the

Nice drive to Reno, Nevada yesterday.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Reno, Nevada.

Where are they going next? South, towards Death Valley National Park.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Gorgeous views from Beacon Rock

We slept surprisingly well at the ilani Casino overflow parking lot, so close to the I-5. We must have been tired!

We needed to do a grocery shop, so I planned a route that would avoid both the I-5 and most of the congestion of Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington. We first headed to the town of Battle Ground, where they have a fairly new Walmart Superstore.

Kinda nice to do the shopping at 10:00am. Not many people around, in fact most of the people in the store were workers stocking the shelves. A nice quiet Walmart, and I bet because it's far away from any Interstate it would probably have been a peaceful one at which to spend the night!

After that, we headed south around the outskirts of the city of Vancouver, Washington and on to highway 14 heading east on the north side of the Columbia River... and into the beautiful Columbia River Gorge.

Overcast again, but at least it wasn't raining... yet.

Some pretty fall colors on the trees.

Highway 14 starts out busy, but quickly cuts down to 2 lanes.

Now it becomes 2 lanes.

And then a country road.

That climbs to some beautiful views!

We stopped at the day use area of Beacon Rock State Park. The state of Washington has a somewhat frustrating system of passes for recreational areas. You need to have a Washington State Discovery Pass to enjoy any of the day use areas, and it also allows free camping at some basic campgrounds in the state. It's actually a really good deal if you happen to live here, at $30 USD for the year.

But we had just bought the America the Beautiful pass at $80 USD, and we really didn't think we would get $30 worth of use out of the Discovery pass. So, we were stuck buying a day pass for $10 USD if we wanted to climb Beacon Rock. Which is actually not bad at $5 each.

We had our lunch at the day use area, then went up to the main campground. We had read somewhere that Washington State Park campgrounds were $20 a night after November 1st, and so we thought we might take advantage of a campsite and dump and fill while we were there.

But we got to the campground and it was closed. Turns out this particular one is seasonal. Would have been nice if they put a "Campground Closed" sign at the entrance way so we wouldn't have had to drive all the way in, just to have to turn around. Maybe they haven't got to it yet.

We parked at the parking on the main highway, bought our day pass from the automated machine, and set off up the trail up Beacon Rock.

Just as we set out, it started to rain. 

We put on our rain ponchos.
After yesterday, we wanted to stay a little drier!

It got a bit breezy too!

Look up... that's where we're headed!

Starting to get some nice views.

The original trail was completed in 1918!

There's me!
It stopped raining and we got rid of the rain ponchos.

Enjoying the view.

Looking east.

And looking west.

And looking down! 

View near the top.

Heading back down.

After we got back to the bottom, we walked the extra 2.4 miles (4 kms) return to the lower campground. We don't understand why, but apparently the lower campground was still open. There are only two unserviced sites at $20 USD per night, and five full hookup sites at $30 USD per night.

We thought about staying, but it was hard to justify the $20 USD for a parking spot when we were pretty confident we could find somewhere for free.

Looking back at Beacon Rock.
See the area I circled in red...?

I zoomed in on it for you!

It was a good hike, but not as exhilarating as I thought it might be. We did a similar climb at Guatape, Colombia...

https://www.travelwithkevinandruth.com/2015/11/the-best-view-in-world.html

I found a couple of overnight possibilities on iOverlander. Not a whole lot of free boondocking in the area unless you head up into the hills on the gravel roads. But Sherman has had enough gravel roads this year!

We did find one dead end road quite close to the main road that I walked about a half a mile in first to see if it was worth driving in. And it was worth it...

Sherman, parked at GPS 45.681295, -121.905711

Yesterday's drive, 63 miles (101 kms).

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8 comments:

  1. Sorry the weather is not cooperating but what a stunning view (okay maybe not looking down lol)! We visited the Columbia River Gorge in late August and despite some smoke from BC fires, we enjoyed the fabulous views from various points on the Oregon side. Just a beautiful river gorge we hope to return to again and see the falls as there was road work when we were there requiring you to take a shuttle. Having a 110 lb dog prohibited us from that adventure. Continued safe travels!

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    1. We were so happy that it wasn't raining once we got to the top of the rock, and the fact that we were able to get a decent view. Way better than our view the day before from the Astoria Column.

      We unfortunately couldn't do the hike we wanted to do either on the other side of the gorge. Old Historical Highway 30 is closed to the east of Multnomah Falls and the whole falls area because of the forest fire from last year. They are still working on the road and they have also closed Ainsworth State Park and all the hikes nearby. We were able to see Multnomah Falls through from the parking lot on the I-84. Looks like we will have to make another trip to the gorge itself and plan to spend a lot more time here in hopefully better weather.

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  2. Well, at least you could sort of see something today. We've had a few days of rain, sometimes pounding rain, and it's getting to be a bit of a drag. I showed your pics to T.C. and her first response was, "What if it breaks?" (that was the "trail" going up) I suspect I'd be on my own for that one.

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    1. We got to see so much more that day, we were happy campers! :-)

      That thought went through my head a moment or two on the hike but it didn't stop me from doing the hike. It would definitely be more of a challenge if you have a strong fear of heights.

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  3. A wonderful hike with awesome views, and a nice spot to stay the night...

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    1. Yep, we are back to being happy campers once again! :-)

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  4. Ottawa is also having a lot of rain. Supposed to see the sun on Sunday but only a high of 4 C.

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    1. I think we will take this weather, at least it is warm here. :-)

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