We left Ft. Lauderdale, FL, flew through the night and landed in Portland, Oregon at 2am West Coast time, 5am OUR time. We were exhausted, and cold to say the least. We hopped off the plane and exited the airport into the freezing weather (by Floridian standards). We found our Turo rental car in the airport parking lot, jumped in and drove straight to VooDoo Donuts. There was no better way to start 10 days of hiking, camping, and exploring the west coast for the first time.
We got our fix at Voodoo Donuts in Portland around 3am (they only take cash- FYI) and drove straight to Mt. Hood National Forest to hike Ramona Falls, a trail that is also apart of the PCT. We drove into the town of Welches, which lies on the border of Mt Hood National Forest, and grabbed a coffee from Coffee Brewsters- the cutest and yummiest little shop- and got our groceries at the shopping mart next door while waiting for the sun to come up! We then drove the dark, narrow, windy roads up to the Ramona Falls trail head. When the sun came up, we set out on the 7 mile hike.
This hike exceeded our expectations, partly because I don’t think we realized how much snow would be covering the trail in mid-October. It was a winter wonderland which was so beautiful, even for me and my warm weather loving, native south-floridan self. It was truly gorgeous and we loved every second.
One of the most important things to know about this trail is that you do have a section early on where you have to cross a river, and there is no bridge. You have to find the best place to cross, and thanks to some awesome friends made on the trail, we made it over with no slips or falls into the icy water! When the snow melts, the water level is usually too high to cross safely, so please keep that in mind if you are planning a trip to make this hike. The time of year is so important when planning hiking trips in general, so always do your research- or call park services ahead of time to get the correct information. We hiked this trail in October and I wouldn’t have changed a thing about it!
There are some areas where the trail isn’t as clearly marked, especially since everyone picks a different part of the river to cross, so you’ll have to double check and make sure you’ve picked back up on the trail once you get to the other side. The All-Trails app is especially helpful for this!
After we finished this hike, we stopped back in at the town of welches and ate lunch at a little diner called Zigzag Mountain Cafe. After filling up some home-cooked meals, we drove straight to Madras, Oregon. This little town might sound familiar, and it’s most likely because they were in the path of totality for the 2017 Solar Eclipse- and let me tell you, they will not let anyone forget it! The whole town is covered in posters and signs about the eclipse, and the lady at the front desk of our itty bitty motel room that night was wearing a T-shirt from the event.
We decided to stay in the little Juniper Motel that night, as we were passing through Madras to get an early start the next morning to make it to the rock climbing Mecca, Smith Rock State Park in Terrebonne, Or.