Hiking News and Conditions for January 4-5, 2014

Well, another weekend is upon us, and among the Portland hiking community, the question remains: Where is the snow? Just as I reported last week, there basically ain’t any.

One of these days it'll look like this!

One of these days it’ll look like this!

Maybe, though, I should say that among skiers the question is “Where is the snow”? Among hikers, it’s more like, “Who cares? Let’s go hiking!”

First up: People, leash your dogs on the trail!

You want to bring him home with you, right?

You want to bring him home with you, right?

I now it feels “right” or whatever to turn them loose, but (A) it can really annoy other people, (B) they can get lost, and (C) they could fall off a cliff. In both of these cases, the story has a happy ending, but that doesn’t change the facts. Leash your dogs on the trail.

Cool Outdoorsy Website

Go get some nature in the city!

Go get some nature in the city!

I guess this isn’t news, but it was to me. There’s a cool blog called Exploring Portland’s Natural Areas, which is pretty much what it sounds like. I found it because they did a post of upcoming nature events in Portland. Check ‘em out.

Portland Hiking Conditions for January 4-5, 2014

About what Mt. Hamilton would look like right now (picture taken in April).

About what Mt. Hamilton would look like right now (picture taken in April).

So, for this week, let’s start with the weather. The Portland forecast is sunny and in the 50s – though I’ll believe the “sunny” part when I see it. The Government Camp forecast calls for, you guessed it, sunshine and above-freezing temperatures during the day. Next chance of snow looks like Monday night – then it goes back above freezing for the rest of the week with no real precipitation expected.

Over at PortlandHikers.org, I’ve been reading trip reports, since nobody’s even bothered to post in the Snow Level Thread since December 27. Anyway, it shows very little snow below about 5,000 feet!

Here’s a summary of some area hikes that have been reported as virtually or completely snow-free lately:

Where to Go Hiking Near Portland This Weekend

Mazamas ski trip to Trillium Lake - in a normal winter.

Mazamas ski trip to Trillium Lake – in a normal winter.

Well, it’s probably too late to get one of these for this weekend, but there are “rustic” cabins for rent at state parks in both Washington and Oregon. I say “rustic” because some of them are nicer than some apartments I’ve lived in.

I’m probably headed for something chill in the Gorge this weekend. I’m spending time with my sweetie, so it’s more about state of mind than miles or elevation.

Otherwise, check out some of the options from various hiking clubs around town:

  • The Mazamas are off to Twin Lakes (supposedly a snowshoe), Nesmith Ridge, and Warren Lake on Mount Defiance; that’s all on Saturday. On Sunday they go to the Willamette loop in town, Mount Tabor, and the Horsetail-Multnomah Falls Loop.
  • The Mazamas also have great, free Wednesday evening programs this time of year. This week it’s about trekking in the Mustang Region of Nepal.
  • The Adventurous Young Mazamas (roughly under 40 but nobody checks ID) are going to Devils Rest next weekend, but their big thing is the annual Winter Weekend January 24-26 at the Mazamas Lodge near Government Camp.
  • The Trails Club is doing the whole Wildwood Trail (30 miles!) on Saturday.
  • The Sierra Club is going to Greenleaf Falls on Sunday.
  • The Oregon Nordic Club is actually up in Washington this week but is going to Old Man Pass or Teacup Lake next weekend.
  • Friends of the Gorge isn’t so much about hiking this time of year as looking at eagles, apparently.
  • The Mount St. Helens Institute has a snowshoe to June Lake on January 18.
  • Trailkeepers of Oregon is working on a trail in Beaverton on January 18.
  • Oregon Wild is also going to try a Twin Lakes snowshoe on January 11, plus some other stuff around Oregon.
  • And of course there are about a dozen local hiking-related groups on Meetup.com. Search for them here and join one.

Okay, that’s it for now! Maybe I’ll see you on the trails this weekend. If you go someplace fun, let us know how it went. One commenter will win a $10 REI gift card.

Follow me on Twitter (@60HikesPortland) or Google+, or like the “60 Hikes” page on Facebook.

I don’t just hike around Portland, though: I also lead trips to Europe, and I’m the Portland Breakfast Guy. Check out BreakfastinBridgetown.com.

And I put out an e-newsletter every couple of weeks.

Paul Gerald

I am the author of several books on hiking, camping, eating breakfast and chilling out. I am also a freelance travel writer, publisher, hiker, and inveterate traveler.

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