When I first declared to my brother-in-law back in November that I was going to hike all 100 hikes in
100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon & Southwest Washington, I wasn’t considering the fact that Sullivan’s 100 hikes is actually more closer to 150 hikes. Let’s use Hike #16 as an example. Hike #16 is titled “Lacamas Park,” but instead of one hike in Lacamas Park, it is actually two hikes in two different parks. I will refer to them as hikes #16A and #16B.
Hike #16B is a 7 mile hike in Heritage Park and Hike #16A is a 3.4 mile hike in Lacamas Park. In this particular instance, the parks are across the street from each other and you could make Hike #16 into one long 10.4 mile loop. However, it is not always like that. Sometimes, Sullivan puts together hikes that are miles apart. Take Hike #12 for example: Hike #12A is 5 miles away from Hike #12B and in a completely different park. I haven’t quite decided what this means for my Mission yet. For now, if all the hikes listed under a given hike number are listed as “Easy” or “Moderate” then I am going to hike them all.
On January 19th, 2014, I hiked the 7 mile Lacamas Heritage Trail which follows the shoreline of Lacamas Lake in Heritage Park, otherwise known as Hike #16B.
Sullivan’s Stats My Stats
Lengeth: 7 miles 7.25
Elevation Gain: None None
Difficulty: Moderate Mostly Easy
This lakeside trail is well-traveled and popular with both walkers and trail runners. It is open to both dogs and bikes, and, in retrospect, I do think this trail is better suited to running or cycling. I chose the Lacamas Heritage Trail as my first “moderate” hike because of the lack of elevation gain. I wanted to gauge how I would physically handle a longer hike. For me, this long, flat hike was relatively easy physically, but a bit of a challenge mentally because, well, flat can get quite boring. I gave it a “Mostly Easy” rating on the Girl vs. Trail scale because of the mental tedium.
While I am not strong or fit enough at this point to handle anything more then a 500 foot elevation gain with anything akin to grace, elevation gain does require mental focus. Lacamas Lake is beautiful. There is awesome birding to be done here. However, flat walking for 7 miles on a trail I’ve hiked before just got a bit boring. I started adding 60 second jogging intervals to help keep me focused. I don’t usually listen to my MP3 player while hiking, but if you are walking this trail I suggest you download a good podcast.
That being said, Lacamas Lake is lovely. The trail starts out alongside a golf course and then meanders into the marshy lake shallows. Quickly, the glacier-carved lake widens and becomes a playground for kayakers and waterfowl alike.
The trail passes through both forested areas and McMansions with private docks.
One man spent a year photographing the Birds of Lacamas Lake. He found 82 different species. I did not see that many, but I was excited to see two Belted Kingfishers. They were arguing quite loudly. Before this year, I’d never seen a single Kingfisher and now I’ve seen three! There were also plenty of Mallards, a few Wood Ducks, and below is a picture of some Double-creasted Comorants:
This is and out an back hike. The turn around point is Heritage Park. There are picnic tables, bathrooms, a playground, and boat docks. Children would enjoy this park, but rather than starting from the Heritage Trail trailhead, I’d suggest starting at Heritage Park proper. You can explore the trail and head back to the playground and picnic area when the kids are done. I had lunch on one of the docks and chatted with the kayakers.
After a dockside lunch, the return trip was just a 3.5 mile walk back the way I’d come. I’m really more of a loop kinda girl, but it was still gorgeous.