Portland: Blueberries and Hiking to the Infamous Indian Point
I made it to Portland and I’ve been here for almost a week. It’s been great catching up with old friends and exploring new parts of the city. Let’s not forget about the amazing donuts this city has to offer too. I’m partial to Blue Star myself.
As for what I have been up to, well my friend Ben has kept me busy. One morning, we woke up early to go blueberry picking. It’s the season and man are they delicious. Ben’s friend, Chris, joined us and we ended up making breakfast/blueberry muffins afterwards. Yum. It was decided by Ben and Chris that we should go hiking somewhere. Chris knew of a place called Indian Point, but had never been there himself. We all decided to go hike there the following day!
Hiking to the Infamous Indian Point
(All photos were taken by Chris Knight)
We woke up bright and early to start our way to the Columbia River Gorge. It had been at least 6 years since I’d driven through the gorge (I had gone to Multnomah Falls once upon a time). While on the road, I’d forgotten how beautiful the gorge was. I spent those 1.5 hours glued to the window, watching each cliff pass by.
Chris, Ben, and I eventually made it to the trailhead and within minutes (and one cute picture of Ben and I!), we were on trail. This was my first time hiking in old growth Douglas-fir forest in a long while and man have I missed those big fir trees. The San Juans (from last week) had huge fir trees, but hiking beside Douglas-firs brought back good memories of my time living and studying in Eugene, OR.
Pretty near to the start of the trail, we saw signs for the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). We didn’t go, but it made me happy to know that I was nearby. Instead of the PCT, we took the Herman Creek Trail up towards the Herman camp, and then we took a left at Gorton Creek Trail. This trail was a little overgrown and was narrow at times, but that just made the trail even better. I enjoy hiking in a more rugged environment anyway! There was also some elevation changes by this point too. Though the elevation wasn’t too dramatic, I could tell my Minnesotan lungs were not prepared for some of those switchbacks.
As we hiked, the trail weaved along ridge line and took us higher and higher above the tree tops. There were times where downed logs blocked our path, but a simple hop-and-a-skip over did the trick. After a few miles, we finally reached the Ridge Cutoff crossroads. Chris’ hiking guide said to look for an unmarked trail just passed the fork. At the bottom of this trail was the infamous Indian Point. And lo-and-behold, we found it!
It was a helluva steep decline though, which most definitely meant a helluva steep climb back out, but I tried not to think about that as I climbed into the abyss. Halfway down, there was a clearing in the brush and we could see a cliff side and a beautiful view of the Columbia River Gorge. It was only a taste of what was to come.
At the bottom, we reached a narrow clearing. On our right was a steep cliff and to our left were prickly shrubs. From here, we got a great view of the Washington mountain range. We didn’t know what mountain we saw, but it sure was majestic. After that, it was only a handful of steps more till we found our halfway mark: Indian Point.
The views were phenomenal. From one side, you could see shear cliffs with the Columbia River Gorge as the backdrop. The other, Indian Point with the Washington mountains as your backdrop. It was a win-win. Ben and I took our shoes off and snacked, while Chris went out onto Indian Point to take some awesome photos. Though, it isn’t encouraged to hike/climb out onto Indian Point, we did see a nice fellow climb it and it seemed pretty epic.
We spent a long while embracing our surrounding (as well as resting our aching feet). Eventually, we did say goodbye to Indian Point and climbed out of the unmarked trail. The rest of the hike went well. We did a loop, so instead of retracing our steps down the Gorton Creek Trail, we took the Ridge Cutoff Trail, which then connected to the Nick Eaton Trail.
The Nick Eaton Trail was fantastic. It had good understory growth, which meant it had younger Douglas-fir and cedar trees bordering its trail. This resulted in some pretty flowers and more bird sightings. This trail was pretty steep though and I couldn’t decide if it was better or worse to climb down the steeper trail (the world may never know).
Though I was reaching my Molly Hulk stage (which means I was a little h-angry, since I didn’t pack enough food), the rest of the hike went swimmingly. The trail lowered us to the Herman Creek Trail, where we then returned back to the parking lot.
For anyone looking for a trail that’s off the beaten track, I’d recommend Indian Point. The views were amazing and the narrow trails were just dangerous enough to be thrilling.
Thanks for reading. For my next adventure, I’ll be traveling to the Oregon Coast for a friend’s birthday extravaganza. I’m looking very much forward to it.