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Columbia River Gorge: Angel’s Rest to Larch Mt

Spring is in full swing, and that means at least two things:

Trails across the Pacific Northwest are drying and calling out to runners weary of winter mud and wet pavement.

Volcanoes are basking under a hot sun and shine like voluminous diamonds in the eyes of climbers and skiers alike.

Running and skiing typically occupy distinct seasons, but springtime in the Northwest harbors ideal conditions for both. I took advantage of this duality last weekend with some friends of mine. The plan was to climb and ski Mt. Adams on Sunday. The only complication was that Ethan and Richard were racing the Yakima 50k on Saturday, which boasts 10,000′ of climbing. Thus, they demanded I run at least 20 miles and 4000′ on Saturday to even the exhaustion score. Despite a relative lack of fitness for long distances and vert, I consented and drove to the Columbia River Gorge for a long run amidst its new verdure.


INFO

Parking/TH: Angel’s Rest Trailhead. Oregon Gorge exit 28. No restrooms at TH. Very busy on sunny weekend days. Go during the week or early in the morning to beat the crowds.

Map: Angel’s Rest to Larch Mt USGS (trail in red). Incomplete Strava track here.

Stats: 22+ miles, 6500′ vertical. Bring water and food. Water refills available from streams/springs after Devil’s Rest (drink at your own risk).


The journey begins with a long and moderately steep climb to Angel’s Rest. The trail was incredibly crowded up to this point, and I did my best to politely weave past hikers. As a runner it’s easy to get annoyed by crowds, but it’s important to remember that the trail belongs to everyone. Plus, it was great to see so many people being active and connecting with nature. If the human race is to make any progress in preserving the integrity of the natural systems upon which we ultimately depend, I believe this is the first step.

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Pahto (Mt. Adams) shines bright on the horizon. The next day I would be standing atop her flat head.

Read on →

Ruckel Ridge Hike/Run

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I took a run up Ruckel Ridge this afternoon against the impending threat of rain.  Run is a relative word, because the train rises so steeply that it is often faster and more economical to power-scramble on all fours.

The trail gains about 3700′ over the first 4.5 miles of the nine milke loop back to the car. In that space, it climbs up steep tree roots, and basalt rock piles, with the occasionally restful flat-ish piece of trail.  It made for a brutal run but would make for a fun hike.  It ends on the top of Benson Plateau, which was eerily silent and foggy as I crossed Ruckel Creek to descend the better maintained trail on it’s other side.  Read on →

Night Running and the Eagle Creek Trail

Eagle Creek Cabling

Eagle Creek Cabling

A few nights ago that familiar need for adventure struck again as I sat at my desk, plugging away at some biochemistry, but out of a sort of curiosity, I decided to delay my plan for a run until after nightfall.  I did so out a curiosity born from an interview that I had seen with Kilian Jornet (recently discovered by the USA it seems) in which he spoke in beautiful Catalan about the experience of running at night.  I have tremendous respect towards Kilian both for his humility and because he seems to find great joy, becoming absorbed in the mountains, even when he is competing.  His description of relying on all senses to move at night spurred me to wait until dusk. Read on →