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On a cool, but mostly sunny morning, I parked at the Hardy Ridge Equestrian Trailhead in Beacon Rock State Park. My goal was to do an 8 1/2 loop hike to the open saddle underneath Hamilton Mountain.
I began an ascent mostly on old logging roads on the west side of Hardy Ridge, dropping to a bridge over Hardy Creek in about two miles.
Turing left, I began the pleasant one-mile hike up the east side of the creek, finally ascending the canyon wall. Following a short, steep side trail, I reached the 2,390-foot top of the ridge, only 48 feet lower than the summit of Hamilton Mountain.
From there it was an easy 1 3/4-mile hike to the 2,100-foot saddle below Hamilton Mountain. Fog covered the Columbia River up and down the Columbia River Gorge, adding an ethereal beauty to the views, some of the best in the Gorge.
On the three-mile return hike, I enjoyed the sunshine and solitude.
Mushroom and Fleabane
Sunshine highlighting the bright green of mosses and lichen