It has been a month since we hiked the trip that I’ve been describing this week. This was a more difficult trip than I had expected, so it was probably better that we didn’t go on the hike that I had planned that would have been about 40% longer. The 25 miles that we logged in three days was still a good distance for me, especially since this was my first time carrying a full pack while wearing FiveFingers. I definitely learned a few things about my physical limits and my gear.
We woke up on the last day and the rain had passed. The sky was still overcast, but I was quite pleased with the lack of rain. My body ached all over and my feet were still angry from the previous day’s hike. I took some ibuprofen and put on dry clothes. After a hot bowl of oatmeal and a couple of packets of hot chocolate, I was ready to hit the trail and get home.
I woke up early on our second day. It had rained all night and it was still drizzling. A shouted conference between our tents led to the decision to wait for a while and make a late start of it. So we waited until it was apparent that the rain was staying with us for the day. We ate breakfast and broke camp and started a long day of hiking in the rain.
We started late on our first day. My hiking partner didn’t pick me up until around nine and we had to stop for some supplies on our way, so we didn’t get on the trail until almost eleven. Luckily, everyone else was lagging even more and we were able to get a good parking space right next to the caretaker’s trailer. We got our packs on and adjusted and got moving. Pretty much right away, my buddy realized that he forgot his poles. This was a bit of a disappointment for me, since it meant that I would feel like a bit of a jerk using my poles when he didn’t have his. The jaunt to the base of the Ruckel Creek trail was quick though, so I really didn’t have long to wait before the climbing began.
A while back, I set a pair of goals for my summer backpacking: to hike a 40 mile loop in the Columbia River Gorge and to hike the Timberline trail on Mt. Hood. The trails I wanted to use in the Gorge finally started clearing up in June, so that is where I headed first. I didn’t go backpacking last year, so I had a lot of preparations to make and since this was the first time that I was going to carry a pack while wearing my FiveFingers, I had a lot of conditioning to do. Oh, and of course there were last-minute changes to the route that had to be made on account of the weather. A lot to do.
Sometimes it seems that there are only two types of cars here in Little Bay Root: Subarus and Prius. There are usually a couple of each parked on any given residential block and the roads are just lousy with them. My hiking buddy Z just bought himself a Subaru, the quasi-official vehicle of hikers in the Pacific Northwest. Really, you can’t park at a trailhead without picking a space beside a Subaru. It must be a law or something.