Honestly, this was not a very good hike, but it was because of me, not because the hike was bad in any way. I love hiking Wahkeena, but I hate the crowd at Multnomah Falls. They turn me into a very cranky person. I looked for alternate paths to take and discovered I could go up to Devil’s Rest and circle back around. Problem solved.
I’m very familiar with the Wahkeena portion of the hike, but as I’ve mentioned before, the signs in the gorge are terrible and probably responsible for so many people getting lost on hikes up there. I had my directions and knew where I was supposed to go… in theory. On the way up I was really scared about hurting my back, so I went really slow. Uphill laziness causes me to hunch forward slightly and that is the absolutely worst position for my back. I have to stop, stretch, and really focus on posture. Getting to the top was triumphant. It’s a 7.5 miles hike with 2,550 feet in elevation. It was definitely a challenge for someone who hadn’t been hiking. I took cherries from the farmer’s market with me and that turned out to be the perfect hiking snack. I enjoyed being up there for longer than I usually rest on hikes.
It’s when I passed Devil’s rest that things went awry. There was a turn off, somewhere, but I certainly never saw it. I ended up at Angel’s Rest, which was lovely. However, it was swarmed with idiots, as it usually is, and they were blasting music and singing, and doing all sorts of things that are just not allowed on hikes. I was so annoyed. I can’t even explain the expression that must have been plastered across my non-poker face.
After soaking in the view and trying to ignore the neanderthals around me, I convinced myself that the cut-off was on the way down. I started to descend at Angel’s Rest. As it turns out, the cut-off trail was way back in the distance. I had totally missed it. As I passed hundreds of people on my way down the Angel’s Rest switchbacks, I vowed, much like Multnomah Falls, to never hike Angel’s Rest again. It is ruined. People ruin everything.
Eventually I emerged from the forest at the Angel’s Rest trailhead. I pulled out my phone to check the distance to my car. The Wahkeena trailhead was just over three miles away, on the road with no shoulder at all. I took a deep breath, put in my headphones, which I never wear while hiking, and braved what would surely be my death.
My phone said it was a 40 minute walk. I did it much faster. I got honked at, four times. I jumped off the road once to avoid certain death. I did some precarious other side of the barriers cliff-hanging, and eventually I made it back to Wahkeena.
There were hundreds of cars parked there, for miles. However, mine had a parking ticket, $80, for my car being slightly on the road. I took pictures. I tried to fight it. They didn’t even respond. While I was taking the pictures, the car right behind mine, which didn’t have a ticket but actually was way out in the road, got hit. It was a hit and run. They sped away laughing. It was nuts.
The beginning of the hike was lovely and challenging. The end was ruined by idiots, including me.
For information about Wahkeena Falls to Devil’s Rest click here.