Thursday, January 20, 2011

We Wanted an Adventure

We are home. We had to stop. Jules picked us up today after work. There is serious flooding around these parts. When we hunkered down in the rain, even Multnomah Falls (major revenue and tourist attraction) was closed. The Sandy river (which we would be walking in less than two days) was evacuated on foot because it was flooding and taking out the roads. If you would like to see some incredible footage, check it out.

For our part, Wednesday was filled with rerouted trails, washouts, landslides, rock slides (gorge basalt is a finicky thing), and boulders covering the trails.

These became our makeshift trail markers after three reroutes. The Forest Service began throwing down straw trying to absorb water and keep as many trails as possible open.

This is the trail. The blow downs were so dense in a few areas we began to cut switch backs in an attempt to go on. Cutting switch backs is a grave offense under normal conditions. The Barracuda was quite shocked.

Boulders larger than me dumped down onto the trail causing us to boulder our way across. As exciting as this was at first, it became a bit scary as smaller versions fell over our heads and dusted the trail.

Frequent washouts and small, spongy crossings looking out over large drops filled with rubble.


It was getting to the point of possible unsafety. When we hiked out the maximum temperature was going to be 43 degrees, the nightly temperature in the 20's. With rain and extremely low temperatures spirits were dampened and again, it looked unsafe. Hiking in the snow is one thing, hiking in 30 degree rain and then sleeping in below freezing temperatures only to go again tomorrow seems like a great way to get pneumonia to me.

So with 30 miles left to go, we will have to day hike the last few when it looks a bit better on the weather horizon.

4 thoughts:

Mr. H. said...

The boy will have a whole head full of exciting memmories from this trip...a true adventure.:) So that's why they dump straw in certain areas, I have always wondered about that.

My Life Outdoors said...

Quitters never win...unless you avoid pneumonia. I agree with Mr. H...such a trip will create lasting memories.

Granola Girl said...

It was a hard decision to stop. Ultimately, The Barracuda has weak lungs and was beginning to wheeze and cough hard enough in his sleep to wake himself up. He personally said he thought we should go home. Had it been just me, the decision would have been easy and I'd still be out there. Hiking solo with my son made me have an entire stack of parent fears all combined with the desire to make it to the end. It was a new experience, but we will finish!

Anonymous said...

It was the wise choice. I am so proud of both of them...for doing the hike and realizing when it just isn't safe or fun. Let's face it, 33 degree rain just isn't much fun, especially when followed by below freezing nights. I once spent two weeks doing this on the AT, and I will always remember it as the darkest and most difficult part of the entire hike. Only a John Muir could maintain his composure and sense of joy when faced with these conditions. To his credit, the Barracuda was a real trooper and managed to have a blast. And his mom did an amazing job of making sure both of their clothing and camping needs were taken care of. In weather like they encountered, it is hard enough for me to take care of myself, but adding a child is a level of outdoor management I truly applaud. You rock woman.

Jules

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