Monday, May 19, 2008

I Double Dog Dare Ya

This weekend was gorgeous and incredibly hot, at least down in the Columbia River Gorge. Our adventure began Friday afternoon at 3pm, when Bexar and I headed into town to get gas, maps, ice, and pick up Mountain Man (MM). We left Bellevue at around 4:15 and headed south for a weekend of fun in the sun. Because Friday traffic is always terrible, I thought it would be nice to take the back roads. What am I saying? I ALWAYS love to take the back roads and can come up with any excuse to do so. :-) MM said he didn't care, so I went the way I wanted to go...which may have been the wrong move this time. The pass that we needed to cross ended up being closed because of snow, so we had to turn around. As we were coming back down the mountain, we got this fabulous view of Mt. Ranier at sunset.SO, we ended up having to go east to I-5 and down and around to Carson, where we camped. We finally made it there at around 12:30 and were in the tent by about 1:30. It was a LONG day.

We got up fairly early the next morning and headed out to hike Dog Mountain. We knew there would be lots of people because this trail is fairly popular in the spring when the wildflowers are abundant.

Interesting tid-bits about our day:
  • We took the more difficult trail to the summit to avoid the crowds, and I think we avoided the majority of the people.
  • There was no water on this trail, so we pretty much ran out at the top; saved the remaining 1.5 cups for Bex on the way down.
  • Fantastic views of Mt. St. Helen's, Mt. Hood, and the Columbia River Gorge!
  • It was HOT HOT HOT!
  • Pretty wildflowers, but not as fantastic as I had dreamed. Expectations are sometimes difficult to fulfill.
  • Bexar jumped a tree and broke a different strap on his pack. Thankfully this was during the descent, so it managed to stay on the rest of the way with some minor adjustments.
  • I got a workout but Mountain Main barely broke a sweat.
  • I got a blister on the bottom of my big toe that was painful and need I say gross?!
  • During our descent, we met a woman who proudly exclaimed that she was on her last leg of a "double dog" that day, and I commend her for it! I was doing good to make one round!
  • For a good portion of our descent, MM carried 4 packs! He had his on his back, his fanny pack on the front around his waist, the camera case off his side, and my pack on his front. This was him being a knight in shining armor for me, as my knee was in so much pain that I felt it might buckle at any moment, and it almost did. He even gave me his hiking poles and refused to use them himself. He's a gentleman through and through!
  • Bex just wanted shade...and we had a tough time moving him from the truck shade after we finally got down.
  • After we descended, Bex swam in the icy water of the Columbia to cool off, while MM and I could barely wade in it for 10 seconds.
  • Bex hurt his right front paw, we're guessing on the rocky parts of the trail (which he is still favoring).
  • Had some nasty Mexican food at El Rio for dinner.
  • No problems finding a camping spot at Beaver Creek.
  • Bexar was SO good this whole trip - just love that dog!
  • Round trip: 7.4 miles
(Click on photo for trip photos.)
Although the drive down was frustrating and caused a little bit of tension, we wound up laughing about it and having a good time anyway. Mountain Man said that 5 hours out of the way and about $30 in gas was a pretty good price for me admitting that the back roads aren't about the same length or time than the interstates or big highways. :-) So all in all, it was a fun weekend, but I think we're all glad to be back home, for the week anyway.

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