Main image for Hamilton Mountain Time to Read: ~5 min

Quiggly comes along!

This was my first ever hike with Sarah's dog, Quiggly. I'd just met him for the first time a few days prior and she suggested that he might enjoy our hike up Hamilton Mountain in Washington. If Quiggly was game, we were happy to have him!! He is a little dog but he is a trooper. Sarah thought he'd manage to hike most of the trip as long as we were ok with his pace. After two days of family hikes, we felt fine about letting this little dog set our pace for us.

Our hiking companion for Hamilton Mountain

Our hiking companion for Hamilton Mountain

We need the Discover Pass

When we arrived on our trip, we picked up our annual Northwest Forest pass. This $30 pass gets you into pretty much any trailhead so we thought we were all set. However, after crossing the Bridge of the Gods, when we arrived at Beacon Rock State Park in Washington, Sarah pulled out the Discover Pass that she had bought for the trip. Also $30, it is needed at many Washington trails and is new since the last time we went. We could have used a $5 day pass, but she reasoned she and Adam would use this for the whole year so it made sense.

There are facilities here

Most of the trail heads don't have facilities, or if they do they are composting toilets. We were pleasantly surprised to find actual plumbed bathrooms at Hamilton Mountain. I suppose with it being right off the highway it isn't too surprising, but still it was nice to have them for washing off dust afterwards, changing clothes etc.

The hike

It is different hiking with a small dog. In many ways it is like hiking with young children. You get more attention, meet people on the trail and talk more. The pace was totally comfortable and we found we enjoyed the surroundings more than when we're pushing through our pace as a family. This was a perfect family + dog hike especially since it was the first day of our trip we had a lot of time to catch up with Sarah and enjoy time with Quiggly.

Near the waterfall we crossed a log bridge that reminded me of Thunder Mountain or Splash Mountain in Frontierland in Disney. Both Scott and I remarked about this. It made our Disney lover, Xander, happy to feel like he was enjoying a piece of his Disney world. Sarah carried Quiggs across the bridge because she was worried his little paws could get caught in the gaps between the wooden slats.

Merrill Magic

Lemonade with a skewer of blueberries near the top of a mountain!

Lemonade with a skewer of blueberries near the top of a mountain!

As we neared the top of a long series of switchbacks we saw something that looked like a lemonade stand in the distance. Could this be? Were people really out on the mountain with a lemonade stand? As we got closer, we realized that yes indeed this was a lemonade stand!! Merrill partnered with Backpacker Magazine as part of their Merrill Magic campaign. A couple was manning the station, offering lemonade with lovely little blueberry skewers. We spent a long time up there chatting with them, enjoying the lemonade and the views.

Group photo after enjoying our free lemonade!

Group photo after enjoying our free lemonade!

The slog to the top

After we left the lemonade stand, we started the final ascent. This part was well treed and just a bit of a slog. We were all kind of hungry due to our late start so the conversation was flowing less freely. We knew that the actual top of the mountain was just a bunch of bushes with limited views, but that we'd wander a bit more up there and see some things. The day was hazy, so the views weren't magnificent but we weren't totally locked in with no visibility either.

We arrived at the top and had a quick snack of trail mix before wandering another mile over to the saddle portion of the mountain for our picnic lunch.

And that picnic lunch

When we first started hiking it was all peanut butter and jelly all the time. Between that and trail mix and apples our lunch was just too sweet. We always threw in some carrots, and quickly noticed they became the most coveted food of the hike.

As we've all grown older we have changed our trail eating. Some days we just throw in a container of hummus and a bunch of veggies to support our trail mix. Today we brought a container of hummus, a big package of carrots, grapes and some Juanita's tortilla chips. Juanita's is our staple chip when we do Mexican fiesta in Oregon - and of course our family can't go a week without at least one meal being what we call our Mexican fiesta (just quesadillas, homemade guacamole and chips and corn - nothing fancy).

We sat on top of the mountain along with a couple other groups of people enjoying our yummy lunch. We have no pictures of us eating lunch, but a few scenic shots.

Elizabeth walked the dog

Quiggly has his own Instagram page - Instagram @quiggquigg if you want to follow him! Elizabeth isn't terribly fond of any dogs, and is actually scared of most dogs. Sarah has had Quiggs for a year though and Elizabeth follows his page and hears stories about him. He is little and totally harmless. She found herself falling in love so much that she actually walked him for a long stint as we headed downhill. She struggled to say goodbye to him each day saying that she could see herself having a dog like Quiggly.

Elizabeth walking Quiggly down the mountain.

Elizabeth walking Quiggly down the mountain.

Pizza and beer

One of the best parts of hiking is being tired and dusty and hungry afterwards. I associate Oregon with mostly being off the grid and spending long hiking days only to "emerge back into civilization" at the end of the day to enjoy dinner.

This only fit the criteria because of our slower pace with Quiggly, otherwise it would have been a shorter day. But, it was extremely hot and we had been out hiking for 5+ hours. Add that the drive is a bit over an hour and we put in a full day. We started to discuss our food options. Oregon is not as friendly and welcoming to dogs as I mistakenly thought. I had been telling a friend here how there are dogs everywhere in restaurants. Yes there are, but it turns out they are all outside. Some restaurants allow your dog to sit near you but others have dog areas and they separate you from your dog.

Scott and I wanted to have beer so we thought we'd head to Hood River and hit a brewery. Elizabeth and Xander love Hood River and it was a perfect day to head there. Upon arriving at our brewery choice, Scott and I went in to inquire about the dog accommodations and the wait time. The wait was reasonable, but the dogs were required to be separated from owners in their own dog area. That wouldn't work for sensitive little Quiggly so we searched out another alternative. We found Solstice; a lovely little pizza place with great outdoor seating. They welcomed dogs, allowing them to sit with their owners on the patio. A bonus? They could seat us right away!

After our late afternoon meal, we wandered over to watch the wind and kitesurfers. Scott got a short video of one of our favorite things at Hood River.

Hiking statistics

This day was 7.37 miles, 5.04 hours total time, 2169 ft ascent.