Updated: Apr 26
As part of the Alzheimer's Association The Longest Day, I decided to tackle the Mazama Triple D Challenge of hiking Mount Defiance, Devil's Rest, and Dog Mountain in one day. June 21st, 2017 was the day and it went a little like this.
Sunrise on Defiance
We started off at Mount Defiance to get the hardest out of the way before the heat of the day. Sun was just peeking at us through the trees as we ascended the trail from Starvation Creek. Up, and up, and up we went. Passing by a few slugs about five inches long that were moving about as fast as we were.
After about two miles you get a little reprieve before the climbing starts again....and a nice reprieve it is even though that mile you still gain 968 feet. After the little rest, a big climb ensues as the gain over the next three miles is 2,526 feet to the summit. Along the way, before the summit, you are treated to the best views Defiance has to offer as the summit has a view of Hood and that's about it.
Views for miles!
We took the trail on the west side of the summit and reached the summit on the south side and was met with this gorgeous view of our mountain.
There is no more snow on the trails and the trails are in incredibly good condition considering the winter the Gorge had. After a quick hang-out session on the summit and a few pictures, we ran down to the TH for a snack, a change of clothes, and a plan of attack for D number two.
Mount Defiance: Done
Miles: 11.6 Roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 5052 ft.
Time: 3 hr: 37 mins: 14 secs
The drive over to Wahkeena Falls TH was a quick one and as expected, it was busy as all get out. Scored a wonderful parking spot right at the TH and took off our flip flops, filled our bottles, and made our way up to Devil's Rest.
This was my first time up to Devil's Rest but have been on some of the trails running the Gorge Waterfalls races put on by Rainshadow Running. The first view you get is of the falls.
Along the way up the trail, there are many turn-offs, but the signs are all easy to follow for a choose your own adventure. The trails are in good shape and there are gorgeous water views for a lot of the first half.
Three and a half miles later and 2,559 feet of climbing, you get to the only decent view before the summit of Devil's Rest.
And then you get to the summit.
The run down this trail is fast and fun! Not super technical, but just enough technicality to keep you on your toes and hopping around like a mountain goat. Number two D done!
Devil's Rest from Wahkeena TH: Done
Elevation Gain: 2,559 feet
Time: 1 hr: 47 mins: 41 seconds
On to the third D to complete the challenge, but first rest and a beer in Stevenson at Walking Man Brewery and a quick ride back to Hood River to drop my friend off so she could get the after event BBQ in order. I drop her off and head back to Dog Mountain to finish the Challenge.
Most of us know Dog Mountain. I think I know it like the back of my hand by now. It is my go-to for elevation gain training. The parking lot was half empty when I arrived and I think I passed half of them going down as I was climbing up. I took the easier of the three ways up more for time than anything else. If you don't know Dog very well, there are three ways up. One is the Augspurger route that starts IN the parking lot and is a steady climb up with a lot of rocky sections but great views of St. Helens to the NW. Another is the most difficult, but it's only because of the grade for the first one and a half miles.
The flowers are in their last gasp of life right now, but there are still some and it is gorgeous either way. Plus, the aroma of the Wild Onion is intoxicating as you break out of the trees and make your last march towards the summit.
The run down this trail is one of the best in the gorge. You just get to remove the emergency brake and let your body take you down the Mountain. Such a fun ride you don't want it to end.
As per usual, the trails here are in great condition and easy to follow no matter what route you take. Either get to the trailhead early in the morning or late in the evening for a parking spot OR drive into Stevenson and take the shuttle and make it easy on your self. Please do not park on the side of the road if the lot is full. Sure it is convenient, but it is also extremely dangerous on a section of road that is notoriously already accident-prone.
Dog Mountain: Done!!
Elevation Gain: 2,858 feet
Time: 1 hr: 30 mins: 39 secs
Triple D: Completed!!!
Total Mileage: 24.9
Total Elevation Gain: 10,469 Feet
Total Time on Feet: 6 hrs: 15 mins: 34 secs Moving Time
Awesome day in the Gorge for an amazing cause.