Tag Archives: Training hike

Sunday, 24-Feb-2019 – Hiking to Angels Rest, Columbia River Gorge

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Sunday, 24-Feb-2019

 

Sarah and I have been having rather amazingly relaxing weekends – getting things done around the house, decompressing from the weeks, and trying to keep calm amid the swirling chaos of my new job and Sarah’s art fair deadlines.

For the most part, we’re doing well and staying sane.

But… it’s not easy, and sometimes what we need is an escape into the mountains.  Or, in this case, the cliffs of the gorge.

 

This weekend was kind of rough, starting out… we knew that we wanted to go on some sort of adventure, but couldn’t decide what to do or where to go.  The mountains of the Pacific Northwest had gotten hit pretty hard the previous week with snow, so all the major peaks were under avalanche warning – those weren’t an option.  Long drives were possible… but we honestly couldn’t see ourselves sitting in the car for four hours after the craziness of the week.

We ended up cutting ourselves some slack, and taking it easy: The Columbia River Gorge is right in our back yard, after all, so why not take advantage of that?  Especially when it’s being blanketed in a new coat of light snow!

 

We packed the night before, poured a thermos of coffee that morning, and drove in.

Honestly, there’s not much to say about the hike.  It was simple, it was beautiful, and it was easy.  It was, with all of those, exactly what we needed.  A chance to get into the woods, to feel the wind and the snow, and to enjoy the stillness of the winter air.  Or, the stillness of the air being broken by the sound of Ollie sprinting up and down the trail, loving every second of being able to play in the snow.

It was a good hike.

 

My first hike!  Treking out and back on Eagle Creek.

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My first hike!  Treking out and back on Eagle Creek.
My first hike!  Treking out and back on Eagle Creek.
Friday, 02-June-2017
 It’s been a while since I broke my knee and damaged the ACL.
Honestly, that’s kind of long to say… let’s just start saying that I  broke my leg.  That’s quicker, and gives a pretty good overview of what happened.  Saves some time, you know?
And since life is being so busy and crazy, saving time is pretty good.  Why, you might ask?  Well, because I was cleared to start hiking again!!!
I’m not cleared to go too crazy though… so while I can go for a long-ish hike, I can’t go steep or treacherous, as far as terrain goes.  What to hike, what to hike…  Eagle Creek?  One of the most popular trails in the Gorge?  Simple, variable length, and full of people to come save me if I need to be carried out?  I think that fits the bill.
Parking would still be an issue though, since Eagle Creek is one of the most popular routes.  Sarah and I anticipated that though, so we headed out from Hood River early in the morning.  Technically we didn’t have to worry, since I’ve still got the handicapped sticker for the car… but I’d feel pretty weird parking in a handicapped spot, pulling out the backpack and hiking poles, and then charging in for a 7 mile hike.  Seems a bit disengenuous, you know?
So we

got up early, found a parking spot in a lovely bit of shade, and headed in.  Just Sarah and I, unfortunately… Ollie was dis-invited this time, since the trail has extremely steep sides (but a really nice trail), and I couldn’t hold the leash (broken, you know), and Sarah (very understandably) didn’t want to be dragged along by an over-energetic puppy the entire time.  Which meant that we could take our time, and set a pretty solid pace for ourselves as we traipsed into the woods.

The hike was kind of long and kind of boring.
I mean, I’d love to say that it was glorious, and full of birds and sunshine and donuts filled with spring cheer.  But, ya know, there’s a reason that I’m a rock climber, and not a hiker.  Hiking is kind of boring.  Even in the Columbia River Gorge, even walking along a cliffside above a river.  It’s good exercise though, so we stuck it out and enjoyed ourselves as best we could.
Both Sarah and I were a bit frayed from the week, so we split ways about halfway through, at Punchbowl Falls.  It’s a beautiful spot for lunch, so Sarah stayed and took a slow walk back while I pushed on ahead for a ways, trying to get my full goal of 7 miles in.  Which I did… but again, would’ve preferred to be climbing.
Then I turned around, hiked back, we met up, and headed back toward the house to the rescue of a very appreciative puppy.
What, too quick of an ending?  Well, the hike itself went really well: my knee held up really well, even with the descent into and ascent out of the Punchbowl.  Going down the trail was a bit challenging, but with Sarah helping out and my poles stabilizing me, there wasn’t really any issue.  The real challenge was pure endurance – I was so out of shape, that even this nearly-level trail was a solid challenge for me.  But that’s what we get in shape though, right?  Constant hiking, getting tired, and pushing ourselves?
It was a good push, and a very good start to my return to adventure in the great outdoors!

31-May-2016, A second hike of the weekend – Dog Mountain!

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31-May-2016, A second hike of the weekend – Dog Mountain!

Monday, 31-May-2016 (Memorial Day)

 

What’s the best way to celebrate Memorial Day?  How about doing a long hike with a heavy pack?  Especially a day after doing an even longer hike, but with a much lighter pack.

 

Yeah, I think that’s a slightly nuts way to spend Memorial Day too… but what can I say? I’m slightly nuts.

I didn’t get up early, as one should expect from me, but I did get up and get myself moving. I loaded my pack with a standard kit… not light, but not excessive or training weight or anything. Just enough to keep it interesting, you know?

 

Then a drive, a hunt for a parking spot. A short walk from the spot I finally found, and the start of the trail.

Soon enough, a test appeared.  A split, with one arrow pointing toward the “less difficult” section, and another one pointing toward a “more difficult” section.  Obviously I took the more difficult… I figured that I’d do it as a loop, and that tackling the more difficult section first would make life a bit simpler… right?

Meh, I can’t say much toward ascending the less difficult side, but the more difficult one wasn’t anything special.  The hard part was (opposite to most Gorge trails) near the end, after the two reconvened.  That part was steep.  But the payoff was worth it… Wildflowers!  

 

The trail dumped me into a steep meadow, going as far as the eye could see… even onto some of the other peaks and ridge lines in the distance.

It. Was. Glorious!

 

So I rested up top, read a bit (until the bugs got too much), and headed down the “less difficult” section.  Really… the pictures here are the story.  Not the writing.  So enjoy!