2 days rambling around Smith Rock

For the last few years, Smith Rock has been my first overnight camp / hike of the season (2023, 2022). This year was amazing from the trip over the pass to the last step taken on the trails.

Heading out to Central OR waited until after 8:00am to hit the pass after snow melted for the day. There was 3-6 inches of fresh snow at the pass. This photo was taken a mile or so over the pass on the east side.

After getting tent set up in Bivouac area, Misery Ridge trail was day 1 destination. The down-river section of Misery Ridge (unless I took a detour) is not that well maintained and is not for the timid or those who don’t like heights – there are several exposed sections without good footing. Rock climbers were like ants all over the rocks, but looking back west over the pass showed the wet, cold weather hanging on.

The weather continued to improve in the afternoon, and the views opened up more.

Several areas were closed for eagle nesting – the nests, however, didn’t look recently used from a distance. I saw several bald eagles, a falcon of some sort, and several hawks. Vultures were also plentiful.

The second day took me on Summit Trail around the rock and then up to Burma Road and Grey Butte trail junction. I took Grey Butte to the saddler where a camper’s dog kept me from continuing up the butte. The weather was much clearer, and the animals were out in force. Small geese were everywhere, and a family of river otters were having a blast swimming upstream against the current.

The views west over the Cascades were remarkable and so clear.

It’s not every day that one can see all the Central Cascade mountains … and name them. A bit of frost highlighted the colors.

Flowers were also just popping everywhere one looked.

Over the course of 1.5 days, I hiked down and back up the gorge 3x and covered at least 30 miles … the earlier one goes in the morning, the fewer humans. The second day I met a couple who had left their car at 4:10am to get solitude and quiet.

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