03-June-2016, A game of archery tag!

Standard
03-June-2016, A game of archery tag!

Friday, 03-June-2016

 

So my work does this thing where, instead of doing 40 hours every week, we do 80 hours every two weeks – it’s called a 9/80 schedule, and gives us a Friday off every other week by working 9 hour days Monday – Thursday, and then either 8 hours or 0 hours on Fridays.  It’s awesome.  Took me a month or so to get used to it though… that one extra hour each day doesn’t seem like a lot, but you’d be surprised how much I’m used to getting done in that hour, that I had to cut or condense.

Anyways, this Friday was off, and there was a company event planned – Archery Tag!

 

I’d seen the planned events a few times before… “learn to cook with the CEO”, “Bike around the Gorge”, that sort of stuff that I honestly wasn’t super interested in.  But archery tag…

 

I signed up, showed up, and set up a team.  Yep, that’s me.  Team Captain material, up in here.

And then, we played.  And I’m going to be honest here, we played WELL.  I mean, we were one of the two undefeated teams, coming into the finals.  Out of… eight?  Twelve?  I’m not a bookie, I don’t keep track of that stuff.  Basically, we cleaned house, and won all kinds of bragging rights.

But then the finals happened, and we choked.  Or more accurately, they changed the rules, and we didn’t adapt quickly enough.  Rules went from “hit people and targets to get points” to “hit the targets to get points and ignore people”… which we didn’t really adapt to.  Instead, we tried to suppress the people with cover fire while our sharp-shooters hit the targets… instead of everyone basically just barraging the targets with random shots.

I’m not bitter, I swear.

 

But it was fun, and that’s what matters.  And I got BBQ chicken and a cool yellow bandanna out of it, so… win win?

 

After the tag, I finally rented a Standup Paddleboard setup, and coasted around the Colombia for a bit.  It was fun.  I didn’t bring sunscreen though… which was probably a bad decision, since I spent the rest of the weekend in pain, applying as much aloe to myself as I possibly could.

 

Ohh, also there were explosions and fires.  Like… literal.  Boom.  Fwoosh.  “Ahhh everything’s on fire” sort of stuff.

Yeah… I maybe should had led with that?  Two instances, specifically…

First, an unexpected demolition.  As we were playing (not my team, thankfully), there was a roadside demolition – one of those where they blow a cliffside apart, so that it won’t fall down on the roadway unexpectedly.  Not a bad thing… just not what any of us were expecting, especially since there was no warning.  No sirens.  No nothing.  Just… “cracka-cracka-boom“!  And then a dozen or two explosions, and a cliff wasn’t there anymore.

Second, a train fire.  This one was bigger… we’re talking news station big.  What we saw as a small plume of smoke, that slowly got bigger on the horizon, was actually a cargo train that had overturned, spilling twelve tanker cars worth of fuel oil onto the tracks and into the river.  Which, of course, was ignited somehow… causing a fire that didn’t get put out for nearly 36 hours, if I recall correctly.  Kind of made the day strange… since there were tons of gawkers coming by the little patch of grass that we’d claimed for a battleground.  They all wanted pictures of the fire, but we were in the way… so I guess I was in a few pictures?

31-May-2016, A second hike of the weekend – Dog Mountain!

Standard
31-May-2016, A second hike of the weekend – Dog Mountain!

Monday, 31-May-2016 (Memorial Day)

 

What’s the best way to celebrate Memorial Day?  How about doing a long hike with a heavy pack?  Especially a day after doing an even longer hike, but with a much lighter pack.

 

Yeah, I think that’s a slightly nuts way to spend Memorial Day too… but what can I say? I’m slightly nuts.

I didn’t get up early, as one should expect from me, but I did get up and get myself moving. I loaded my pack with a standard kit… not light, but not excessive or training weight or anything. Just enough to keep it interesting, you know?

 

Then a drive, a hunt for a parking spot. A short walk from the spot I finally found, and the start of the trail.

Soon enough, a test appeared.  A split, with one arrow pointing toward the “less difficult” section, and another one pointing toward a “more difficult” section.  Obviously I took the more difficult… I figured that I’d do it as a loop, and that tackling the more difficult section first would make life a bit simpler… right?

Meh, I can’t say much toward ascending the less difficult side, but the more difficult one wasn’t anything special.  The hard part was (opposite to most Gorge trails) near the end, after the two reconvened.  That part was steep.  But the payoff was worth it… Wildflowers!  

 

The trail dumped me into a steep meadow, going as far as the eye could see… even onto some of the other peaks and ridge lines in the distance.

It. Was. Glorious!

 

So I rested up top, read a bit (until the bugs got too much), and headed down the “less difficult” section.  Really… the pictures here are the story.  Not the writing.  So enjoy!

30-May-2016, hiking Nesmith point as a training run (walk) ((hike))

Standard
30-May-2016, hiking Nesmith point as a training run (walk) ((hike))

Sunday, 30-May-2016

 

So yesterday (Saturday) I did basically nothing.

And it was glorious.

 

But this was a long weekend… and while lazy days are definitely acceptable and recommended, they shouldn’t become the standard.  So I packed up my little mini camel-back, got in the car, and tore down I-84 with the top down toward something I’d been looking at doing…

Nesmith Point, a training hike for alpinists.  It’s been in use for years, and all the guidebooks rank is as an ideal training hike, due to the elevation and length of the hike.  It’s pretty unique in the Gorge, as far as I can tell, since most of the hikes I’ve done there are high elevation gain but short.

Nesmith is:

Distance – 10.6 miles round trip, trail head and back.

Elevation – Starts at 72ft, gains 3,800ft

 

So… steep and long, but not high elevation, so altitude wasn’t an issue to battle with for once… too many hikes on Mt. Hood!

 

The hike itself was… sustained.  Honestly, I didn’t have any really breathtaking vistas, which was kind of a bummer.  You’d think that, with all the elevation, there’d be at least a few good views… right?  But not so much – trees were thick, and while they did lead me to some interesting little partial viewpoints, there weren’t any of the huge ones that I’ve gotten used to in the gorge.

But it was a really good training hike, so I can’t fault the guidebook, can I?  And it was a pleasant training hike – it was sustained elevation gain, instead of the usual “Ohh my god how many switchbacks can I do?  And how is this trail still going up?”, so it’s definitely got that going for it.

 

Score: 10/10, if you’re looking for an alpine training hike.  Toss on your Mt. Hood backpack, lace up your boots, and get up there!