My first hike! Treking out and back on Eagle Creek.
It’s been a while since I broke my knee and damaged the ACL.
Honestly, that’s kind of long to say… let’s just start saying that I broke my leg. That’s quicker, and gives a pretty good overview of what happened. Saves some time, you know?
And since life is being so busy and crazy, saving time is pretty good. Why, you might ask? Well, because I was cleared to start hiking again!!!
I’m not cleared to go too crazy though… so while I can go for a long-ish hike, I can’t go steep or treacherous, as far as terrain goes. What to hike, what to hike… Eagle Creek? One of the most popular trails in the Gorge? Simple, variable length, and full of people to come save me if I need to be carried out? I think that fits the bill.
Parking would still be an issue though, since Eagle Creek is one of the most popular routes. Sarah and I anticipated that though, so we headed out from Hood River early in the morning. Technically we didn’t have to worry, since I’ve still got the handicapped sticker for the car… but I’d feel pretty weird parking in a handicapped spot, pulling out the backpack and hiking poles, and then charging in for a 7 mile hike. Seems a bit disengenuous, you know?
got up early, found a parking spot in a lovely bit of shade, and headed in. Just Sarah and I, unfortunately… Ollie was dis-invited this time, since the trail has extremely steep sides (but a really nice trail), and I couldn’t hold the leash (broken, you know), and Sarah (very understandably) didn’t want to be dragged along by an over-energetic puppy the entire time. Which meant that we could take our time, and set a pretty solid pace for ourselves as we traipsed into the woods.
The hike was kind of long and kind of boring.
I mean, I’d love to say that it was glorious, and full of birds and sunshine and donuts filled with spring cheer. But, ya know, there’s a reason that I’m a rock climber, and not a hiker. Hiking is kind of boring. Even in the Columbia River Gorge, even walking along a cliffside above a river. It’s good exercise though, so we stuck it out and enjoyed ourselves as best we could.
Both Sarah and I were a bit frayed from the week, so we split ways about halfway through, at Punchbowl Falls. It’s a beautiful spot for lunch, so Sarah stayed and took a slow walk back while I pushed on ahead for a ways, trying to get my full goal of 7 miles in. Which I did… but again, would’ve preferred to be climbing.
Then I turned around, hiked back, we met up, and headed back toward the house to the rescue of a very appreciative puppy.
What, too quick of an ending? Well, the hike itself went really well: my knee held up really well, even with the descent into and ascent out of the Punchbowl. Going down the trail was a bit challenging, but with Sarah helping out and my poles stabilizing me, there wasn’t really any issue. The real challenge was pure endurance – I was so out of shape, that even this nearly-level trail was a solid challenge for me. But that’s what we get in shape though, right? Constant hiking, getting tired, and pushing ourselves?
It was a good push, and a very good start to my return to adventure in the great outdoors!