On the way out, I ended up driving along the Columbia river as I entered the Columbia Gorge. Staring across the water, the dense forest was parted sparingly by rocky outcroppings, greenly hued no doubt a victem of this moss blight that seems omnipresent. To my right, were the train tracks that were the likely sourceline for the distant trainhorns that seem to echo continuously night and day, although they bore no trains. The air was faintly scented by a dampness akin to the inside of a Disneyland water ride, I am supposing a form of mildew or something of the like.
Now off the highway, I drove through a very tight and curvy mountainside road which eventually gave way to Multnomah Lodge, beautiful and foreign. It felt like something that would be more at home on the hillside of the Austrian castle country. I fortunately brought my backpacking gear, with enough provisions to keep me trucking through an entire days worth of hiking, which is exactly what ended up happening as the utter and breathtaking beauty of the area gripped into me deeply. At first, I was going to check out the top of the waterfall, then I had to walk along the river a while, I got to the cutoff to the trail leading to the peak, and decided another 5 miles was more acceptable given the sheer ecstacy the forest provided me. Objective oriented, I pushed on briskly, although often hoping time would allot me the freedom to sit, and stare, and listen to the world I hiked to, a world completely new to me, beautiful, mysterious, cold & wet, musty, and overgrown. As I progressed, waterfall after waterfall out did themselves, and in short I became almost numb to it, “oh, here is another ‘most beautiful waterfall I’ve ever seen’, neat”.
The summit was rewarding to the extremes unfamiliar to me as well, each direction presented a new snowcapped and epic peak the likes of which I’ve observed only on plane rides over the Seattle area with Renier. I was lost in my thoughts about using an ice ax and crampons to trek through the frozen mountainside, and caught myself planning routes up the mountain from a distance. I could setup camp in that shallow bowl, summit through the ridge on the left although I might have to detour that particularly sharp looking set of rocky teeth. I laughed to myself, thinking how rediculous it was for me to even begin planning any sort of thing given my complete and utter lack of experience on the topic of mountaineering, although its fun to dream.
By now I was utterly freezing my balls off at the top, it was windy and I was still in my vest, so it was definitely time to head back. I put on the next tier of layers and started walking down. A couple hours when I got back to the car, I made it a point to seek out the most unhealthy thing as a reward, which happened to be an ice cream cone which would have made Newton question his calculations about gravity (naw it was just kinda big). I then walked through the overpacked gift shop feeling kinda like an asshole for bumping my backpack with hiking poles into multiple people’s faces.