I decided to take myself on a nice, long hike yesterday. In my year of hiking 52 trails, no such feat would be complete without hiking the Portland area’s most famous hike, the Multnomah Falls to Wahkeena Falls loop.
Andrew and I actually did this hike last fall. Except it was my first long hike (in maybe ever) and I wasn’t used to climbing major ascents. At least at the time, to me, this 1,500+ foot elevation gain was major (it’s still pretty intense). Nor was I anticipating confusing trail signage and the possibility of getting lost on an unsuspecting other 12 mile trail (as there are several that jut off from this loop). So it may surprise no one that going into this hike completely unprepared resulted in tears. Many tears. From me, not from Andrew, who had to endure my on-trail freak-outs and breakdowns (it’s quite amazing he enjoys hiking with me to this day).
This time was completely different. Like, another world different. I hiked this one solo, getting an early start to what I knew would be a hot day. I also decided to do the reverse route from what we did last time, taking Multnomah Falls up and around then over and down to Wahkeena Falls. The incline up Multnomah Falls is intense. You climb roughly 80 stories from the trailhead to the top of the falls, in one fell swoop. So unlike the other intense, ascenting hikes I’ve done that are somewhat spread out, this one covers over half your elevation gain at the start. I did stop maybe three times to catch my breath, but no more than a minute or two at a time. Here’s my triumphant, if not completely sweaty self after reaching the top of Multnomah Falls:
I’ll spare the full trail details, as I will do that in my 52treks blog post tomorrow. In brief, the trail, from Multnomah Falls trailhead looping back to the trailhead was, according to Fiona, 7.6 miles. I also climbed a total of 167 stories (which is 11 more than Cape Horn). Despite having just climbed nearly 80 stories on the initial ascent, you still have another 80 to go before the trail levels off then descends down to Wahkeena Falls, making it a bit of a lung-buster. But I did pretty well! The longest I stopped for was 7 minutes halfway through the trail while I sat on a log by a creek eating my trail mix (which was crazy delicious and definitely re-boosted my energy). I also burned 1,706 calories which is awesome. Overall, I completed the trail in 3 hours, 35 minutes. Not too shabby! I was definitely sufficiently wiped out by the end.
Another great part about this hike, besides kicking ass at it by myself, was a family I had met along the way. As I was making my way towards Wahkeenah Falls, just before the descent, a family of five was resting and breathing hard on some logs. They were at an unmarked intersection (which confused me as well) and asked me which way to Multnomah Falls. I gave them the route, before they also confirmed for me which way down to Wahkeena. The father then asked how much more uphill climbing they had left. I was happy to tell them they were done with the hard part, it was level for a while before descending down to Multnomah Falls. They had literally just finished their final ascent. This news seemed to rejuvenate them, we chatted for a bit, then off they went. I caught up with them again at the trailhead, we were quite happy to see each other. They told me how their hike went, and how intense it all was, but that it was so much better coming down. I pulled out Fiona and put the hike into perspective for them by letting them know just how far and how high they hiked. When I told them how many stories they climbed and that it was several stories taller than the Empire State Building, their little boy jumped up and down and exclaimed, “We climbed higher than a skyscraper! COOOOL!!!!” The mom pulled out a little piece of paper and wrote down all the stats so she could remember them later. On top of everything else, this was by far one of my favorite moments of the hike.
Today I felt a touch sore, but not too bad. Though after work I was pooped. It’s always funny to me how much work tires me out more than hiking. I did get a run in tonight, though I really had to talk myself into it. It’s been a long week and I just wanted to veg out, but I made myself go out to the track and I’m glad I did. I only got a mile in, but I’m not upset. I’m proud of myself for working out when I’d rather had not. I supplemented the run with walking laps before and after to make it a proper work out.
Tomorrow is weigh-in day! I was diligent about tracking my points all week. I ate all of my splurge points, but none of my activity points, and I didn’t go over my total points for the week, so I’m feeling pretty good. I also obeyed Fiona and got all of my daily activity in. Assuming my body doesn’t betray me, I’m expecting some sort of loss. Overall, it’s been a good week 🙂