Monday, August 13, 2012

Two Hikes-August 11th

Nearly two thousand vertical feet and over four and a half miles (20% average grade) is a lot for four young girls.  Our first hike was on Girl Scouts land, up Wind River Mountain.  There was a warning sign at the trail head informing us of fallen trees and parts of the trail washed away due to winter storms.  This turned out to be a benefit rather than a problem. All of the many hurdles on the trail proved to be fun for the kids and the adults.  The top of the mountain greeted us with expansive views of the Columbia River Gorge, a refreshing breeze & shade, as well as a collection of archaeological structures.  Apparently, the native inhabitants of this region used the mountain to train young braves. They needed to climb the mountain, build a rock structure on which to sleep the night, and await a vision informing them of their destiny. We had M&M’s on top for those who didn’t complain, and everyone received theirs. Just as we began our descent, Wendy started jumping up and down and screaming. After closer investigation, I discovered that she had a wasp stuck up her shorts and he exited only after biting her once or twice. I used my Camelbak water to make some mud, smeared it on and covered the area with a bandage. She cried for a while, until I pointed to a large tree ahead and told her that it was the “stop crying” tree. I told her to cry as hard as she could until we got to the tree, and then she had to stop. I realized it was a long shot, but it worked. A little while later it started hurting again and she pointed to another tree and said, “How about we make that the “stop crying” tree.” I said that would be fine, but after a second she said, “Now I can’t make myself start crying again.” 

The second hike of the day was up Beacon Rock. This vertical core of an extinct volcano is 840 vertical feet in just three-fourths of a mile, with over 52 switchbacks.  Most of the trail was a collection of bridges and scaffolding. Wendy was intent to be the first one on top, so she ran most of the way. We reached the top just before sunset and spent a pleasant half hour in the cool evening breeze. When I asked Wendy how she got enough energy to run most of the way, she told me with wide eyes that she was so hyper from all of the M&M’s I gave her from the last hike.  Despite the physically taxing climbs, all four girls literally ran down the grade.  A visit to a local ice cream parlor capped a perfect day.

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