Last Sunday, we ventured into the southern Cascades to hike Mount Thielsen with one of Eric’s business partners, Steve, and his brother, Dan.
Mount Thielsen is a crazy looking mountain with a horn-like peak that pretty much distinguishes it from all of the other mountains in Oregon. Apparently the peak serves as quite the lightning rod for the area, so we were lucky we had a clear day for our hike.
The first few miles of our 10-mile (round-trip) hike were pretty easy. I’m not sure we conquered much of the 3,782 foot elevation gain for the first bit. But we traveled through some nice portions of the Mount Thielsen Wilderness (and some parts that had definitely been affected by some natural disaster). Throughout the hike, we kept getting peeks of the peak (I had to say it) that seemed so close, yet so far away.
After a while, the nice path turned into some seriously sandy, rocky ground. Unfortunately, this was where the trail started getting pretty steep. So with every step we took, we slid backwards half a step. Needless to say, it was exhausting. We took a lot of breaks, and each time we stopped, I kept thinking, “I feel great!” And then we would start climbing again and I would instantly be out of breath. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Nothing makes me feel out of shape like hiking uphill.
Luckily, the views were pretty impressive. We could see Diamond Lake and Mount Bailey, along with the rim of Crater Lake.
We knew from the beginning that we wouldn’t be able to make it to the very top (you need climbing equipment to safely attempt the summit), so we settled for getting as far as we could without falling down the mountain. Eventually, we reached a point where we didn’t feel like we could continue (mostly because I was terrified of coming back down with all of the loose dirt and rocks), so we stopped for a little snack break while Steve and Dan pressed on.
The hike back down was more of a “let one leg slide until it stops, and bring the other leg down to meet it” kind of hike. I also got to use the trusty elementary school skill of crab walking to lower myself down some particularly tricky areas. Basically, I’m telling you that I look really cool when descending a mountain.
I’ll tell you what, nothing makes me appreciate solid ground like a hike through sand and dirt.
Here’s a really nice, informative guide to hiking Mount Thielsen in case you want to try it yourself. It’s pretty darn impressive.