Tag Archives: biking

Twin Tunnels Hike

On the Twin Tunnels Trail on the Gorge.

On the Twin Tunnels Trail on the Gorge.

On Sunday, we went hiking for about nine miles on the Twin Tunnels Trail. It was a good hike with many beautiful things to look at as you walked. It was a pretty easy walk because there wasn’t much elevation gain (although if I was on a bike I’d’ve died, it was slow and steady gain).

High above Hwy 84.

High above Hwy 84. Felt like flying, a bit.

Formerly, the trail was the historic Columbia River Highway. The new highway is below this (Hwy 84). This section had been shut down to cars and people for years. The tunnels had been filled, and it was unused. Just recently, the tunnels were cleared and it has been restored to be a place for biking and hiking.

Beginning of Twin Tunnels Trail.

Beginning of Twin Tunnels Trail.

Tunnel on the Twin Tunnels Trail.

Tunnel on the Twin Tunnels Trail.

Brian at an adit.

Brian at an adit.

According to Portland Hikers, these windows in the tunnel are called adits. They also close and lock the tunnels at night to protect them from graffiti. Well, and also to protect the graffiti from graffiti:

1920s graffiti.

1920s graffiti.

In the 1920s, some teenagers got trapped in the tunnel during a freak snowstorm for eight days. One of the ways they passed the time is carving their names into the side of the tunnel (and after a few days, it had to be so that they’d be identified too). Very cool to see. There’s more of it, but it was really hard to read after nearly a hundred years so I didn’t try to take a picture of it. It was pretty hard to notice at first, even for me and I was looking for it! I told several bikers who pulled over to enjoy the coolness of the tunnel to go back and look at it.

Having driven on both the new and old highway, it felt odd for a bit to walk on it without fear of being run over by a car, but the views were incredible, and I want to do it again (maybe in the fall when it’s slightly cooler).

Oh and for wildlife, we saw a doe along the trail and the doe and I watched each other for five minutes or so (I gave in and wanted to hike on).

On the drive to the trail, right along the Columbia River, a bald eagle swooped over Brian’s car holding a squirming fish in its talons. It was so surreal to see that in person – I think we both started laughing just because it was so exactly what you’d see in a movie or a commercial, not in real life.

As you can probably tell, I am finally happy. It is so good to be home, and you can tell – I am smiling, my skin color is better, I’m getting back into shape. How could you not be happy when you live in a place as amazing as Oregon?

In which Dean and Michele come to Portland; we see more of the coast

View from Ecola Park.

View from Ecola Park.

Michele and Dean came for a visit. They were here for a few days and then drove to Coeur d’Alene to watch the Ironman.

Michele and Dean on Hwy 101, north of Cannon Beach.

Michele and Dean on Hwy 101, north of Cannon Beach.

While they were here, we headed to the northern part of the coast to drop them off for a bike ride. We got a late start, so they ended up only riding for a few hours, but they said it was a completely beautiful ride. They went over the passes on Hwy 101! They took the ride that I always say “wow, these are brave and crazy people to climb this mountain on a bike.”

Dean said the only really scary part was going through the tunnel, despite the fact that you can hit a button as you enter it that causes a light to flash and indicate “Bikes in the tunnel” “Bikes in the tunnel!” This is supposed to tell car drivers to go 30 mph, but I’ll be honest and say that this is the first time I noticed that I was supposed to go 30 when the light flashes, so someone might want to make that a little clearer. I wonder if I will ever be a person on a bike who sees a hill and says “Oh neat!” instead of “oh shit!”?

We picked them up just south of Tillamook and drove into Lincoln City just before sunset. We ended up eating at Fathoms and watching the sunset.

Lookign toward Cape Foulweather from our room at Inn at Otter Crest.

Lookign toward Cape Foulweather from our room at Inn at Otter Crest.

We stayed at Inn at Otter Crest again, which was alright. The restaurant is closed now, and it sounds like the hotel is undergoing a change of management. We stayed on the headland side, right up front. Very beautiful, and we had a few colonies of harbor seals in front of us, which were great to watch and listen to the next morning. We also watched the fog roll in and out as we waited for low tide.

Michele tidepooling.

Michele tidepooling.

Wandered down to the Devil’s Punchbowl tidepools, where we saw more hermit crabs than I’ve ever seen in a tidepool, and some spider crabs, and a ton of anemone. No urchins this time, although we did find bits of their tests. Given that urchins are often signs of an unhealthy tidal pool, that was great.

Michele, Brian and Dean inside the Devil's Punchbowl.

Michele, Brian and Dean inside the Devil's Punchbowl.

We wandered into the punchbowl during low tide (I’m so overly cautious about this due a number of people getting trapped there) and then up to Mo’s for some clam chowder, the reward of tidepoolers in Oregon. We saw some whales too – but I didn’t get a good enough look to identify. I’ll say greys, but I think they were smaller than that.

Finished up the day by going to the Oregon Aquarium and watching all the fish. They’ve raised the rates to $15/person, ouch! Maybe buying a membership again makes sense. We’ll see. I told Brian that maybe some marine biology or oceanography classes would be a nice birthday or Christmas present for me. I also think I should go volunteer at the Aquarium, it’d make me pretty happy. We’ll see, I’d have to pay for a hotel or camp, so that will have to wait until I have a job, and if I have a job, I’ll not have too much time to do it.

Then, off to Coeur d’Alene to watch the Ironman – I’ll post some pictures of that later. It was strange to be there without saying hello to Wilma, but fun to wander downtown.