As the sun is finally starting to make an appearance this year, I feel a sense of newness surrounding me. The flowers are in bloom, the birds are chirping, and after one of the worst winters on record, Oregonians are finally starting to come out of hibernation.
I’m challenging myself to explore more of my own backyard this summer, since normally my mind is focused on global endeavors. That’s why I want to start a new series called Hike + A Brew, where I discover a new trail throughout the Pacific Northwest (hopefully every weekend!) and then reward myself afterwards with a drink at a fun local brewery.
This weekend, my friends and I got up early and headed out to Catherine Creek, just east of Hood River on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge.
We were promised an easy hike with camas lilies, lupine, and prairie stars in full bloom, and that’s exactly what we found! This hike is easily my new favorite.
Although it’s a bit farther than I’d normally drive just for a quick day hike, I’d highly recommend this one based on the meadows bursting with wildflowers, stunning overlooks of the Columbia River, and even a babbling creek.
There were, of course, plenty of spots to take a quick photo break too!
We hiked a total of 3.8 miles, turning around at the top of the rocky lookout, just before the power lines.
As an asthmatic, I don’t do very well with strenuous hikes that are completely uphill. However, this one was mostly flat and meandering, with a steady and slow climb. Lots of kids and dogs were out to accompany us!
Afterwards, we ended up at Full Sail Brewing in the heart of Hood River. They have a good selection of beers that are only available on tap at their pub, and a really funky tasting flight.
Full Sail also has Oregon’s original Amber Ale, which is my favorite kind of beer, so of course I had to get that one.
The brewery also has a great menu for vegetarians like myself. I was able to order their burger special with a tempeh patty, that literally came with a thick slice of gouda cheese. As a cheese addict, I was in heaavveeenn!
Today literally felt like the perfect day. With driving time (it took about an hour to get to the trailhead from downtown Portland), we ended up being gone for about 7 hours.
It was the perfect way to spend a sunny Saturday in the Columbia River Gorge!
From I-84E, take exit 64 into east Hood River and cross the Hood River Toll Bridge ($1 for passenger cars). Turn right onto Washington Highway 14, and drive for 5.8 miles east. Turn left onto Old Highway No. 8 at Rowland Lake (a great fishing spot!) and you’ll most likely see a bunch of cars and a well-marked trailhead 1.3 miles ahead.