Hike 13 – Smith Rock State Park

Posted by on Oct 17, 2012 in Blog, The Hikes | 0 comments

Hike 13 – Smith Rock State Park

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the hardest part of a day hike is finding the motivation to get to the trailhead. For this hike, it took me a good part of the day to find enough motivation to drive north to Smith Rock State Park near Terrebonne, Oregon. Once I was there, I raced the sun to hike as much of the 10+ miles of trails the park offers. I parked at the “turn around parking area” at 4:30pm and headed down to the Crooked River via the Homestead Trail. I’ve found that access to the river from this trailhead is a lot less crowded than by taking “The Chute” down to the footbridge. The footbridge is the only way of crossing the Crooked River in Smith Rock without fording it, but I find that if you have the time, the meander on the Homestead Trail is worth the time. After crossing the footbridge, I continued along the River Trail until I had to return. (The park closes at sunset.)

I found myself struggling to get the miles in on this hike due to all of the distractions! With the abundance of rocks covered in bright lichen (my second biggest hobby as of late), views worthy of appreciation and photographs, I had a hard time just putting my nose down and getting the mileage. But it occurred to me that this tug and pull between enjoying the nature and getting in the miles is exactly why I created this project. Here I was trying to brush away these “distractions” and concentrate on hiking and pushing for distance. It’s raising my heart rate. If I didn’t have this project and the rules I created, chances are good that I would have ended this hike after just a mile or two of hiking and would have concentrated on photography.

I pushed myself and got in four miles before the park officially closed at sunset. I’m especially proud of the last 1-1.5 miles, where I didn’t stop, even up the elevation gain in the last section. I feel in good shape, although I do need to get out more often.

Resources:

  1. Oregon State Parks website
  2. Park map PDF (Right click link and download)
  3. Wikipedia: Smith Rock State Park

Trip Stats:

  • Date of hike: October 17, 2012
  • Location: Smith Rock State Park – Terrebonne, Oregon
  • Length: 4.0 miles

This map was made with the data my GPS captured on the hike.
For a more detailed trip report map, check this out.

Photos:

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The Homestead Trail starts off with great views of the sheer cliffs the park is famous for. Did you know that Smith Rock is generally considered as the birthplace of sport climbing?


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If this is the first blog entry you’ve read from my site, then be prepared to see a lot of photos of lichen! I am fascinated by the texture and colors of these long-lived organisms.


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A macro shot of a colony of lichen. I could spend an hour with a loupe studying the world on one rock.


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More lichen. Must… not… stop.


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The last of the day’s light plays on the surface of the Crooked River.


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It has a calming effect. Tranquility.


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Rock glows in the setting sun as a group of climbers head home.


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The sunset is not possible to see from the River Trail, but the effect of the sunset is visible on the rocks.


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More lichen! A world of wonders on one rock.


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“To see the world in a grain of sand, and to see heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hands, and eternity in an hour.” ~William Blake


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I was a bit surprised to see so much color in the canyon this late in the year.


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Stone and vegetation mingle with water.


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Bright yellow grass next to a fallen juniper.


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As the day’s light faded, a bald eagle flew overhead. Golden and bald eagles nest in Smith Rock. I haven’t seen a bald eagle in years, so this encounter was really exciting. The highlight of the hike!


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I love the green lichen on this red volcanic rock.


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Another October scene in Smith Rock. I look forward to returning in another season to see how the flora has changed.