Beacon Rock

Striking Out… to Almost Strike Out

It’s an early spring day in the Pacific Northwest, and we have a break in the weather. When you’re cooped-up for a season, getting out in the sunshine to re-up on Vitamin D is necessary!

We pack the picnic basket and head to Spirit Falls on the Washington side of the Columbia Gorge. Andy has been wanting to share this special place with me for quite a while. But as we arrive we see that the trail is closed for restoration due to recent stormy weather.

We’re a bit disappointed, but the wilderness is huge, so we’re not giving up! We head about 30 miles away to Falls Creek Falls, a trail we’ve hiked before. But that time, Andy neglected to put a chip in his camera, so we’re hoping to get some stellar shots of the amazing double waterfall today.

However, a ranger informs us the trail is under five feet of snow… and will require snow shoes! Me in snow shoes? Ha ha ha! Until they come with a heel, that’s a no.

The View Inspires a New Goal

We unpack our lunch overlooking a channel of the mighty Columbia River just downstream from Bonneville Dam.

Feeling defeated (and hungry), we find a spot along the Columbia River at the Fort Cascade Park Trailhead just off Washington Highway 14. We munch our picnic lunch with a view of the thundering Bonneville Dam. We will fill our tummies, have a sip of wine, and rethink our hiking options.

Go full-screen to get a sense of what it was like!
Beacon Rock: bigger in person!

Turns out, we have a view of Beacon Rock from our lunch spot too. Andy mentions that he has always wanted to hike up to top. I had no idea you could do that! If it’s open, we have to do it!

Not only is it open, but we still have a few days left on a Forest Adventure Pass we bought the year before. Yay! Adventure… and free parking!

Beacon Rock State Park is just east of Skamania, Washington. This 850-foot monolith that towers over the Columbia River among the Cascade Mountains was christened by Lewis and Clark.

We love history!

From far away, you wouldn’t know there’s a switchback trail leading to the top. And until 1918, there wasn’t! That one-mile trail takes you 848 feet to the top for a panoramic view of the Columbia Gorge.

Beacon Rock is considered a moderate hike, but after six months of bad weather and bad food decisions, we’re a bit out of breath, huffing and puffing some, as every step is up-up-up. But no worries. We’re cool, we’ve got this!

We make it to the top and are drinking-in the view, and I think we are looking pretty good! Andy offers to take a photo for a young couple and their baby.

Well worth the climb for the view!

As we chat with them they comment. “Good for your two! Still getting out there.”

Wait what? Did they just call us… old?

I need a burger.