Category Archives: Adventures

Stories of some of my adventures, either indoors or outside

Camping out on the slopes of Mt. Hood

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Saturday and Sunday, 23 & 24-June

 

It’d been a while since we’d been camping – Sarah’s leg being broken made it seem impossible, and we were both a bit too frazzled and run down to challenge that.

Enter: our friends David and Naomi.  They have a van.  They camp in this van, and had heard of a good spot to go van camping.  Sarah and I packed up the Mustang and followed them to said campsite.

 

We met them on the trail into the woods – since the Van and the Mustang have pretty similar ground clearance, which definitely made life a bit easier for finding a campsite.  The easy to reach areas were mostly taken already though, so we kept driving deeper down the road into the woods.

And it turned out, that was absolutely what we should have been doing.  Turns out – the best spot is NOT right by the river where everyone else camps. That’s a trick spot.  It’s good, I’m sure, but it’s also close and easy… it’s the protector of the really good spots.  The spots up on the hill, with a perfect view of Mt. Hood.  You know, the spot that we found 🙂

Once we’d settled in and parked Van and Mustang, we set into the tough challenges of relaxing and enjoying the scenery.
  • Start the fire, then set up camp while Sarah starts cooking
  • Chili cheese dogs are delicious.  Ollie is a dog, and is of the opinion that she should have most of them
  • Relax by the fire, then head to bed
  • Sleep in a bit, while Sarah et. al. make breakfast and coffee, while enjoying the view of Mt. Hood
  • Relax at camp for a little as the sun rises, and then head out to Timberline Lodge
  • Hike Eastbound, instead of the usual Westbound… it kind of looks like the moon
  • Hike back, and end up chatting with everyone on the walkie talkie
  • Head to Salmon River Slabs, and do a few quick routes.  They’re fun!
  • Drive on home

Clinging to the rocks of Klinger Springs

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Saturday, 16-June-2018

With her knee still injured, and outdoor adventures out of the picture, Sarah’s taken to living vicariously through me.  To do so, she’s been setting up play dates for me with various climbers that she knows.  This weekend was a climbing trip with two people she’d met during her Advanced Rock class with the Mazamas, on an adventure to a new climbing area that neither of us had been to…

 

The day started early, as it’s wont to do when Mazamas are involved.

I hadn’t met either of the two Patricks that I’d be climbing with today, but we’d been chatting on Facebook for a while, discussing plans and coming up with route ideas and gear selection.  It was good – we were pretty ready, and while it was going to be an early morning, climbing’s one of those things that I’ll very willingly wake up early for.

 

We met up, piled into Pat’s (one gentleman was Pat, the other was Patrick) Subaru, and hit the road!  It was going to be a long drive – just about an hour and a half – but that’s the price we pay here in Oregon to find good rock.

The drive?  Simple, enjoyable, and finished before too long.

The parking?  Kind of sketchy, since it’s just a tiny pulloff on a winding road East of Mt. Hood.

The approach?  Tough.  I packed too much, and don’t like hiking straight up the side of a mountain.  I lived, though.

The climbs?  Well…

  • Blue Grouse – 5.9, Sport, Top Rope – Our warmup route, this one was really fun and pretty straight forward.  I enjoyed it, even though it was sport.
  • Belly of the Beast – 5.8, Trad, Lead – This one was glorious, if a bit tough for me.  I haven’t done much crack climbing since breaking my knee, and the movements are still a bit tough for me.  But I pushed through, slammed gear in, and safely made it up to the top.  I loved the top of it, specifically, traversing out from under a roof, and clipping an anchor out on the face.
  • Ourboros – 5.8, Trad, Lead – This was around the corner from Belly of the Beast, on the far side of the huge basalt column.  I liked this a bit more, since it was a little cleaner and had some better placements, but honestly it wasn’t super different from Belly of the Beast.  The real challenge was remembering when/where to traverse around the arrete to get to the anchors.  I caught myself before I went too far, but poor Pat had to downclimb nearly 6ft to get back to the anchors.
  • Shaken (not to be confused with Shaken) – 5.8, Mixed, Top Rope – this route… was a bit contrived, if I’m being honest.  It looks like a really hard finger crack, but Mountain Project called it a 5.8, so we jumped on it.  But it’s literally 2ft right of a 5.10 sport line.  So… you can easily clip bolts everywhere.  And while the crack looked good… well, this route was really just a face climb with a tiny crack that you could sometimes place gear into.  Meh.

We started up one more route, but unfortunately the rain started seriously threatening almost immediately after Pat headed up.  By the time Patrick was on his way to clean, it was sprinkling… and when he was down, we had rain.

So, we packed up and headed back.  The drive was pretty clean, though I’ll be the first to admit that I had a bit of trouble staying awake for all of it.  I didn’t fully nod off, but I definitely zoned our pretty regularly.

But hey!  That means we went hard!  And I got to explore a new area, so… that’s pretty rad, right?

June 10th, 2018. Going back into the Columbia River Gorge

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Saturday, 10-June-2018

 

It’s been a while since we’ve been in the Gorge.  I mean, technically we’ve been there a lot, since the Thousand Acres dog park is just barely within the limits, but I’m not counting that right now because I don’t want to.

ANYWAYS.

We drove out to the Gorge!

It wasn’t a perfectly sunny day, but I’m being honest when I say that the rain clouds actually added to the beauty of the drive.  Sunny is all well and good, but the dappled sunlight and rolling clouds really made the drive seem… epic?  Adventurous?  Rough and tumble?  I’m not sure which words to use, but suffice to say that it was really pretty.

 

Our goal way to check out Vista House, via the Portland Women’s Forum view point.  We hadn’t originally planned on seeing the View Point, but that’s part of a fun scenic drive, right?  Stopping randomly to see the sights?  It was excellent, and a really great view of both the gorge and Vista House itself.  And Ollie got to stand on a water fountain.  So… there’s that, which is pretty fun.

Vista House itself was not quite what I expected, but it still exceeded expectations anyways.  For one reason or another, I was expecting an actual House, sort of like an Inn?  Or maybe a Frank Lloyd Wright building?  Instead, it mostly reminded me of a tomb.  Which isn’t really the goal, I would assume, but hey.  It is what it is, and this was a small marble building, designed as a circle with a vaulted ceiling.  And I was just in Rome, where there’s a bajillion of those all dedicated to dead people.  So.  You know.  Expectations.

So the adventure was excellent.  Simple, straight forward, and enjoyable.  Exactly what we needed on a rainy Sunday.