It was our birthday week this week. It’s hard to say it was “my” birthday because I’ve always shared it with Paul since day 1. So I tend to refer to it mostly as “our” birthday.
Keeping with tradition Mia, Codi and I went hiking (and I know Paul went hiking back in NH too). I don’t remember how far back this tradition started but it has to be at least the past 13+ years.
I had wanted to return to the Lewis River area for quite some time. It was one of the first hikes we did after moving to Oregon in 2013. I had ridden a portion of it during the St. Helens Epic but we had not been there together and we had not brought Codi up here. It was time to fix all that.
we ended up parking closer to middle falls because the campground/parking closer to lower falls was closed for some work being done at the campground. Instead of doing an out & back hike it was more of a “T-Shaped” route.
I had forgotten how BIG some of the trees along the trail were. I think it’s a cedar in the picture above but not 100% sure of that. All I know is it was big.
We hiked to upper falls first. Codi got to chase a stick and go swimming and then the requisite selfie was taken.
Then we headed down to middle falls. We dropped down a series of steep switchbacks to get down to the river and falls. At this point we also noticed that the trail to head back towards the campground and lower falls was closed. We didn’t think much of it at the time as we returned up the switchbacks, passed the parking lot again and towards lower falls.
We quickly realized why we didn’t quite remember this part from the 2013 hike.
We remembered hiking along the river pretty much the whole time in 2013. Some of the time high above and other times just a few feet away. It looks like part of the trail washed out between then and now and the reroute brings you up towards middle falls parking. That is why it didn’t feel familiar.
Lastly we headed down to lower falls and the campground. In our opinion it is kind of nice to save lower falls for last. We think it is the most stunning therefore a nice way to end the hike. Your opinion may vary and none of them are exactly ugly either.
I can’t really ask for a better way to spend my birthday. Hiking with Mia and Codi and just being outside. The Gifford Pinchot area is quite spectacular and this particular areas is one of my favorite parts. You’re sandwiched between St. Helens and the Indian Heaven Wildernerss. There is so much hiking, camping and biking to do in this area. Go check it out!
Thanks for reading,