How to Hike Oregon in a Weekend
When there is family within driving distance you go see them! Angelina’s cousin, Gina (and boyfriend Matt) were spring-breaking in Oregon, and we crashed it. We drove the 4 hours down Friday after work and were dead tired when we finally arrived at 10:00 pm. After getting an Oregon brew in us we were ready to play some Cards Against Humanity and catch up.
Saturday morning we got quite the late start after not having stayed up that late since…we can’t remember when. Got the morning started at Coffee House 26 Roastery. We all sampled Gina’s Lavender Chai, which almost tasted floral with a bit of spice! Then we made the drive from Mt. Hood Village to Smith Rock State Park! Along our journey there was a continuous, almost gradual change in terrain. When we drove out of Mt. Hood Village there were mountains and lots of rain interspersed with some snow. By the time we were passing the Indian reservation, Warm Springs, it was sunny and took us back to our middle school geography lessons on Native Americans, textbook plateaus all around us! This reservation was created by a treaty in 1855, and covers about 1,020 square miles! Once we neared Smith Rock State Park you could see lots of cliffs and spires. Driving into the park and being surrounded by the rock faces was enough to get us pumped to explore! We have seen Washington’s mountains, rainforest, and ocean, but Smith Rock’s spires were unlike anything we had experienced yet in Washington.
We looked at our trail options and noticed the perimeter loop (Summit Loop) had some flooding near the end and the trail was washed out. We chose to do a majority of that loop and cut in through Misery Ridge, straight up and over the summit.
Along the trail we noticed slack-lines spanning from spire to spire. Unfortunately, there was no one up there testing the ropes. We did, however, get to see some rock climbers! Right as we summited, they reached the top of Monkey Face Rock, a 350′ spire!
The summit offers great views of cliffsides and excellent opportunities for bird watching. We were lucky enough to watch a couple of red-tailed hawks soaring above us and Nick got a shot of them…well…doin the dirty! Across the canyon they were flying in and out of the cliffs gathering sticks for their nest and preparing to lay eggs.
The bright side of a crowded trail is you never know who you might meet. We came across a friendly couple from Australia who pointed out the nest, and chatted for a while. After the hike we headed into Bend for some much anticipated beers at The Good Life brewery!
Sunday morning we said our goodbye’s over a cup of jo at Coffee House 26 Roastery. Gina and Matt headed back to St. Louis, with a layover in Seattle of all places, so we headed to Oneonta Gorge for one more hike before our drive back home. Parking was tricky to find and the trail felt almost as crowded as the parking lot…there were a lot of “traffic jams” due to downed trees. The waterfalls were powerful after all the rain we’ve been getting, especially Horse Tail Falls, but the sun was out and it made for an awesome hike!
Fine weather is making us look forward to Spring hikes, stay tuned for wildflower shots!