Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Angel's Rest

Yesterday, Jason and I had a day date to hike Angel's Rest in the Columbia River Gorge.  If you've been following along, you know I have a goal of hiking every trail in the gorge from Portland to Hood River.  We started this goal late last summer, and I've been regaling you with those trips on Wednesdays since the beginning of the year.  But yesterday we finally got the opportunity to get out and explore the gorge this year.

Above is one of several gorgeous views from the top of Angel's Rest.  But before I tell you about our trip yesterday, I need to give you some background on my battle with this particular hike.  On three separate occasions in my adult life, I've failed to make it all the way to the top.  This is a somewhat difficult hike.  And try as I might, something has always held me back.  The first time, my childhood dog I was walking with was old, and couldn't finish the trip so I had to turn around.  On the other two tries, my mind was holding me back.  Essentially, I gave up on myself.  But yesterday was different...

Yesterday, I climbed a mother fucking mountain!  That's me once we reached the top of Angel's Rest.   It took an hour and a half for us to scale more than 1,500 feet.  And it felt amazing!  To me it was not only another hike off my list, it was a symbol of how far I've come on this weight loss journey so far.  The old Kerstin would have turned around when she felt the least bit tired.... but this new and improved Kerstin kept pushing through even when she felt like giving up.

Now onto the trail, which is about a 45 minute drive from Portland.  Let me just warn you it starts off as an uphill climb.  You walk for 0.8 miles before you see Coopey Falls.  It's pretty hidden, as you can tell from the picture above... once you spot the falls, continue up the trail until you cross over the creek that feeds the falls.  Khloe loved this part because she got to run through the water and cool off.

The trail winds through the forest and up into an area that was burned by wildfire in 1991.  You can still see the charred remains of the trail.  It was pretty cool to see how the trees are growing through the fire damage.

We round our way up the trail, through switchbacks and even had to climb some rocks to get to the top.  Even though it was a cloudy day, we still got a gorgeous view.  Once at the top, we decided to celebrate our amazing accomplishment...

Yep, that's a box of wine and a bomber of beer.

We had decided long before we made it to the top, that this was going to be a fun date as well as a physical test for our bodies... so once we got to the top, we cracked open our drinks, snacked on some yummy food and really reveled in the beautiful view.  Excited that we got to the top in one piece, and without any tears.

It was a beautiful adventure. Yes, that's Jason "making out" with Khloe.  He actually put a piece of cheese in his mouth to get her to kiss him :)

This was also the first adventure we got to debut our awesome T-shirts...

We definitely did some Sweatin' for Seoul on this hike.  Man, look how much smaller we look... it's just crazy.

We spent about an 45 minutes of resting, relaxing and taking in the view before we decided to head back down the mountain.

I honestly think going down was A LOT harder than going up.  My knees were throbbing by the end of the hike.  But it was well worth the treat we had waiting for us when we got back to the car.

I know, I know... we already had a treat when we got to the top of the trail... BUT, we burned 2,500 calories so I figured a little chocolate was in order.  And not just any chocolate, Moonstruck chocolate.  Delicious!

Angel's Rest is a great, challenging hike.  But it's not for beginners.  The hike is an ass-kicker, and if you're not experienced I would start out trying one of the easier hikes in the gorge before tackling this one.  There are several different trails this hike connects with, and I'm hoping to work up my stamina to tackle those.  They include:

Devil's Rest
Wahkeena Falls

I'll let you know how that goes!

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