Oregon Hiking

Astoria

Saturday morning we got up and went to the downtown area of Astoria to get breakfast. We went to a Bistro that we’d been to in the past and were able to get a seat outside so Bella could join us. It was warm but a little overcast. Michael got the brisket and eggs. I got two eggs with bacon and it came with buttermilk biscuits.

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Sadly the food wasn’t very good. It was really good last time but this time we were both really disappointed and won’t be going back. The coffee and the biscuits were the only thing good about breakfast. πŸ™

The plan for the day was to go for a hike. I found one nearby, Gnat Creek. The description of it sounded nice and it said it was considered easy to moderate. The whole thing was 8 miles. After breakfast we picked up a sandwich at Subway and then drove north about 30 minutes to the campground where the trailhead was.

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It was pretty easy to find and there was plenty of parking right at the trailhead. It was so muggy and humid! We climbed up the stairs and the trail quickly went deep into the forest and wound through the trees along the creek. The ground was really soft from hundreds of years of pine needles.

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We hiked through the woods, setting a pretty quick pace, and then all of a sudden the trail ended! It turned out you had to cross the highway to pick the trail back up. Luckily the traffic wasn’t too bad so we didn’t have to wait long to cross. We got to the other side and the trail was winding through the trees and then all of a sudden we were at the Fish Hatchery.

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On the other side of the hatchery the trail continued. It was getting much hotter out now and this part of the trail wasn’t shaded. We saw some wildflowers, lots of butterflies, and then the trail was back in the woods. Thankfully! It was slightly cooler in the trees. There were a lot of cool little bridges all throughout the hike and lots of different trails you could take.

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We crossed a bridge and then all of a sudden the trail was going steeply up. Our heart rates were climbing as we climbed and we were both DRENCHED in sweat. Not from the exercise really, but the humidity. It was SWAMPY. That was the feeling for most of the hike. Hot and humid and gross. And I wasn’t wearing typically hiking clothes that wick the sweat away, nope! So I was feeling extra gross and sweaty.

We kept on climbing and it was getting hotter. Bella started doing weird stuff on the trail (it was exposed to the sun) like jumping off the trail and hiding under bushes. We figured she was too hot. We stopped a lot for water breaks but clearly it was time to turn around. We hiked back down the trail and found the waterfalls where there was a bench and we cooled off in the shade to eat our sandwiches.

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It was a nice little spot for a picnic. Despite the name “gnat creek” it wasn’t too bad on the hike as long as you were moving. But once we stopped for the lunch break the gnats and mosquitoes and flies were really bad! And of course I forgot to pack bug spray. There was one gnat really bugging Bella and she kept trying to bite the air to get him.

After lunch we hiked back down to the hatchery, across the highway and then back to the trailhead.

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We ended up hiking just under 5.5 miles. I burned 718 calories during the hike. It was a decent number! But I’m pretty sure I sweated out a few extra pounds just from the humidity.

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The drive back to Astoria was slow. There was some nasty traffic jam and it ended up taking twice the amount of time but we eventually got back and cleaned up and then spent some time in the hot tub relaxing our sore bodies. There was another couple in the tub visiting from North Carolina and they wanted to tell us all about what they saw on their trip to Portland. πŸ™‚ I was just happy to be relaxing in the saltwater.

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So one of the nice things about the hotel we were staying at was the free wine and cheese social hour they had every night from 5-6pm. After cleaning up Michael and I went down to check it out. Got some delicious cheese and crackers, some toast with cream cheese and smoked salmon on it and an Oregon Pinot Noir that I love. We sat outside on the patio with everyone else, enjoying the sunshine and view and tried to figure out what to do for dinner.

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In the end we decided to get take out again. There were a few restaurants we’d been wanting to try but they were booked for the Saturday night. We didn’t plan ahead very well. So back to Fort George it was! This time Michael got a Cobb Salad and I got a cup of their clam chowder and the kid’s fish n’ chips. It was two small pieces of fish and just the right amount of food.

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The fries were terrible so I didn’t eat them. Which was fine, who needs the empty calories. The clam chowder was pretty good. On our way to the restaurant we’d also picked up a bottle of Bogle Red Blend to drink in the room and relax.

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Cheers! I’m glad I got the small portions for dinner. It was just the right amount. I had about two glasses of wine and called it good for the evening. We were both really tired after the long, hot day.

Sunday

Sunday morning I woke up and had PLANNED on going for a run along the waterfront on the trail. Unfortunately when I took Bella out to do her business it was shockingly cold, gloomy and sprinkling quite a bit. That was a surprise! I hadn’t seen rain in the forecast. So I ended up running on the treadmill in the small hotel gym. They had a treadmill, exercise bike, stairclimber and weights.

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I ran 2.55 miles on the treadmill with a few walking breaks and then called it good. The hotel offered a continental breakfast, too. It was the usuals–pastries and donuts, cereals, oatmeal, granola bars, bagels and English muffins, yogurts, fruit, fruit salad, juices, etc. I had some plain Greek yogurt with the fruit salad and an English muffin (and two coffees). It hit the spot.

One thing I forgot to mention, the hotel also offers free car rides to restaurants in this car:

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I was kind of bummed we didn’t get a chance to take it! It’s so cute. Anyways, after breakfast we packed up the car. The original plan was to drive south to Seaside and let Bella run wild on the beach but the forecast was stormy and rainy for Seaside so we ended up skipping that.

That was a bummer but all in the weekend was a nice getaway and I was glad we could bring Bella to such a nice place! I really recommend the Cannery Pier Hotel if you are ever in the area.IMG_4089

On our way out of town we stopped by Flavel House and I took some photos. It’s the house that George FlavelΒ built in 1883. It was such a cool looking house on the outside! Next time I’ll have to do the tour of the inside.


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I also walked around the Sunday Market. They shut down a few streets in the middle of downtown Astoria for a Sunday Farmer’s Market. I bought some cherries, blueberries and raspberries and a few other goodies and then we hit the road back to Portland.

Milo McIver

Sunday morning we headed out towards Estacada/Mount Hood with the goal of going hiking on the Memaloose Lake Trail. I’m not sure what happened but we ended up having to turn around because the directions we took said to go on an old logging dirt road that was blocked off by a gate. We drove a little further up the road to see if we could get the GPS to figure out another route but it didn’t so we turned around. I was bummed. I wanted to check it out! The pictures looked beautiful. So I need to do a little more research and see if I can find out where we went wrong, or if there is another route.

Instead, we ended up going to Milo McIver Park because we passed by it on the road and I remembered awhile ago I’d looked into hiking there. It turned out to be a pretty good backup plan! Here is a pretty good map detailing the park and trails. The only downside? None of the trails are marked or named so once you’re out in the forest, good luck!

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Most of the trails were pretty easy but there were a few spots that I’d classify as “moderate.” Even a little out of shape and getting over the cold, I was able to due the big, steep hills but my heart was pounding for sure!

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There were also parts of the trail that were overgrown. About half-way through the forest my leg got hit by some stinging nettles from the underbrush. I knew what it was right away and it sucked. We got to the top of the hills and hiked past a big silo, then came to an open field.

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We decided it was a good spot to stop for lunch since there wasn’t anyone around there were a ton of picnic tables. I took care of the nettles first. Poured a little water on my leg, wiped the area with an alcohol pad and then used some Burt’s Bees hiking salve that I keep in my first aid kit. It worked really well. The stinging disappeared, there were some red bumps on my leg, but it settled down pretty quickly.

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The benches by the big tree is where we had lunch.Β We tied Bella up to a post and let her rest in the shade with some water while we ate.Β Michael had packed us homemade turkey sandwiches and I had brought some sugar snap peas.

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It took about 15 minutes or so for lunch and then we let Bella off her leash so she could go nuts in the giant field.

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Then we went back to the trail. During the hike I saw so many slugs and TONS of snails! I’d say at least 50. They were all over the trails so you had to be careful where you stepped.

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There were a bunch of wildflowers blooming in the forest, tons of blackberry bushes growing wild. There were a bunch of bridges on the trail, some creeks, and then we climbed some stairs in the forest (it was very steep).

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We left the forest and ended up on the Equestrian Trail. It wound downhill and was very wide. There were a few times we had a peek of the river below but mostly the view was blocked with trees. We saw TONS of horses! Bella did really well and didn’t freak out. We stepped off the trail and in the bushes to let them all pass and she didn’t bark once.

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She was very curious about the horses though, and when the last ones went by Bella was dying to chase after them (but we didn’t). We let them go further up the trail before we continued on. After a bit we turned around and hiked back the way we came. A lot of the trails connect but since none of them are marked, it was hard to compare where we were on the map to see if we could loop around.

I was a little disappointed that we couldn’t just do a loop and I REALLY WISH they’d mark the trails! It was a nice park but I can see it being easy to get disoriented. Stubb Stewart was really well marked and that was helpful.

We got back to the car and then decided to check out the rest of the park. There was camping, two disc golf courses, lots of covered picnic areas, volleyball, off-leash dog areas, the trails and then there were two boat launches for the Clackamas River and the Estacada Lake. There were a bunch of kayakers on the lake and it looked so wonderful and peaceful! What a nice place to kayak.

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Here is how we did for the day:

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5.63 miles hiked, I burned 789 calories and Michael burned somewhere around 1200. It was a good little hike and the trails were not that crowded. We didn’t see many other hikers (just a few) on the trail and mostly saw the horse back riders. Bonus: the park wasn’t too far from our place. So while I was disappointed we didn’t make it to Memaloose Lake, I’m glad we found an alternative hiking location that isn’t an hour’s drive!