Hiking The Pacific Crest Trail
Most folks in Camas and Washougal know the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), our nation’s longest and most famous hiking trail, goes right through our backyard in the Columbia River Gorge, but many local hikers have never taken advantage of the legendary wilderness path. The Tamanous Trail climbs about 0.5 miles from the trailhead and connects with the PCT, which we followed north. The famous monster of a trail weaves through deep forest lands and clear-cuts before climbing a rocky slope to a forest road. The PCT picks up on the other side of the road and takes you down to Gillette Lake, a natural lake popular with ducks and stocked with golden trout. We all go at different speeds, but many of us keep running into each other along the trail and when we get cell signals we call each other and check on our progress. Past Gillette Lake, a small bridge made from fallen fir tree takes you over Gillette Creek, which feeds the lake. The trail takes you into the Gifford Pinchot National Forest along Greenleaf Pond and then across a cedar bridge that crosses the swift Greenleaf Creek. It is gorgeous, but getting to the top of Table Mountain is no joke. The last mile is straight up with lots of rocks. You really have to want it with about 4.5 miles into the hike and another 3.5 miles to the top of the mountain. The adventure taught us that hiking the nearby PCT in small sections not only gives you a great backwoods experience, but that the interesting people you meet and the conversations you strike up along the way will keep you coming back for more.