Monday, August 24, 2009

Paradise Park-Mt. Hood

*Longest post EVER.

This past Saturday I did something I never thought I'd do: a 12.3 mile hike. Yes, I can hear your gasps. I heard them from everyone I told. Honestly, it didn't seem like that bad of an idea, or that long. But I've done this before. I've run a 10k without really realizing HOW LONG it really was. So I said to myself "12 miles? Well, I'll be walking so it's ok." Yeah, walking UP HILL! But I digress.

I should also mention that even though it was 12.3 miles, it was one of the highlights of my summer (after my Karaoke birthday party and Kelly's engagement). My friend Morgan (who moved here from Kentucky in April) and I decided on her day off, we'd tackle and day hike and finally settled on Paradise Park in Mt. Hood. That or the coast. The coast, we will do for her birthday in October. Her 30th birthday. So coast, please don't rain for my dear friend Morgan.

We decided, since it was a Saturday, we didn't really want to get up to early, so Morgan came to pick me up at 9am and off we went to Mt. Hood. We finally started our trek at 11am. This was our view from the trail head.

As we ascended the trail toward the mountain, we got a little lost. The directions in the book weren't as detailed as we wanted, this being our first time and all, so when we came upon this sign, we were perplexed:

I decided with how the immigration policy was going, I'd better jet.

Just kidding. We decided to keep going straight cuz as you can tell from the sign, the choices were "Canada" or "Mexico" and we decided um, Mt. Hood. So straight we went.
The book directions told us we'd cross under two ski lifts, so this is what we saw when we did that:

We finally felt like we were on the right path. It was truly amazing and the best weather. We couldn't have asked for a better day. One thing I was completely surprised by was the buzzing of the bees. Poor Morgan has a "thing" about bees so I'm sure this was unsettling for her. I just ignored them (having faith they wouldn't find me tasty) and we trekked through, but man, was there buzzing. Once we finally came out of a small thing of woods, there was the beautiful mountain. Morgan decided to "explore".

We were still not 100% sure we were on the right track until we found the sign. Man, were we happy!

After the encouragement from the sign that we were going the right way, we assented toward the ridge. Man, we were FAR UP! It was a bit vertigoish, but I managed. We took a few pictures of our time on the ridge. Morgan needed to look sexy for hers:

After the ridge, we came upon a sign that said we needed a permit. We were a bit perplexed. We opened the box and basically it had a bunch of hand written notes: dates, names, destination. So that we did. Then I decided to sit in the rock chair and contemplate life for oh, 5 seconds.

After the ridge, we went into the forest. This was beautiful but didn't quite capture how I saw it in my mind's eye.

Then we came upon a moss wall

And had to cross a broken bridge

Honestly, out of all of the hike, the forest was my least favorite (but still loved it) because I felt a bit claustrophobic. Finally, I have no idea how many miles it was, but we got to the bottom where we had to cross the glacier run. We were NOT looking forward to that. So, we decided to break and have lunch.

I was there too =)

Finally, we mustered up all our courage and crossed the river. We were successful! We didn't die nor get wet, but what I always forget is that if we cross it once, we have to cross it twice. But I didn't think about that until well, we had to cross it again.
After that forested part, we came out into a beautiful open meadow. Man, this whole HIKE was just beautiful. We saw some plants that we dubbed Lorax cuz they looked like a character from dr. Seuss

And then we came to the turning point:

Do we keep going and do 12.3 miles or do we head back. After our poses we made our decision. I didn't like Morgan touching my sweaty ass back, so here I am, making a face!

And I didn't like my rolls, so I cropped it.

We headed forth. We knew no matter how hard it would be, we'd be proud we did it.

More meadows and a beautiful camp ground. Man, if I were a camper, I'd go here. If I have someone that would like to go camping next summer, I know exactly where to go! Since this was a loop, honestly, I have no idea where the "end" was, but we started to descend down. Unfortunately, there was another little river glacier thing we had to cross. Morgan was successful

But I was not so much. I hate doing the splits:

After this crossing, it was back into the forest and finally onto the ridge. By this time, we were pretty spent and didn't take as many pictures. We just wanted to get to Timberline alive!

Finally it was time to cross the major glacier river thing, the first one. Morgan went first and unfortunately a naughty rock decided to tilt mid walk and she fell about thigh deep into the water. She got a bit scrapped up and a bit wet, but was fine:

We sat there for a bit to rest and muster up all energy. I think it took us about two more hours to get back to Timberline. We were seriously so tired. Our bodies and feet ached. Finally, I saw the ski lifts and said "we're close!" and kind of jogged. Morgan was having none of it.

I think all in all, we did about 7 hours of hiking with a few breaks here and there. Its the longest I've ever been on and thus far, the most beautiful. I'm really glad I did this, and had really great company on the way there. Next up? Cascade at the coast!

*Note* Unfortunately, my recollection of events might be out of order. Also images # 8-12, 15-17, 20 & 21, 26-29 are Morgan Mathews'.


Kristin said...

So beautiful! I love to hike, especially when you are somewhere as stunning as that.

Kelly said...

Yes- This looked truly incredible. I've never seen something as pretty as some of those.