Category Archives: Hiking

Stories about simple dayhikes that I’ve been on

Hiking out to Moraine Lake, 01-Sept-2019

Standard

Sunday, 01-Sept-2019

Bend, Oregon

 

It had been a week.

Not one of those good weeks, but the opposite – one of those bad weeks.

A busy, hectic, urbanite nightmare of bad traffic and workplace emergencies that all piled on top of each other into a twisted heap of unhappiness. Thankfully, I didn’t have to stay in that heap – Sarah was still house sitting down in Bend, and as soon as Friday was over I escaped the insanity, driving like mad to escape to the oasis of calm.

 

The drive itself was glorious – It was clear and warm, and I left the top down for the whole drive.  I left a bit after work, so traffic wasn’t bad at all, and I even found a driving-buddy car who kept pace with me for a good chunk of the drive.  It’s always fun when there’s someone to dodge and weave through traffic with – especially when the traffic is crazy-huge lifted bro trucks that belch smoke when they try to accelerate… and then get completely stomped by two zippy little cars.  Haha, your fancy de-tuned engine isn’t actually more efficient, and you should feel bad.

(Ed Note: for those who might not know, this is a thing.  See “Rolling Coal” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolling_coal)

I did lose my driving buddy south of Mt. Hood though, when I saw a car stopped on the side of the road with their hood up.  I stopped, but thankfully they were okay – it was actually someone waiting for their friend, who had picked up the driver and taken them to a nearby gas station to grab a fill up.

I doubled-down on my good karma gathering when I saw a second car stopped not 5 miles down the road – this time I couldn’t find anyone nearby, and the car looked like someone was just randomly backpacking… Maybe it was an early-season hunter, or something?

Either way, I drove onward to Sarah!

 

 

The hike was on Sunday, after we took Saturday to explore Bend and just relax a bit.  Like I mentioned, the week had been singularly unpleasant, and a day off was exactly what the doctor’d ordered.

Sunday, we headed out mid-morning.  Not early, but not late either.  Our original plan had been to head up Tumalo Mountain, but we found out that the trail wasn’t actually dog friendly.  And since we had both Ollie and Scout (our neighbors dog) with us… dog friendly was pretty critical to the adventure.  So we pivoted, and headed toward the Green Lakes trail, to go and explore Moraine Lake.

Green Lakes is one of Sarah and my’s favorite hikes – it’s nestled in between four major glaciated peaks, and always has glorious view.  Moraine Lake is off that main trail by a bit, and so we hadn’t ever checked it out… Since we were taking it easy with the two dogglets, this was the perfect time to explore a bit, and take the road less traveled.

The hike itself was exactly what you’d expect – we trundled, and did a bit more trundling until we stopped trundling at the lake. We also stopped a few times on the way; beautiful sunlight through the trees trapped us once, and exploring some beautiful rock formations caught us another time.  But mostly – we trundled.

 

I don’t really know what else to write, if I’m being honest.  The hike was lovely, and the views were just as lovely, but the photos really do that part justice… it was a really good hike.  A good chance to get into nature, let the dogs run a bit, and to just rest and relax after a crazy week.

Hiking Misery Ridge, Sunday 25-Aug-2019

Standard

Sunday, 25-Aug-2019

Smith Rock, out near Bend

 

It’s been ages since Sarah and I’ve been out to Smith Rock – injuries and new jobs, backpacking and house projects.  Lots of other things we’ve been doing, but when we finally had a weekend in Bend, we jumped at the chance to do some exploring!

While climbing would have been really fun, it wasn’t quite in the cards.  Ollie was with us, and the weather was pretty hot… turns out, August in the desert isn’t quite ideal climbing weather.  Who knew?  Us, that’s who.  And that’s why we got up early, grabbed our pre-packed bags, and zipped toward Smith with the top down and the music cranked up.

 

We got to the parking lot early enough to find a nice parking lot, but not so early that it was still freezing out.  Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t quite hot out yet either.  But it was nice – just on the warm side of cool, and perfect temperature for us to start into the hike.  We zipped down, and started our traverse of Misery Ridge after chatting a bit with a ranger to catch up on trail conditions and other details.

The hike itself was lovely – it warmed up quickly, and didn’t stop until it passed “yes this is August in the desert thank you please stop getting hotter” in the dust.  I don’t think it actually got much above 95, but the higher altitude and cloudless day, combined with the steep terrain, meant that we were definitely being good about hydration.  Ollie wasn’t at all a fan of the heat, at least on the up-hill portion… but we kept her close and stopped often to keep her hydrated.  Slowly but surely we ground our way up to the top, and to our lunch stop.

Overlooking Monkey’s Face, we made our sandwiches and chatted with some fellow hikers.  It was gloriously cute – there were two ladies hiking with a younger kid; one lady was visiting from Carolina, on break from her work as a teacher at space camp.

Yup.  Space camp.

So we learned about that, and shared some sandwich and granola with them and the young boy – who, we learned, hadn’t remembered to pack his own lunch for the day, even though he’d been reminded to multiple times.  His Mom made it clear to him that he shouldn’t ask us to share ours, since that would be weird, but since we overheard the conversation we offered some snacks up of our own volition – in trade for space camp stories, of course.

It was lovely, and a great chance to just hang out and chat with some interesting people.

 

The rest of the hike was simple and beautiful – going past the Monkey, around the long riverside trail… it was lovely, and we had a great time just enjoying the desert air and staying in the shade as often as we could.

A day on Mt. Hood – Zig Zag Canyon, 04-Aug-2019

Standard

Sunday, 04-Aug-2019

Mt. Hood, Oregon.

 

It’d been a long time since Sarah and I had gotten out of the city… It’s been an impressively busy and rough summer, in terms of work and stress and low energy, so instead of trying to get ourselves together for a big, huge, epic adventure objective we stuck with a simpler goal – go hiking on Mt. Hood, and then have a nice dinner at the Timberline Lodge afterward.

Sometimes, big goals are fun and exactly what you need.  Other times, it’s just a simple walk in the woods with your partner and your dog.

Today was absolutely one of those second times.

 

We didn’t pack up the night before, we didn’t wake up at dawn and get going early, we didn’t rush out the door, and we didn’t speed toward the mountain with the wind in our hair.  It was nice, slow, and relaxing – we had a nice breakfast, we packed up our gear, and we drove out to the mountain after the morning traffic had fully died down.  We even packed a nice thermos of coffee for ourselves to sip as we drove… even though we’d already had a cup with breakfast.  Like I mentioned – we took it easy.

Once we got to the mountain and onto the trail, we kept that theme pretty well.  We didn’t go slowly, but we didn’t go quickly either… I don’t think we went quite slow enough to mosey, but we were definitely enjoying the scenery.  Ollie wasn’t going slowly of course, but that’s part of the fun of the hike, right?  Watching the crazy-dog run like she’s got infinite energy, sniffing and chasing sticks and exploring every nook and cranny she can find?

The hike itself was beautiful – it’s not a new area for us, and there’s a pretty good case that this is actually our most-visited hike anywhere in the world… but that makes it relaxing and homey, and we enjoyed every mile of it.  Seeing the sights that we’ve seen before, but with the slight variances that seasons and even days can bring.  The flowers were in pretty good bloom, and the day itself was beautiful and sunny.  Enough that we put on some sunscreen, but not so much that we were sweating as we hiked.

Our objective, if you could even say we had one, was a beautiful waterfall at the base of Zig Zag canyon – one that we’d taken Sarah’s brother Henry to see a year or two ago.  It wasn’t too far, but we figured that it would be a perfect place to have a quick lunch before heading back to civilization.  The day’d been getting pretty warm too, so the chance to sit in the mist was way too good to pass up!  It ended up being exactly as perfect of a lunch spot as we remembered, and we had a glorious time relaxing and soaking in the mist while Ollie swam and explored all the little pools.

The way back was a bit rougher than the way in, since it was mostly uphill, but we still made it back to the car and the Timberline lodge in good time – just in time to watch the sunset while having dinner at the Rams Head in the lodge!  We didn’t get a window seat, unfortunately, but we still got a good view of the sunset… and most importantly we got a good sturdy table for them to pile our post-hiking meal on!  We’d hiked pretty far, but for some reason we weren’t super hungry – a soft pretzel and a big bowl of stew (with hot cocoa on the side, of course!) filled us up nicely, and gave us just enough energy to make it back into Portland in time for showers and a warm bed!