Memorial Day weekend, we were excited to camp for 3 whole days without moving from one spot to another and setting up and taking down every day. We also had never camped near the Columbia so we were pumped about that. We had picked out what we thought was a great site, views of the river and all. Soon, though, we realized this was not the perfect spot as the wind made it very difficult to set up our tent and made every effort to tear it down once we got it up. A big tent does not do well in the wind and our puny tent poles caved in under the pressure.
We hadn’t even brought extra rope like those better prepared around us. The wind was loud against the tent walls at night and even eating was not as enjoyable as everything wanted to blow away. (Though we did made these very delicious flatbread pizza/panani things over the fire). We made due for two nights but decided to call it quits early.
To be fair, these circumstances were also compounded by the fact that we had done two long hikes back to back days and were very tired. Further, the latter hike, Dog Mountain, left us disheartened. It was supposed to have great views but ended with our heads literally in the clouds so few good views beyond the beautiful wildflowers.
Dog Mountain was especially rough for us having walked 20,000 steps the day before. Not to mention it is essentially all uphill with some sections being rather steep. The muddy sections were tough without hiking shoes, which neither of us had. We aren’t even positive we made it to the end. We took a different route down which was equally if not more muddy but had fewer people and may have been faster. The wildflowers were marvelous but it was hard to enjoy marveling in the wet, windy, cold conditions we encountered when we reached the wildflower hillsides. It was laughable how miserable we were when we reached the top. We had definitely chosen the wrong day.
I can say this with certainty because in the week before and following this hike I had three different friends post gorgeous pictures of the views they had on their Dog Mountain hike. The hike we did the day before was Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail. It used to be part of a scenic highway so it was completely paved and thus apparently a popular cycling place.
The two tunnels were cool but early on in the hike so the rest is a bit anti climatic. This hike did provide some views of the Columbia which were pretty and perhaps worth writing home about if you had a spare stamp. The hike just kept going and going and going. We made little effort to walk at anything but a leisurely pace which may have contributed to the never ending sensation we experienced.
For the record, Monday we had a lovely day of rest and recovered from the hikes and the disappointments. It was well worth it.
It was windy. I mean, very windy. Which wasn’t pleasant. I’m not sure how often out of the year this park is windy, but I would not recommend going over Memorial Day weekend. Because if it’s windy one year, it’s bound to be windy every year, right? The wind made it not very fun to be outside because anything not nailed down would blow away and it also made it not very fun to be inside the tent because it was basically collapsing on us. With a better tent it would have been more bearable but we prefer camping that’s not just tolerable but enjoyable. The park itself was attached to a rest stop right off the highway, so the location wasn’t great. There wasn’t any access to the river either since the train tracks were in between. Speaking of the train… we could also hear it in the middle of the night which wasn’t pleasant. The bathroom was also tiny and consistently out of supplies. On the upside, there was good proximity to hikes and the view of the river was gorgeous.
Coming up, blog posts about:
May 29-31 Emigrant Springs
June 12-14 Collier and Jackson Kimball
June 19-21 Viento State Park