Drift Creek Falls

This was a bucket list hike of mine. It was a nice 3 mile round trip, but a little crowded due to its popularity.

The trail is open year round and there is a $5 fee at the trailhead or NW nature pass.

Directions:

http://www.oregonhikers.org/field_guide/Drift_Creek_Falls_Trailhead
Hamilton wasnt so sure about the suspension bridge. Be warned it does sway a bit as you cross it. 😳

After the hike we drove in to Lincoln City for some clam chowder. Post-hike chowder is one of my favorite things about coastal hikes!

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Trappist Abbey

Hike from Sept. 24, 2017: Our Lady of Guadalupe Trappist Abbey offers a tranquil 4 mile loop in the woods with views of the Willamette Valley. We stopped in the guest house for a map of the grounds and started up the hill. We were told to stay on the main road, since the side roads were not maintained and had a lot of poison oak.

Where is it? In Lafayette. Link to the map below:

Trappist Abbey

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The most enjoyable part of this walk was the quiet. We passed a few runners, but mostly had the trail to ourselves.

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At the end of our walk we stopped back in to the guesthouse and talked with Brother Martin, who it turns out is friends with my Aunt Marilyn! He offered us lunch and told us he became a monk when he was 25. He is 92 now. He said, “You don’t have to be 92 to realize life is a gift.” The hospitality and peace of Trappist Abbey was very evident. No matter what your religious views are you are welcome there; it’s as simple as that. I’m glad I had a chance to explore this happy patch of Oregon.

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Bloom Lake

This was the perfect quick and easy hike for a Sunday; one that could be managed with a baby and a lazy dog. (3.4 mile lollipop loop)

Directions: From Portland take Hwy 26 44 miles towards the coast. The trail head is on the left just before Quartz Creek Bridge. It was only a 45 minute drive!

The first part of the hike is a slow steady incline passing mossy trees and a little duck pond.

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There were tons of salamanders in the trail too, watch your step!

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The trail is an old logging road in a secondary forest. There are some giant stumps along the way from trees that were logged years ago.

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Once you reach a trail sign, you take the path to the right to get to the edge of the lake.

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After some time at the lake we headed back to the start. On the way back we saw this tree that a beaver had been working on:

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When we finished the hike there were only 5 cars at the trail head. It was nice to find a more secluded destination. 🙂

Beacon Rock

This hike had been on my bucket list for a long time. It’s not too far from Portland, pretty easy and you get the spectacular views. The only drawback is that it’s crowded. To get here, take I-84 east to Cascade locks and cross the Bridge of the Gods ($2 fee each way). Turn left after the bridge and find the trail head on your left after a few miles. There is a $10 day fee, or a Washington Discover Pass. The hike is only a mile climb to the top.

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Vernonia Lake and Old Mill

My cousin Bethany and I originally wanted to visit the Banks-Vernonia trail, but it was closed due to bad weather and cougar sightings… no thanks. So instead we drove through Vernonia to walk around the lake and check out the old mill.

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It’s a mile walk around the lake and there is a dock for fishing.

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This fuel bunker is the last remnant of the Old Mill of the Oregon-American Lumber Company which operated from 1924 to the mid 1950’s. It’s quiet and peaceful on the inside and there is a lot of colorful graffiti.

 

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How to get there:

From Portland, travel on Hwy 26 west for 25 or so miles. Turn right on Hwy 47 North towards Vernonia 14 miles away. Turn right on bridge street and drive through Vernonia for 1.1 miles. Turn right to the parking lot at Vernonia lake. The old mill is off to the right and easy to find from the trail.