For Philip's 30th birthday I decided to plan a special trip. I had been following an Instagrammer, @OregonExplored for some time and their posts along with our love of the outdoors became the inspiration for this trip. I saw one picture of the Oneonta Gorge and thought to myself, "I want to go to there."
After weeks of research, I realized that the best way to explore this region was on foot, which meant an expensive trip to REI to gear up was in order. The process of planning out all of our supplies and gear and imagining ourselves alone out in the wilderness was a lot of fun.
I had a conference scheduled in Dana Point, CA towards the end of the month so we decided to begin our journey in Portland for a few days, head into the Gorge for our big hike, and then head down the Pacific Coast Highway to finish off in southern California. We chose not to stay in fancy hotels, but in the comfort of our little HubbaBubba wherever the road took us.
Where we stayed - The first few nights we stayed in an airbnb rental in the Overlook neighborhood of Portland. The neighborhood was so lush with gardens in full bloom everywhere you looked. You could sense the pride people took in the care of their homes and surroundings. After spending 3 days exploring Portland and all of it's amazing quirks we headed East.We camped out during our 3 day hike throughout the Columbia River Gorge region. Our first night we hiked the Eagle-Creek trail to the 7 1/2 mile camp. The second night we hiked partially back and up the Eagle-Benson trail which elevates 3000ft over 3 miles and stayed at Camp Smokey. This was the toughest part of the whole trail. Our 3rd day we strolled slowly across the Benson plateau and down the Ruckel Creek trail #405 taking in all od the views to the North and East. From here we walked the road back to our car undefeated to complete the roughly 16 mile Eagle-Benson loop.
After our big hike we were feeling pretty triumphant, but in need of cool showers. We departed from the Gorge and headed for a little town called Rhododedron to a cabin overlooking the Sandy River. We relaxed and refueled for the next 2 days before we began our big drive.
Meals - Beans, eggs, smoked sausage, dried fruits, nuts and Backpacker's Pantry delights. Our boxed wine and chocolate was a special treat to be enjoyed at the end of each day. This was gourmet cooking at it's finest.
Activities - hiking, jumping in the river, cooking, building fires, relaxing, enjoying the scenery, making nature friends and photo-documenting the foliage, wild flowers and mountain views.
Local Tips & Attractions - (Portland) There are tons of great restaurants and brew pubs in the Portland area. We enjoyed Tasty & Alder, Veritable Quandry, and Fat Head's Brewery to name a few. (Columbia River) Just be outside and 100% immersed in nature! Drive along the Scenic Byway. Hike/swim up the Oneonta Gorge and take a cool dip beneath the falls. Be silent and listen to the sounds of nature. Look up at the stars hanging over head.
Philip's Pack - Gregory Palisade 80 fully loaded with H2O.
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