New Hiking Trails, Campgrounds at Mount Saint Helens?

The Vancouver Columbian has an interesting story about Mount Saint Helens. Apparently the Forest Service is looking into …

the possibility of adding one or two campgrounds and two trails at Mount St. Helens, including a new climbing route on the north side of the volcano.

Read the rest here. The trail wouldn’t go to the summit, but would reach 6,500 feet on the rim and give a view into the crater. That sounds cool!

I’ve been thinking more and more about hiking up at Saint Helens. The trails on the south side are well known to me and in my book — Lava Canyon and Ape Canyon being the coolest ones — but the north side is less known to me, since it’s beyond the range of my book.

But when I see pictures like this, I ask myself, “Self, why aren’t we hiking at Mount Saint Helens?”

So, who’s got suggestions for up there? Where should I take myself hiking? Anybody want to go?

Both photos via the Washington Trails Association.

The “Lost Trail” Crowd

A while back, I wrote a piece for The Oregonian about people who like to hike lost trails around Oregon — or who just wander off-trail looking for adventure or old stuff that was left out there.

You can read that piece here.

Well, since it ran, I’ve gotten a couple of requests along the lines of “How do I find these people and keep up with what they’re doing?”

The best way to get in touch with that whole crowd is to register (for free) at and then look for them in the forums, especially the “Off-trail trip reports and lost trails” forum. You’re looking for Don Nelsen, Raven, and Splintercat. Those are the main guys in the story.

But they’re all entertaining, and their adventures are really something.

Happy hiking!

Dog Mountain Flower Report

Every year about this time, one of the most popular hikes around is to the top of Dog Mountain. That’s because the whole top of the mountain is a big meadow covered in wildflowers, the most conspicuous being balsamroot:

Now, imagine about a million of those blooming all at one, 3,000 feet above the Columbia River. That’s Dog Mountain at peak wildflower bloom.

In fact, you don’t have to imagine it at all. Here’s a shot from a few years back:

And that wasn’t even at peak bloom!

Well, it’s getting time for Dog Mountain in 2012. According to this report on (thanks, TrailMom!), the summit meadows are about two weeks away, but the action is going strong on the way up.

So get your legs ready; it’s getting to be time for the wildflower show on Dog Mountain.