Remember when I used to be fun and share travel adventures? (If you’re new here, welcome! I used to be fun and share travel adventures.)
I kind of miss that sort of thing, and I’m bringing it back. I think a lot about what you want to see here, and while the numbers don’t lie (dessert, drinks, lather, rinse, repeat), as a reader of many wonderful sites, I always want to see more of bloggers’ lives. For whatever reason, I hesitate to share much of mine sometimes, so I’m going to try to head in that direction once in a while. If you like this, let me know! If you hate it, rest assured there will be cake and ice cream in this space very soon.
For now, let me show you photos of this hike I schlepped my way through a few weeks ago. Instagram can only tell you so much of the story, you know? There is plenty more to see on Larch Mountain along the way. Seven miles’ worth of stuff — 14 if you count the journey back. Here’s a handy guide for the details, if you happen to be in Oregon and want to experience it yourself.
A funny thing about this trail is that while it isn’t easy by any means, it starts and ends at touristy, easily accessible destinations: Multnomah Falls and Sherrard Point. The beginning of the hike is at Multnomah Falls, which is always rife with the strollers, fanny packs, and selfie sticks that a famous attraction entails. Far be it from me to snark at tourists, though — I was among them a few short years ago, completely unaware of the many trails, waterfalls, and quiet wooded areas that are waiting for us beyond the top of the falls, where most visitors turn around. That’s a metaphor for something, probably.
You don’t have to go far beyond the buzz atop Multnomah before things get real… Flimsy-bridges real. If there was ever a sign to make you wonder if you ate too many tacos last night, well. Here it is.
Signage aside, there is plenty to look at, and everything glistens.
In the morning, there are slugs — leopard slugs. The sassiest, most chic slugs of all.
With so much lush greenery around, it’s easy to forget that Larch Mountain is an extinct volcano. In case we need a reminder, there’s a big rockfield about 2/3 of the way in.
Rocks, waterfalls, trees, slugs, bridges… And then, a snake. If you know me, you know how well I reacted.
Being a garter snake, this critter was harmless and not even mean, for lack of a better word. I know these things, of course I do! But phobias don’t work like that. I’d run into tiny snakes while hiking before, but they are usually slithering away before I even realize they’re there. Not this one, you guys. This one was not only the biggest I’ve seen yet, but also One Indifferent Punk. S/he knew I was there, was definitely not dead, and wouldn’t budge no matter what. So! After much dithering, like any self-respecting adult, I veered left, off the trail, making a ridiculously large arc around it. While I was making my way through the brush, I looked over and saw it slowly crawling back into a snakehole. OF COURSE.
After the Great Standoff of 2015, I was rewarded for my not-bravery with sunlight filtered through tall trees.
… And then, after a couple more miles, I saw civilization itself, in the form a restroom and a parking lot.
So, to recap: You start at Multnomah Falls by looking like one half of Kath and Dave from Portlandia, ready for everything short of the apocalypse itself. Then, you sweat through 7ish dirty miles, only to once again meet a bunch of civilized-looking folks out for a nice weekend drive. It’s not exactly pretty, but there’s something fun about sticking out like a sweaty, messy, sore (literally) thumb. We can look cute and blend in another time.
A few steps later, the long-awaited view of Sherrard Point! Sadly, the day was cloudy, so you only see the base of Mount Hood here. Someday I’ll drive up and show you the panorama as it was meant to be.
4,056 feet is pretty steep for me, but it was a gentle slope, over the course of about 7 miles. Long and gradual always wins over short and steep, if you’re like me and your legs are made of pasta.
A photo op and a quick rest later, we’re going back the way we came. Making it a one-way trip would probably be more efficient, though; if you do this, be smarter than me and go either uphill or down.
Of course, we don’t do a hike like this without ending it with a proper meal. I drove a little farther east on I-84 to the beautiful town of Hood River, home to the famous Full Sail brewery and an overall rustic Oregon cuteness. Full Sail is not the only (beer) show in town; I stopped by pFriem’s brewery for a Croque Monsieur. (Not pictured: a very big, very cold, very delicious, very well-earned pilsner).
Then, because sometimes I know how to live right, I picked up a scoop of hazelnut gelato at Cicci Gelato. No Nutella-y nonsense here — just pure, unadulterated Oregon hazelnut flavor in a blanket of sweet cream. It was perfect, and with the sun setting just so, I really couldn’t have had a better day.
(Snake? What snake?)
And with that, another weekend is here. Make it a great one, homies! I’m going to bake a cake, drink beer, and think about where I’m dragging my camera next — your suggestions are most welcome.