A Colorful Hike to Two Former Wildfire Lookout Sites

A cold gusty wind, concrete skies, the moist smell of rain soon to come, wild turkeys and colorful autumn foliage – – – what a great day to be in the wild!

In early October I drove to Triangle Pass and then to the Grassy Knoll Trailhead, about seven miles north of the Columbia River Gorge.

The first 1 1/2 miles climbed rather steeply through a forest with a few examples of large, old-growth Douglas firs. The trail then reached the rim of a cliff with views across the Big Lava Bed (20 square miles of relatively level basalt rock covered with trees.)

From there it was a short climb to the top of 3,648-foot Grassy Knoll, an open, tundra-like ridge crest with views extending to the Columbia River.

After a short rest I continued hiking up and down the ridge for another three miles to the Pacific Crest Trail. Within a few feet of reaching the PCT, the steep one-quarter mile trail to the top of 4,202-foot Big Huckleberry Mountain was found. A few minutes later I was at the summit.

As I had guessed at the first of the hike, I spent the last three miles of the 11 1/2-mile hike getting soaked in a cold rain. It’s par for the course in the early fall.

Yep, that’s the trail heading through the underbrush (there hadn’t been much maintenance on the northern part of the trail)

Wild Turkey on the trot

Long look to the Columbia River from Big Huckleberry Mountain

Vine Maple leaves providing lots of color along the trail

A Penstemon hanging on by a thread

Vine Maple

Long look to the Columbia River from Grassy Knoll

Blue Elderberries

Vine Maple

Grassy Knoll

Grassy Knoll on a much nicer day in 2015





Categories: Washington Cascades HikesTags: , , ,

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