Category Archives: Hiking

Stories about simple dayhikes that I’ve been on

Smith in September

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Smith in September

 

Monday, 25-Sept-2017 through Thursday, 28-Sept-2017

 

It’d been a while since Sarah and I had done a dedicated climbing trip – we’d been kind of hesitant, since we weren’t really sure what my knee could do, and that hesitancy had bred just enough inertia that we’d become complacent and okay with sticking in town and playing on the plastic of the climbing gym.

No more.  No more would we be captives of our own inertia.  No more would we be slaves to complacency.  Instead, we would blaze a trail of adventure and excitement!

 

So, a quick summary:

Monday

Arrive mid-morning, after depositing our finally-returned security deposit from the house in Hood River.

Crush a few routes in the more popular areas, since they’d be empty mid-week.

Side note: Ollie was amazing.  She hasn’t forgotten her crag-dog training, and relaxed like the best pup.

Head back to camp, and make a group dinner with the friends who we were meeting up with.

Sleep like logs, and start to fix our messed up circadian rhythm.

Tuesday

Wake up, have breakfast, and do some hiking.

Tuesday was a relaxation day – I read, Sarah painted, and we wandered around with the puppy.

Hit some quick climbs at the waterfall slabs, just to keep energy up.

Glorious dinner and gloriously early bed.

Wednesday

Dawned hot… hotter than expected.

Bust out a climb at the Dihedrals… then skip out to the shade.

Climbed at a new area… new to us, at least.  Sarah led a 5.10!  Ben followed!

Read and draw some more, climb a little bit more, then another early dinner.

Super early bed – we were seriously in the tent falling asleep by 8:30.  What.

Thursday

Pack up, head out back toward Portland.  Get coffee a few times on the way, because we missed coffee shops.

 

 

Climb details:

We honestly didn’t climb as much as we’d expected.  I guess that inertia that I mentioned above still held sway over us… But hey.  We hadn’t been out on a trip like this in a while, and we needed the chance to re-connect to our more energetic selves.  This was the perfect opportunity too, since the park was nearly deserted, and the weather was glorious the whole time.

What we did climb though…

 

Monday

5 gallon buckets, 5.8, Sport.  Sarah led, Ben seconded.

Left Slab Crack, 5.4, Trad.  Sarah led, Ben seconded.

Easy Reader, 5.6, Sport.  Ben and Sarah led.

Tuesday

9999, 5.6, Sport.  Ben and Sarah led.

Amelia Dearheart, 5.7, Sport.  Ben and Sarah led.

We also did a few variants of each, for giggles.

Wednesday

Purple Headed Warrior, 5.7, Sport.  Sarah and Ben led.

Nacho Libre, 5.6, Sport.  Ben led, Sarah seconded.

Float like a Butterfly, 5.10b, Sport.  Sarah led, Ben seconded.

How low can you go?, 5.7, Sport.  Ben led, Sarah seconded.

Rope de Dope crack, 5.8, toprope.  Ben and Sarah climbed.

 

What else… The trip was excellent!  We had a great time, enjoyed cooking food over a fire, and doubly enjoyed the pizza and mozzarella sticks that we had on the last evening we were there.  We climbed well, hiked well, and felt really good.  My knee didn’t give me any trouble the whole time, and actually felt better than it had in a long time.  I think that means that I’ve been under-exercising it, which is definitely good to know.  Means I can push harder, and maybe even start doing heavier lifting… deadlifts, here we come!

An adventure to the Ocean – Taking Daniel to the Pacific

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An adventure to the Ocean – Taking Daniel to the Pacific

Wednesday, 06-Sept-2017

 

As mentioned in the previous post, Daniel came out to visit for a week!  We’d made plans to do some awesome basalt climbing near the house, and then do some hiking up on Mt. Hood.  Unfortunately… there were fires.  Massive wildfires, that dropped Portland air quality into the “unhealthy” category.  And worse, literally burnt huge swaths of the Columbia River Gorge.

So climbing in the gorge was out.  Mt. Hood was in the smoke zone too, so that was out.

 

What wasn’t in the smoke was west of us; the beach and the Tillamook State Forest.  We’d already tried hiking one of the mountains in the forest, which didn’t quite work, so the next logical step was the beach!

Unfortunately, the air quality by the water wasn’t super good either… it was clear enough that Daniel, Ollie and I could breath pretty well… but Sarah was still pretty well hampered by it.  To keep her asthma as down as possible, she ended up hanging out and doing some drawing and writing at a coffee shop in town while Daniel and I took Ollie for a run up and down Cannon Beach.

It wasn’t quite the same without Sarah… but Ollie still enjoyed herself, and Daniel and I got an amazing chance to catch up, which was really amazing and much needed; though I don’t know if either of us realized that at the time.

We just walked.  Ollie frolicked and chased seagulls, maintaining a 300 yard seagull-free zone around us as we explored up and down the beach.  It was excellent.  Daniel got to take photos, I got to relax, Sarah got some alone time, and Ollie was able to get the zoomies out.

Or at east get some of them out… right?  Right?

She’ll be tired tomorrow, right?

(Ed Note: Ollie was not, in fact, tired the next day)

Hiking Elk Mountain… or attempting to, at least

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Hiking Elk Mountain… or attempting to, at least

Tuesday, 05-Sept-2017

 

Daniel came to visit!

We’d come up with a whole adventure plan for his time here in Portland – we’d warm up on Gorge climbing at Rooster, then climb the Beacon, then hike, then explore the city.  Great plans, right?  WRONG.  FIRE.

As in, there were fires.  Some kids, hiking at the Eagle Creek trail, decided that what that area needed were some explosions.  So they threw fireworks into the brush.  Which, funny story, caught fire.  Which then, totally unexpectedly, caused a monsterous conflagration burning over 48,000 acres.  Yup.  Because some [swear words here] people wanted to play with fireworks.

 

ANYWAYS.  I’M NOT BITTER AT ALL.

 

Since we couldn’t go climbing thanks to the fire, we spent the morning doing some research at a rather excellent breakfast spot that Sarah and I like taking Ollie to.  Advantages of Portland: there are a ton of dog-friendly spots nearby.  After perusing six or so guidebooks, we settled in on a solid hike – trekking up Elk Mountain, out toward the coast.  It wasn’t too long, wasn’t too high elevation, and more importantly it was out of the smoke from the fires.

So we thought, at least.

A few hours later, Daniel and I are sitting at our high point, staring off into the hazy distance, wondering how we’d gotten so winded by such a short hike.  Ollie wasn’t fairing much better… the poor puppy had burnt through her own water, and I’d started giving her mine.

We weren’t at the top yet, and actually still had something along the lines of 800ft still to go, but the time had come and we made the call to head back to the car.  Still a beautiful hike, no doubt, but it probably would have been a bit more beautiful with… you know… breathable air.