When I was 19 my friend Jake Valentine gave me my first tattoo. It was prison-style, with a safety pin, and was administered on a dirty carpet in another friend’s apartment. He used my kind-of-clean sweater as a rag because there were no clean towels available. It was an ankh with horns, because I am a Taurus and an idiot. When I was 26 I decided to have it fixed/amended. My boyfriend drew up some symbols (that I wanted) that basically meant he and me for eternity. Well, since that didn’t work out, I needed something new…again. Yesterday Roll Hardy, tattoo artist extraordinaire, got started on my phoenix. It’s insane. It also made hiking an adventure. My sister has been battling a cold all week as well. We decided short and beautiful, since it was actually sunny, was just the right combination for today.
We headed up the Columbia Gorge to Angel’s Rest. It’s 4.8 miles and 1450 feet of elevation. It’s also the only hike I ever did with the aforementioned ex. As my friends Rich and Robyn Simons said last night, it’s time to make new memories. The Portland Metro Area was incredible today. Fall is in full-bloom. The sun is out but not exactly warm. Bright leaves fall on every surface. It smells like wood-burning fires and decay (but not in a bad way, in a cycle of life sort of way). I LOVE fall. It is my absolute favorite.
Angel’s Rest is a straight up sort of hike. It wasn’t the hardest or the easiest hike we’ve ever done. It definitely has switchbacks, our favorite (no sarcasm at all). About 90 percent of the hike is through thick, lush forest. The very top is exposed, providing glorious views of the gorge in all directions. It was a crazy busy day at Angel’s Rest. It’s a pretty busy hike anyway, but a sunny day in October? You better believe it was packed. We parked on the side of the road because both lots were full. This really rad old dude parked in front of us. His license plate was NW HIKR. He hopped out and tied on his blue hiking bandana and hit the trail like nobody’s business. We stayed with him pretty much the whole hike. He was awesome.
It truly is a beautiful hike with bubbling brooks (as my sister always calls them) and gorge views in numerous places. When you reach the top it is breathtaking. Some other people had lunch with them, like we always do, but there were a lot of jealous glances at our Subway. It was delicious, as always. The last time I hiked Angel’s Rest I remember seeing gigantic Red-Tailed Hawks circling under the cliffs. No cool birds this time. We stood at the top for about 10 minutes taking in the view and then headed back down.
It was a great day and my back only hurt a little. I wore my backpack on my front so that I wouldn’t irritate/agitate my new, beautiful artwork. My sister offered to carry it, but I didn’t want to be a total wimp. I felt a lot less lame with my constant need to stop and catch my breath on the uphills too. My sister was so stuffed up, she needed breaks too. For once, but only because she was sick, we were on the same fitness level. Woot!
For information about Angel’s Rest click here.