One of my pals just bought a new Subaru Outback. Naturally when one buys an adventure mobile such as this, adventure is put onto the radar almost immediately. I was happy to oblige when she asked me to go for a hike with her, and we had plans to go for a mild, chill elevation hike last week just to get the feet moving.
Then the tables turned and I couldn’t have been more pleased with the outcome.
I have been craving, longing for, pining and whining to get my feet onto an epic hike all summer, and I finally did just that. I haven’t always been the best at last minute changes to a plan, I like to have an idea of what I need to prepare for, but as I have gotten older I have been working on morphing more into a human like flubber so that I can bend and roll with what’s thrown my way.
A work in progress, but a progress nonetheless.
A group of pals from work had a hike in the works, and when they asked me to join I didn’t think twice. It helped that I was in the peak energy and social phase of my cycle (ladies, I cannot stress enough tracking your cycle and knowing how your body works throughout the entirety of it!) We planned to meet at 0600 for an early start at the Hurricane Ridge location of Olympic National Park.
This area fills up quick on weekends, so an early start is a must.
Our plan was to hike Mount Angeles, a new to me trail with recent bear sightings and a scramble at the summit. What could possibly go wrong? Fortunately for us nothing went wrong, and the trail was mosey and mild for the first couple miles, allowing the entire group to stick together. When we started the hike we could see our destination at the end, although in the beginning I had no idea the curved peak was our summit.
There were six of us total, and we kept a nice pace walking along chatting about the awe and wonder around us, the possibility of wildlife sightings, and the amount of sunscreen our pal Chris had accidentally put on. His entire body looked like the face of a mime. At least he would not be getting burned. We eventually came to a fork where the left had a drastically steep start, and we were not sure if it was the correct path despite the map telling us it was.
So we went right instead.
After ten minutes of going down, down, down, we realized we had gone onto a different path heading to a different destination, and four out of six of us decided we wanted to go back and try the path to the left. We headed back to the fork, waved goodbye to the other two, while four remaining hikers trekked on into the wilderness, hopeful for new sights, sounds, and smells.
I had the idea of a “scramble” in my head, but I wasn’t sure what exactly that entailed. The four of us slowly made our way up the mountain and it was certainly more steep than the first half of the hike, but nothing was unmanageable. We took it slow and only one person passed us coming down. I asked if he made it up the scramble and he said yes.
He advised to keep to the left, that it was longer but easier, and while I appreciated the input I didn’t anticipate I would be crawling up a rock wall.
The closer we got the more we realized the landscape difference between what we had been hiking and what must be the scramble portion of the trail. We all decided then that we would hike to just below the scramble and call it. We made it to a beautiful open meadow where two of the girls stopped, but I had to touch the trees at the very base of the scramble.
I had to go the final 100 ft before I no longer felt comfortable.
As I sat at my chosen summit, the other two decided to join and we all savored the views before turning back to the parking lot. The summit provides a panoramic view of the entire range around us, but I was happy with the views we had. The climb was a little too vertical for me with no designated path. Maybe one day I will enjoy the idea of a scramble. I would be fine crawling up, it’s the coming back down that scares me.
After admiring some local marmots, we made our way back to the fork where we hoped to find the other two members of our party. Turns out our hour and a half detour was a bit longer than everyone expected and the other two made their way back to the parking lot. The views from the lot were just as awe inspiring meaning everyone left happy that day. This hike was just what I needed to bring my soul to life, even if just for a few hours.
I’m thankful for good friends with a zest for life, and I cannot wait for more adventures in my friends new Subaru.
Q: Would you crawl up the scramble?