It seems like my old tradition of blogging often and then not at all fell into play once again. I guess it’s so hard for me to stay motivated when the world seems to be in such a disarray.
But escaping to the mountains for an adventure and a workout with a good friend was JUST what I needed!
In our small intimate friend group circle that has stuck through the pandemic craziness, staying safe and creating activities, helping each other with projects and eating great meals – only one of them will truly get out and get a big workout in with me!
Actually, that is honestly two but my mom’s schedule is often times busy in the summer helping my dad with construction projects, farming or preserving items from the garden. While I enjoy helping with all these projects, my dad usually doesn’t let us know until just a few minutes before he needs us or my mom will stay up all night with her canning when I have to spend an eight hour day of work the next day.
Raquel and I headed for an adventure to see Opal Creek. It was a hike that she had been wanting to do for quite a while and I was more than game to take my camera, hiking boots and positive attitude and go!
It was a bit of a drive to get to the location of the hike and then…. the road was closed. So we had to take a detour that took us by the sketchiest strip club of a tavern in what we thought was a tourist checkpoint (maybe it was?) and then we ended on a legitimate logging road.
It was very apparent when we passed a few logging pickups heading back down the mountain side.
Unsure if we should keep going or turn around, the road made the decision for us! Narrowing so tight it would be too nerve wracking to try and back all the way down the hill until it was safe to turn around, there was a large cliff on the passenger side that would have deterred any of those thoughts. With the reliability of four wheel drive to protect us if we needed it, we kept chugging along.
We passed numerous groups that were parked alongside the road on the way to the top. Unfortunately, I wasn’t sure if we were going to see a real life highway robber situation or not. It seemed that everyone hiding from the cops had gone to the top of the hill!
With no service and, therefore no access to maps, we kept crawling along looking for some sort of sign. We saw one hiking spot and, after looking around, I decided that it wasn’t worth going on the hike. The formidable drop box that made you write your name, date and contact information so that they would know if they need to come looking for you made me think that the trail was a bit more than we bargained for!
At the next side point, as we had moved to a spot on the road that seemed to be looping us back around (we hoped) to the original detour road that we had tried the first time. While the name said “Opal Pool,” it wasn’t the same trail head name that we had originally headed off for.
“Which way do we go?” Asked Raquel who was driving.
“Hmmm….” I said thinking… “Rock, paper, scissor?” I offered.
“Rock, paper, scissors!” I said more confidently. “You win, we keep going down the road – I win we take this one!”
I think Raquel thought I was crazy for making the decision over rock, paper, scissors but she won the best out of one and on we went. Thank heavens we did because it wasn’t too many miles further that we found the water hole that was filled with people cliff jumping and having a great time!
We grabbed our packs and I grabbed my camera and off we went. The trail was probably one of the more strenuous trails that I have been on for quite a long time. While I work out every day, I have never worked out with a 15 pound pack on and could feel the strain as I felt like I was on a stair stepper cruising along!
The hike was beautiful, the water was stunning, and the adventure was well worth it – especially because we got lost. Again.
Hiking through the trail, we had encountered another couple that were just heading out. Raquel inquired as to where the trail headed too and the gentleman responded cordially, “to the parking lot!”
Figuring we had found the loop that we had wanted to find in the first place, we casually carried on. Turns out, the couple had the exact same car in the exact same color as Raquel’s so it wasn’t until we were feet from the car in the parking lot that we realized that this wasn’t the right parking lot.
Heading up the hill for fifty yards and then repeating the same downhill we couldn’t find anything that gave us a clue as to where we were. The sun was starting to dip down for the day and the haunting remnants of a bear that had been scratching on the trees near the end of the path that we had just left had us a bit on edge. It was eerily quiet and we weren’t sure what to do.
The safest bet, we decided, was to come the way we had just been. Although it had been a solid two hours of hiking, it was a more guaranteed bet at getting back.
Off we went.
Where we then ran into the couple from before. Apologetically the guy told us that shortly after we had parted ways, they had realized that there might be more than one parking lot. He kindly offered us a ride to our vehicle but, after just traversing the most strenuous part of the trail for the second time, neither of us was inclined to do a third time.
It was the first time, in a workout, since about 2015 that I could feel the sweat pouring off all parts of my body. My old knee injuries were starting to flare up and my pack was beginning to rub around my shoulders. It was best to stick with our plan!
We made it back in one piece, still full of spirits while being tired and hungry. There was much to laugh at ourselves about but, more than that, I was super thankful for a few moments away with a friend where we could openly chat about life; past, current and future.
It’s an uncertain time right now and getting out, getting a physical workout in and just truly pushing yourself mentally, physically and spiritually is so essential.