Felt like the Stampers, I did. Hiking in the Coastal Mountains always reminds me of Ken Kesey’s ode to the old-time logging families in Sometimes a Great Notion. Without a doubt, it is verdant and beautiful country.
On a mid-June weekend (now that I’m back working full-time, the opportunities to hike are much more restricted) I drove almost to the crest of the Coastal Range to the Gales Creek Forest Camp. After four years of waiting, the Gales Creek Trail had been repaired and was now reopened. I had never hiked to the crest of the Coastal Mountains above the Gales Creek Drainage before. It’s not often I hike a new trail within 100 miles of Portland.And, what a beautiful day. Sunshine was peeking through the upper canopy of trees, bringing wildflowers, little birds and butterflies out in force.
Almost seven miles later, I was at Bell Camp Road on the Crest. The last mile of the trail was fairly steep as it climbed out of the headbasin. I found a spot in the sun, leaned back against a log, and relaxed for a while. Then, it was off to the trailhead. All in all the hike was over 13 miles in length with 2,500 feet of elevation gain. A superb way to spend a day.