It seemed like a good idea at the time. I needed a new goal to tackle, ideally some sort of physical activity I could do with Atticus. It seemed pretty natural to buy a copy of William Sullivan’s classic 100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon and make a goal of checking off every hike in the book. William Sullivan has a booth at Wordstock each year, so I bought my copy from the hiking guru himself a few weekends ago, which he signed for me.
Not long before our first planned hike, I did the (very easy) math. Even if we tackled one hike per week it would take nearly two years to work our way through this book. That’s quite a commitment for a “fun” goal!
Not to mention that this book includes such “hikes” as climbing Mount St. Helens. Doing that requires obtaining a permit, as only a certain number of people are admitted up per day. Mount St. Helens is only considered a difficult hike because climbers don’t usually need mountaineering equipment, but it does count as climbing a glaciated peak which will earn you entrance into Mazamas.
Another daunting hike in the book: Nesmith Point. I’ve dreamt about someday hiking to Nesmith Point, but imagining myself doing so as “just another hike” seems unrealistic. This is a route that is used by mountaineers in the off-season for training. It’s some pretty serious climbing: 3706′ in about 5 miles. YIKES.
So far I’ve done two hikes, both with Atticus. Not all of the hike locations allow dogs. Since I’m now needing to leave him alone five days a week I’ve been choosing hikes on which he can accompany me.
We went to Memaloose Lake and South Fork Mountain on Atticus’ birthday a couple of weekends ago. Hiking to the scenic lake was fairly uneventful, but the additional mile from the lake (where the snowline was) to the summit was a bit trickier. Not only was the trail unmaintained, but the snow occasionally left me puzzling where the trail went. Eventually we did make it to the top. We even managed to find the four foundation pieces for the old fire lookout despite the snow!
The following weekend we took a hike in the Columbia River Gorge that we’ve done at least a few times before: the Horsetail Falls/Oneonta Gorge loop. In the past we’ve hiked it when there was snow and ice on the ground, so this was pretty uneventful except for seeing all the gorgeous fall foliage in the gorge.
One trail I’d like to do, which parallels the Clackamas River for over seven miles, requires a buddy with a second car (or over 14 miles of hiking) which is kind of difficult for me to secure. And some of the in-town hikes, like Oaks Bottom, are positively blasé—Atticus and I could save those for the worst of Portland’s winter weather and do perfectly okay. Now and again I wonder if maybe I shouldn’t have bought Sullivan’s Hiking Oregon’s History instead.
Am I going to continue working on these hikes? I’m largely undecided. So far they’ve been a good way to get out of town and have a nice outing with Atticus once a week. Adventure, new ideas, and exercise have been the best benefits so far, and until the trail conditions outweigh those, I imagine we’ll keep up with it as much as we can.