26 May 2011
Hiking in the Gorge
Sunshine and blue skies are a welcome sight after months of grey and rain. Portlanders know how to exploit every minute of spring sunshine gobbling it up like a kid with a tray of warm chocolate chip cookies. We're afraid that if we look away even for a moment, the sun will disappear and we'll be back to the blah.
Last Saturday we decided it was time to get out into the Gorge and see how the Sprout will react as a hiker this year. We chose a short one-mile trail for starters, into Wahclella Falls and back. The Sprout has been a pretty good sport about walks around town--to the Library, the Taco Cart, and the grocery store--so we thought she would hike a portion of it on her own and then we were prepared to take turns carrying her the rest of the way. Since it was such a short hike we didn't bother with digging out the backpack for her to ride in. And, frankly, I'm not sure she'll tolerate riding in it much this year. One of her favorite phrases right now is "Me do it!"
And "Me do it!" she did. She hiked over 75% of the two-mile trip, including some elevation gain. I'll admit that my heart was in my throat at various points as she walked on the narrow trail hugging the side of a cliff. The Wise and Bearded One tried to stay between her and the drop off so she was always safe, but it was still a tiny bit scary. She did ask for a few piggyback rides but within 5 minutes or so she was ready to walk again.
She was less excited by the falls --"It bet (wet))!" "It bindy (windy)" were her complaints--than she was by the many sticks and rocks to be found on the trail and hucked into the nearby creek. She got lots of praise for being a good hiker and for going forward (instead of turning around and backtracking as she is prone to do). The last quarter mile back to the parking lot is a long wide flat trail. She was full of joy and still had vim and vigor left. She would crouch down and say "Ready! Set! Go!" and take off and run a few feet. Laugh with glee and repeat.
All in all, it was a lovely little hike and hopefully a precursor of many hikes to come this summer.
Some of these photos are thanks to the Wise and Bearded One (and can we say Handsome One, too!?). More photos exist over on Flickr if these aren't enough for you (Hi, Mom!).