Posts Tagged ‘Highway 26’

Snowshoeing – Government Camp Area 12-29-10

Garmin Interactive Map

2.89 mi

Min/Max Elevation:
3,971 ft / 4,328 ft

Andrew, Cole, Dexter & I

Huge winter storm had rolled through the Cascade Mountains dumping massive amounts of fresh white beautiful snow leaving us with no other choice but to go play in it. It was hardly a secret as we noticed everyone and their mom heading up to the mountain. The snow covered areas heavily as low as Sandy, Oregon. The drive up was slow as many rooky-mountain-goers pushed the limits of their unsavy-unsafe-mountain mobiles.

Many people hate chaining up, myself included! However, the problem is many people don’t chain up until they absolutely need to – usually when their mountain mobile starts to slip or even worse when they loose control. This was somewhat the case as we headed up. This created a mall of traffic going up highway 26.

IMG_2490[Highway 26 – before the dead stop traffic jam]

As we approached the ‘silent rocks’ there was a large icy patch causing the ill-equipped cars to completely loose control – sliding ever which way and even doing 180s. Before reaching this area we saw one hell of a brave sole out braving the conditions on the unthinkable – a bicycle. Stupid or brave at this point he was probably moving just as fast as the cars heading up to the mountain.


[Hardcore, Brave, and stupid bicyclist]

Partly due to time constraints, the stubbornness of not wanting to pay to literally go the extra mile for gas and the urge to drink good beer at the Mt Hood Brewing Company we started from Summit Ski Resort / Government Camp.

Andrew and I have had a few snowshoeing adventures that have started from this point (Gov Camp) and that have barely and miraculously somehow ended here as well. Our last adventure was snowshoeing from Government Camp to Timberline lodge … and back 😦  – a steep 2,000 ft elevation gain! Somehow we survive this one.

IMG_3214 [Near Timberline Lodge w/ the Mt just barely visible behind us]

This outing was much different. Cole was a first time snowshoer and was promised no near death situations.

There is a multitude of trails in this area and many are even marked. We usually parallel the ski run then veer off into the untracked powder. I really enjoy snowshoeing because it brings more solitude than hiking – especially if you are bush-waking sort of speak.


[Cole, Andrew and Dexter – Dexter was our trailblazer]


[Crossing over a bridge… barely visible]


[Dexter and I – Dexter has icicles hanging from his mouth]

This was Dexter’s first time in the deep white snow and he loved it. He is still a puppy and doesn’t understand pacing so he was out for the count even a few days after.


Saddle Mountain, Seaside OREGON

5 miles

Elevation Gain:
2,338 ft

Min/Max Elevation:
1,649 ft / 3,289 ft

Grant, Kristin, Myself

Garmin Stats / Map

Saddle Mountain has always been on my list to hike. Curiosity has built up more and more over the years of driving back and forth to the Coast seeing the pull off signs to the trail head. With the Oregon Coast being a simple 1 hour 15 minutes away from Portland, Oregon a day trip is more than doable.

Kristin and I woke up to some delightful sun one morning and finally decided it was go time for Saddle Mountain. But First – we had to make a necessary stop at Camp 18.

Camp 18 is definitely a tourist place, but I still enjoy going there for the gigantic cinnamon roll that they serve up fresh for just $5. I highly recommend either sharing or expecting to take part of it to go as it is not only huge, but rich with flavor. Against my better judgment I agreed to Kristin’s request of ordering this Cinnamon Roll as an appetizer to our breakfast. Just minutes after devouring this Cinnamon Roll our ‘real breakfast’ came out in similar fashion – giant sized portions. Needless to say between the biscuits and gravy and my tri-tip-bacon-mushroom omelet  we weren’t leaving hungry!



[First views of Saddle Mountain]

Full-stomached in all we got in the car and headed just 5 miles further West on highway 26 to the Saddle Mountain pull off. In my guide book it said it was located 7 miles off highway 26. These 7 miles were some of the longest miles and I truly felt like we were just driving to the top of Saddle Mountain. Watch out because the road is not the greatest with all of the moisture this area receives – the road is highly prone to dips, pot holes, and washouts. Even though there are sections of the road that seem drivable at 40mph you’ll come around a corner with a dip or pot hole…



[From the trail head / parking lot]

From the trailhead I was super pumped because we couldn’t see a cloud in sight. However, it can be a bit daunting to have a clear view of your final destination especially when it looks like Saddle Mountain – steep!



[Up, up, up and away…. ]

This trail is seasonal and can definitely be dangerous if even slightly wet. On many portions of the trail it is reinforced with fencing to prevent furthered erosion. With this Saddle Mountain being so exposed it is at the mercy of extreme wind, rain, and snow.

Walking on these sections that are reinforced with the fencing is pretty annoying – your footing seems unstable and I kept getting my toes stuck in the holes….



[Hiking to the West-est point 🙂 ]

Along the trail you are constantly blessed with awesome views of the valley (weather dependent of course!). The down side to hiking more demanding of terrain is you have to focus mostly on your feet and aren’t able to look out / up to enjoy the views ; however, there are many benches along the way to stop and rest or picnic at to take in the views.


[Close to the top – You can just barely see the Pacific Ocean in the distance!]



[View looking Northwest towards Astoria – You can see where the might Columbia River and Pacific Ocean collide]

The views at the summit were spectacular! I was impressed with the viewable distance at this location. I was even able to point out the general area of I rode my bike when I cycled from Portland to Seaside.

There was a good sized group at the summit area so we headed slightly South climbing over the fence to a less crowded area.


[Kristin and I at the top area]


[Grant and Sadie atop]

This hike had great rewards with amazing views. It is definitely a hike that is only worth doing in perfect conditions. Not only did we have beautiful weather – we hiked mid week avoiding what I’m sure of large crowds.

Overall I would not recommend this hike to families. It is fairly steep with trail fencing that may easily cause you to loose your footing. As it being my first time hiking this one I probably won’t revisit it again for awhile – or at least when the stars align to create such conditions again.

After burning off our morning breakfast at Camp 18 it was yet again time to refuel. We headed North to Astoria for Fort George Brewery. It has become our MO to incorporate beer or brew pubs into whatever we are doing in some fashion, which only seems like the right thing to do…. 🙂



[Pour in the Vortex IPA – delicious!]


[Belinda & Kristin]


Definitely a full packed day!! I love Portland and how centralized it is making day trips like this easily doable!