I feel like this blog is slowly turning into a trail guide... not that that's a bad thing, but it certainly wasn't my intent when I began it! Maybe one of these days (when I'm not exploring and taking craploads of pictures) I'll start posting more artsy-things on here and finally get that etsy shop up and running.
In the meantime, here's another trail guide for you to enjoy. ;)
Yesterday I had the day off work and spent some time researching another new trail to explore. It was raining when I woke up, so I slept in a bit, only to discover that when I finally got out of bed at the late ol' hour of 9:00am, the sky was blue and the sun was shining!
In a frenzy, I threw on some hiking clothes (no jeans and ski coat for me, this time!), packed my daypack with water, snacks, and a camera, and hit the road bound for Angel's Rest.
Alas, in the half-hour it took me to get the gorge, the rain started up again and for a while I sat brooding in my car at the trailhead, wondering if I should continue onward. There were a bunch of other hikers there already, and they were much better prepared than I was, by the looks of it. They all had on warm hats, gloves, several layers and rain gear, not to mention loaded packs and trekking poles. It was like an REI catalog out there. In my haste this morning, I unwittingly packed for an east coast hike and completely neglected to remember that I am no longer in an east coast climate.
Things I was missing:
Gaiters. (It's damn muddy all the time with the rain. How did I not remember that from my last hike?) A rain cover for my pack. (I have one for my big pack, but my daypack? Oh, no.) A more rain-proof camera case. (I brought the little one for weight's sake and forgot the one with the raincover at home.) Warm clothes. (I had on long underwear and a rain coat, but it was much chillier than expected...) Trekking poles. (Downhill is not my friend.)
In a twist of fate, the rain suddenly stopped ten minutes after I arrived, and I jumped at the chance to start up Angel's Rest, anyway. Rated as a "moderate" hike in my trail guide, I soon learned that "moderate" meant 2,000 feet of elevation change in two miles. Huffing and puffing and realizing how out of shape I was as I hiked up the trail, I made myself go onward because, well, it was Oregon and the trail was still beautiful despite its ruggedness.
As I climbed higher, the lush greenery dropped behind and tantalizing views of the Columbia River Gorge spread out below me. An hour and a half later I was standing at the top of a granite outcropping, the sun shining, and the whole of the gorge laid out at my feet. The weary hike was well worth the result, and I took a moment to have a mini-picnic and take some photos before descending again. I might have stayed longer, but my fingers were turning blue and -- wouldn't you know it -- it was hailing. We finally get a blue sky, sun and just a few wayward clouds, and it hails. Oregon is so weird.
Here's the view from Angel's Rest... quite aptly named, I might add.