The Mistaken 7.0 Miles

The last day Michael’s dad and stepmom, G and G, were in Portland visiting we decided to drive up to Mount Hood and do an easy hike. The night before Michael and I did some research on which Mount Hood hike would be the best for everyone’s abilities–relatively short (less than 5 miles) and not steep. We narrowed it down from three options to one: Ramona Falls.

I’ve heard for years that Ramona Falls is a fantastic hike. I’ve never done any summertime hiking on Mount Hood because it’s all about a 90 minute drive from Portland. When there’s tons of hiking to do within 30 minutes it’s hard to justify a 3 hour road trip.

Backing up…that morning I set my alarm for an early time so I could go for a quick run before the hike. The website we consulted said that Ramona Falls was EASY and about 3 miles. I knew that a 3 mile easy hike would be nothing for me (especially with non hikers that don’t really walk at the same speed as I do) so I went for a quick 40 minute run on track near the house, followed with a short weight session in my living room (while watching Law & Order).

Little did I know that that was going to be a big mistake.


Stats:
Time: 66 minutes
Calories Burned:  607

We picked up G and G and stopped at Zupan’s (kinda like Whole Foods) for sandwiches to pack with us on the hike. The idea being that we’d stroll on an even, easy trail for a mile or so and stop for lunch. The drive up to Mount Hood was nice and quiet. We found the turn off for Lolo Pass–a road I’ve never taken when going up to Hood–and followed the scenic road to the trailhead for Ramona Falls Hike.

We parked and set out on the trail, no idea what we were in for.

We hiked along the rapid river on a very flat, sandy trail that wound around the river and through the trees. I didn’t have a GPS on me but I’d estimate we walked about a mile before the trail veered down into the river basin where we crossed the rapids to the other side.

The views in this hike were gorgeous. Mount Hood:

Trees:

Bubbling Brooks:

Totally scenic and worth a visit. IF you are prepared for it. Across the river we hiked through the forest through some gentle hills that really weren’t that big of a deal.

In my mind I thought this trail was 4.4 miles total, and a loop. The website I had consulted stated as such. As we trekked along, enjoying the sunshine and cool air under the blanket of trees, I didn’t really notice that the hike was pretty long.

Before I knew it we’d hiked for about an hour and 45 minutes or so. We decided to sit on a log next to the creek for lunch and we enjoyed our sandwiches. I got the Italian sandwich at the Zupan’s deli and it was delicious. Spicy salamis, peppers, cheese and olive oil on a crunchy french bread. The sandwich was tasty and hit the spot. I was also really grateful to be sitting because around that time my knees started to hurt.

I’ve never had knee pain while hiking. This was definitely a first and it proceeded to get worse throughout the hike. I don’t know if it was the hike or if it was the run that morning, or if it was the combination of both, but it was awful. In fact, even my left knee hurt–which was weird because I’ve never had issues with the left. After lunch we headed back up the trail, thinking the waterfalls were just up the trail a bit.

We passed some people on the trail but not an extreme amount. Everyone raved about the waterfalls. We kept on. And on. And on. And finally we all kind of wondered, “I thought this was a 4 mile loop?” Seriously. How could we have gotten it so wrong?

We crossed some cute bridges.

We went up the trail, passed some babbling brooks, and kept on.

And kept on. Finally, my knees were screaming at me and Michael’s dad was commenting that the hike would never end. We stopped hiking to discuss what to do: turn around and head back? Keep going? Go a little further and see if there’s a map or people who know how much further? I decided to go up the trail just round the corner and see if I could see anything either way. I turned the corner and Ramona Falls came into view. We’d almost turned around literally feet away from the waterfall.


I’d like to say that the waterfalls were totally worth it but I was in pain and we had no idea how much longer the hike was. It was hard to relax and just take it all in. We hung out at the waterfalls for a bit and some other hikes were coming from the other directions so I asked them about how many miles. They had no idea so I asked how long they’d been hiking since the parking lot. About an hour. Okay, so clearly we were more than half way through the loop by the time we got to the Falls.


Plus, according to one hiker it would be all downhill for us. We continued on the trail and it was mostly downhill the rest of the hike back. It was pretty but at that point all I was thinking about was my aching body. My hips. My feet. My toes. My knees. And I suddenly realized that hiking downhill was MORE painful for my knees. It was awful. 🙁


I was so ready to be back at the car where I could take off my hiking boots and rest my knees and feet! Michael and I don’t even do 7 mile hikes!! We’re in great shape and we stick to the 5 mile or so hikes.


A little over an hour later we made it back to the car. I consulted my print out and it said clearly “4.4 mile loop”. What the heck?! Later when we got home I looked online and Ramona Falls plus the loop is 7.0 miles long. I guess the website I consulted beforehand did not include the trail from the parking lot to the loop in their mileage?! Not sure.


Hike Stats:
Time: 3:39
Calories Burned: 1121
Distance: 7 Miles! 

It was almost dinner time so we headed over to Apizza Scholl’s for dinner. We were all famished!


I ordered a beer (Anchor Steam I think) and since we’d just hiked 7 miles and I had no food in my stomach the beer hit me like a ton of bricks.


Talk about tipsy. We ordered two pizzas: the capicola with margherita and a sausage and peppers with the pig n’ pineapple.


I may have devoured three slices without evening thinking about it. 🙂 But that’s okay because I burned almost 1800 calories!!!! Unexpectedly!


We went home completely exhausted but satiated from pizza.

QUESTION: What’s a hiking mishap you’ve experienced?

 

14 Responses

  1. Wow I can’t believe the hike was so much longer than you expected!! It looks like you at least got some gorgeous scenery – so that’s a good thing. I’ve actually never been on a hike in my life – – crazy!

  2. Wow…gorgeous scenery, but OWCH!!!! Hope you body is recovering well today!!! Years ago, a friend and I went up to what was supposed to be an “easy” trail around Whistler. Same thing, it was anything BUT easy and took us about 3 times longer than the guidebook said it would. (and it wasn’t because we were taking it super slowly). And to make matters worse, my ankle buckled in a puddle on the way down, I was sore, muddy and miserable. And he and I haven’t hiked together since! 🙂 But…makes a good story, so wasn’t all a loss. 🙂 Have a great day!

    1. Roz–I’m glad I’m not the only one. 🙂 I bet the Whistler hike was gorgeous. Sorry about your ankle. My worst fear is rolling my ankle MILES from the parking lot.

  3. I feel like every hike with Chris ends up miles longer than I’d planned. LOL. We walked for three hours on Sat and another hour on Sun. The Green Dragon BBQ fest was pretty fun, and I would go to their events in the future. I ate like crazy on Sunday because we’d walked so much. Gotta watch my carbs this week for sure. Hope you’ve recovered and are having a good week!

    1. 7 miles was only an issue for two reasons: 1) We had non-hikers with us who thought we were going for a short stroll. Ooops! and 2) Had I known it was 7 miles I would NOT have run that morning. I’d save my knees for the hike! 🙁

      I healed well and fast though. I was really worried I’d done permanent damage. But I was able to bike the next day, swim on Sunday and I ran this morning with no issue.

  4. Yikes. Finding out your hike was much longer than expected could be tough, especially if you didn’t bring enough food/water.

    I did a 6+ mile hike in Yosemite. There were really no mishaps, unless you count dropping the 3 PBJ sandwiches we brought (for 2) on the trail. I had no choice but to dust them off and put them back in the plastic baggie. We hadn’t arrived at our destination and I wasn’t sure if some GU Chomps and trail mix would be enough food. We did eat the PBJ sandwiches almost at the end of our hike. They were a little sandy, but so good after hiking up and down for a few hours.

    On the same hike, our 13 person group split off in to 3 groups, sorta based on speed/fitness. I led the fast group up the longer switchback trails (John Muir) rather than the shorter Mist Trail. The difference is a mile. We came down the Mist Trail which was very technical, wet, crowded and tough on some of our group members’ knees.

    1. Yes, it can be dangerous and on a hot day I did worry about water. We had enough for four people, plus several Gatorade 2 bottles so we were set. But once we got to the car we stopped at the first 7-11 for water.

      The hikes we normally do are ones that are in and out, or a long loop but we’re prepared for them and can turn around at any time. Not having the (accurate) information on Ramona Falls was my fault and it won’t happen again. I read the wrong website, or the 4.4 miles was actually the trail TO the loop, not including the whole thing!

      I’m glad your hike in Muir ended well. The knee thing isn’t good though. My knees were SCREAMING at me. 🙁

  5. We did the same thing in Central Oregon in May-had a hike and didn’t realize the 6 miles didn’t include getting *to* the trail. I always feel like maps for trails are inaccurate and kinda hard to follow. Someone needs to make better ones.

    1. Oh that’s right, I remember that! I agree, they need to have more accurate info. It’s my fault though, I have a hiking book for Oregon I could have brought with me and didn’t. You bet I’ll be taking it with me from now on!

  6. Yikes, hopefully this will turn into a funny anecdote once you forget how miserable you were…bet that pizza tasted good afterwards though!

    We got lost by taking a wrong turn in a maze of forest roads while snowshoeing once. It turned and easy six-mile trip into a mildly perilous10-miler. We started late and it got dark and freeeeezing since it was December…luckily we always carry headlamps even though we were too stupid to bring a real topo map!

    1. That sounds terrifying! And a good reminder about carrying the essentials–even if the plan is a short trip. Things can easily change in a blink of an eye. My first snowshoeing experience was a guided tour on Mount Hood–thankfully. It was white out conditions and I SWORE the guide had gotten us lost. Luckily she didn’t but clearly my navigation skills in white out snow weren’t correct.

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