Thursday, April 11, 2013

Dog Mountain Challenge

 I took a much needed mid week day off.  Spring is finally here and it is time for wildflower hikes.  I've always been intimidated by the steep hike up Dog Mountain.  I don't think it is a hike I can do with a four year old.  Today I was needing a challenge and just had my 20lb baby to contend with.  I decided to give it a try.

It is a bit early for wildflowers, but I did see glimpses of them on the way up the steep trail.

We made it to the lower viewpoint- halfway up and our first goal.  I felt winded but ready for more climbing.

I enjoyed the view and fed my baby.  Later I heard the sight of a nursing mom halfway up Dog Mountain had made another hiker's day!

The next section was not as tough but there is a half mile of torment.  I started to question my sanity as well as ability and whether the view from the top would be worth it, but with sheer grit continued the climb.

I took another break before climbing the final half mile to the top.  At this point, I was at the bottom of the amazing meadow and could imagine how incredible it will be a month from now with all the flowers.  Being on top of the world always gives me the boost I need to keep climbing and I got lots of encouragement from other hikers seeing me with my 20 lb beauty in the front pack.

We made it slowly up the final half mile and found a great spot to soak in the sunny spring day.

The views of the gorge, Mt. St. Helens, and Mt. Hood were wonderful.  We took a much earned rest at the top and just enjoyed it.

Baby Analise was able to spend some quality time climbing trees and playing in dirt.  She wanted to role down the hill but I convinced her that this was a very bad idea!

We took the more gradual way down which had less views and flowers giving me more time to focus on the pain in my legs and knees.  I remembered the beautiful view and decided the pain really was worthwhile in this case.

I was so proud of myself for facing this steep 8 mile challenge with my baby and feel ready to start climbing mountains again, if only my four year old was motivated.  We will have to start with a smaller challenge.

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