In early April mid-week I returned to the northern side of the Columbia River Gorge on a mostly stormy day. The Hardy Ridge Trail, in the Beacon Rock State Park, began at an equestrian trailhead. After three miles of relatively easy hiking on old logging roads I reached Don’s Cutoff Trail. Leaving the logging road, I began the steep climb to the saddle on the spine of the ridge below Hamilton Mountain. Snow had begun to fall in earnest. On the saddle, visibility was less than 100 yards due to the heavy snowfall.
Not waiting, I took off through the snow and ascended to the summit of Hamilton Mountain in another one-half mile. Thankfully, the snow was beginning to peter out, opening some views of the Columbia River Gorge. Upon return to the saddle, visibility was much better. The Columbia River stretched for miles in both directions and the cliffs of the Gorge were easily visible through the shifting cloud cover.
After the return to Hardy Creek, it was only two miles to the trailhead. All in all the hike was nine miles in length with 2,100 feet of elevation gain. A cold, but enjoyable spring day.