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Sandstone Fitness Trail at Sardis Lake

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The Sandstone Fitness Trail is one of three trails below the dam at Sardis Lake, and it starts at the same trailhead as the Sandstone Nature Trail (the other trail being the Clear Springs Nature Trail). The fitness trail is a 1.7-mile loop with 118 feet of total elevation gain on a fairly well-maintained trail. Much of the trail is a gravel path, and there are numerous descriptive workout stations along the length of the trail, hence the "fitness" part.



This is an easy to follow trail that partially passes through forest, with the other half between the forest edge and the road/dam. On the several times I've been to this trail and the Sandstone Nature Trail, including this November morning, I've never seen any other visitors.

More photos of the trails at Sardis Lake in this album.
See my track on AllTrails.



© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.






Payamatha Horse Trail

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The Payamatha Horse Trail is a 5.7-mile loop trail in Tombigbee National Forest southwest of Tupelo, Mississippi. The trail is lightly trafficked, especially by hikers, and is accessible from state highway 32, about 1.5 miles west of the Natchez Trace Parkway.


The trail begins by following a gated gravel road, and after about 0.25 mi the trail splits into a loop. The eastern side of the loop is entirely a standard hiking trail, whereas the west side of the loop is part hiking trail, part gravel road. In fact, the first ~1 mi portion of the trail that follows the road is quite flat and appears to have once been a railroad. The road section of the trail is the best maintained, widest, and easiest to follow.


After a little over a mile (hiking counterclockwise) the gravel road becomes noticeably more overgrown, and the trail splits off to the left up the hill into a recently logged area. The trail through this logged area is very overgrown, but once you reach the top of the hill the trai…

Bonneville Dam and Fish Hatchery

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On the afternoon of August 10, 2017 I visited the Bonneville Dam and Fish Hatchery along the Columbia River in Oregon. It was great to get a view of the dam, but the visitor center was fascinating. In particular, there are windows on the bottom floor that look into the fish ladder, which enables fish to pass around the dam. Despite being outside of peak migration times, there were still several salmon, steelhead, lampreys, and other fish swimming through as I watched.


A short distance from the dam visitor center is the Bonneville Fish Hatchery, which raises several fish species for release. Visitors are able to walk around the grounds and view the fish they are raising, as well as ponds of adult rainbow trout and white sturgeon.


© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.






Tryon Creek State Natural Area, Oregon

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Tryon Creek State Natural Area is a 645-acre park in Portland, Oregon. The park is encompasses forested hills and valleys around Tryon Creek, and includes 8 miles of hiking trails, 3.5 miles of horse trails, and a 3-mile paved bicycle trail. This map shows the extensive trail network.


I went for a hike on the hot afternoon of August 9, 2017. This 2.38-mile hike began at the nature center, and went north on the Old Main Trail for 0.16 mi before turning on the the Maple Ridge Trail for 0.12 mi. I then went on the Middle Creek Trail for 0.14 mi and descended into the valley, crossed the High Bridge, and followed the Middle Creek Trail south for 0.18 mi as it follows Tryon Creek.


I then turned onto the Cedar Trail, which climbed up the hill for 0.53 mi before crossing Bunk Bridge. The Cedar Trail then continued for 0.40 mi before I turned onto the Red Fox Trail for 0.24 mi as it crossed Red Fox Bridge over Tryon Creek and then climbed up the hill on the other side of the stream. I then f…

Mount Tabor Park, Portland, Oregon

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Mount Tabor Park is a city park in Portland, Oregon, centered around the hill that is Mount Tabor. During my week-long visit to Portland, I visited the park a few times, and here are some photos from that visit. Smoke from wildfires made the visibility very poor during my visit, so I wasn't able to see downtown from the park, as you normally can.




© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.






Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls

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On August 7, 2017 I visited several of the waterfalls on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge. I first stopped at Multnomah Falls, which was full of people and I only walked up to the bridge before continuing on.


I then drove on to Horsetail Falls, which is also directly along the road. From Horsetail Falls I made the relatively short hike up to Ponytail Falls. This trail make a steep climb up from Horsetail Falls, but then continues on gently towards Ponytail Falls.


The trail passes around the back of Ponytail Falls and continues to Middle Oneonta Falls. Lower Oneonta Falls and the most scenic portion of the Oneonta Gorge are directly below the bridge but aren't visible from this point. The trail then continues back down to the road, which you can follow to Horsetail Falls.


More photos in this album.

© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.






Mount St. Helens

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I stopped at the Johnson Ridge Visitor Center to get my first look at Mount St. Helens on August 6, 2017. It was a hot afternoon, and smoke from wildfires made the visibility fairly poor, but it still was great to get a look at the mountain.


More photos in this album.

© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.






Ecola State Park

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I made a short visit to Ecola State Park on the Oregon coast on Sunday, August 6, 2017. There are two parking areas in the park, and the one at Indian Beach was full when I arrived. So, I parked at Ecola Point and made the short walk to the viewpoint over Crescent Beach.


Then, I hike over 1-mile trail from Ecola Point to Crescent Beach, walked around the beach, and hiked back. The hike is relatively easy, except for a steep descent at the very end of the hike to the beach (and steep ascent on the way back).


There are more photos in this album.

© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.






Maroon Bells

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The Maroon Bells are two of the most photographed peaks in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. The peaks are located just outside of Aspen and are highly visited. For much of the day, when the park road is passable to vehicles, you must board a bus at the Aspen Highlands that will take you Maroon Lake. The bus ticket is $8 and parking is available at the Aspen Highlands ($5 during the week, $10 on weekends). Private vehicles are not allowed from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.


The bus driver narrates a tour on the ~20 minute drive to the lake, but the return journey is not as long. Once the bus drops you off, it's a short walk down to Maroon Lake where you can get a view of the peaks. There are short, easy trails around Maroon Lake, but one trail continues about 1.5 miles up the valley and gains 500+ feet in elevation before arriving at Crater Lake. Crater Lake sits below the peaks, and other trails continue in different directions, allowing the exploration of the surrounding peaks and valleys.

Dinosaur National Monument

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I made a stop at Dinosaur National Monument's visitor center east of Vernal, Utah. This visitor center is the only location in the park where you are able to see dinosaur bones. A shuttle bus takes you from the visitor center to the quarry building, which houses the fossils.

There are also some campgrounds, viewpoints, trails, and petroglyphs in this area. There is much more to the monument, but I didn't visit these sections.



There are more photos in this album.

© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.







Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area

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The Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area surrounds the Flaming Gorge Reservoir on the Green River in Utah and Wyoming. I stopped at the dam and Red Canyon visitor centers. Short trails from the Red Canyon visitor center take you to the canyon rim, whereas there are guided tours of the dam at that visitor center.


I have more photos in this album.

© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.







Wind River Range

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I went on a backpacking trip into the Wind River Range in western Wyoming in July 2017. The hike began and ended at the Elkhart trailhead near Pinedale and went to Photographer's Point, Seneca Lake, Island Lake, and the Titcomb Basin. Short on time, I'll let the photos and video speak for the trip.






There are more photos in this album.

© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.