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Why Haven't I Done This Before???
June 12, 2017
A couple of weeks ago I posted a blog stating that I was going to climb Mt. Hood this week. Well, on the days I planned to do it there were clouds in the sky. They did not seem too threatening, but I'm not completely stupid when it comes to mountaineering (only somewhat stupid). Clouds in the nearby town of Government Camp equals a no go for Mt. Hood. A sudden change in weather while high on the mountain accounts for the majority of fatalities on Mt. Hood. If you took weather out of the picture, and the fact that you have to hike half of it in the dark, it's not that difficult of a climb. However, people underestimate the weather, and/or get lost in the dark. I don't want to be one of those people. So, I opted to do some other hikes while prepping for a hopeful attempt of Hood for the following week.
So...what now? I remembered enjoying my trek up Silver Star Mountain in Southwest Washington in the past. I also recalled there being a great parking area to sleep in and some interesting looking rock climbing boulders to explore along the hike, so I figured why not? I hiked Larch Mountain (in Skamania County, WA, not to be mistaken with the popular one in the Oregon gorge) the first day. It had one nice view, but was an otherwise unremarkable hike. The summit yields zero views unless you count an up close and personal view of a microwave tower. That night I colored and read in my car to the sounds of locals shooting rocks in a nearby canyon. The next day I got as far up Silver Star Mountain as I could before snow turned me around yet again. Instead of fretting over the snow, I made my own path up a nearby rocky peak and called it a day.
I spent the next few days at work. Being that it is the end of the school year, paperwork and the increase in student behaviors have taken up the majority of my weekdays. I work with an amazing staff and for some reason I like developing paperwork designed to support disabled kiddos, so workdays are almost as enjoyable as my hiking days....almost. Anyways, once the weekend hit and the paperwork was out of the way, I headed back to Southwest Washington to hike Hardy Ridge (the picture presented in this blog). Holy shit! How have I lived in Oregon within 40-45 miles of this trail and have never hiked, or even heard of it before? Needless to say, it was a great hike! Granted the first couple of miles are on a dirt road, it is a lovely dirt road that is only accessible to humans, dogs, and horses. Furthermore, there are some awesome climbing boulders at the bottom of it. The last couple of miles winds up a bluff on a fun, narrow dirt trail. The last mile awards your efforts with views of the gorge and the nearby Hamilton and Dog Mountains. The wildflowers definitely didn't suck either.
So, I didn't summit the highest point in Oregon. But, I did thoroughly enjoy myself while trekking up some nearby peaks. Overall, I just want to say that I am glad I live in the Pacific Northwest. What a beautiful place to live! Where else can you meditate in the morning at a Buddhist temple, drive less than an hour and hike in a temperate rainforest to the top of a peak and then end your day with a sour beer at one of the many iconic breweries in town? Maybe you can do this in other parts of the USA, but I can assure you that Oregon takes the cake when it comes to places to meditate, hike, and taste local brews.