Sunday, August 19, 2012

Gorge Trail 400

Angel's Rest
Susan and I took off another day from work to run 26 miles in the Gorge. We had decided to run 26 miles of the Gorge Trail 400, leaving one car at Angel's Rest and having John drop us off 26 miles down the trail. As I started to seriously look at my map, I noticed that trail 400 isn't a continuous trail. Parts of the trail piggyback on other trails, and between Ainsworth and John Yeon State Park it didn't look like the trail existed. Once I realized this wasn't going to be as straight forward as I thought, I called the Ranger Station. It was 6pm on Friday night, they were closed and not open again until Monday morning, which is when we were running. From all the backpacking trip planning I have done, I know to call the Ranger Station early in route planning, this was big miss on my part. Luckily, John and I were going hiking in the Gorge on Saturday and could stop by the Hood River Ranger Station, which is open on Saturday, and check out the "missing" section of the trail.

The Hood River Rangers hadn't heard of the the Gorge Trail 400, but we were able to pick a few nice maps (I love hiking maps). After our hike we decided we would stop by Ainsworth and John Yeon to figure out if there was actually a trail or if we had to run on the road. As soon as we arrived at the trail head at John Yeon, I noticed a sign saying a section of the trail was closed due to highway construction. John suggested I run it anyways and ignore the sign, I was debating it. Just as I had suspected the section between John Yeon and Ainsworth is indeed a road, but it is less that 2 miles so we could deal with it. I was still a little uncertain about the trail and really wanted to talk to someone about it, so we drove over to Multnomah Falls to talk to their Rangers. The only reason I didn't do this to begin with is Multnomah Falls gets crazy busy with tourist on the weekends.
Trail closed!



The Rangers at Multnomah Falls were extremely helpful and did confirm that the section of trail between Elowah Falls and Tanner Creek is closed and being worked on. They also gave me a map of the trails around Multnomah Falls and it showed how Trail 400 connected with the other trails! After studying the map for a little bit and doing a little math, I figured out that from Angel's Rest to Ainsworth State Park it is 13 miles, so we could do an out and back. We could even take the Larch Mountain trail back to Angel's Rest to mix it up a little on the way back. Doing an out and back also meant that we would pass the Multnomah Falls Lodge, so we could get more water if we needed it.  We would have to run back up hill around mile 21, but the high point is only 1800 feet, so nothing we hadn't done before.

The route and map from the Ranger

Monday morning when we got to the Angel's Rest trail head we were the only people there besides a couple and their goat. Yes, I said goat. They put their goat on a leash to hike with it. I tried to get a picture without them noticing me.

Goat!


We had a nice and steady 2.4 mile climb up to Angel's Rest, with some fantastic views of the Gorge. We passed several waterfalls running down to Multnomah Falls. Once we got to Multnomah Falls, we had gone a little over 8 miles, and hadn't drank that much water, but Susan suggested we fill our water bladders. She was somehow able to successfully fill her bag from the water fountain, me on the other hand lost more water than I put in the bladder. I decided to buy a (16 oz) bottle of water, just in case I needed it later.

We continued on our way to Ainsworth State park, passing a few more waterfalls. There were no major climbs but enough rolling hills that we knew the run back was going to be as difficult as the first 13 miles. The last 2 miles of the trail to Ainsworth were pretty over grown and rocky, a bit more difficult to run on than the rest of the trail. Normally we would stop at the half way point to have "lunch", but we decided to run back a bit on the trail and find a less over grown area to eat.

Once we finally stopped around mile 14.5, we looked at our water levels, and we both had less than half of our water left. We split the water I bought at Multnomah Falls, but we knew we were going to have to try and conserve water, since we always drink more water the second half of the run. We also decided to take the Larch Mountain trail back, which meant we were not going to run by the lodge again.

The Larch Mountain trail is a pretty unforgiving trail, it is rocky and an unrelenting climb. Susan "bonked" (as she put it), so we walked a lot of the hill. I figured since we weren't running I didn't need to drink any water. Once we reached trail 420, I thought the climb was over and started drinking more water than I realized. Well the climb wasn't over and we still had 5+ miles to go. Around mile 22, I ran out of water and Susan only had a little left. She was nice enough to share it with me, but it was pretty sweet from her electrolyte mixture. We stopped at every stream and splashed our faces with water and put our hats in the water to cool off. It was a long, long 4 miles back to the car. The last 4 miles were also the most exposed, it was 90+ degrees that day. We finally reached the car, which had been sitting in the sun, we both grabbed our water bottles and quickly drank all of the very hot water.

The run was nothing but epic. We under estimated the heat. If we wouldn't have taken the Larch Mountain trail we would of passed the Multnomah Falls Lodge and would of been able to fill our packs with water. Since this run we have gotten iodine tablets, and I own small water filter for backpacking, which would also work.


Angel's Rest trail head

Susan taking pictures from the top on Angel's Rest







Lunch, checking our water levels

2 more miles to the car. I was so thirsty.

Angel's Rest elevation

Angel's Rest
my awesome dirt "tan"

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Bald Mountain

A few months ago John and I hiked Bald Mountain and I kept commenting to him what a great running trail it was. I have been secretly trying to teach him to recognize good running trails for me since he hikes a lot.  Susan and I finally got a chance to run it, and I have to say I think I impressed her.


The first 1.4 miles of the trail is a fairly gradual sometimes sandy climb, around mile 1.2 you cross over the Sandy River on a seasonal bridge. Head north on the PCT, before you start the 2.2 mile climb up to Bald Mountain you have to scramble over two fallen trees to cross the river. The climb can be steep at times, but I kept telling myself and Susan it is only 2.2 miles and then the rest is a lovely gradual down hill.

Once you reach Bald Mountain the forest opens up into fabulous alpine meadows, glacial streams and an unbelievable view of Mt. Hood. You can also see several stunning waterfalls coming down the slopes of Mt. Hood. The trail continues down to the Muddy Fork of the Sandy River, which you have to cross not once but twice without a bridge, so be prepared. The water wasn't raging when we crossed it, but it wasn't a little stream crossing either. The first crossing we found a stick that helped us cross over the slippery rocks, but our shoes were completely soaked. The second crossing was much easier, there were rocks that we were able to "hop" across.

The trail continues down past the Yocum Ridge junction, to Ramona Falls. If you haven't seen Ramona Falls before, you are in for a treat. Then you follow the trail back to your car, crossing the Sandy River one more time (on a bridge).   

The route from William L. Sullivan's "100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington"
 
Susan cross the "tree bridge"

wild blueberries

Susan taking a picture on Mt. Hood from Bald Mountain


the view from Bald Mountain


Mt. Hood form Bald Mountain

alpine meadows!

carin with Mt. Hood in the back ground


getting ready for our first bridgeless crossing

Muddy Fork - One of the bridgeless crossings


Ramona Falls

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Hills for Susan

It was Susan's week to come up with the running route, but she had a hot vegan date with Amber Friday night so I offered to come up with the route. She naively took me up on my offer. Since Susan "bonked" a few days ago on a hill on our epic Gorge Traill 400 run, I thought I would make this shorter 15 mile run hilly. One of her least favorite hills is Wildwood from Upper Macleay to the Pittock Mansion. Being the good friend I am, I had the run start on the other side of the Pittock, so we started and ended the run by running up to the Pittock Mansion. Well techincally the run ended by running downhill from the Pittock, but no one seemed to remember this. The route also included running up Aspen to Wildwood and up from the Stone House to Upper Macleay. After tackling these hills, Dana and Susan were threatening to trip me, I told them we only had 1 more 1/2 mile hill to get up to the Pittock. Well somehow I forgot about another hill before the hill I was talking about, luckily I was running faster than them, and they couldn't trip me. After we finished the last hill up to the Pittock, I said, "that wasn't so bad". Dana replied, "Fuck you, Ann!".

A reply like that means I planned an awesome route!

It's a woodpecker!

Uphill ladies!

Susan and Dana plotting against me.


Route:
Park at the Burnside trail head
Wildwood to Pittock .64
Pittock WW 3.6 - WW 10.0  : 6.4 (adding a short in and out to get miles)
WW10 - 9.5 Alder .5
Alder to Leif : .84
Leif to Aspen : 2
Aspen to WW : .25
 WW 6.43 - 5 Upper Macleay : 1.43
Upper Macleay to end : .81
Macleay to WW : .28
WW to Pittock : .66
Pittock to car : .64
-----
total 14.45

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Loop de oops

7 July 2012
Ann, Dana and I started extra-early for a 13 mile loop for Dana, and a 24 mile loop for Ann and me. Once we dropped down onto Leif from Springville, I was so enjoying the downhill and our conversation that when I noticed a mile marker, expecting to see a 5, I saw 4-- we had gone too far! The miles really do fly by with good company.
Early morning sunlight slanting through the trees

Luckily I had been up late studying the mileage charts, and my first attempt at making the correct-distance loops for us had yielded some substitutions. We did a quick talk through adjustments to our route, and it worked beautifully. As Dana's loop ended, Ann and I dropped down on Hardesty from Wildwood to Leif, where we took our food break and started on the second loop of our figure eight.
Massive trail-fixing machinery and a bonus portapotty mid-trail

  • Springville Rd to Leif (m9.37)-- .71mi
  • Leif (m9.37) to Leif (m4)-- 5.37mi (6.08 total) (Oops!)
  • Leif (m4) to Koenig (L4.57)-- .57mi (6.65mi total)
  • Koenig to WW (m14.23)-- .15mi (6.8mi total)
  • WW (m14.23) to Ridge (WW20.99)-- 6.76mi (13.56mi total)

Dana walks up Ridge for a cool-down (.72mi-- damn, that's long!)


  • WW (m20.99) to Hardesty (WW21.62)-- .63mi
  • Hardesty to Leif (m9.0)-- .27mi (.9mi total)
  • Leif (m9.0) to Canon (L11.17)-- 2.17mi (3.07mi total)
  • Canon to WW (m24.63)-- .32mi (3.39mi total)
  • WW to Newton (WW26.3)-- 1.67mi (5.06mi total)
  • Newton to Firelane 10-- .6mi (5.66mi total)
  • FL10 to WW (m25.43)-- .15mi (5.81mi total)
  • WW (m25.43) to Ridge (WW20.99)-- 4.44mi (10.25 mi total)
  • Ridge to Firelane 7-- .4mi (10.65mi total)
FL7 to parking-- .32mi COOL DOWN! (10.97mi total)

24.21mi grand total (w/o cool down)

Where Ridge and Firelane 7 connect-- We're DONE!