May 302012
 

“Make me pancakes.”

That’s how my Sunday morning started. Lazing in bed, not really feeling motivated to get up, even though we were planning on going hiking. I told Michael to make ME pancakes. And this went back and forth for a bit. Finally, we agreed that I’d mix everything and he’d make the pancakes. Works for me. :)

After breakfast we headed to The Gorge for a hike. The plan was to do Devil’s Rest via Wahkeena Falls. I’ve done Devil’s Rest once, by myself, and it was strenuous. I remember being crippled for days afterward. But that was also several pounds and several years ago, so I figured I was in shape enough to do it.

We ate our sandwiches in the car on the way to the site. It was a muggy, overcast day in Oregon but there were still a ton of hikers out on Sunday. Wahkeena Falls is a lovely, very steep, hike in the cluster of trails near Multnomah Falls. In fact, the cluster of hikes all connect to each other and you could start at one end and do them all. Wahkeena is nice because the waterfalls are all over the trail, including at the trailhead.

The first mile or so of the hike is paved switchbacks and it’s a heart-thumper. My heart rate spiked up to 150 or so (usually what my heart rate is when I run!) but it leveled out at a normal number after we got to the first summit.

The trail then turns into a dirt path with lots of rocks and tree roots. I would suggest wearing hiking boots with ankle support for this hike. As the path wound through the forest, there were several bubbling creeks, beautiful waterfalls and gorgeous views. The many scenic spots to stop make the difficult hike worth it.

There was a part of the trail where the path turned muddy and it looked like there was a recent landslide that washed out part of the trail. It was sketchy and a bit scary because I had to grip the muddy wall and be very careful with sure-footing to get passed the washout. The below picture is of the washed out trail. It’s hard to tell, but we had to pick up the trail just over the mound of mud. Scary.

This time of year the wildflowers are starting to pop up and I got some really great shots of the beautiful flowers. There was one in particular that was half blue and half purple. It was really neat looking. I wish I knew what these were. I’ve always envied the people that can look at flowers or plants and be able to identify them.

There were lots of dogs on the trail and I had to stop to pet and swoon over all of them! We’re getting closer to getting a puppy of our own and it’s kind of like baby fever–every dog I see I think “awww! Puppy!”.

The trail is very uphill for most of it, then the crowds thin out and there are less hikers the harder it gets. The trail eventually levels out and the path softens into the dirt and bed of pine needles in the old growth forest.

Then we came to a crossroads.

We could turn right to Angel’s Rest, or go straight to Larch Mountain, Multnomah Falls, or Devil’s Rest. We continued on to Devil’s Rest. The path started going uphill again and we reached another summit with another crossroads. I sat down on a rock to drink some water, rest my feet and make a decision. The trees dwarfing us were spooky and reminded me of the TV show “Twin Peaks” for some reason.

By this point we had been hiking for 1.5 hours. Michael and I had a decision to make. Continue up the even more strenuous trail to the Devil’s Rest summit–the very tip top–or take the flat trail to Larch Mountain.

Even though Devil’s Rest had been our goal, we both agreed that we’d be sore the next day from Wahkeena’s ascent and Devil’s Rest would probably just cripple us. So Larch Mountain it was. We walked for another twenty minutes or so before turning around to go back to the car. The path to Larch Mountain and Multnomah Falls was beautiful and fairly gentle. I definitely recommend it to other hikers.

The way back down the trail was almost harder than the climb up! It was so steep that I was leaning backwards to balance out my body weight as I climbed down. I just knew my quads were gonna feel it the next day! I stopped to take a few photos that we missed on the climb up.

We stopped to rest just after the first big waterfall. We ate our pickles and drank some water, and then continued back down to the car. I was a sweaty mess and dying for a super hot shower.

What’s with Grumpers-McGee?! I have no idea why he was making a face. :P

Stats:
Time: 2:31
Calories Burned: 787
Distance: 5-7 miles?

We got home and fixed dinner: grilling BBQ chicken, corn on the cob and salads. My spinach salad had broccoli, strawberries and gorgonzola cheese on it.

Michael and I may have been sporty matching compression tights for dinner…anything to prevent soreness…but sorry, no pictures of us in our spandex. Dinner hit the spot and it was nice to just sit on the deck with a cold beer and relax after a strenuous workout.

What a great hike! The Devil will still be there next time, and hopefully we can tackle it.

QUESTION: What’s the longest and/or hardest hike you’ve been on? 

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