Wednesday, October 14, 2009

To The Top of Beacon Rock

Last week, the long awaited hike to the top of Beacon Rock finally happened. My buddy Dale and I had big plans to do lots of hiking and bike riding this summer, but as the saying goes, "life is what happens when you make plans". In early July, Dale took a temporary job with our previous employer and I got heavily involved with house painting so the summit of Beacon Rock sat on hold. What the heck, the rock is the remains of an ancient volcano so it's not like it was going to move any time soon.

Since we both spent a good deal of our working lives working outside in nasty weather, it's a prime requirement that any out door outing during retirement be planned around good weather. Last Tuesday, we hit pay dirt as the skies were generally clear and the temperature was in the low sixties, perfect conditions for a hike.

Beacon Rock is located at the west end of the Columbia River gorge and is accessible from the Washington side of the river. I have always thought of it as Washington's answer to the Matterhorn in terms of its profile, but measuring a mere 848 feet in elevation, it is far from a technical climb. As a matter of fact, the trail is carved into the basalt slopes and connected by a series of steel grates and small bridges. The view is to die for but without a doubt it would not be a place to be hiking when the trail is covered in snow and ice!

The view from half way up looking west down the Columbia River

An old growth Doug-fir surrounded by fall colors

Dale surveying the trail

A close up of the trail and connecting bridges

If you are ever in the area, this is a must do hike! Even if you take your time a hike to the top takes less than an hour; it's only about 3/4 of a mile to the top. This leads me to believe that when Dale and I get together it's not so much about hiking or biking but more about friendship and socialization.


Anita Jesse said...

What a sensational view. Hiking uphill is a serious challenge for me but the bridges would help. I don't think I would be able to resist trying and 3/4 mile I could probably do eventually. For that view, it would definitely be worth the effort.

Steve Skinner said...

Anita, When you make a trip to Oregon let me know and I would be happy to hike the trail once again with you!

Anita Jesse said...

Wow. Thanks. I haven't been doing much traveling lately. Either my husband or I always seem to have something tying us to home. But, if we ever get up your way, I plan to see if this offer is still good.