Monday, August 15, 2011

Skating on Rocks

By Amy Baranski 

Just after falling.
Yesterday, Mom and I headed to the Columbia River Gorge for some hiking. It was the sequel to her birthday bash the day before at Aunt Julie's.

I originally intended to revisit Oneata trail--which is primitive (i.e. unmaintained, and in this  instance requires scrambling over a log jam and hiking up stream) but it seemed too cold, and besides with Aunt Julie's recommendation,Wahkeena sounded like a better trip to do with Mom.

(I've posted photos from the trip on our Facebook page)

We started early enough to hike to the top of Multnomah Falls and catch the trail from there. For those of you who haven't yet been there, it's an accessible paved trail and highly trafficked. It was early enough in the day that not many people were out. So, we wound our way up 11 switchbacks and then caught Wahkeena.
Along the way, we passed Weisendanger Falls, Ecola Falls, Wahkeena Springs, Fairy Falls, and Wahkeena Falls.

Wahkeena Springs
About mid-hike we eyed some mushrooms on the side of the trail. I was very excited to take pictures and show Melissa (remember mushroom month!) which I did. But then started off too quickly without looking at the ground.

I skidded on some loose rock and started to bow forward. I had the expensive camera around my neck and didn't want to break the lens. Somehow I managed to bend my right knee, which I promptly, and very squarely, landed on.

It hurt too much to swear. Or, maybe it hurt too much to remember swearing. Mom would know. She was very concerned. I could have cracked my knee cap, but I knew immediately that I didn't. It just hurt very badly. Like a funny bone, but not so funny. As I stood up I could feel that very light headed feeling before you pass out.

"I need to sit down."

"You have no color in your lips."

I didn't.

I immediately thought about Mount Cashmere and the scree. Hiking on loose rock poses many dangers. We will see what it's like when we get up there.

Falling down was a good reminder at how present one has to be while hiking. It requires a total presence of mind. You have to be aware of the passing of sunlight and water supply, the conditions of the terrain, changes in weather, provisions, footholds, etc. It is always a challenge, and never without it's own dramas, whether that be the landscape, the conversation, or a slight and painful misstep.

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