Author Archives: perfectusvarrus

About perfectusvarrus

I am an adventurer. The thrill of adventure and exploration keeps me strong; through rock climbing, backpacking, cycling, exploring, and trying new things, I love the rush of adventure.

A hike on the coast – 27-Dec-2020


Sunday, 27-Dec-2020

It had been ages since I’ve hiked out on the Oregon Coast… It’s a long drive, is the problem, but still. The coast is gorgeous, and it was high time that I got back out.

So… I drove. Got going fairly early, for a day off, and was starting in to the Cape Falcon trail by 11:15, give-or-take. Not bad, since it was a two hour drive from my place in Wilsonville, so I was feeling pretty energetic as I hiked through the misty trees, hearing the sound of cars receding behind me and the sound of the breakers growing in the distance.

Once I made it out of the forest and onto the beach… I realized that tides are a thing.

Because there was no beach.

Turns out – high tide does happen, and when it happens at Oswald West, the tide comes all the way up to the trail, nearly. Not so much that it covers the whole area, of course… but the distance between surf and ground was quite small… just a tiny little strip of sand, covered by the waves half of the time, maybe a foot or two wide.

Made it a bit difficult to walk along the coast, as you may imagine, so instead Cape Falcon became the goal of the moment – heading back inland to walk out to the overlook, and give the tides a bit of time to recede so I could get some shore-line walking in later on in the day.

I hadn’t hiked all the way out to Falcon before, so this was an interesting experience… During COVID I’ve been able to avoid crowds pretty well, and having been hiking up on Hood I’d gotten used to the snow and slush of the high elevations.

I’d forgotten just how crowded popular trails can get, and how that can lead to some rather interesting trail conditions… specifically, the fact that I was wading through pretty much constant mud the whole way out to the Cape Falcon overlook.

But hey – that’s what boots are for, right? My boots were still pretty new too, and needed a bit of breaking in… and what better way to do that than to slog my way through deep mud, escaping the forest and striking out onto the cliffside?

The trail was churned up, like a herd of elk had cruised through, but truth be told I didn’t see that many people as I was hiking in. A few groups, of course, but nothing too crazy… Nothing nearly as intense as some of the more popular hikes out in the gorge on a sunny summers day, at least. I was able to make pretty good time, though I did get some added altitude training thanks to wearing my mask so consistently…

Anywho, the hike went well, and the overlook was singularly gorgeous.

In keeping with tradition, after hiking was dinner, or at least a late lunch, out at Cannon beach. I’ve been to the Pelican Brewery a few times, and thankfully they’re still open and kicking during the pandemic… if only for takeout. But you know what? Takeout calamari and seafood chowder is still pretty dang good.

Especially when there was a sunset like that…

A walk in Wilsonville


Saturday, 26-Dec-2020

Sometimes, I can’t quite rally myself to get into the car and drive all the way out into the woods.

Don’t get me wrong – I love me some woods, and long drives, and all of that awesome jazz… But sometimes, it’s just a little too much, you know? Sometimes, I want to just lay low, relax, and not have to get things together to do stuff.

Like today – Today, I was just… tired. energetic, and wanting to do something, but not quite holding on to enough mental energy to get myself all the way through traffic and to a big hike. So instead, I packed up a lightly-weighted back and stepped out the front door, aiming to follow Bilbo’s advice of not knowing where my feet would take me.

No where of particular note, but they did keep me moving… which was really all I wanted from the walk. Some time out of the house, and in my own mind for a few hours, while enjoying the outdoors and beauty that Wilsonville has to offer…

Cross Country Skiing out to Elk Meadows – Saturday, 19-Dec-2020


Saturday, 19-Dec-2020

Elk Meadows really is my go-to destination for the second half of this year, isn’t it?

Not that there’s anything wrong with that – it does make quite a bit of sense, if you think about it… It’s quite close to home (compared to most other things), it’s fairly empty, and it’s not too long… with quite nice views at the top. It’s also nicely segmented – there’s the flat starting section, then the river crossing, then the steep section, and then the final flat section.

It’s exactly what I want these days – simplicity, consistency, and meeting expectations.

As always, Elk Meadows provided.

The hike started out a bit late, and a bit non-standard… the usual parking lot was snowed in, and so I had to park at the Mt. Hood Nordic Ski Center… not a bad thing, since it was mostly plowed, but it did lead to a slightly different start to the trail. It was a small variation though, and added a bit of interesting spice to the hike – so totally acceptable in my book.

The rest of the trail cruised by pretty much as normal – I skied the flat bits, carried them for the steeper bits, and took them completely off once I crossed the river and started up the really steep bit.

About a year ago I had bought a new pair of cross country ski boots… which is a weird thing to add to a blog, but bear with me. They were a bit more expensive than I’d planned, but they had the huge advantage that they were really hiking boots with ski clips. They were comfortable, warm, and had connection points for crampons, which is exactly what I needed for this hike.

Once I was over the river, the skis were strapped to my backpack, the crampons strapped to my feet, and up, up, up I went through the switchbacks. It went fairly quickly… but I’ll freely admit that it was much harder than I was expecting. The snow was a little deeper than usual, sure, but the real challenge was having these massive, six and a half foot long skis strapped to my back. I kept kicking them, or catching them on trees, and they’re heavier than you’d expect… at least heavier than I expected.

But it went. Slowly but surely, grinding up the trail ’till I made it to the last flat section.

Which turns out not to be flat, but to be slightly downhill… and thankfully, exactly the right amount of downhill that I was able to safely and happily slide my way nearly the whole way onto the Elk Meadows boundary trail. That’s where the beaten path ended, and the “normal” people would simply walk through the wood into a small part of the meadows, take a picture, and then go home. At least, or so the tracks showed me.

Which was awesome, because it meant I had completely untouched snow to ski on!

It was beautiful.

The snow had a nice crust of ice on top – not enough to be annoying or unpleasant, but just enough to help keep me from sinking completely into the powder below. It rasped beautifully; not loud enough to be frustrating, but just enough that it kept that excellent feel of winter exploration going.

I cruised through the meadow, stopping constantly to take pictures and say hi to my little feathered friends that I’ve gotten to know over the course of the year. They were as inquisitive (read: hungry) as always, and even came by to perch on my hand and ice axe a few times. They didn’t really ride along with me, unfortunately, but they were still awesome and fun to spend some time with.

I took a short break at the Elk Meadows shelter, which looked like it had been pulled straight out of a painting, and read a bit as the sun started dipping below the horizon. I enjoyed the quiet, relaxed, and got myself ready for the return trip…

When I forged out from the shelter the snow and wind had started whipping up and the sky was getting darker. It was gorgeous, and the falling snow gave the whole meadow an amazing arctic feeling. That sense was what I had ventured out looking for – the feeling of exploration, and of driving snow hammering down around me.

It was perfect, and the ski / hike out back to the car was exactly what I had been hoping for, and exactly what I needed to help me get myself psyched up for the week ahead.