Forest Road Hike

Hike Distance: 7.6 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 729,0 miles

Elevation Gain: 1386 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 105785 feet

The big deal about this hike wasn’t the actual hike, but the drive to the trailhead.  Frightening is what the drive amounted to, and we felt like we were driving on an exposed ledge above a river!  The actual road was asphalted, and mostly in great shape.  In fact, there were plenty of homes along the drive, and we wondered what the home owners would do if the road was wet, or icy.

The actual hike was like most of the other forest road we’ve walked upon.  It was very pleasant, but still a road.  I really yearn for hiking on a real forest trail and wonder how long it will be before we feel safe enough to be around people.  I fear that it may be years before we’ll feel comfortable in public, after a treatment or vaccine is available for the Coronavirus.  Being in our 60’s we don’t wish for time to pass by quickly, as there’s likely not much time left for engaging in strenuous activity as often as we do.  However, I’d love to fast forward past these difficult time so that we can get on with some normalcy.  Maybe this is just a dream, and we’ll wake up from the nightmare. 😦

Despite these trying times, we still try to concentrate on being in the moment, at least when we’re hiking.  Today we noticed that the Foxglove blooms were coming out, and they were outstanding!  A nice day, and the drive home wasn’t half as bad as the drive out. 🙂

Forest Road Hike

Hike Distance: 7.7 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 721.4 miles

Elevation Gain: 886 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 104399 feet

We were late getting out and so stayed close to home, and went to a favorite loop hike of ours!  Not much new and exciting about this hike, except for the wonderful fresh air, beautiful trees, and surprisingly lack of mosquitoes! 🙂  Oh, and there were some gorgeous Irises, but they are now past peak and starting to wilt.

Today, the forecast was for a 30% chance of rain with a temperature in the low 60’s.  This isn’t the weather we experienced, and it was quite a surprise.  It turned out that the temperature was cool, in the low 50’s and it rained about 80% of the time.  This normally isn’t a big deal except that we left our rain pants, and hat at home, to save weight!  Thankfully, the rain never came down hard, but it was persistent.

A very nice day!

 

 

 

Hike Distance: 7.2 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 713.7 miles

Elevation Gain: 1062 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 103513 feet

It didn’t look like too bad of a day so I headed out toward the Columbia River Gorge area, for yet another forest road hike.  The weather I found there was much different than the forecast I’d seen, and it was like a brutal storm.  The wind was gusting, and the trees looked like they were threatening to fall.  The temperature should have been warmer, but it felt cold, with both wind and rain pelting down.  In addition, I was alone, as my wife had obligations at home.

I was up in the clouds and wondered if I should turn around and go somewhere else, or home.  I decided to stay and see where things progressed, and took my chances.  Besides, I could always turn around and escape the horrible weather.

I donned my rain gear, and even added my ear warmers and neck gaiter.  I had some smartwool gloves, but they weren’t waterproof.  Oh well, we’ll see what happens?  I started the hike and noticed how eerie it was.  I was walking in the clouds, and it was rather dark when I looked into the forest.  To be honest, I halfway expected some creature to come out of the forest and pounce on me, but I fought back the concern and kept on moving.

The weather never got much better and the rain was getting through my waterproof clothing.  My hands were getting cold as my gloves became more and more wet.  The only part of me that felt dry were my feet and my head.  Everything in between felt moist or wet, despite the rain gear.

I came to a road that seemed interesting, and followed it for over a mile.  The road was covered in large rocks, and not the fine gravel.  This forced me to slow down as I didn’t want to twist my ankles or knees.  Thankfully, my back was holding out!  I was glad when I got off this uneven road and back to the typical surface we enjoy.

I wanted to stop and have fluids and food but the perpetual downpour made this only a passing thought.  I managed to consume a large piece of banana bread that my wife gave me, and the calories kept me from running out of energy.  I didn’t even have a liter of fluid, under these harsh conditions, and got back to the car and was dehydrated.

You might get the impression that this was a lousy hike, but you’d be wrong!  I loved this hike and wouldn’t trade it for anything.  You see, I felt alive, and I was consumed in the moment without any other cares in the world!  Add to the weather conditions that there were no other people and I was all alone, but made it out safely.  It’s a powerful experience to go through these conditions and find the confidence/motivation to overcome my fears and enjoy the exploration.

I don’t recommend going out alone in these conditions (or any for that matter) to everyone, but I’ve gone out alone hundreds of times, and am extremely prepared for most situations.  My inReach Satellite communicator lets my family know exactly where I am every 10 minutes, and I can press a button to get Search-and-Rescue.  Be safe and good hiking!

Forest Road Hike near Silver Lake

Hike Distance: 9.1 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 706.5 miles

Elevation Gain: 1049 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 102451 feet

A special day as I surpassed 16,000 miles of my 25,000 mile journey!  I normally choose a special place to break through a 1,000 mile barrier but this pandemic has upended everyone’s lives.  I’m very satisfied achieving this milestone on any hike, as long as we’re in the fresh air and enjoying nature’s beauty!!

At the beginning of my journey the accumulated mileage always felt like we were moving at a snails pace.  Our typical year averaged about 1000 miles.  I felt like progress was elusive and resigned myself that this journey would take my entire remaining life, and I’d be a very old man before my body would hobble over the finish line (If I even had a chance of finishing).  I’m now on my 13th year of this journey and am astounded that 16,000 miles have been hiked.

Mind you, the journey has come a long way but there have been plenty of road blocks.  As we get older life’s issues are constantly bombarding us, and we’ve encountered plenty of health issues that could each put a wrench in our hiking.  However, we forge on and deal with life’s issues, one at a time, which is all we can do.  I don’t know if this goal will be completed, or possibly ever exceeded, but the journey is outstanding.  My wife and I have  forged a bond over our adventures, and we’ve seen so many wonderful sights, and we hope to continue to the end of our days! 🙂

On to today’s hike.  We had some rain on the drive out to this hike and anticipated more during the hike, but it never did.  We wore our rain gear but had to take it off to prevent overheating.

We parked at the TH and were greeted by a foreboding sign, “DANGER, The Wild Horses are Very Protective during Foaling Season, DO NOT APPROACH”.  What the hell.  What wild horses and when is foaling season?  We saw no horses near the TH and almost drove off to another location, but decided to stay since we’ve hiked nearby before (but not this exact location).

We googled foaling season and found that April through September is when this occurs.  Our feelings were, we go hiking and expect (but don’t often see) many wild animals.  If we were to stop hiking due to every concern about seeing wild animals, we would never go out in nature, so we started our hike!  Long story short, we never saw any horses on the roads (but did see plenty of poop) but they were in a large field (far away) when we got back to our car!  I included a photo.

The hike wasn’t very eventful, but it was enjoyable to be out in nature.  The one interesting issue that did come up was that we tried to complete a loop, at the end of the hike, but the road was gone when completing the loop.  We had to go down a muddy embankment, and cross a stream, and climb up a ravine, to get back on the loop road.  This event kind of livened up the hike, and we enjoyed the little bit of bushwhacking. 🙂

Reaching the 16,000 mile milestone, at 3.2 miles out, was uneventful, but we took photos to remember the occasion.  It was just a nice moment to reflect on everything that’s happened on our hikes up until now.

Yesterday my SI joint, in my back, was immensely painful.  I felt as if I couldn’t take another step as the sharp pain was debilitating.  Having over a mile to get back to the car, I took an Aleve and just pressed forward.  After examining my leg lifts, to correct for my shorter leg, there was a 9mm spacer in my shoe, but I thought it was 8mm!  Today was my first day of using the 8mm spacer, and the reduction in pain was dramatic!  It turns out that the leg lifts are not allowing me to hike pain free, and it’s not the solution I had hoped for.  I need to regularly change the spacer from 8mm to 9mm, and then back again.  My orthopedist is puzzled that I’m so sensitive to a 1mm difference, but it’s no joke.  I can actually feel a significant change when adding or subtracting 1mm to my leg lift, and must do so on a regular basis to minimize my back pain!  My theory is that we’re trying to correct a birth defect that probably isn’t fully correctable.  My bones and joints have been used to a shorter leg for 62 years, so trying to even out the height causes other alignment issues, that result in pain.  Basically, the leg lifts help but there is no real solution this late in the game. 😦

The end result of today is that it was a fantastic hike worked out better than expected!