Ramona Falls

Up On The Mountain

Recently I took a day off and decided to head up to Mount Hood with Miss Bella! First stop: iced coffee at my favorite local coffee-shop. Then settled in with good tunes as I drove up to Mount Hood.

I had a few hikes in my mind but once I got up to Zig Zag, I decided to try a different hike. I took Lolo Pass Road a few miles to where I thought I would get to the Lolo Pass hike. But I drove almost 10 miles and then got to a sign that said the road was closed. So I wasn’t sure if I’d have to park and hike 5 miles just to get to the trailhead. Hmmmm….

So I backtracked and decided to try and do Ramona Falls. If you’ve been a reader for awhile, you might remember the time we took visiting family on the Ramona Falls hike and accidentally did 7 miles!!! WAY TOO LONG for all of us and we were not prepared for it at all. That trip taught us what a “dog-bone loop” meant!

Bella and I arrived at Ramona Falls and got ready to hike. I saw this sign at the trailhead:

Apparently the bridge that was there to cross the Sandy River was gone. I read through the guide and was like, eff that! I am SO not crossing glacier streams and getting soaking wet. It did not sound fun. So I decided to take the Sandy River Trail instead.

It was going to be a hot day–99 degrees. I was there early-ish and it was already pretty warm. The air felt murky and heavy. Due to the wildfires, the air was hazy from smoke and it felt like a big, hot, wet blanket hung over everything. But at least it didn’t smell smoky.

The trail was really quiet and empty. I didn’t see anyone else on the trail. I guess everyone in the half-full parking lot decided to try and cross the river to do Ramona Falls.

The trail was gently rolling so it was “easy” except that the ground was mostly sandy so that made it kind of difficult to walk easily on.

It seemed like the trail was probably mostly for Equestrian hikes. I could hear the roaring river near the trail as we hiked. There were a few spots where you could see the view. The river looked really nice and peaceful.

Once I was about half-way through the Sandy River Trail, I looked at the river and saw a lot of spots where Bella and I probably could have crossed the river easily without getting drenched. Good to know for next time, I guess.

Bella and I drank a lot of water. It was hot! Then we turned around to hike back. I was getting tired and hungry.

Here are the final stats:

I stopped for a quick lunch on the way home, showered, gave Bella a bath and then Bella and I crashed for a very luxurious nap! She cuddled next to me and snored and I was immediately out. After my nap I got a pedicure and did some shopping. It was the perfect “me” day. 😀

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?