Adventures of the Pacific Northwest
By Gene Hancock
As the first article of this new hiking column, let me introduce myself. I live in Knappa and have for over 45 years now. Besides college for a few years, I’ve never left and probably never will because I love the slow pace of country life. It allows me the spare time to pursue my passions of mountaineering, backpacking and other outdoor activities.
Currently, I work as a School Bus Driver for the Knappa School District. This gives me my summers off to explore and spend time outside, something I love to do.
I have hiked just about every conceivable trail in Clatsop County and
many of the more popular ones in Oregon. I have done all the trails in the Columbia Gorge, except for a few still on my bucket list.
Having been introduced to mountaineering ten years ago, I have climbed Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Shasta, Mt. Sacajawea, Diamond Peak and even Mt. Barometer in Alaska. Mountaineering is the premier hiking activity in its finest form, but climbing takes perseverance and stamina. Also required is a love of being in trying conditions that put you close to the edge and out of your comfort zone.
Don’t get me wrong though. Hiking is a very enjoyable sport and
can be done by just about anyone looking to enjoy nature.
Last week, I and a group of intrepid hikers made our way to Angora Peak. It is an interesting mountain just south of Tillamook County on HWY 101, heading south on the coast. Parking at a logging road gate, the trail can only be accessed on weekends as it is on private land owned by a timber company.
At 1.5 miles long, you start up a road built by the loggers of yesteryear from a steep basalt cliff. Having weathered many storms, giant spruce and firs are hidden throughout the nooks and valleys along the way. These trees are huge due to their good positions away from any rough winds, allowing them to grow unimpaired.
The logging road eventually turns into a trail as the road comes to a landing
and continues up and over the backside of the top ridge. Then the trail comes
back over and finds an old skidder road that runs along a steep area just under the Angora Pinnacles.
Next, you walk around the backside of the mountain to an area where you must leave the trail to bushwhack up a gulley to the summit. It’s marked with orange ribbon to keep you on the right path. There, you will be awarded with a 360° view of the coastal range. For a quick tip, Google search Angora Peak and it will show a GPS maps of the trail if you want to be more certain about your way.
All in all, it is a great 4-mile hike that rivals even Saddle Mt. A defining cool factor is a Hermit’s Hut made of rock and mortar that can be found not far after you reach the end of the first road and the start of the trail.
Keep reading every week as I touch on local hiking areas, staying fit and
what gear to bring. Remember to stay safe and be ready for anything our here in in the northwest.