Today we took our last training hike before leaving for the PCT to Milo McIver State Park in Estacada (Oregon) at Marnie’s suggestion. The park is named after Milo K. McIver, who was a member and then chairman of the Oregon Highway Commission in the 1950s and 1960s. He was instrumental in investing nearly $1 billion on about 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of new highway. During his term as chairman, Oregon led all other states in opening interstate freeways. The park contains a colony of Townsend’s big-eared bats, a sensitive species in Oregon, and the largest yew tree in Oregon (second largest in the nation!) is located in the park. There are a couple of nice campgrounds, some group camp areas, some day use pavilions, and equestrian trails. This was the first time any of us had been to the park.
We had a nice hike on the Riverbend and Maple Ridge trails, starting in the Riverbend side of the park. There are a few nice restrooms with flushing toilets in the park, which is always a bonus when hiking!
The Clackamas River is close at hand throughout most of the park, and it is very scenic. They have added some channels and engineered log jams to make better fish habitat.
We walked by some of the 27 disc golf holes and saw many berry bushes and flowers, and quite a lot of daisies and Oregon Grape.
There was a short trail to a landslide viewpoint. I’m sure it would have been more interesting if it hadn’t been so overgrown.
We noticed quite a number of snails on the trail, some brown and speckled and some white with stripes, with shells about an inch in diameter, but no snail photos were taken. We saw an owl that was annoying a number of birds, the birds were flying all over screeching and hollering. As we walked into the area the owl flew down toward my head and then into a nearby tree, where Marnie got this photo of it.
After our hike we decided to check out the Clackamas Fish Hatchery that is in the park. Most of the pools were empty, but there were some tiny baby salmon in a couple of big pools (with some birds standing by for a meal!), and some very large salmon in a smaller pool. In the baby pool some of the fish were jumping around the water coming out of the pipes.
The next feature of the park we went to see is the second largest yew tree in the nation. It is a Pacific yew. There was no sign to indicate which tree it was, but Linda was able to confirm what a yew tree looks like on her iPad. I had seen a much smaller one before and the only thing I could remember about it was its unique bark. We thought this tree looked like it needed some care. Since it is a feature of the park and is even on the little map, we hope that someone will come take care of it soon.
The last interesting area of the park we visited was the Milo McIver memorial viewpoint. A cobbled walk leads to the McIver memorial, and further on to the viewpoint deck where you can see Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, and Mt. St. Helens, although today clouds obscured all but a glimpse of Mt. Hood and a snippet of Mt. Adams.
The memorial plaque has an interesting 3D sculpture of Mr. McIver. The photo above was taken from straight in front of the plaque, and the photo below was taken from the side.
After our visit to the memorial viewpoint we hopped back in the car and headed home through Silverton so we could stop at Dairy Queen, our favorite après-hike food place. We had a nice late lunch and were home by 3:00.
Everything is coming together for our PCT hike starting soon!
Just keep walking!