A breath of fresh air.

This weekend I finally went on a hike with some views. Views! That’s what I’ve been waiting for.

Figuring out where to hike around here has been confusing. There’s places in town, like Spencer’s Butte or Mount Pisgah, which are definitely much higher than town itself and have nice views, but aren’t very rugged. They are crowded and I can run all the way up them in, well, not very long. It doesn’t feel rewarding to get to the top.

And while there are plenty of trails out in the National Forest, most of them only begin once you’ve navigated a maze of access roads, which can be intimidating. Or it can just seem like too much hassle to drive out there on my own and figure out where the heck I’m going.

So this weekend I went hiking with a friend. He picked the route because it was supposed to have nice wildflowers, and we both like our botany. He hadn’t been there before either, although he was familiar with the area around Oakridge, the trail hub outside of Eugene. We found ourselves driving up and up, more than 6 miles on narrow gravel access roads, wondering whether there was going to be any mountain left for us to hike by the time we got to the parking lot.

And was there? Kind of. We had a nice leisurely trip which took a couple of hours, but only gained a couple hundred feet. We mostly skirted hills, which offered amazing views of the bigger mountains in the distance.

We finally got to the top of Tire Mountain, and there wasn’t a view. But that was okay because we had nice views along the way. We sat in the shade – a nice bonus since it was really hot out – and ate our lunch and looked up the flowers we had seen. Am I a huge nerd? Yes. Was this way less intense than almost all of the hiking I usually do? Yes. Am I okay with that? Absolutely!

I’m afraid that I’m going to have to try harder if I want to do any really serious hiking, and maybe drive further, too. But this a step in the right direction and a very happy way to spend my Sunday. I’m lucky to have made friends who like to do things outside.

After a stiflingly hot drive back to town, we ate some homemade ice cream and recovered. Well done.

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