I finally hiked dog mountain! (Insert applause and cheers here)
You may wonder why you are applauding me for going on a hike, and I’ll tell you why: Ever since I moved to Portland I’ve heard about Dog Mountain from countless people. The hike is described as being difficult, and “a real leg burner” by most people, and at around 7 miles round trip it felt quite intimidating to me. Advice about this hike includes, “Go in the spring! The wildflowers are beautiful on top, but at other times it’s not really worth it.”, and “Get there really early, there is not enough parking!” I found that in this case, all of the advice I received was true.
I tried to go on this hike earlier in the spring, and arrived too late, and what do you know, the parking lot was full! I waited for about 10 minutes and after being cut in line by another car that snagged the only available spot I gave up and went to another nearby hike. This resulted in life happening, and by the time I was able to get back out there to do the hike, spring wildflowers were virtually gone. Once I reached the top I could see the remains of beautiful wildflowers, and I could tell what my experience would have been had I arrived in spring, but only a few stragglers remained. Oh well, perhaps next year.
The other unfortunate thing about my hike was that I was ill prepared for the wind chill once I reached the top. It wasn’t freezing, but when it’s 80 at the bottom and it feels like 40 on top and you only have a light jacket, it seems very cold. I also arrived at the top around 10am so the fog and rainclouds were whipping by the whole time. As I walked along my inner dialogue was as follows: “I’m in a cloud. Now I’m not in a cloud. Now I’m in a cloud again. Now it’s raining. I hope I can see something at the top. Man, it’s really cold, should I just turn around? No, I’m almost there. Those are pretty cool rocks.”
Anyway, the point is, I made it to the top and fed a chipmunk a bite of my apple. That was the best part of my whole day. (I know, you’re not supposed to feed the wildlife but he was so hungry and cute, and no one will ever know except him and me and now whoever is reading this).
That small hill in the photo is Wind Mountain, which you can read about over here.
A fellow hiker.
So how does it feel to conquer Dog Mountain? It feels great, but it feels like I put off something that I could have done a long time ago with a little extra struggling. It also might have felt a little more rewarding with the slightly larger struggle, so I may be wishing now that I had not been so intimidated by the hike, and just did it anyway! A metaphor for life? Perhaps…