Last Wednesday started with an arduous (for me) hike that gave me aches and pains for a couple of days afterward. Maja and I wanted to return to the central part of Gifford Pinchot Forest to try to find the North Siouxon Creek Trail that is in a county park next to the forest, but my sister-in-law talked me into trying to hike Silver Star Mountain via Grouse Vista Trail.
I was reluctant to try this hike, because I have been hiking easy trails until recently, and we have only tried two moderate hikes. On some hiking sites, Grouse Vista was rated hard. Also, it is a 6.8-mile hike, and I have only hiked two 7-mile hikes, both of them on almost flat surfaces. This hike has an elevation change of more than 2000 feet. I’m fairly sure I haven’t hiked up anywhere near like 2000 feet. So, I was reluctant to go, but Nancy talked me into trying it, saying that an alternative was the Tarbell Trail to Hidden Falls, which was at the same trailhead.
The hike begins with a 0.8 uphill that is relatively steep and very rocky. It didn’t look completely undoable, however, so I bypassed the Tarbell Trail and continued upward. I had to stop lots of times for heavy breathing. Nancy lead me to believe, however, that that would be the toughest part of the hike and there would only be one more uphill that was considerably shorter. Well, I made it up, but the problem was that it was so hard for me to do it that when the trail leveled out, I was feeling really tired. We stopped for lunch and I still didn’t feel much better. So, by the time we rounded Pyramid Rock, one of the trail’s landmarks, and I saw a nice, flat rock to sit on, I decided to wait. I was thinking that I had to make it back out of there!
Nancy told me to have a rest and start back down, but Maja told me I shouldn’t try to go down by myself. She said she was going up another half hour and then she would come back for me. Since my brother John, who hikes all the time, told me once that you should never leave anyone behind on a hike, I felt that it was better for me to wait.
And it’s a good thing I did, because Maja came back reporting that the steep part at the top had been considerably steeper and the rocks bigger and loose. She did not make it to the top and fell once coming back down the loose rocks. Also, once we got back down to that last 0.8 miles, I found it was much harder to go down than come back up. By then, I was exhausted, and the rocks that seemed so well seated in the mud now showed an alarming tendency to roll. I had a major case of stumblefoot, and I had to pick my way slowly back down. While Maja and I were doing this (she would go down a way and wait for me), Nancy came walking right past us after having gone all the way to the top. She said she’d meet us at the car.
When we got to the junction of the Tarbell Trail, the path changed from rocks to a nice forest duff, so I thought I could then stride out and walk normally. But I’d been picking my way down for so long that I was unable to walk normally. I asked Maja, and she said the same. When I finally made it down to the car, I could barely walk across the road to where it was parked.
Nancy was very congratulatory about how well I did, but I will not willingly tackle a hike that hard for another long while. In fact, shockingly, she said, “I thought that when you saw the trail, you would just decide to take the Tarbell Trail.” This, after all the “you can do it” remarks and the implication that she would be willing to take the other path if I wanted to. It became plain to me that Nancy was determined to do that hike (well, that was obvious before when she wouldn’t accept any of my alternative suggestions) and nothing much else counted.
It wasn’t until about Sunday that I felt normal.
On Thursday before art class my sister and I went to see my great nephew Søren do his first belt test. He is in Little Tigers in taekwondo, and they were really cute. One of the kids was only three, and he had to be turned around and moved along by the instructors. He clearly had no clue what was going on. We saw Søren do his routine, but we couldn’t wait for the whole class to finish to watch him get his belt, or we would have been late for class.
On Sunday, Deb and I had theater tickets up at Love Street Playhouse in Woodland. The last time we attended a play up there, we looked at the options for lunch and finally went to the Ilani Casino in Ridgefield. That restaurant was overpriced and the food not that good, so this time I decided to make us lunch. That had me busy cleaning and cooking on Friday and Saturday.
We had a nice lunch of mushroom-artichoke soup, crab stuffed avocadoes, quiche, and cucumber sandwiches. We also had a pumpkin pie smackdown, where we both made pumpkin pie and tasted both. They both had their good points. Mine was sweeter and fluffier, hers was spicier and more pumpkiny.
Then we went to the play. It was And Then There Were None, the Sean Connery movie version, not the original book or play version. I have to say that we were a little disappointed after we saw such a refreshingly lively play this summer. We decided the acting just wasn’t that good, whereas this summer there were a few good actors.
And that’s about all of interest to happen this week. I am getting ready for my hike today.