Back home, I decided to try a trail that was new to me. Monkey Run loop near Ithaca, NY. A really nice walk in the woods, it was quite muddy in places, and no one else out, but surprise, surprise, lots of mosquitoes! Apparently my bug juice wore off, and they (skeeters) really began to feast on me. I was close to the end, so I picked up my pace, annnd missed a turn that would’ve taken me back a bit sooner. It was supposed to be closer to 3 miles, but it ended up 4, but the good thing was it only took me 2 hours. I’m definitely not a speed hiker, but the bites gave me some incentive to hurry!
Not much for views, the best part followed Fall Creek, so my eyes were drawn (hehe) to what was on the ground, lots of fungi and berries. Sketched at home AFTER I was safe from the skeeters.
After a worrisome day, waking up with severe vertigo, I nearly cancelled this trip. Wasn’t sure how I could get on a plane with it. Fortunately, it mostly cleared up, so the trip was on! Still with traces of vertigo, flights and travel went smoothly, and we got to relax my first afternoon in Hood River. Love Hood River, great vibes, and great people.
Nearly sunset at the Columbia River
We agreed to do the most difficult, but most “worth it” hike first. So day 2, we drove (I say we, but my friend did all the driving.). Got to give her credit for hosting, driving and being a great friend. So we drove across the Columbia River to Washington, then up some back roads, which turned to dirt roads, with some edgy curves. Took us about an hour to get to the trailhead, and there was only one other car there, which was great. “Only” a little over 2 miles in, but with 1,365’ gain. And 6,000’ elevation. I’m not used to that at all, add the fact that it got a little scary towards the top with some vertigo kicking in. Some of the last steep part was on my hands and knees, I didn’t trust standing up.
But, I must say, it was definitely WORTH IT! Proud of us both, and views of four separate mountains from the top. Basically, we climbed a small mountain to get a better view of the big ones. 🙂
So relieved to have a chance to sit, I did several sketches from up here. Added color back at home.
View of Mt. Adams, shortly before reaching the top
View of Mt. Hood from top
Another view of Mt. Adams from the top. The clouds were starting to cover the top.
After all that work, we stopped at Mt. Hood winery (of course!) and I did a quick sketch while we relaxed.
View of Mt. Hood from Mt. Hood winery
I guess I’ll have to return, this place has so many amazing views, wine and delicious food!
Time to “just go” again! International travel is not a sure thing, so I’ll stick to the USA instead. The northwest scenery – mountains, woods, and waterfalls just look amazing. I am trying to choose this lighter pack that folds to pocket size, but may end up with my usual one. Here’s a “selfie” and a quick map.
Looking forward to catching up with a dear friend, hiking, dining and wine! Hope to share some gorgeous views and sketches.
Just had my first visit to this place, and well, it definitely will not be my last!
Called one of the top hikes of the east, it’s a lovely mélange of large and small waterfalls, each with its own character, in woods with trees over 300 years old. Colonel R. Bruce Ricketts named the falls after American Indian tribes, and some after friends and family.
I was lucky to enjoy this trip meeting an online friend in person for the first time. Not only does she know the Glen well, she very patiently sat while I did a quick sketch or two. Thank you Elizabeth! I hope to return soon!
I wonder how old this tree was, when it gave up and laid across the stream. The swirls in the bark and uneven protrusions give it such character.
Adams Falls are the easiest falls to get to, and a short distance from the road. Just stunning! I could’ve sat here and enjoyed it all day.
Had a lovely walk around Lily Lake in Chenango Valley State Park the other day. Blue skies with puffy clouds, everything seemed an unreal green.
Lucky to see a turtle sunning on a log, and nearly tripped on this large garter snake, nestled in the leaves.
Last but not least, my favorite bird of prey, bald eagles at their nest on my way home.
Last month was my first backpacking experience. Not ready to try it solo, I went with a small group from Blue Ridge Hiking Co. and Heidi Nesbitt as our intrepid guide. (Follow Heidi on IG @sketchingsummits)
We met at the Blue Ridge store in Asheville, NC, where we got any equipment we needed. (All equipment is included in trip cost) Heidi had reviewed my pack and supplies before the trip. I’ve had my large backpack for a couple years, just didn’t have the courage to try it out. When they weighed my pack at 35 lbs, I thought I might be in trouble! After eliminating anything possible from my pack, we drove about an hour to meet at the Wildcat Falls trailhead.
We generally followed this trail, over 2 nights and 3 days.
Day 1: we had just a little rain which cleared up to cool sunny weather.
Shortly after we started, I learned I was the oldest of the group. This made me not feel as guilty when I needed to stop and catch my breath.
Headed up Flat Laurel Creek trail, and we arrived at our campsite near Wildcat Falls by 3 pm. Rather early, and not a long distance, but a big relief for me! (And probably a few others!)
Tent set-up was easy (I had practiced at home!), we then took off in various directions to sketch. After navigating down to the water’s edge, I sat and focused on sketching, lost in my thoughts.
View of Sam’s Knob
Creek near our campsite
We had dinner and a campfire, and I went to bed way too early, resulting in waking at 3 am. 🤷🏽♀️
Day 2: Overnight, temps went down to 30°, leaving a morning frost on our tents. Brrr.
After breakfast, we continued on the trail around Little Sam’s Knob, to the base of Sam’s Knob. I stayed back to sketch in a field with a few others while the rest made their way to the top, elev. 6,050 ft.
After a filling lunch, we headed to Black Balsam trailhead, where a man was playing lovely recorder tunes, and found (Yay!) open toilets!
There, again, I stayed with a few while the others made their way to Black Balsam Knob.
We then headed down the trail. My first thought was who would break glass here? Then realized the glittering diamond-like reflections were pieces of mica underfoot.
Our second campsite wasn’t perfect, the only level ground was where we set up our tents, even though they were a little too close, instead of continuing on.
Still a bit chilly at night, and who wants to leave their warm sleeping bag to answer nature’s call?
Day 3: our final day, seemed easier. Whether I got used to the altitude or the weight (or most likely that Heidi took as much extra from my pack as she could! Many many thanks!), by late morning, we all seemed to be sailing along. I’m so thankful for the great hikers that shared this experience. Everyone was there to help me get my backpack on each stop, and help stop the bleeding when I (oops) sliced my finger a bit.
Back to our cars by lunch, we all seemed to be in a hurry to get back to civilization.
The stillness and solitude are very much missed, so plans for future hikes in remote areas are always in the works!
Very excited to try some new hiking trails in a National Park that has much natural beauty. Here’s a map for you, I didn’t really know much about it until I started researching hike ideas.
I thought it would be simple to choose a couple trails that suit my ability and provide great views or a waterfall, but I’ve only narrowed it down to 28! And I’ll only have a couple days there!
Oh well, I guess a return visit will be needed. 😉