Tag Archives: hiking

Hiking Misery Ridge, Sunday 25-Aug-2019

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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

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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!

Backpacking three corners rock

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Saturday and Sunday, 29 & 30-June-2019

 

I honestly don’t even know how long it’s been since Sarah and I went backpacking… a year?  More?

We needed to get out of town, and get into the woods.

We packed up our bags, tossed them into the car, and headed toward Mt. Hood.  Our target was a nice and easy hike that we’d both done before, but never as a backpacking trip – Elk Meadows, on the East side of Mt. Hood.  A nice approach, and hopefully some wildflowers for Sarah to paint.

 

“But Ben, the title of this post says “Three Corners Rock”, not “Elk Meadows”!” you say.

“Well hold on, because this story is about to get icy!”

 

By “Icy” I mean, “we got hailed on like the sky was selling ice pellets”.  It was bad enough that we were wondering if we should seek cover to protect the car from getting dented… way above what we were comfortable backpacking in, to say the least.

We didn’t even get out of the car, I’m almost sorry to say.  But, discretion is the better part of valor, especially when trekking into the woods, and so we decided to pack it in for greener pastures… or at least, less violently raining pastures.

 

Our new goal – Three Corners Rock, the place Ollie and I had hiked the weekend before.  It’s not technically a backpacking trip, pre-say, but I had found a really pretty meadow near the top that I figured would make a good campsite.  And, since Sarah was looking for wildflowers and good views, I couldn’t think of a better place than the top of the rock pinnacle.

After stopping into Hood River to quickly check the weather, we headed onward, to the trailhead!

 

The hike itself was pretty simple – it’d been ages since we’d backpacked together, as I mentioned, so we walked pretty slowly.  Enjoying the forest, the light, and the fact that we were finally out of the city and in nature.  We still made good time, somehow, and found ourselves at the final trail junction right as the sun was about to set.

Instead of setting up camp first, we dropped our packs near the top and hustled up to the main rock to catch the sunset – and what a sunset it was!  Last weekend was foggy and cloudy and gross, but this weekend was amazing.  Perfectly clear, we had amazing views of all four major mountains nearby – Hood, Adams, Rainier and St. Helens, all in view from the top.

 

Once the sun had set and we’d started getting cold, we packed in our books and art supplies and headed back to our packs to set up camp.  Sarah set up the tent and sleeping bags, while I cooked us up some food.  Or, more accurately, I boiled water and watched the stove, making us our evening mountain house ration and our cup of cocoa.  It was amazing.

 

The next day dawned with the usual fervor – Mostly on Ollie’s part, wondering why we were still asleep when we could instead be running around and sniffing all the things.

We had a lovely breakfast, followed by one last trip up to the top of the rock to read and paint a bit more.

The trail home was quick and simple, as going downhill usually is.  Then a jaunt in the car, some stops for wildflower meadow frolicking, and back to town to wash up and get ready for the week ahead.