I don’t need a coat. It’s summer. Famous last words. Also, why anyone who has literally lived their entire life in Oregon thinks that April is summer…
Last week my sister and I discussed how very prepared we ALWAYS are for hikes. We bring all sorts of stuff in the car: gloves, hats, multiple coats, etc. This week my sister thought she didn’t need those things. She brought the clothes on her back and a thin long sleeve shirt, “in case she got cold.”
I brought everything because I actually look at weather reports. Yes, it was sunny in Portland, but it wasn’t supposed to remain that way and we were driving basically to the beach.
When we got out of the car it was not that cold. I brought my hat, raincoat, and gloves in the pack with my Subway. I opted to leave my bigger coat/ski jacket in the car. It totally wasn’t necessary. The hike was easy-peasy compared to last week. Yes, it was uphill, but it was a gradual uphill. We could talk and hike and we weren’t even winded. The forest was incredible and the view was gorgeous from the very beginning.
The hike was only 5.2 miles. It should have been simple, but it was not, for a number of reasons. Reason number one is the 1600 feet of elevation. That gradual slope that we were so enjoying, it did not last for long. We exited the lovely forest and headed onto the rocks and gravel of the mountain. I suppose when you hike something with mountain in the title, you should expect, you know, a mountain. Lesson learned.
Since the trail turns to gravel with chicken wire/fencing on top of it, it becomes a bit precarious. I did not have any major problems with it, but my sister’s boots could not grip it. It was raining a bit and it turned the trail into danger alley. We had to climb down the steep saddle and then back up and on to the summit. All of this was on the slicker-than-snot gravel/wire trail. We went very slowly.
As we descended into the saddle, it literally started snowing. We were cold, but we assumed we were being babies. No, it was actually freezing. Today at a union meeting, grossly exaggerating was referred to as “Scaifing.” Yes, I’m very hyperbolic. But seriously, it snowed on us. That…was unexpected.
We reached the top, eventually, and it was lovely. Although it was a bit socked in, we could still see the beach and the bay, but not majestic Mt. Hood. I was looking forward to that amazing view. My sister was too cold. We needed to do some gear change up. I stripped off my shirts and gave her my base layer. To get at the base layer I obviously had to remove all of my shirts. I did this in front of two women who thought I was absolutely insane. They scampered away. I then put on my raincoat over my t-shirt and we headed back down. I sure wished my coat wasn’t in the car.
Saddle Mountain is incredible. I would recommend it to anyone. Don’t do it in the rain. I fell hard. It was hilarious. I landed gracefully for once. I was just “resting.” I told the 11 kids who witnessed it that is was slippery “back there” and to “be careful” but really I just rolled my ankle on a rock. I was smooth. They bought it.
For information about Saddle Mountain click here.