The pathway to the top
Is tough and rough and long.
But I know where I wanna be
And I’ll keep a-struggling on.
It’s a long hard climb.
Slogging through molasses, enervated and lethargic – – – all are good descriptions of Sunday’s hike. I’m not sure the cause, but it happens every once in a while. Like always though, I toughed it out and completed the hike. Or, I would have completed it if the deep, wet snow hadn’t stopped me about 200 yards short of North Lake.
The early morning began cool and overcast. I parked at the Wyeth Trailhead in the Columbia River Gorge about 46 airmiles from Portland. The first one-half mile of the hike was relatively flat, eventually crossing Harphan Creek. The next two miles stayed underneath a mature forest (mainly Douglas fir and various types of maple), gaining over 2,000 feet in a series of very steep switchbacks. Light rain had begun to fall and didn’t stop for the duration of the hike. After crossing a small stream the trail began an even steeper ascent of a relatively open ridge, gaining 800 feet in the next one-half mile. Now I was really sucking air and could not get my second wind. I even ate a power bar with little benefit. And, there was no respite. The next mile gained 1,000 feet in nine switchbacks to the rim of the Harphan Creek Headwall.
Hoorah! The tough climbing was over. Now it was only a one-mile descent to North Lake. But, I soon encountered snow drifts up to two-feet deep. It was clearly still winter at the 4,000-foot level. Interestingly, I spotted several fresh elk tracks. Shortly before reaching the Lake, I decided to turn back due to the wet snow. All in all the hike was 11.6 miles in length with 4,000 feet of elevation gain. A conditioning hike more than anything else.