PLEASE READ THE FULL DESCRIPTION BELOW!!!
I'm still tired of waiting for snow, so this weekend seems like a good time to explore Oregon's newest state park, Cottonwood Canyon (SE of The Dalles). The park, along the lower John Day River, is still under development (plus I've never been there before myself), so this will be a bit of an exploratory outing. There are a few riverside trails now built, and I'd like to do a few miles of those, but I also want to venture off trail to see if we can get some views from some of the surrounding hills and bluffs. I don't see this as being an incredibly difficult outing, and even the off-trail stuff will likely be optional for those who'd rather just take it easy along the river, but we'll be able to make a full day out of it without any problem, and can probably make it as challenging as we (as a group) want. I'm guessing we'll log 12 or 13 miles total, but it could be more, could be less, depending on what we find and on how everyone feels.
Rating: Moderate (most of the official trails are along the river, but I'm planning to go off trail a bit too to get some views--and some exercise)
Elevation gain: unknown…depends on what we decide to do
Hike distance: I'm guessing 12 or 13 miles, but it could be a bit more or less
Hiking time: We'll make the most of our daylight, and I'd expect we'll be on the go for 6 or 7 hours
These links will give you more information about the park:
We'll meet at Gateway and carpool roughly 2 hours to the park, with most of the drive on I-84. We should be on the trail around 10am. I'm guessing we'll be out exploring 'til 4 or 5pm, then we'll head back to Portland, probably stopping for food/drink in Hood River on the way back. We should be back in Portland by 8 or 9pm, but as always I can't guarantee it. If you really need to be back by a specific time, please don't sign up!
MORE DETAILS (please read them!)
My hiking style: I'm a pretty tireless hiker, but I do pause for photos, viewpoints, and/or snack breaks whenever the scenery demands it. My outings tend to be more about enjoying your surroundings than reaching the 'finish line' at an aggressive pace, although I tend to keep a moderate to quick pace (2-2.5 mph) when we're on the move. (With that said, if you're wanting full-speed-ahead hikes without pauses, this isn't your event.) I like keeping the group somewhat together on the trail and not leaving anyone behind. Most of all, I want it to be an enjoyable day out for everyone!
Total driving distance: roughly 250 miles round-trip
Costs: Suggested $20 per person to driver for gas (may vary depending on each car's gas mileage).
What to bring: a good attitude and a sense of adventure, sunscreen, 2 liters of water, snacks (and lunch) for the trail, camera, cash for your driver, and a headlamp in case dusk overtakes us before we finish. Dress in layers (bring a waterproof layer just in case), and leave the cotton at home. I always encourage you to have the 'ten essentials' along (see The Fine Print below).
Sorry, no dogs…
THE FINE PRINT:
- The 'ten essentials' to always have in your pack generally include: Map/compass (and advance understanding of where you're going!), sun protection, extra clothes, extra food, extra water, headlamp/flashlight (and spare batteries), first aid kit, matches/firestarter, knife/tools, and a whistle if you need to signal for help. You should always be prepared in case you get separated from the rest of the group and/or have to spend a night on your own in the wilderness.
- As a Meetup organizer, I'm an unpaid volunteer. While I always try to ensure a safe and enjoyable outing for everyone, by signing up for this event you assume full responsibility for your own health, safety, and well-being for its entire duration, including while traveling to and from both the meeting place and destination.
- I welcome other NW Wilderness Organizers to sign up for and join my events; it's always great to have you guys along. I do, however, reserve the right to move you to the Waiting List if I decide to move qualified and Waitlisted non-organizers to the YES list.
- I also reserve the right to remove anyone from my events if I'm concerned that their ability or fitness level will slow down the rest of the group. If there is a waiting list, I may remove anyone with multiple past 'no-shows' to the 'no' list to make room for those who may be more reliable.