Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Hamilton Mountain

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Here are a few photos from Hamilton Mountain, on the Washington side of the Columbia Gorge, just east of Beacon Rock. These photos were taken back in 2007 and some have already appeared here in posts about Rodney Falls / Pool of the Winds and flowers along the Hamilton Mountain trail. I also took a bunch of scenic photos from some high cliffs along the trail, but I never got around to posting them back then. I recently remembered I had them and dug them out of the archives, so here they are. I've already talked about the hike in those two previous posts, plus the post about Dry Creek Falls which I visited later the same day. So I won't go into a lot of additional depth here, in large part because it's been six years now and I mostly just remember the highlights at this point. Luckily there's info about the hike on the interwebs, including Portland Hikers' Field Guide,, and the Washington Trails Association, if the photos make you want to check the place out. The funny thing is that the parking lot trailhead gives you two trails to choose from, and they're labeled "Difficult" and "More Difficult". If I remember right this was from "Difficult", because "More Difficult" didn't hit the waterfalls along the trail. I could have that backwards though. I know I took the trail to the waterfalls, whatever the label was. That much I'm quite sure of.

The overlook these photos are taken from is an interesting place, with a great 180+ degree view of an especially scenic part of the Columbia Gorge. You come across it rather suddenly too: You're slogging away through a long stretch of typical Northwest forest, then you come around a corner, and suddenly there are these rugged rock outcrops, and beyond them a cliff dropping several hundred feet. Or at least this is how I remember it from 2007. There are a few well-worn paths out onto the outcrop area, from decades of people trying to look daring, or just trying to get a better photo. I didn't follow these all the way to the cliff's edge; I'm not afraid of heights in general, but heights plus a lack of any solid handholds tends to make me a bit anxious. It doesn't happen a lot, either. Ran into it here, in Yosemite, and at Saddle Mountain. This time I approached it as an experiment: See how far I could go before it began to seem like a bad idea. (Answer: Not very far.) Then take a step back, wait, see if I can go a bit further. That helped a bit, though I still hit NOPE.GIF territory well before the actual edge. So I think I'm going to chalk that up to having survival-oriented DNA, coming from a long line of not-falling-off-cliffs people, and leave it there.

The upside here is that I ended up with bits of foreground scenery in the photos too, which I'm told adds visual interest. If anyone asks (obviously other than you guys, o Gentle Reader(s)), I'll just pretend I did it that way on purpose.

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