Devil’s Rest

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?

The Devil Can Wait

“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. 😛

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?