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Finally some of the Columbia River Gorge trails are reopening. But, thanks to the coronavirus, I’m in February physical condition in early June. The only solution is to get back to hiking trails with good elevation gain.
After parking at the Hardy Ridge Equestrian Trailhead in Beacon Rock State Park, I began an ascent mostly on old logging roads on the east side of the mountain. After about 2 1/2 miles the trail began sharply climbing to the spine and lower summit of Hardy Ridge. But, my lack of conditioning hikes the last several months caught up with me.
I huffed and puffed until reaching the 2,575-foot lower summit. Then I climbed another 100 feet of elevation gain to an open viewpoint of a long stretch of the Gorge. If I had had the ambition, it would have been a 3/4-mile bushwhacking adventure until the 2,957-foot upper summit to the north was achieved. I saved it for another day.
After taking many photos of wildflowers blooming in the open rock gardens, I began hiking the trail down the east side of the Ridge. After dropping about 700 feet in elevation, the route followed a series of old logging roads for several miles before rejoining the main Trail.
All in all the hike was a little over seven miles in length with about 2,000 feet of elevation gain.
I promised myself to get into better hiking shape as the year progresses.