Hike 36 – Washington Park Loop

Spring is finally here. Things are blooming. We can’t wait for the wild-flower hikes in our near future. Spring is much better for hiking than winter.

I’ve had a hard week. Despite my efforts to distance myself from my ex there are just too many people in this world that we both love. There are too many ways in which I accidentally get information about his life that I don’t want. It upsets me. It shouldn’t after a year, but it does. I’ve learned over this experience that sometimes you just have to feel what you feel and wait it out. Right now what I feel is hate. So so much hate. Hate is a waste. It sucks the energy out of you. I am fully aware of this. I am fully aware that indifference would be much healthier. I’m not there yet. I hate him, so much. I can’t help it. In time, it will morph into indifference. I often wish I had a time machine. Maybe I”ll order one off the interwebs like Napoleon Dynamite. This was a hate-filled week. The hike today was able to lessen that, as it always does.

My parents are retired (lucky!). Last week on one of their many adventures they went up to Washington Park. They mentioned the numerous trails there and I decided to check it out. I had no idea that part of the 30 miles of Wildwood Trail went all the way up to the zoo. That is a crazy trail. We parked at the zoo and headed toward Pittock Mansion on the Wildwood Trail. We hiked a total of 6+ miles and did about 800 feet of elevation. Like most southwest Portland trails, there were a lot of ravines and hills, that means lots of uphill on the way in and lots of uphill on the way out. My sister hates that. The hike was seriously lovely though.

Because we started at the zoo, we did a lot of talking about zoos and aquariums. For a long time now, both my sister and I have been strongly philosophically opposed to both. Many of my friends have children and I’ve thought that maybe when I have children I will change my mind. After talking to my sister today though, sharing some stories and some info, we have decided we will never give money to a zoo or aquarium. We just cannot support them. We do not believe in their work. It would probably require a longer conversation to explain.

After leaving the zoo parking lot, we headed into the Hoyt Arboretum. The variety of trees is unreal. There were trilliums everywhere, glowing white and bright pink. We walked through Hemlock, Spruce, and Redwoods. As we continued north we also walked around the Japanese Gardens. We did not go in, but from above we could see most of the main features. It looked amazing today. Eventually, after a lot of climbing, we reached the Pittock Mansion and could see the entirety of Portland. We didn’t stay long. This was our second hike that ended at Pittock.

On our way back we took a loop up the Creek Trail and hit another section of the Hoyt Arboretum. It’s truly amazing that we have such cool places in our city. When we crested the hill above the zoo we were right above the Vietnam Memorial. Neither of us could remember having walked through it before, so we headed toward it. It really is an amazing memorial. I learned a lot today just reading its many monuments. When we were standing in the 1968-1969 section there was another woman there. She was looking for her husband and couldn’t find him even though she knew he was there. I looked for a minute and found him.  She was incredibly grateful. She explained that she had loved him since she was 16. It was so sweet. We talked to her for about 10 minutes about the Vietnam War and how it is so sad that we can’t learn from our mistakes as a nation.

We left the memorial and headed back to the car. All around, it was a really awesome day. I love hike suggestions that work out. As we were driving back toward home we took the Fremont Bridge. My sister loves driving on and around the Fremont bridge because she claims that its many entrances and exits “look like the future.” This was our conversation:

Her: It’s the future!

Me: It smells like a fart (because it did).

Her: Yeah, the future smells bad.

 

For information about Washington Park click here.

Hike 35 – Pacific Crest Trail from Bridge of the Gods

Dry Creek

 

My sister has a set schedule again! Woot! She now has Thursdays and Fridays off. Boo. We’ll figure it out. We always do. Since it is Spring Break we decided to head out today, Thursday. I had an appointment in Gresham, so we decided to hike in the gorge. I couldn’t find what I was looking for when I ran my normal searches, so I just decided to hit the Pacific Crest Trail at the Bridge of the Gods and see where the day took us.

We found a parking spot right by the trail head and grabbed all of our waterproof gear. It was raining pretty darn hard. We had already stopped at Subway, so we were hoping to find a nice dry place somewhere to eat at our halfway point (where ever that ended up being).

The trail is an “endless slight incline.” I’m going to trademark that phrase. My sister, as usual, hiked quickly and left me in the dust. When she sees a hill, regardless of how steep it is, she just puts her head down and trudges through. She starts walking really really fast and I cannot keep up. When she gets to a point where she can’t see me anymore, she stops and waits. It’s our tradition. It happened a lot today.

The Pacific Crest Trail is well marked. I appreciate that about it. There are so many trails that have no markings and you just have to guess and/or have really good notes. At every junction of the PCT, in the many places I’ve hit it during other hikes, there are great signs. Thank you whoever takes care of that! It’s awesome.

When we hit the junction that met up with Dry Creek Falls, we decided to take a short side trip to see it. There are never enough falls. They are lovely. There was also a nice bridge, feature, that my sister wanted desperately to cross for some reason. We did and we continued to hike up the trail. I would guess we did about 6 miles, but I can’t be sure. I also have no idea how much elevation, but we climbed for most of the hike. At some point, after a couple hours, my sister said, “I’m tired of going this way. Let’s eat and head back.” There was no where dry to eat so I sat on my hoodie in the middle of the trail. My sister ate standing up. There was little fanfare. We shared some water and headed back down.

Today’s conversation was mostly about credit debt so I’ll definitely spare you those details. We did spend some time talking about the trail itself though. My sister said it reminded her of the yellow brick road. The forest is untouched except for the trail. There are no offshoot trails, no other signs of life, just the trail. It’s almost like it doesn’t belong. I thought it was a good comparison.

There were some delightful children in front of us for about five minutes before their dad realized we were there. They were playing a rhyming game. It was cute. I thought my sister was going to play. She loves that kind of thing. A few times, the sun came out to visit us. At one point my sister said, “Look at this moss carpet. I wish I was a sprightly forest nymph so I could lay on that carpet and call the sun to me.” Yep, that’s her. I would love to, at some point, really hike the PCT. Hopefully I can make that happen.

For information about Dry Creek Falls click here.

For information about the Pacific Crest Trail click here.

 

Hike 34 – Sandlake-Cape Kiwanda

Beach

Spring Break in Oregon is generally a rainy affair. Starting tomorrow it will be, but we got four days straight of glorious, beautiful sunshine. You gotta take advantage. Besides Ecola on hike number 3, we haven’t done any beach hikes. There are a ton. We decided to go for distance so that we could spend the whole day in the sun and salt. I am actually quite sunburned this morning…and I love it. The Sandlake-Cape Kiwanda hike is 8.2 miles total. It is entirely on sand, most of it on the flat of the beach. There is 250 feet of elevation gain, but ALL of that elevation is climbing “The Great Dune” that separates Tierra Del Mar (the beach community where you park) from Pacific City. The dune is a heck of a workout.

We started out early. My sister got to my house at 8am. I made her cinnamon roll waffles. I saw it on the Failblog (under wins). You put four Pillsbury cinnamon rolls in your waffle iron and squish ’em down. Warning: they cook super fast, way faster than waffles. Then you have super fantastic cinnamon roll waffles and you put the frosting on them instead of syrup. I can’t have Pillsbury stuff, so I was really stoked to make them for her. She didn’t seem disappointed.

After breakfast we headed to Subway so we didn’t make the same mistake we made last time we went to the beach. Refer to the Ecola post. It involves far too much Mexican food and our inability to function. Then we headed out. Our grandparents retired to Bay City. My papa was even the mayor! Highway 6 is very familiar to us and it brought out a lot of memories. My mom used to sing to us on road trips. You better believe we sang a few of her songs.

Once we were through Tillamook we started talking about how beach towns are just a little bit “different” than other towns. Not Fantastic Mr. Fox different either, because that’s a good different. We were searching for an adjective when I hit on it and then it fit for the rest of the trip. The towns we passed through were just a little bit “methy.” Everything looks a little bit rundown, dirty, unkempt, drug-addled. You get the point. The beach is methy.

Once we hit Tierra Del Mar, our starting point, we immediately wanted to stay there. It’s delightful. We will definitely be back probably to rent a beach house. It’s sandwiched by Sandlake and Pacific City, but it’s a world of its own. It’s quite lovely. We found the parking lot easily and hit the beach. We immediately took off our shoes, of course, and headed north. We walked about three miles until we hit a river and couldn’t go any further then we turned back. We made up a whole story about how Sharock and our parents were staying in one of the houses on Tierra Del Mar and they had spaghetti and meatballs and beers waiting for us. It was a bit disappointing to camp out on a log and eat our Subway. A bit, but really we were on a beautiful beach so not really.

We continued heading south past our parking spot and toward The Great Dune. There were a ton of cars on the beach and people were paragliding off the dune, which by the way looks awesome. After a couple miles it was time to climb the dune. It took us a while and some climbing with our hands on the steepest parts, but we reached the top. Success!

After a about five minutes of taking in the amazing view and snapping a few model shots, we headed back down and back to the car. It was a nearly perfect day. I say nearly perfect because my sister got HUGE blisters on her feet. She was pretending to be a giant and smashing her “denizens” as we walked. We decided they had formed a rebellion and were poking her feet with pitchforks. How else does one get blisters when they are barefoot? Damn denizens. They can be so needy.

For information about the Sandlake-Cape Kiwanda hike click here.

Hike 33 – Clackamas River Trail

c riverWe actually got to hike on Sunday again. Thank you Costco scheduling lady! It only took my sister specifically requesting the day off a month ahead of time for that to happen. Totally legit….not. It was super rainy yesterday, but not while we were hiking. It was quite lovely actually. We had way too many layers on and ended up cramming our coats into our backpacks after about five minutes of actual hiking.

When my sister and I were young, our dad was a competitive whitewater rafter. He trained all year and he and my uncles competed in a rafting race/competition both as individuals and in group events. Because of these races and the self-imposed training schedule my dad followed, we spent a ridiculous amount of time on the upper portion (above the dams) of the Clackamas River out passed Estacada. I once saw my dad flip at Carter Falls and stay under for a long long time. It was absolutely terrifying. Obviously he eventually resurfaced and we went along with our lives.

Neither of us have ventured up the Clackamas in a really long time, so when JWed suggested the Clackamas River Trail as a hike, I was in. It was super easy to find and a quick drive. We scarfed our Subway in the car and headed across the street from the parking lot to the trail. It is a 7.8 mile trail along the river with 450 feet of elevation gain. We definitely didn’t have time for a 15+ mile hike with a late start, so we figured we’d hike for a few hours and then head back. As soon as we hit the trail our hopes were dashed. There was a sign explaining that the trail was washed out at the 2 mile mark and impassable. ‘Darn, we only get in 4 miles today,’ was my first thought. My second thought was, ‘We’ve seen lots of trails that are impassable and we’ve passed them just fine. We got this.’

In summary, we continued on the hike. It is a narrow trail that sticks to the river although it seemed like quite a bit more than 450 feet in elevation. We climbed and descended several times as we worked along the river. A fire had obviously raged through this portion of the forest and the wildlife was just starting to re-emerge. There were even signs of spring as buds bloomed on burned-out branches. The river was amazingly powerful. It was a deep shade of green with a treacherous current. It made us both want to go swimming. Water does that to us. Thanks, Dad.

Eventually we reached another sign that read “Turn around here.” We did not. There was also a little note in sharpie on the sign that read “Unless you are Nicole and Juday.” That made us hopeful. If those idiots could make it, so could we, right?

Just passed the sign we reached the first wash out. It looked passable. My sister didn’t even hesitate. She just walked right across it. What she didn’t see, but I did, is that every time she took a step the ground was literally crumbling beneath her, crumbling toward a shear rock face that lead about 200 feet down directly to the hypothermia river. Because I had seen the crumbling ground, I was terrified. I couldn’t do it. I was stuck. She came to get me and I eventually made it across, but I have never been scared on a hike before and I was scared.

We continued on and there was another wash out, even worse than the first. Someone had strung a rope across it to help you navigate, but that didn’t work for me. I have NO upper-body strength. If I was hanging from a rope, I would die. Period. We turned back. Now, I had to cross that stupid first wash-out all over again. Again, Jessie just did it. She went slower this time and was careful, but she was across….with rocks and earth tumbling beneath her. I actually cried a little bit when she was going. What the hell would I have done if she fell? I was in the middle of nowhere with no way to contact anyone. She would have died, for sure.  Then it was my turn. I was less scared for myself honestly. I gripped the mossy wall tightly and went slow. I made it. I will never do that again on a hike. So so so so so so stupid.

The way back was easy. We saw this totally weird guy hiking. We made up a whole story about him but here is the gist: Tweed jacket, dress shoes, dress pants, too-tight, belly bulging, yellow, tucked-in turltleneck, coffee mug, and bright orange army surplus vintage canteen. He was seriously weird. We decided he was trying to hard to be a hipster and a hiker and the hipster won the battle for the day. He was a laugh riot. I made up a voice for him but it won’t translate through this 😦

We got back to the car super fast and headed home. We did the 4 miles in about an hour and fifteen minutes. It was our shortest and most dangerous hike to date. I hope to do the whole thing some day.

For information about the Clackamas River Trail click here.

Hike 32 – Old Salmon River Trail

We had to hike on Monday. Next week, finally, we get to hike on Sunday again. I’m sooooo excited for that. It’s a wonderful thing to look forward to.

I left work right after the kiddos and met my sister and our tag-along, Sharock Bruce Hannah, right outside. They were hungry so we went to Subway first, even though I had dinner plans that night. It was delicious though and I only ate a tiny bit of dinner so it all worked out.

We drove up to Welches and hit the same trail we tried to do weeks ago when Josh Kanable led us astray 🙂 We started at the first trail head (because there are five) so that we could get in the maximum amount of hiking. The trail is old and worn and runs along-side the Salmon River. The river is roaring this time of year and quite beautiful. It’s five miles round trip and about 200 feet of elevation change total. It’s basically flat. There were a ton of bridges (features) of all different varieties. It was lovely.

The moss on the trees in this portion of the forest is insane. We often joke about the producers of Grimm “placing” moss on our walks. Apparently, people, who are not from Oregon, thought the moss in the trees on the show was “over the top” and “obviously fake” when the show first came out. We think that is hilarious, so we mention it often. We say, “Wow, the Grimm people did an excellent job on that one” or whatever.

There were a lot of places on the trail that were covered in water. We had to negotiate creeks running through the trail. Then we reached a place where the only way across was a log. I hopped up onto it and was across in no time. Then I started my long wait for Jessie and Sharock…..they never came. I had to go back and we went up to the road and went around it. Wimps.

After going around the creek we hit the trail again and were on our way. Since we had to rejoin the trail, we built a marker out of rocks and sticks so that we could find the right intersection on our way back. It worked like a dream.

My sister and Sharock washed out the jar that had Patti’s ashes in it in the river. They decided if it had any left it was wrong to throw it away. I agree. We took a stellar dual model pose this week, thanks Sharock. When we finished the hike we headed back to the car in almost darkness. Right as we reached the trail head a giant thunder clap rattled the world around us. It was time to go.

For information about the Old Salmon River Trail click here.

Hike 31 – Triple Falls

triple falls

Today I took my first solo hike. My sister had to work and everyone I asked was busy. It was such a beautiful day I didn’t mind at all. It was a perfect northwest hike day. I often think about what I’m going to write on the blog as I hike, silently composing if you will. Today I did that more than usual because I didn’t have my sister to talk to. So, here is the actual post I composed while walking:

I do not believe in God. I realize that some people might find that worrisome or sad. I do not. It is the conclusion I have come to after the sum of my life experiences. I am entitled to it as much as anyone else is entitled to their faith. I’m okay with it. While I was hiking today this was on my mind. It was on my mind because of the amazing beauty I experienced on the trail today. If there was a God, I have to believe you would find him in a place like Triple Falls, in a place where you are surrounded by beautiful creations (water, wind, snow, sun, plants, animals, and friendly people). I have to believe that if there were a God he would be far closer to a person in muddy boots on a hiking trail than those who sit in uncomfortable fancy clothes silently judging one another’s level of devotion and monetary contributions. As much as this is a hiking blog, it is also my journey. Nature is amazing. People, on the other had, can be a damn disappointment. On my Facebook page my religion says, “No Church in the Wild.” Admittedly, that is a Kanye West lyric (I like his music. Don’t judge me). It’s true though. There is no church out there, because church isn’t necessary in the wild. You’re a part of everything.

Triple Falls doesn’t look very amazing in my picture above. It could basically be a trickle. I assure you. It is not. It is absolutely incredible. The trail is steep. I was utterly alone the entire way up. On the way down I passed a ton of people, but I got a pretty early start so it was eerily (perfectly) quiet in the woods today. The hike from the Oneonta trail head to the falls is 1.8 miles. Officially it has 650 feet in elevation change, but it felt more like 7000 million feet in elevation change, so I’m not sure that is accurate. There was snow covering the trail in many places, but hikers before me had created dirt covered footprints that kept me safe. The sun was peaking through the whole trip, warming my body and soul. Water trickled from every surface. The forest was alive.

I went a ways past Triple Falls because a lovely bridge (feature) was visible in the distance. I kept going and eventually got close to a burning fire. There was smoke billowing up in the trees and I could smell it… and it creeped me out. I could think of many sketchy reasons to have a fire going in the middle of the trail but I could only think of a few legit ones. I decided I didn’t want to happen upon anyone on my own. My mind is always operating in a horror movie scenario. I turned around. I would guess I hiked just shy of four miles total. It was amazing.

For information about Triple Falls click here.

Hike 30 – Eagle Creek to High Bridge (With a Punchbowl Side Trip)

We have done 30 hikes! How cool is that? We hiked on Monday this week, which I guess is technically the next week, but whatever. It was a rainy stormy day, so we definitely had the rain gear out. It didn’t help much. Beyond the rain, this hike was just crazy wet. I loved it. I can’t imagine hiking it dry now. It wouldn’t be nearly as cool. Eagle Creek has cliff sides that are shear and amazing. They are so high and so dangerous that permanent wires are attached to the walls that you can hold on to as you walk. When it is raining, and there is snowpocalypse snow-melt occurring, water just pours over them. It is really incredible.

We both had our super water resistant hiking boots on and we still got wet. We saw tons of people hiking in just tennis shoes. Quite frankly, that is crazy. Get ready to roll a fresh ankle. We got wet at the same spot. There is a small creek crossing that was roaring due to the snow-melt and we both went in, obviously not on purpose. We are not graceful, my sister and me. She went in on the way up. I went in on the way down. Wet feet are better than painful feet though. Hiking boots are super comfortable.

We have been carrying around our aunt Patti’s ashes for the last 10 hikes or so looking for a place to deposit them. We finally found it. We intended to hike to High Bridge which is an aptly named amazingly high bridge 3.2 miles from the trail head. However, neither of us had ever been to Punchbowl Falls, so we decided it was necessary to take a little side trip. When we saw that amazing Punchbowl, we knew it was where Patti needed to go. I got as close to the water as I could and dumped her in. I was really hoping it wouldn’t be a Big Lebowski moment, because of course that really happens, and it wasn’t. It was lovely. The power of the water as it hits is incredible. It’s a pretty short hike up to Punchbowl. If you like reading the blog but think you aren’t fit enough to keep up with us (which is ridiculous by the way) it would be a good starter hike. It has hills, cliffs, amazing views, and everything a longer hike has, but it is only a couple miles round trip. Do it!

As we rejoined the main trail after Punchbowl, we headed up and up and up. The climb to High Bridge is 840 feet in elevation gain total. It’s really an amazing trail. There were several places where you walk along the cliffs and there are wires to keep you safe. Along those cliffs were unmelted piles of snow which definitely made our navigation cautious and slow. As always, on the uphill my sister powers through and I end up really far behind her. Then she waits. I like to say that my slow and steady is slower and steadier than hers, but really I’m just easily winded.

All told, we probably hiked just short of 7 miles. It was a beautiful rainy day.

For more information about Eagle Creek click here.

Hike 29 – Snowpocalypse 2014 (Everything is a hike in the snow)

Snowpocalypse

In Portland, snow means that you basically cannot travel. Portland does not have enough snow plows, does not have enough de-icer, does not use salt for environmental reasons, and is basically ridiculous. When it snows in Portland, the town shuts down. As a teacher, I get snow days and Portland’s inability to function doesn’t hurt or help me. I feel bad for people who actually have to get around. Once the snow melted and the schools opened back up, the most dangerous place was in Portland. Sandy and Boring and Damascus were safe as houses; my street was basically Government Camp. Sid handled like a champ though. There were no crises.

When you walk in the snow, everything is a hike, especially when it has a layer of ice and top of it and you have to break through.  My sister and I decided our best option for a hike when we were both snowed-in separately was to walk to each other and back. We both live in southeast Portland, but I live 47 blocks east and approximately 48 blocks south of her. We plotted our route so that we could actually meet each other and we headed out separately. There was about 4 inches of snow on the ground and it was snowing HARD.

I adjusted by route slightly to make sure I could stop by the liquor store. You have to have priorities when you are going to be snowed in for awhile. My sister adjusted her route as well because her million dollar Sorel boots were hurting her so bad she couldn’t stand walking in them any longer. Funny story, several snow days later I was with the fabulous Becky Curry who was also wearing million dollar Sorel boots and she was also in pain. In summary, those boots suck and you should spend your money elsewhere. They are super cute, but function before fashion has always been my motto. They each had totally different models of the boots and they were both in pain. My sister ended up buying slipper boots and walking home in the soaking wet boots. Her motto is that wet shoes are always better than painful shoes. I tend to agree.

Anyway, we continued to head toward each other in the snow. The hill on 39th at Clinton was the hardest hill I’ve ever walked in my life. I was so winded it was ridiculous. I blame the snow not my lack of fitness. We met up just the slightest bit south of 39th and Hawthorne. I walked 3 miles each way (6 miles total). My sister and Sharock walked 2.4 miles each way (4.8 miles total). It was rough going in the snow and beautiful. We most definitely met both of our normal hike goals: beauty and fitness.

Once we met up we headed into Tom’s Bar on 39th and Division and had hot toddies. It was the perfect way to warm up. On the walk home it was freezing raining like no one’s business. I did some grocery shopping on my way back so I thought my back was going to break by the time I got home. My fancy new backpack (thanks Sharock) and my coat were covered with a layer of ice. Freezing rain is nuts.

We basically just walked a few blocks in town, but it was a great day!

Hike 28 – Oneonta Trail (Horsetail Falls and Ponytail Falls)

Oneonta Trail

My sister has to work on Sunday again and apparently every Sunday for the foreseeable future. I guess when you politely explain to your scheduling manager that you have had Sunday off for 5 years, what she hears is that you want to work every Sunday for the rest of your life and have split days off. Hmmmm.

So, on Wednesday, we headed to the Oneonta trail head in search of Triple Falls. Both Jeremy Wedell and SteveZ told me it was a great hike and worth seeing so I wanted to see it. We had our second tag-a-long. Woohoo! My sister, the one and only, amazing Luke Strecker, and I hit the trail in the late afternoon. I didn’t have directions with me. I usually bring them, but this time I did not. So stupid. The trails in the gorge are so poorly marked it’s ridiculous. They are marked, periodically, but the markings make little to no sense. It might as well say red, green, and blue with arrows. No wonder so many people get lost in the gorge.

We headed up some beautiful switchbacks into the forest. It was raining, but not hard. Much like Lacey, Luke is a fabulous photographer, so we have lots of photos documenting the gorgeous scenery. I even brought my umbrella to keep his camera dry. It had never been opened before. Oregonians don’t use umbrellas. I bought it when I went to New Orleans.

We reached our first trail split and it had a  number of signs with arrows. None of them said Triple Falls, of course. We headed toward Horsetail Falls. We reached the falls and crossed a bridge that had a printed, wet, held-down-by-a-rock paper that basically said, “This bridge is falling down. Only one person at a time should cross it.” Totally safe.

After we crossed the bridge and scoped out Horsetail Falls, we headed up some switchbacks toward Ponytail Falls. Ponytail Falls is one of the neato falls that you can walk behind. My sister and I decided it would be the perfect place to live in the event of a zombie apocalypse. We even picked out where our tents would go and the defenses that would be required to survive. Dibs.

After quite a bit more distance in that direction we realized we were hiking to nowhere and turned around. By the time we got back to the trail junction that would actually take us to Triple Falls, it was dark and we headed back to the car instead. My sister has this really irrational fear of getting stuck in the dark, so I try to appease her. Plus, I can go back there another day and see it 🙂

My knee is still pretty messed up from falling last week. As we headed back down the steep switchbacks, my sister and Luke were a mile ahead of me. Either Luke makes her go faster or I’m really really slow with this knee injury. I also suppose it could be a combination of the two. It was a lovely rainy day in the gorge and the falls and forests were beautiful.

For information about Triple Falls click here.

Hike 27 – Salmon River Butte Hike

Salmon River

We had to hike on Thursday this week. My sister had to work all day on Sunday and she does next week too. It’s almost as if the scheduler at Costco is doing it out of spite at this point. I had intended to hike with her on Thursday and then again with Josh Kanable and Jeremy Wedell on Sunday, but unfortunately it didn’t work out that way.

My sister met me at work at 2:30 on Thursday. My students leave at 2:20 so I thought I could run out and we could immediately head up the mountain with as much light as possible. Unfortunately not one but two sets of parents came to see me after school so our start was a little later than we intended. We were heading up to Salmon River to do the quick 5 mile 200 feet in elevation gain hike, but that didn’t work out either.

When I told Josh Kanable that we were heading up to Salmon River he suggested an alternate route. We parked at Salmon Butte and headed up. There was quite a bit more than 200 feet in elevation change in this hike, but we were okay with it. It was a sunny, beautiful January day and the air was cold and healing. As we walked parallel to the river we crossed multiple springs making their way to the river. Some were crossable by strategically placed rocks, others required fancy footwork including balancing on a piece of firewood. We stayed dry though.

As we headed up we were looking for a rock that signified an offshoot trail, following Josh’s directions to amazing waterfalls. After hiking for quite some time we realized we had obviously missed it. We decided to keep heading up until it started to get dark and then maybe hit the trail Josh suggested on the way back down (if we could find it). We headed through beautiful forest until my sister got freaked out about getting stuck in the dark and then we headed back down. I have no idea how many miles or how much elevation we did. Doesn’t matter. It was lovely.

On the way back down we did indeed find the rock and the trail behind it. We were supposed to head in about a half mile and then head up the river toward the falls. We walked about three hundred feet down the steep trail and then I stepped wrong on a root and fell, hard. I heard my knee pop and I hit the ground. It hurt bad enough that I had a picture of my sister hiking to the car, driving to the highway, and calling 911. I definitely imagined them finding me in the dark and being one of “those” hikers on the news. I rested on the ground for a minute and then tried to stand up. My knee, the troublesome area, held my weight. We made our way back to the car and had Subway in Sandy.

That was two days ago. I was feeling a lot better today. I was going to go on a hike tomorrow even though any sort of twisting still causes a shooting pain. I was putting something in a low drawer and I squatted down to look into the drawer. It turns out that, unbeknownst to me, I cannot squat with this particular injury. I fell to the floor writhing in pain and it was like the injury had just happened again. I’m going to rest and ice and hope that it gets better.

Despite the fall, it really was a great hike and a wonderful way to spend a Thursday afternoon. It is at least partially my fault because I forgot to take my hiking boots. Live and learn.

For information about the Salmon River Hike click here.