Smith Rock (partial) and Dry Creek - 4/18 & 4/25

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arieshiker
Posts: 125
Joined: December 3rd, 2009, 3:19 pm
Location: Goldendale

Smith Rock (partial) and Dry Creek - 4/18 & 4/25

Post by arieshiker » April 28th, 2019, 9:56 am

On 4-17, I was down in Bend to “browse” the aisles at REI, to return home on the 18th with a morning stop for a short hike at Smith Rock. The forecast was for the warmest day of the year to date, and it definitely proved accurate.

I got to the parking area before 8:30 to a “take your pick of spots” scenario. So I parked near the yurt, bought my day ticket, geared up and headed down to the river crossing. There were a few souls milling about, and when I crossed the bridge to the River Trial it was wide open spaces with a few already headed out ahead of me, several headed to the climbing areas.

The river was running high and swift, and there were a few signs posted warning of high water further along the trail urging caution if continuing on. I went as far as the cutoff for the Misery Ridge Trail. My plan was to go further on the River trail, but after two encounters with high water (nothing serious) the next high water encounter offered some possible wading, which I was not really into for my day.

So I turned around and headed back. Heading back I started encountering the hordes. And this was a Thursday mid-day. By the time I returned to the bridge, dozens passed me going both directions. The range of attire was reminiscent of Eagle Creek Trail on a busy summer day. People were even coming down the Chute to the bridge in flip flops with babies on their backs.

Overall it was a typical spring walk along the river - Canadian geese were honking like New York City cabbies and even a few river otters were drawing their own crowds. There’s a new waterfall that maybe is just a seasonal result of the heavy weather this winter/spring. Certainly not something I’d seen before on three previous hikes along the trail.

Several dozen rock climbing activities were ongoing, including what appeared to be one teaching session. When I got back up to my vehicle a bit past noon, the parking area was completely full all the way around to the walk-in camping area, and cars were still coming in.

And it was zeroing in on 76 degrees, so I was happy to be returning to the Gorge.

4-25 - finally got back out to Dry Creek from the Bridge of the Gods trail head. Had to do a shake down cruise for my new day pack from the Bend REI. The results of the 2017 fire are very visible throughout the hike to the road up to the waterfall. Had to be a true terror living in Cascade Locks for those hard hours.

The trail is in magnificent shape and wildflowers are doing their best to do what wildflowers do, but much like the Grass Widows at Catherine Creek, it may take a few rounds to get solid footing. I noticed on the drive down Maryhill Grade that the balsamroot was retaking the hillsides. For the next couple of weeks it ought be beautiful up here, especially once the lupine join in.

A few shots from Smith Rock and some from Dry Creek, which was busier than I think I’ve ever seen it.
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