Two days before Leap Day, I decided to stretch my legs and do a relatively easy hike near the little town of Husum on the White Salmon River, north of the Columbia River Gorge. A short dirt road to the east led to the beginning of the Weldon Wagon Road Trailhead. The 2 1/2 mile wagon road was created in the early 1900’s to haul apples from the upper tablelands to the White Salmon River for transportation to markets.
After leaving the valley bottom the old wagon road quickly ascended to an open white oak savannah environment with scattered ponderosa pines. The grasslands provided wide-ranging views. A few early wildflowers were in bloom, mostly grass widows. Soon the Trail entered the woods, finally reaching a dirt road with a few houses in the near vicinity. There were some old rusted farm equipment at the end of the Trail that entertained me for a while.
A gated logging road headed off to the north. I hadn’t hiked in that direction before and thought to myself – – – why not? Gaining elevation, I was soon into snow. Deer tracks were abundant, especially at the edges of the old clearcuts. In two miles I reached the end of the road and spotted several blacktail deer feeding. They wouldn’t let me get very close, but I shot a few photos before they wandered off. The sun was out, providing well-deserved warmth out of the chilly gusts of wind. I ate a snack and began the return to the Trailhead. All in all the hike was 9.2 miles in length with 2,000 feet of elevation gain. It was an interesting trek with the opportunity to explore history, get exercise, spot flora and fauna, and see beautiful scenery.