It’s always nice to get together with new and old friends for a hike in the forest. Our group gathered between 9-10am at Jim & Patty’s Coffee, 4951 NE Fremont St. in Portland, OR. This little cafe was busy, but the goodies were very tasty. I ordered the gingerbread from the bakery, so I only waited a minute or so for it to be microwaved and topped with whipped cream. Yum! I think it would have been best shared with a few people.
While the group waited for all its hiker’s we discussed the hike Cassie chose. It was perfect as far as I was concerned. The brief description given in the guide book 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Portland read, “An easy, pleasant stroll along a mountain stream, with old-growth forest all around and waterfalls…”. Say no more, I was sold on the Siouxon Creek hike, and it seemed unanimous within the whole group.
All seven of us and Scarlett, our dog companion, piled into two cars for the ride to the trailhead. Some of us were new to the group, so our drive became a getting-to-know-you session. We discussed favorite music, told fun stories, and shared the landscape views of our surroundings. Just a few miles from our destination, we passed a controlled fire. The local fire department was burning down an old Middle School. The flames had engulfed most of the building and a pretty large crowd gathered to watch it go down.
After nearly an hour and 15 minutes, we arrived at the trailhead. The last few miles were pretty rough road, but the Subaru wagon we were in seemed to handle it just fine.
Once at the trailhead, follow the trail to the right along the river. After doing a few searches online, I realized there are many different versions of this hike and dozens of trail options. With the varying experience levels, we chose to take the simple riverside trail. Although this hike is noted as a moderate trail, it’s closer to easy if you ask me. The 3.8 miles out and 3.8 miles back remained relatively level with inclines of less than 200 feet throughout.
There are several options for campsites along the way if you want to take on more of this wilderness area, and from what I read about this trail system there are some great river crossings if you are prepared for getting your feet wet.
All along this trail, we spotted what most would consider “old growth”. The question of what constitutes an “old growth” tree came up. I think we all agreed that an old growth forest is one in which trees or remnants of trees were left standing since before man began to use wood for building and fuel.
The more descriptive definition given by Wikipedia says “An old-growth forest (also termed primary forest, virgin forest, primeval forest, late seral forest, or in Britain, ancient woodland) is a forest that has attained great age without significant disturbance, and thereby exhibits unique ecological features and in some cases may be classified as a climax community.”
There are many waterfalls and rapids along the Siouxon Creek, and the water is as clear as can be. Several swimming pools can be found along the river, but be sure you traverse them carefully and don’t drink the water without a filtration system.
There weren’t many people hiking here, but most guides noted it was a popular spot. I guess it’s all about timing. All of us enjoyed the hike, but after nearly 8 miles of hiking most people were hungry and tired.
BIG thanks goes to Cassie for planning this great day and letting us continue to share the day long into the night.