The original plan for this weekend was for Sarah to drive out to Hood River early on Friday (as early as work would allow, at least) and then for us to drive down to Smith Rock for a weekend of burly sport climbing. However, life doesn’t always end up exactly as planned…
The adventures started when Sarah arrived in Hood River a bit later than planned – poor Jasper had gotten an ear infection, and so we can’t roll with Smith this weekend. Instead, we’ll adventure around Hood River, and be a bit domestic.
Due to the late start to the evening, and the fact that we were a bit tired, dinner was a simple order for takeout from China Gorge, the local higher end Chinese place. Even then, we barely got the order in before last call… but they gave us free soup, since we got there right before close. So it wasn’t all bad. Not bad at all.
The we ate, relaxed, watched some Star Trek on the couch, and relaxed in each others arms until we passed out.
The morning started slowly, as most at-home mornings do… though it was a hugely amazing change of pace for Sarah, since most mornings would see her awake noticeably before dawn.
Breakfast is a quick few bowls of reheated Chinese, since we’re aiming to get going as early as possible, to get some solid climbing in before Hood River starts getting rained on. Jasper, of course, stared holes in the food while we ate. Or… started holes near the food, since he doesn’t ever actually look directly at whatever he wants. He sort of stared off into the distance, assuming that we’d know what it was that he wanted.
Then, we rush out the door! Or… slowly pack up, watch another episode of Star Trek, walk Jasper before the car ride, and then laze around a bit more. In all honesty, we didn’t get out of the house for a few hours… late enough that we had to stop in for a quick slice of pizza to cure our hunger before we started the real drive to OH8.
Once there, climbing!
Wind Dummy – 5.9, sport – lead by Ben x2, seconded by Sarah x2
Tide water – ~5.9, Sport – lead by Sarah
Sasquatch – 5.11c, top rope – climbed by both
Sarah’s Route – 5.10?, top rope – Variant to Sasquatch, sliding to the left up a more pleasant crack system to dodge the bulge. Named & claimed by Ben and Sarah.
The climbing was excellent, but the real adventure part of it was getting Jasper up and down the short trail to the cliff… The shelter had told Sarah that he was a great hiking dog, but as most people can tell you – Shelters lie through their teeth. The poor guy could barely deal with the steep path, and once it turned into rocks he was completely out of his element.
So instead, I carried him up and down the path.
Sarah brought blankets from the car, and we built a little nest for him to relax in while we climbed. He didn’t seem to mind it, but he did keep staring off toward the car, vaguely hoping that we’d bring him back home to his fancy temperpedic doggy bed…
We did meet two other climbers, but overall we had the place to ourselves. Which led to some awkwardness when they walked up on us curled up on the blanket with Jasper. Once the awkwardness had passed, we watched them lead Sasquatch like bosses.
Getting Jasper up the trail hadn’t been a problem, but getting him back down turned out to be a little more difficult… which is totally the excuse that I’m going with. Because on the way down (while carrying my climbing gear, after getting Jasper settled in the car) I took a nice tumble, where my leg got caught in a small crack in the rock. Hit the side of my leg something rough, but thankfully I didn’t pass out or break anything, so good times are had by all. The only long-term evidence is some very impressive cuts and bruising along the calf… not so bad.
Then we’re back to town, grabbing food at the grocery and buying way too much stuff. Don’t shop while hungry, kids… you buy lots of random stuff. When we did finally get home, we had the ingredients to make a full cheese plate, make steaks, and even have some random stuff for dessert.
Of course, trying to show off to Sarah caused me to mess up the steaks, nearly burn the house down, and set off the fire alarm… but she was a sport about it, and I still got a “thank you, they were awesome!” along with a thank-you kiss. So… again, all good, I guess.
Then we curled up on the couch, watched some more Star Trek, and crashed for the night.
Sunday is rest day! And rest days are made extra-amazing by having amazing breakfasts… English muffins, avocados, bacon, eggs, coffee… ohh my lord I literally can’t remember the last time I had a breakfast that good.
The danger was that such a good breakfast sat heavy, and neither of us felt particularly motivated to move… especially since rain was falling outside the window. We held out some hope that Horsethief would be dry, but a recon mission by my coworker who lives 10min from the cliffs confirmed that the rock was wet, and more wetness was falling on it as we spoke.
So, we went for a hike instead! Thanks to Sarah’s expert local knowledge, we knew where to go: a short hike called Eagle Creek. Eagle Creek is a real nice walk, along some steep cliffsides, with amazing waterfalls as payoff points along the way.
We took is easy, since I’d hurt my ankle the day before… actually, I should say that I took it easy, and Sarah went full-bore on it – she showed off by carrying a full mountaineering pack up the hike with us as a training weight. Which actually ended well, since it let me keep pace with her without too much difficulty.
No matter though – The hiking was beautiful, and long conversations were had. Sarah did take a kinda rough fall near the beginning, but she caught herself in what was basically a solid combat roll – you know, instead of just faceplanting on the dirt like I would have done.
It did start raining about halfway through, but since we’d expected that it wasn’t really an issue – we pulled out rain gear, and kept right on trucking. Turns out – Sarah and I bought basically the same jacket… interdependently, on different coasts. A little ridiculous.
So the rain fell. We walked. The mist rolled in, and my awesome hat kept me dry. The mist and fog rolled over the nearby mountains, and it was freaking gorgeous… the Pacific Northwest is seriously a beautiful place, and I was completely thankful that life had brought me out.
The path continued, we took pictures at waterfalls, and the rain picked up.
After a while, we swung back around and headed for the car – when we got there, a small break in the rain gave us a change to peel off rain layers, and huddle down into the car in our dry clothes; no wet seats of under-gear.
We bought some more food at the grocery, headed home, and cooked up a nice dinner. This time we skipped Star Trek, and went for Disney’s Atlantis instead. We sipped drinks, pet Jasper, and fell asleep after an amazing day.
Sarah’s work had given them all Monday off, so we got the bonus of hanging out in the morning. Thanks to my work starting so much later than hers, we got up much earlier than I normally do… which meant breakfast! So we ate, and then drove out to The Dalles to drop the Mustang off to get the front end fixed up. Sarah dropped me off at work, and I started into the work week with a smile.
A nice bonus – Since Sarah was in Hood River anyways, we took the chance to have lunch on the beach. And aside from a quick moment where Jasper nearly ate another dog (it was off-leash, and the owner ignored our requests to keep her little yorkie away from the demented old man) it was amazing – Pizza and cookies and coffee and naps.
But all things end, and soon enough I was back in the office, and Sarah was driving back to Portland.
But the notes that she left all over the house kept me company once I go home. So there’s that, which is nice.