Glenn and I are training to walk all the way around Mt. Hood over this coming Labor Day Weekend.
It’s called “Round the Mountain” and over three days we’ll hike nearly 45 miles, with 36 other people. Each day we’ll be doing 14+ miles at altitude with significant elevation gains/losses throughout the day. It promises to be no walk in the park (although it will be a lovely walk in the forest…provided I can see through all of the sweat that is sure to be dripping down into my eyes for much of it!).
To say I’m a bit nervous for this endeavor is an understatement.
The Round the Mountain hike is hosted by the Mazamas, a mountaineering education non-profit here in Portland formed on the summit of Mt. Hood in 1894. They host hundreds of hikes and climbs each year. While the Mazamas hikes are open to anyone, you must summit a glaciated peak in order to be eligible to become a full-fledged Mazama. A new goal for Glenn and I to pursue one day!
We’ve been spending the last several weekends doing longer and longer hikes in an effort to prepare ourselves.
This weekend was no exception. We joined the Mazamas for a big two-day hike called the “Lost Lake Chuck Wagon.” The first day we hiked 14 miles from Timberline Lodge to the Lost Creek Campground; the second day we hike 11 miles from the Top Spur trailhead to Lost Lake. 25 miles in total – whew! The best part of the trip (aside from the amazing views) was that “chuck wagon” bit – which meant the Mazamas cooked all of the meals! Plus, they hauled all of our camping gear to the campsite for us so we were able to do the hike with just our daypacks.
Similar to my earlier experience of group hiking with total strangers, I found that tackling my social anxiety meant that I got to meet several really interesting people.
There was one lady in particular that totally knocked my socks off.
I felt a kinship with Gwen almost immediately. I think it was, in part, because of her spirit for adventure. Although, I doubt she ever lost her spark the way I lost mine for a while. We started by talking about all of the various runs she has done (each day she had on a different marathon shirt). Then I learned that she had gotten her pilot’s license (as have I). She learned to ride a motorcycle because she wasn’t the type of person to be content on the back of her husband’s bike. I did the same, for the same reason…although in my case it would have been on the back of Glenn’s totally rock’n scooter.
But best of all, Gwen thought she would treat herself to this two-day epic hike for her birthday. Her 70th birthday!
She totally inspired me. Glenn and I have been working hard to get in good enough condition that we can hike 25 miles and still be upright at the end (kinda). And, while I’m super proud of what we’ve done, I was totally enthralled with Gwen and her determination to be out there chewing up the miles at 70 years of age. We have another 30 years of adventure to look forward to. In fact, way more than 30 years if Gwen is any indication of what is possible.
She made my heart sing.
Glenn and I had a great time. We were able to keep up with the group’s pace and felt more physically fit than ever before. At the end our group leader told us that we wouldn’t have any problems on the Round the Mountain hike – and since she has been a leader on over half-a-dozen of those hikes she should know! We’ll keep up the training to make sure that we are ready – but it’s nice to know we aren’t totally in over our heads.
Lots of pictures of our weekend adventure below, including my first river crossing!