A rite of passage every spring before the summer hiking season is to climb one or more of the thigh-busting trails to a high point in the Columbia River Gorge. It’s the only way to get into shape for large elevation-gain hikes in the alpine areas, and elk hunting in the fall.
On one of the first days of the new year I did the five-mile trail to 3,900-foot Nesmith Point, beginning the hike near the Columbia River. Taking my time I enjoyed a little sunshine and views across the river to Hardy Ridge and Table Mountain.
By the time the summit was reached the weather had changed dramatically. A heavy, cold wind was chilling my face and hands. Soon, snow began to fall.
On the way down to the trailhead I reflected on the fact that each one of us has only so many Nesmith Point climbs in them. It’s truly a gift to be able to accomplish the climb, and enjoy it too.
Life is good!