2 August 2021
Saddle Mountain Trail
(5 miles, +2,800/-2,800 feet).
So I’m hiking again! Yay!
That’s the good news.
The bad news: I am struggling with posterior tibial tendonitis! I had intended to continue my PCT hike up to Truckee in July and then do the PCT in Washington in August. But it wasn’t to be.
Just as well. It’s another bad fire year out there. But maybe that will just be the new normal. Sigh.
Anyhoo, I already had my plane tickets to Oregon, so I visited my friends Orion in Bend and then Aquarius in Portland, who were originally interested in doing some of my Washington PCT hike with me. Aquarius asked me if I was up for a day hike, and I said I thought I could do 5 miles in my current physical state. So he found a beautiful hike not too far from his home.
At the trailhead Aquarius chatted with some other hikers who were new to the area. He offered them water. In fact he kept offering water to people on the hike. And that, combined with his February birthday, led to the perfect trail name!
This is a very steep hike — climbing about twice as much per mile as a typical section of the PCT. In many places there is a metalic grid laid over the trail to prevent erosion and to help with traction.
Since it was such a thigh-buster, we didn’t stop much on the way up to enjoy all the lovely flora.
While we lingered at the top, we noticed a woman on her phone casually walking a spur section of trail with steep drop-offs on either side. Aquarius was so nervous for her, that he actually started filming her in case she met an untimely demise.
But it all worked out. I promised I would not follow her out there, but we did go check out a meadow where the spur started so I could start taking pictures of all the amazing wildflowers we had rushed by on the way up.
After the meadow we slowly started back down.
Aquarius warned me about a poisonous plant that some people mistakenly eat. When we found it, some ants who were apparently immune were enjoying its nectar.
One of the flowers we found was named after Alice Eastwood, the noted botanist who built the botanical collection at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.
We passed a hiker on the way up who asked us to take a photo of her with her dog. Aquarius went full Annie Leibowitz to make sure she got the perfect shot!
It took us a lot longer to hike down than up with all my stopping for flowers, and towards the end I also needed breaks to stretch my calves and hamstrings (doctor’s orders!). But eventually we did make it down and Aquarius switched from offering water to offering beer at Pelican Brewing in Cannon Beach. Yum!
I’m so glad to be back out. I’m hoping to keep stretching and healing and maybe Half Cookie and I will be able to do a trip in the Sierra later this month.