Monday, June 28, 2010

aCroSs bRidGe oF thE gOdS

did you know why Dog mountain is called that?

apparently coz starving pioneers were forced to eat their dogs when they did their pioneering thing through the mountains.


oh well. ppl do all sorts of crazy stuff.

like this guy who ran up and down the mountain. TWICE!! :O

lets not kid ourselves, this was a tough hike !! in the first ten minutes i was all .. what the $%##$@!! have i gotten myself into?? already feeling dizzy and nauseous. i felt like throwing up. i think i was mildly dehydrated to start with, and then the weather was a bit hot.

ok back up a little.

me and S, head out to hike. ok it's only the two of us. we can do it. ok here we go.. we're starting now..

5 minutes later i'm huffing and puffing like a smoker asked to run the 50k marathon. and i'm wishing i could lie down some place nice and cool and go to sleep forever.
so i ask S to go on without me, and i tell her i'll follow slowly and meet you when your coming down.

she leaves me reluctantly coz really its only the two of us. but i convince her and so she goes.

another 10 min later, i'm eating my protein bar and drinking water trying to hydrate myself. coz its so friggin hot. and i'm sweating buckets. and i'm thinking of going back. i'm taking breaks every 5 min. but everytime i sit down, someone comes up behind me and i start walking a lil coz i don't really want to look like a douche bag in front of them. so i walk a bit. and stop a bit and walk a bit and fall down a bit. my bag now feels like it weighs a TON. and i even try carrying it on my head like an old indian railway station porter. hey! there's a reason why frail ancient looking guys can carry our heavy luggage, right?

so the trail continues through the forest. relentlessly switching back and forth.

now, the overall trail goes like this. its approx 0.7 miles to a fork on the road. the right is more difficult and the left is most difficult. no, really that's how its labelled. and then they converge someplace and then its a common trail about 1.1 miles to the top. the more difficult path adds about 0.4 miles extra to your hike coz its not so steep; you know ( but trust me, you won't know it ) ... and the total gain is about 2800 feet ( ouch! i know!! )

anyways, so i decide not to be a hero; and hence take the more difficult path rather than the most difficult one; and i know that there's a viewpoint in the more difficult path, and i think. ok i can at the very least make the darn viewpoint. and then mebe i'll head back. you know. so i alternate between walking and collapsing sporadically.

after an hour of huffing and reeling about drunkenly i finally reach the first viewpoint. yaaay!! phew. now most of the time the only reason i got up from wherever i was collapsed was coz of a> the mosquitos and b> ppl coming up behind me and i didnt want to be sitting there like some kind of .. well you know.

i collapse on the bench. take a few pics and cast a wary eye over the next section of the trail. after about 10 min, i think. ok mebe not so bad. i dont feel like i'm dying, i could try as much as i could. the prob right now is i'm running out of water. poor S had given me half her water and i still had gone through it like a ... like a... very thirsty person. < grimace. ok so i can't really think of anything right now! >

now i know that this view point is atleast 1.4 miles away. at minimum. so i start trying to do the math and walk. and i meet some ppl coming down and ask them. and she says, its cooler on the top. and you clear the trees. so its nice. but its steeper than the way we came. coz the way we came also included some walks through the forest where i caught my breadth.

now i'm seriously consuidering leaving my bag somewhere so i can pick it up on the way back. and now i'm looking for a convenient hiding spot.
and then i reach this place. the point where the more and most difficult meet. couple of guys sitting there. and i ask them how bad is it. up ahead. he looks at this meter thing. and he says. well its 900 ft elevation. and another mile atleast. but its cooler. you should do it. i look at the trail. its a friggin mountain. i think its at that point i mentally started praying. i mean literally, doing hare ram hare ram. now these guys were sitting there, and i didnt' want to turn back in front of them, so i think ok let me walk to that point and lets see.

so i walk up and i almost come tumbling down, coz i mean its steep man.
but somehow i take breaks and keep walking. i'm down to a single user path and if i sit down, then ppl literally have to jump over my head. also there might be creepy crawly things. but rememeber she said i'd climb over the trees? so i notice that the trees are getting shorter and shorter. and i look for the tallest tree i can find. and i think; ok let me go to the friggin base of that tallest tree and see.
and i go.

so sometimes i look up, sometimes i look down just focusing on the next 10 steps. and sometimes i'm praying.
and then i come up to this path that's literally a very very narrow path through overgrown bushes. and that's where i get the call from S. she's reached the top and asks me where i am. i tell her as best as i can. and she says there's another viewpoint up ahead. pretty close, so mebe we should meet there, coz its even steeper after that. i agree wholeheartedly.

now armed with the info that its close by. i try to do the rolling hikers walk and put some energy into my steps.
when i'm almost ready to give up, i meet some ppl heading down and they tell me. the second viewpoint is right up ahead. at the end of my present climb. and then you got to turn and you climb straight up to the top.
i look around and i notice, i've cleared the trees completely !! yaay!!

so since i'm meeting her at the second viewpoint, i go lumbering on.

man the view is already great out here. i can see the whole columbia river. i can see cascade range. beacon rock looks so tiny. i'm amazed. and then i spot the sign. it says 0.4 miles to the top.
i sigh. man i made it this far. i cant turn back down now.
and anyways you can see the path all the way to the top. atleast you have hope of where it'll end. so i call S and tell her i'll meet her atleast at 0.2 miles. coz every foot i gain will give me a better view. i start climbing.

now the last stretch is all gravel. and slippery rocks. so she was coming down slower than i was climbing. i met her half way. and i was like how far is it from here. i look around, its amazing. she says u know you came so far. you shud go till the end.
ok i have 2 sips of water left and a subway in my bag. its 2:00. its not so bad. so i tell her i'll catch up with her. and i labor on.

but now i can see the end, so its not as bad. and i have a spring in my step. i come to this kind of clearing where ppl are sunbathing and look around confused. where does the trail go? and then i get it.

i reached the top !!!


well time to plonk down and have a sandwhich. and look at the amazing view !

so i sit there, for a while in the mud and grass. and the sun beating down on me. but the winds were amazing. and i look to my right and i can see st helen through the clouds behind the cascade range. and i look to the left and i see mt hood peeking from behind the cascade range too. and i'm amazed at the height and the river and the wind and everything!!

15 min later i remember S is waiting , and i head back down. full of energy and happy. ofcourse i went down faster. but since the path was soo steep, you literally have to jog down. and the knees kind of take a hit.
but since i knew she was waiting , i went at a brisk pace. only thing was the path just kept on going. it just went on and on and on.
by this time i was sooo thirsty and more than ready to take a dunk in the columbia river.

an hour later we were on hour way home and celebrating with gatorade and a litre of water :P

good times!