The final gear run through before multi-day trips was a 1 night stay at Smith Rock. Late April had surprise … hot sunny afternoon on day 1, cold night, and on day 2, snow and sleet morning, then clouds and wind breaking into afternoon sunshine.
The Plan: Arrive Tuesday afternoon and hike by 2pm down river and around the corner and back. Camp at Bivouac area (Bivy), and head to Grey Butte morning of day 2 and then back and heading home by 2pm. (Map Plan)
Day 1: Driving to TH, my Bend nephew called and agreed to meet me at Bivy parking lot and would join me for part of afternoon – what a treat! Arriving at Bivy and checking w/ camp host, I learned that setting up my tent is only way to claim my spot. A quick 10 minute tent set up with howling winds (piled rocks on guy-lines and they held!).
When I set up the tent, there were only a couple of tents visible around mine; when I left in the morning, they were like mushrooms … and the background for camping was spectacular.
Heading down into the gorge and downriver, the rock is about all you can see … look for the climbers (all of those campers) to get a size reference perspective.
Around this time, my nephew and his 4-legged sidekick headed back and I circled on over the Mesa Verde Trail to the River Trail and then up-river to the Burma Road junction and then back … along the way, bird nests and babies.
If you think climbing or even hiking is not a health challenge, there were several of these stations positioned around the rock.
Walking along the river looking up caught rocks and light changing around every bend
As the sun dipped below the ridge it all changed.
Back to Bivy for a good night’s sleep; slept in down jacket as temperature dipped to <35.
Day 2: Brokedown the tent and packed up with headlamp starting the trail at 06:00 from the Day Use area (about the only car). Immediately went down to the river and up-river to the Burma Road / Grey Butte trail.
Getting up on the hills gave a great view back toward Smith Rock.
Rocks pop out around the hills, it started snowing, and walking over / around irrigation water ditches is dangerous. There are also several gates to go thru / around as well.
The walk to Grey Butte is long and it reminds me of Mary’s Peak – a long gravel twin track to the top with radio towers. At the top of ridge, the snow and clouds took over, but not completely.
Heading back from Grey Butte, the views were improved as the sun broke thru
High desert flowers blooming are special … timed perfectly even with the snow.