Tag Archives: hiking

Hiking to little Zig Zag canyon, on mount Hood, in the snow!

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Sunday, 11-Nov-2018

Sarah and I have been fighting off colds for the past week, so what we really wanted to do was to just stay home by the fire and play video games. It was a perfectly beautiful day though, and a few inches of snow had fallen on Mt. Hood earlier in the week… way too perfect for us to pass up on.

We drove out fairly early in the morning, aiming to get on the trail before the day got too late – our goal wasn’t to get an alpine start, but we were hoping to be able to get some hiking in before the sun got too low down. We didn’t get out quite as early as we’d been hoping, in all honesty, but it was okay because not only did we get to stop at Starbucks for cookies and sandwiches, but we even got two gift cards for our next time, thanks to there being a slight mixup in what we actually ordered. Woo!

Once we arrived, we were able to gear up and get on the trail pretty quickly, though admittedly far slower than poor Ollie was hoping for. The whole time we were getting ready she was anxiously pacing around the car, hating her snow boots and wishing that she was out and running.

Yep, that’s right. Snow boots. For Ollie. It was cold! We didn’t want her little toes to freeze!

Yeah, it was a good idea. It lasted a whole half hour I think, before we finally took them off and let her run crazy. Seriously – Ollie had been running before, but once the boots were off she literally sprinted back and forth along the trail… turns out, dogs are well adapted to running on snow and ice, and we’d been worrying pretty needlessly.

Anyways, it was gorgeous! A perfectly blue sky, crisp snow, and barely any other folks hiking.

We made it to our goal of having a quick lunch on a rock a bit past the far edge of little ZigZag canyon with time to spare before we had to turn around, so after having some snacks we took the chance to play in the snow! Ollie, of course, loved every second of it – we played fetch, Sarah and I had a snowball fight, and I even climbed around on one of the boulders for a little bit.

It was lovely – a good hike to get out of the city for a few hours. We had a lovely relaxing drive home, which of course included a quick stop at a coffee shop, a snack at Dairy Queen, and a spectacular sunset as we rode back into Portland.

Hiking Cape Horn. In the rain. Hiking stupid cape stupid.

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Sunday, 07-October-2018

I didn’t like Cape Horn. Sarah didn’t like Cape Horn. Ollie loved Cape Horn, but also hated Cape Horn.

It was long, not super pretty, near the highway, it was raining, and Ben and Sarah wouldn’t let Ollie jump off the 100+ft cliff. Jerks. There was a Snickers bar halfway down. Ollie’s confident she could have gotten it.

Honestly, it wasn’t that bad. I think we were just kind of worn down from the week before, and we definitely weren’t super energetic about the whole situation. Also, we ate Burger King for breakfast. Also Starbucks. We ate two fast food breakfasts. Around 10:00. So… Brunch. We made poor life decisions.

Those decisions, regarding food, definitely didn’t help us power through the hike. But power through we did, crushing the miles and switchbacks. We went fairly slowly, to be fair, but we did keep going. That’s the key, right? Showing up and giving it your best, day in and day out?

Ollie… Ollie didn’t go slowly. She zoomed. Nonstop.

The viewpoint came, and the viewpoint went. The views were honestly lovely and amazing, but they weren’t quite enough to redeem the hike for us. They were great, yeah, but we’d lived in Hood River for a year, two for me. I’d somehow gotten almost immune to the views? Or the rainy mist was getting to me, one or the other.

Something that was amazing?

Sandwiches while watching a barge maneuver around the shallows. We’ve been rocking the baguette sandwiches recently – prosciutto, brie, and apple slices on a fresh sea salt and rosemary baguette. No mist or slimy trail could beat that kind of sandwich!

We hiked it. A little over seven miles. Up and down and around. Some good views, some good food, lots of switchbacks. Ehh. I know we’ll appreciate it later in the week, when we’re all strong, but for now… Ehh. We got out of the house and got moving.

And sometimes that’s enough of a victory in itself.

Hiking Coyote Wall, in the Fall

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Sunday, 16-Sept-2018

First off – There were no Coyote sightings at Coyote wall.  Weak, I know, but hey.  C’est la vie.
Second off – woo hiking!  We’re still doing our training hikes, building our endurance and strength back up, and this was one more step on that ladder – a bit longer, a bit higher elevation gain, slightly heavier packs… slowly but surely, you know?
Coyote Wall is something that we’ve hiked before, but hadn’t made it all the way up to the top of before.  It’s out in the Columbia River Gorge, it’s got great views, and it’s just long enough and has just enough elevation gain to make it a legit challenge for us right now.  It’s pretty ideal, honestly.
We started in late, as a way to dodge the morning rain, and arrived just as the sun was starting to burn through the clouds.  It was beautiful, and we started into the hike with extremely high spirits, and energetic squealing from both Sarah and Ollie.  I, being the professional adult of the group, merely squeaked under my breath and smiled a lot.
The start of the trail is a bit dull, thanks to it being a section of the old gorge highway… but it’s still pretty beautiful, since I use “highway” very loosely here… we’re talking 1.5 cars wide, semi-paved… this isn’t a modern road, but one of the original roads going down the gorge as a pleasure road instead of a working road.
But once we broke onto the main trail (with a little bit of help from a random trailrunner), the views and the terrain took a huge turn for the impressive.  We worked our way up an endless series of switchbacks, constantly moving upwards along the ridgeline toward the trees in the far distance.  The terrain was mostly grasslands with random spurs of rock sticking out – Ollie’s ideal running ground, incidentally – with almost nothing blocking our views of the gorge stretching out below us.
As we got higher we started being able to see the edge of the Columbia Gorge Plateau in the distance and the vineyards dotting the landscape in between… it honestly seemed like something out of a fairytale, or maybe Lord of the Rings?
Anyways, the weather held out on us, staying beautiful right up until the point when we stopped for lunch.  We’d decided that it was about time to turn around anyways (a late start means a late lunch, which means tired legs), but the rain definitely helped us feel better about our decision.
It didn’t last long, thankfully, but it did seem to have kept everyone else off the trail for the day… we’d seen the weather report of course, but had decided that the middling chance of rain wouldn’t be enough to stop us from taking a day hike.  But I guess other people didn’t feel the same way, because we saw almost no one for the whole trip; it was beautifully abandoned, which just added to the sense of wonder and fantasy that we’d felt on the way up.  And the views were even better on the way down too!  Since we were facing down-hill, toward the Columbia River itself, we were able to spend the entire time just watching the landscape… it did make placing our feet a little tough, I’ll admit, but the distraction was absolutely worth it 🙂