4th of July Hike

Devilishly Difficult

I almost called this post “Quivering Quads” because my legs felt like Jell-o after our 4th of July hike! Michael and I ate a normal breakfast, picked up a foot long sandwich to share from Subway, and hit the road. Our destination was The Gorge. Remember a few months ago we attempted Devil’s Rest and turned around? Well we were determined to do it this time.

The place was packed with fair-weather hikers out enjoying their sunny holiday. The weather was beautiful! Sunny, not a cloud in the sky and about 70 degrees. Michael and I blazed a trail up Wahkeena Falls. I was telling him about the awful news stories I’ve read lately about hikers falling and dying on Eagle Creek. Michael said that it was most likely inexperienced hikers doing dumb things (which we see SO much on our hikes). My argument was that Eagle Creek is a treacherous, dangerous hike and they need to install railings at the worst parts of the trail.

At exactly that moment we were having a conversation about the dangers of hiking, a guy in front of me on the trail stopped, tried to turn around and lost his balance. He was starting to fall off the side of the trail when I instinctively grabbed his arm and pulled him back up to the trail. It was total reflex (thank you weight lifting for giving me the upper body strength to grab a guy 3x bigger than me!!) and after the fact I realized it was probably dumb of me to grab him–he could have pulled me down with him!

He was fine and Michael and I continued on past the waterfalls and the throngs of day hikers. We set a really good pace up the trail. There were a lot of beautiful wild flowers along the trail. This one in particular was gorgeous and I was told by another hiker it’s Columbine.

The washed out part of the trail that we were on last time was still washed out but had been trampled on enough to make it a bit easier to traverse. It was still uncomfortable grasping onto the side of loose, wet soil on the hillside to get passed it.

We got to that fork in the road where you can take the Vista Point Trail, Devil’s Rest or Larch Mountain and we sat for lunch. I devoured my half of the Subway sandwich, famished after hiking for nearly 2 hours. We shared a Gatorade and then headed up Devil’s Rest.

I saw a lot of people attempting Devil’s Rest this time. I kid you not, most of the trail is straight up. I did not get a picture that does the elevation justice. Trust me. It was brutal.

And I kept thinking….How the HELL did I do this hike 25 pounds heavier??!?! It’s a strenuous part of the hike that will make your hamstrings, calves and quads scream for mercy. We stopped to rest at some of the scenic lookout points.

I believe that is Mount Adams in the distance, across the Columbia River in Washington. We were THAT high up on the hike! There were views of the Gorge, the trees below and blue, blue sky. It was worth the knee-creaking it took to get up there.

It got to the point where it was feeling like it was the Never-Ending-Hike. We were both getting tired but at least we’d finally done Devil’s Rest together! We turned around for the brutally difficult downhill climb. I was worried about my knees. They were starting to ache a bit and all I wanted was to be back to the car.

Michael and I tromped down the trail and then he turned to me and said, “Did we go this way? I don’t even remember this part of the trail because it was so long ago.” Truth! It was becoming all a blur.

We finally made it down to the trailhead. We were both tired, sweaty and my thighs were jiggling like Jell-o. Ouch ouch ouch. It turned out to be the longest hike we’ve ever done at over 9 miles!!! Holy cow. It was a “dog bone loop” (we learned that term the hard way) with an elevation climb of 2300 feet.

Good for Kids: Iffy. There are a few parts of the trail that are dangerous but for the most part it’s ok for kids.
Good for Dogs: Probably ok. Leash recommended because there are a lot of dogs there.
Cost: Zero. Parking lot fills up fast, get there early.
Activity Level: Strenuous
Scenery: Spectacular.
Verdict: Fantastic hike but you will be sore the next day!

Hike Stats:
Time: 3:48
Calories Burned:  1440
Mileage: 3 miles to Larch Trail, then 1.6 to Devil’s Rest – total 9.2 

We got home and got ready for dinner. The neighborhood was having a BBQ (and our neighbors may have had Washington  fireworks…ahem…) so I made up a bunch of kale chips with kale from the garden, Michael cracked some beers and we joined the neighborhood party!

I made good food choices. We had brats and the kale chips and I had a taste of all the other foods at the BBQ (fruit, pasta salad, potato salad, fruit salad). It was such a fun night! I really like our neighborhood and the neighbors are super fun to hang out with. I wish we did more block parties than just once a year on the 4th. I might have to suggest it. 🙂

Quick question: do you guys prefer the smaller photos or the larger photos?

QUESTION: Longest hike you’ve ever been on? How was your holiday?

Independence Day Hike

Our plans for the 4th of July were pretty low-key. I met my friend Robyn at the gym to do a workout Monday morning. I did a quickie 15 minute warm up jog on the treadmill (my bruised butt hurt from Sunday’s fall!) and then Robyn and I focused on upper body weights and abs. It was a really good workout after a very active weekend.

Gym Stats:
Time: 1:18
Calories Burned: 506


After the workout Robyn and I went to Panera Bread for lunch. I like Panera because their calorie information is readily available and everything is pretty low in calories! I ordered a cup of the French Onion Soup (250 calories) and half a ham and swiss sandwich (290 calories).


It was delicious and filling. Then Michael and I decided to go for a hike. It was 82 degrees, sunny and gorgeous out. We drove out to The Gorge to do Wahkeena Falls.


The Gorge was incredibly crowded–which was to be expected on such a nice day and a holiday. Wahkeena Falls connects to Multnomah Falls. It’s a very strenuous, uphill hike. The first half mile of switchbacks are steep but paved. I think that lures non-hikers into a sense that they can do the hike easily. It’s not an easy hike at all.


Our goal was to hike Wahkeena Falls to Larch Mountain. I’ve always wanted to do Larch Mountain but have never made it. One way is to hike up Multnomah Falls and then it connects to Larch Mountain at the top. All the times I’ve tried to do that I always had to turn around once I got to the top. Either I was tired, or the person I was with couldn’t do more.


After the Falls the trail is no longer paved. It turns into a very rocky, dirt trail that is just as steep as Multnomah Falls.


I personally think Wahkeena Falls is nicer than Multnomah Falls. You can get a lot closer to the actual falls on this hike and it’s less crowded.

The other great thing about Wahkeena Falls Trail is that you’re hiking alongside a lot of waterfalls. There is always something pretty to look at for most of this hike.


Most of this hike is covered under trees and shade. It was about 10 degrees cooler than Portland but it felt really nice! 75 degrees is a good hiking temperature when you’re in the shade. I was wearing my new UnderArmor boy shorts underwear and it worked great! It wicked all the moisture and kept me cool. I also wore a wicking workout shirt. Another brilliant idea on my part. We stopped for protein bars and G2 half way up the steep hike.


The hike was quiet and lovely. But there were a few other people on the trail (it always baffles me how people can do such strenuous, rocky, steep hikes in flip flops!).


There were a lot of waterfalls along the creek. It was a nice hike up the mountain. Eventually the trail left the steep switchbacks and headed into the old growth forest.


The path was shaded and less rocky. The ground was softer too. The trail leveled out for about half a mile. Doesn’t Michael look great? He’s down 16 pounds from the Four Hour Body Diet! I am so proud of his hard work.

Then we got to an opening in the forest with a bunch of other paths and signs. I’ve done this hike once before by myself. The last time I continued on to Devil’s Rest Hike which is even steeper but it’s very desolate. Not many hikers were on the path that far out. The views are nice from the peak of Devil’s Rest. We planned on checking out either Larch Mountain or Devil’s Rest but it was getting late in the day so we decided to turn back after hiking 3 miles.


We stopped to rest for a few minutes. Then we had a decision to make: go back the way we came or take the Vista Point loop back to the Wahkeena Trail.


Vista Point Trail is how I went the last time I did the hike and it was an even steeper descent than the regular Wahkeena Trail. I opted to return the way we came.


The descent back down the trail was a HARD one! I know my quads will be screaming after that. It was a nice, cool hike down the trail. We were stopped a few times by different hikers asking how far it was to the top. Sadly, they weren’t happy when we told them there was no top and the trail never really ended! Some people chose to turn around, which is too bad because there are so many nice things to see further up the trail!


The hike was fantastic! The weather was perfect, our bodies held up (miraculous after biking 38 miles!) and I was glad we got to enjoy the nice weather on the holiday.

Hike Stats:
Time: 2:19
Calories Burned: 693
Distance: 6 miles


Dinner after the hike: grillin’ up bratwursts, zucchini, drinkin’ a beer and enjoying some ice cream. A great way to end a three day weekend if you ask me!

QUESTION: What’s the longest (or hardest) hike you’ve done?