Posts in Spring 2018

TKO Returns to Angel’s Rest and More

March 17, 2018 Posted by Columbia River Gorge, Newsletter, Spring 2018 0 thoughts on “TKO Returns to Angel’s Rest and More”

By Steve Kruger, Executive Director, Trailkeepers of Oregon

On September 19, 2017, TKO volunteers had every intention to make their yearly return to Angel’s Rest. The site of our first official trail work party in 2008, this place is very dear to all of us, and we make a special effort to come back and take care of this trail on a regular basis. As the Eagle Creek fire lit up and rolled on in dramatic fashion through summer’s end and into fall, our return wasn’t meant to be as planned. We worried that we would not get the chance to visit some of these special places for quite some time. We intentionally avoided saying these Gorge work parties were “canceled,” instead declaring that the events were “postponed” for the time being. By making that distinction, I shared my own determination that when the smoke cleared and the area was deemed safe, we’d be the first to sign on and bring those trails back again.

A man stands on a trail in front of standing burned trees and a tree across the trail.

Steve Kruger stands atop the Upper McCord Trail that leads to the overlook of Elowah Falls. In January, he and lead TKO volunteers scouted the trail for the first time and saw that it has a long way to go before being opened to the public. (Photo by Tom Kloster)


Brushing a Trail While You Hike

March 14, 2018 Posted by Newsletter, Spring 2018 0 thoughts on “Brushing a Trail While You Hike”

By Patrick Keavney, Crew Leader, Trailkeepers of Oregon


A lot of us see trails that rarely get a good brushing as we’re out hiking. At a recent TKO fundraiser, a hiker asked me the best way to trim the brush encroaching the trail. My wife Elaine and I have a lot of experience at that. We work with local land managers and lead work crews to maintain trails east of Portland from the Clackamas River to Mt. Hood and the Columbia Gorge. We try to brush the most heavily-used trails one or two times a year. When we brush an existing trail corridor, we clear six feet wide and eight feet high. If the trail is shared with horses, we clear eight feet wide and ten feet high. Obviously, you need special tools to clear that way. But any hiker can do a good job at brushing using a simple hand trimmer and a folding saw / pruner that easily tucks into a side pocket.


An Interview with Susan Schen

March 14, 2018 Posted by Newsletter, Spring 2018 0 thoughts on “An Interview with Susan Schen”

By Michael McDowell, Newsletter Editor, Trailkeepers of Oregon


Susan Schen grew up in Northeast Ohio among deciduous hardwood forests and, as she says, “not a lot of elevation gain in hiking.” When she lived in Seattle for a year, she “just kind of fell in love with” the Pacific Northwest. She started volunteering with Trailkeepers of Oregon in the fall of 2016 after moving to Portland and is now a trail crew leader. Michael McDowell and John Sparks sat down with Susan on a morning in February to talk about her experiences with trail work.

A woman wearing a hard hat carrying a burned log.

Susan working on fire-damaged trail in the Gorge. (Photo by Megan Zabel Holmes)


Look Who’s Hiking: A Trail Baby Primer

March 14, 2018 Posted by Newsletter, Spring 2018 0 thoughts on “Look Who’s Hiking: A Trail Baby Primer”

By Megan Zabel Holmes, Board Member, Trailkeepers of Oregon


After a new baby arrives, it feels intimidating to get out of the house, let alone out on the trail. These little humans seem to require so much in the way of supplies and accessories, not to mention what it takes to soothe their unpredictable temperaments. To the uninitiated, hiking with an infant might seem like undue torture. But it doesn’t have to be! With the right plan and attitude you can unlock a new level of quality family time. Here are some lessons I’ve learned (most of them the hard way) about hitting the trail with the smallest adventurers.

A man with a baby in a baby carrier on his chest standing on a cliff high above a wide river.

Baby does her best Lewis and Clark impression. (Photo by Megan Zabel Holmes)


Amanda’s Trail and the Forced Relocation of Oregon Peoples

March 14, 2018 Posted by Newsletter, Spring 2018 0 thoughts on “Amanda’s Trail and the Forced Relocation of Oregon Peoples”

By John Sparks, Board Member, Trailkeepers of Oregon


Sometimes a trail is not just a trail. On Cape Perpetua, the Amanda’s Trail, which runs two and one-half miles from south of Yachats to the CCC-constructed stone shelter up on the cape, holds two tales worth the telling. One is the lengthy, complicated and bureaucratic process around creating a hiking trail where none existed before; the other brings to light a grim chapter of Oregon history when native peoples were forced to relocate to lands remote from their ancestral homes.

Close-up view of deep blue purplish petals of flowers in bloom.

Camas blooming at the top of Cape Perpetua. (Photo by John Sparks)


Hike of the Season: Sutton Mountain

March 14, 2018 Posted by Hike of the Season, Newsletter, Spring 2018 0 thoughts on “Hike of the Season: Sutton Mountain”

By Cheryl Hill, Board Member, Trailkeepers of Oregon


If you find yourself visiting the Painted Hills unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument and you want a longer hike than those short trails provide, Sutton Mountain may be for you. This seven and one-half mile out-and-back hike gains sixteen hundred feet in elevation and includes wildflowers, views, and solitude.

Blossoms of brilliant pink petals surrounding a bright yellow center sit atop a barrel-like cactus with long spiky spines.

Hedgehog cactus blooming on the summit of Sutton Mountain. (Photo by Cheryl Hill)


Wildflower Photography Tips

March 14, 2018 Posted by Newsletter, Spring 2018 0 thoughts on “Wildflower Photography Tips”

By Greg Lief

Greg Lief is the creator and curator of, a resource to help wildflower lovers find great Pacific Northwest wildflower locations and the best times to visit. Lief offers the following tips to improve your wildflower photography, whether it’s with an SLR, smart phone, or anything in between.

Butterfly on yellow flower.

Crescent butterfly (Phyciodes sp.) upon golden fleabane (Erigeron chrysopsidis var. chrysopsidis) at Sutton Mountain. (Photo by Greg Lief)


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