#1 in the Northwest Book; August 8th, 2009; Moderate – 7 miles round trip, no elevation gain
A beautiful Sunday began with a scenic drive to Sauvie Island. In attendance were Becky, Meg, Ben, & Lucy in the Kelty pack.
This trail starts at the end of a long, gravel country road (past the entrances to the clothing optional beach). The parking lot is a wide cul-de-sac, with a pedestrian gate that opens directly to a broad sandy beach. After traveling several miles along the eastern shore of the island, the trail snakes inland, through woods and meadows. Unfortunately, a warm and sunny day in August is also a mosquito’s idea of a great day. We intrepid explorers were nonetheless undeterred, despite having forgotten our insect repellent, and pushed onward enjoying the ripe blackberries along the path.
The trail emerges on the beach by the Warrior Rock Lighthouse, where we stopped for a picnic lunch (and for Lucy to insert sand in our shirts). Continuing up the beach, past old shipwrecks and amazingly beautiful rotten piers, we came to a place around the northern point of the island with a view across the water of historic St Helens.
This is where the adventure portion of the hike began. The book indicates that there is an inland route from this place back to the trail, which would make the hike a lasso shape. After several attempts at penetrating the chin-high sawgrass and blackberries, we chose the better part of valor, retracing our bugbitten steps back to the car and home, to apply lotions to itchy exposed skin.
Notes: a Sauvie Island Wildlife Area parking permit is needed, you can pick yours up at the Cracker Barrel grocery store at the entrance to the island. This trail is open year round, but does close for flooding. Be prepared for mosquitos and blackberry bushes and stinging nettles. There were camera-phone pictures taken on this hike, however they were lost when we upgraded phones this past fall.