a small baggy of food and her poo bags in it, that was it. So it couldn’t have been that. We tried taking off the front part of her leash that is the muzzle to see if that helped her breathe easier and she panted a little less but not significantly. I decided it was time to turn around. I didn’t want her getting sick from heat stroke or something. (On a side note, we’re going to a doggy first aid class next month and it can’t come fast enough! With all the klutzy things Bella does, her paws getting ripped and as much hiking as we do, I want to know everything there is to know!)

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Creepy Blair Witch rock statue in the middle of the woods. Nice huh? We turned around and headed back down the trail. It was a fairly easy descent. We didn’t see anyone else out on the trail on the way up but on the way down we came across a few different groups of hikers. One startled us and Bella barked, but the others she did okay with. Maybe she was just too tired to bark, who knows.

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At the bottom of the trail there was an off-shoot trail down to a campground/picnic area right next to the creek. We got down there and took a little break before heading back to the car. Bella drank a bunch of water and laid down in the sand. Michael and I looked around at the humongous trees and the babbling brook. I wish my pictures had turned out better. There were so many cool things deep in the forest!

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After the break we walked back to the car. It was mid-afternoon by this time and we were all tired and hot. We’d hiked exactly 4 miles in just over 2 hours. I think that’s a sweet spot for us. Anything more than that and I start to hurt a bit the next day. In fact, I was starting to get a blister on my big toe. 🙁 Thankfully we stopped before it got any worse.

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We got in the car and Bella immediately zonked out. She slept the entire car ride back to Portland and then we drove to Beaverton to pick up some stuff from Michael’s mom’s house — so she got in a good 2 hour nap I’d say!

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When we got home she dozed on the couch most of the evening. She was really tuckered out. I was tired too. A long drive like that in the sunny weather makes me sleepy. Fat Kitty had to check everything out and smell Bella. He loves smelling her after she’s been outside!

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Bella was sound asleep until Fat Kitty came up to her and then she was wide awake and holding her breathe. No one move a muscle! It was so funny. Anyway, it was a really nice hike and a great way to end the long weekend!

6 Responses

  1. Our big dog friends pant constantly when we hike (I’m not used to it since our little furless guys almost never pant!), it’s just their version of sweating! If Bella does start showing signs of lethargy, a good tip I learned is to cool her belly down, apparently it helps a lot. Make her lie down in a stream or pour cold water on her belly.
    Ingunn recently posted..Learning to adjust

  2. Great minds think alike. We went hiking this weekend as well.

    Such beauty where you were hiking. You make me want to move to Oregon just to enjoy all the nature and hiking trials there. Or at least drive around hiking and camping.

    All our dogs pant pretty heavy while hiking, usually because they are running all over the place and really excited. I have noticed that Red pants when she is excited as well as hot. But our dachshund doesn’t pant much at all. Once a long long time ago, when we just had Red dog, she got heat exhaustion and we now are very aware of the warning signs. We usually hike somewhere they can get in the water and drink lots of fresh water. Also the belly trick does work, if you give them a shady spot to lay in or a water spot to lay in, they will cool down. Arya refuses to get in water but she will drink it to cool down.

    I love the last picture. Cats just love to sniff dogs when they have been outside. Mine does the exact same thing. Too cute!!!
    Kelly @ Finding a Skinnier Me recently posted..Balance

    1. Oregon is a great place when the weather is nice. Winters are kind of depressing though. Lots of gray and rain!

      Do you let your dogs drink water out and about? Like from a creek? We always bring a bunch of bottled water and given Bella that.

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