Daily Archives: July 31, 2020

Hiking the Top Spur trail to some amazing views of Hood

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Saturday, 18-July-2020

 

After climbing at French’s, we were tired.

 

But, Bri is a somehow near limitless font of energy when it comes to climbing and hiking, and insisted that we do a quick trek to see a viewpoint nearby.

Man, do you think I’d say no to an extra viewpoint, just because I’m tired? Heck no!

 

We put away the climbing gear, put the top down on the car, and drove.

The poor Mustang didn’t know what it was in for – if I thought the roads in Northern California were rough, this road showed me what the Mustang could really do. Ditches, rocks… heck, man, the Dawn worked its way around every single one.

 

(Ed Note: If you don’t remember, Ben’s Mustang is named the “Forward Unto Dawn”, since it came to him at a fairly major turning point in life, transitioning from a really rough time into a really great time)

 

We made it to the trailhead after much careful piloting, and were even able to find a parking spot right near the signpost – there were cars for nearly half a mile down the road in each direction, but thankfully it was late enough in the day that the lot was thinning out pretty impressively. We parked, refilled our water, and headed in.

The hike itself was pretty mellow, and the enjoyment was primarily from the conversation, and just being out in the woods. It was lovely, and I enjoyed every minute of being shown a new trail to explore. Bri led the way, and I was perfectly happy to just tag along and explore a new place.

 

When the view arrived, I wasn’t expecting it. It was absolutely one of those “la la la trail trail BOOM AMAZING VIEW” situations. Out of nowhere – full view of McNeil Point, and the summit block of Mt. Hood. It was glorious, and I absolutely understood the popularity of the trail in that single view.

It was a good hike, to say the least.

 

 

After the hike, I drove home and saw a funny sign at the gas station.

Then I made dinner.  I didn’t make a healthy dinner.  But it was a tasty dinner!

Climbing at French’s Dome – full ropes and everything!

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Saturday, 18-July-2020

 

Today, the goal was to get some rock under my hands.

 

Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve climbed? I don’t, actually. I mean, I’d bouldered recently, but actual roped, vertical, leading? I… couldn’t tell you. I think Sarah and I did the first three pitches of Beacon at some point in the last year, maybe?

It’s bad, man. I shouldn’t let myself go that long.

 

Thankfully, French’s Dome is nearby. I met Bri at her place in the morning, we packed the car, and got ourselves moving. Sticking to the new theme of the year, we weren’t particularly rushed… but we did get going at a pretty reasonable time, since French’s is definitely a popular area.

The trailhead was packed. Like, seriously packed.

I’m a good driver, thank you very much, and I know how to park my car. But this… well, parking was creative today. With some spotting though, I was able to wedge myself in pretty safely, and was even able to check with the drivers of nearby cars to make sure they didn’t mind me coming in so close. With everything good, we headed in.

And got a beautiful surprise – even with a packed trailhead, very few of the routes had people on them! And all the routes that I was hoping to climb? All of them were open!

Continued birthday luck, I guess.

 

 

We pulled out our gear, and set up shop:

  • Giant’s Direct – 5.5, Sport – Fun climb, not bad at all
  • Balloon Knot – 5.9, Sport – I think we did this one? I don’t remember it being 5.9-level difficulty, but this is the only route I can find in any of the guides, and it looks exactly like what we climbed. Maybe we did a variant?
  • Tin Man / Tin Tangle – 5.8, Sport – This was really fun too, though the fact that the guidebook lists both names is a little confusing.
  • Alpha – 5.8, Sport – Fun!
  • Straw Man – 5.7, Sport – Also fun!
  • Giant’s Staircase – 5.6, Sport, 2 pitches – We summitted! This was fun and easy, and a great way to get up to the top of the dome. With snacks, of course!

 

It was a good day. We got more climbs in than I’d hoped for, and it wasn’t nearly as crowded as I’d feared. I was definitely pretty weak, and did run into some mental walls while above the bolts in a few places… but you know what? That’s fine. It’s expected, and I felt good.

That’s the fun of climbing, right? Breaking through walls, being strong, and enjoying the rock!