Standing Room Only . . . Bill Sullivan revisits Northwest Oregon

May 26, 2000

In anticipation of a lively and informative talk, Obsidians and guests filled the Lodge to standing room only to hear William L. Sullivan review the status of hiking in Northwest Oregon. Bill feels that, in general, trails should be re-hiked about every seven years.

And, indeed, enough changes have occurred to initiate a second edition of his book, “100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon”. The area covered includes southwestern Washington as well, and extends from Mt. St. Helens in Washington to Jefferson Park Ridge in Oregon. Not surprisingly, changes have been wrought both by Mother Nature and by man. Some by the latter good, and some (guess by what activity) not good.

Bill treated us to a sampler of hikes primarily along the Columbia Gorge and around Mt. St. Helens. As one might expect, this makes for some unique hiking experiences (but you’ll only need deep pockets, not hiking boots, to visit what has now displaced Multnomah Falls as the No. 1 attraction along the Columbia Gorge — Spirit Mountain Casino!).

Along the Columbia Gorge, besides enjoying many grand vistas, one can: try “hiking” waist deep in narrow Oneonta Creek to view a beautiful triple falls; experience the engineering marvel of the Eagle Creek Trail, and perhaps see some of Bill’s (and my) favorite birds — the water ouzel; and hike or bike on the restored old Scenic Highway (watch out for the spirit of an old Model T that might come chugging around a curve!).

Around Mt. St. Helens one can: hike through two-mile-long Ape Cave (the longest lava tube in the western hemisphere); hike down to the edge of Spirit Lake (and ponder of cantankerous old Harry Truman and his 15 cats lying some 200 feet under foot); and hike along Johnston Ridge for the best views of the volcano’s crater.

In an appendix the book lists 31 paths that are suitable for those with limited physical abilities and 107 more hikes for adventurous souls willing to ferret out the details for themselves.

Bep Fontana


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