Sunday, September 16, 2007

Overnight At Eagle Creek

Friday afternoon I took off for the Mt. Hood Wilderness as soon as I got off work. I planned to run the same route I had in the last blog entry, only the reverse route. My whole purpose for this run, besides the running, was to get some good photos of the sunrise and sunset on the various mountains near by. The only way to make it to my desired vantage point by sunset was to go up Ruckel Creek instead of Eagle Creek.

The climb up the trail was incredible. At several points along the way, I had to go up on all fours to prevent myself from falling backwards. 4,000 feet in elevation higher, I had made it up onto Benson Plateau and nearly didn’t recognize it. Sure, there were specific landmarks I could pick out as I traveled along, but instead of the dead brown grass I had seen just 11 days earlier, the grass was blight green, and anywhere there wasn’t grass, the ground was covered in a carpet of moss. I made it all the way up to the southernmost, wind-swept ridge of the plateau (where I wanted to take the pictures) in just over 3 hours.
I still had plenty of time before the sunset, so I set up my sleeping bag, and feasted on jerky, dried fruits and veggies, and banana chips.

The sky was far too cloudy for me to get any good pictures of the sunset, and I was getting fairly cold, so I decided to turn in and hope for a spectacular sunrise. As I lay there I realized something; I was seeing stars, maybe it would clear up after all! When I awoke at 5:30, however, I was surrounded in fog that didn’t burn off until after 7 am. I did still try to get a good shot, but I wasn’t satisfied with what I got. After a little more jerky and banana chips and GU, I was back on the trail at 7:10.

The rest of the run was fairly uneventful, but it was fun passing other people during the decent. I talked to a couple people for a little bit that were hiking from Mexico to Canada, I got some good pictures (I had my tripod this time,) and I scared a woman really badly. Well, I thought it was funny. She obviously was petrified of heights, being that she was inching her way down the tail, about 300ft up the face of a cliff, clutching the metal cable, on the inside of the trail, with all her might. The trail was only about 5 ft wide, and there I came, doing about an 8min mile, and just flew by her on her outside. She let out a couple expletives as I passed her, which gave me the impression that she either thought I was about to fall to my death, or fall and take her with me. I had to laugh, well, as soon as I was no longer within earshot of her.

I finally made it back to my car, from the plateau, in a mere 4hrs 20min. My total run time, not including my sleep, was 7hrs 34min. Much better than last time I was out here, even considering all the photos I took last time. It was fun, but I didn’t get the photo I wanted. I guess that’s just another reason to go again. J I also want to be back before the trail closes for winter. I don’t want to have to wait until next spring to go again.

Well, until next time, keep on running.

Oh yah, and if you have any suggestions for my blog, anything at all, feel free to send me an email.

Tim Lawson

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