I could feel it; I just knew. It was in the air. The atmosphere was ripe. I was filled with anticipation. There was no preventing anything. It was just a matter of time. But, I digress.
Let me begin at the beginning.
Some of you may remember we got on the wrong trail last weekend–it was a most delightful mistake–and ended up on Bachelor Mt. trail instead of Coffin Mt. trail. If you love mountains and wildflowers, have another look; it won’t disappoint.
So, this week we knew exactly where to find the trail head. The lump in my throat thickened the closer we got. What had I gotten myself into? Look at this cliff:
Me: “We couldn’t POSSIBLY be going up THERE, right?!“
The husband: “No.“
Me: “Oh, good.” (To myself, “He’s lying.“)
Part of me was relieved, since this, the lookout below the red arrow, was our destination (and it couldn’t be higher than Mr. Nasty Cliff). Right?
So far, so good. We started out, and it was, as expected, a lovely trail. My lungs noticed right from the start (they’ve always been quick) that it was just a tad bit uphill. No worries, I told them. I’ve got this one. I also went into rescue mode in case I were to pass out from sheer exhaustion (or anger).
- Should I pass out, they can simply roll me down the hill, it’s quicker than hiking down.
- There were signs of humanoids on the trail. Good to know if help is needed.
- The husband can
yell very loudlyproject when necessary.
- Since this lookout is “manned,” there could be a place to land a helicopter.
- I can always begin divorce proceedings.
I was all set. The husband told me it was a mile and a half up to the top. Fine. I can do anything for a mile, right? Right.
The flowers once again were amazing, bright, and cheery, and they kept me going. The Bear Grass was lovely.
Beautiful flowers sprouted everywhere the eye could see.
Then, we stopped cold; neither of us have seen anything like this Queen Anne-ish, maroon stemmed gem. Any guesses?
As we continued to ascend, the trail started to change. It opened up and the mountains came alive. Our glorious Mt. Jefferson photo-bombed this tiny cloud. The peak dead center here is Bachelor Mt., last week’s “mistake.”
The trail was lovely, and my fabulous floral friends continued to cheer me on.
But, that nasty peak I saw in the beginning was getting dangerously close, and I was not seeing the lookout tower anywhere. Right about here, my “Are you SURE we are not going up THERE?!?” was met with a firm “NO!“
Me: “Fine,” I said with a little more emphasis than the situation warranted. I’m sure it was a lack of oxygen. I kept hiking. That’s when I spotted something familiar. Can you see it?
OK, I’ll zoom in for a closer look. How about now?
Vertical, moving human-like structures.Then we heard them. Yep, there was life on the mountain.
We discovered two ladies who know how to hike. They stop and take lots of photos, and even walk off trail to sit and soak up this glorious view. We eventually passed them–not in a million years would I have predicted that would happen–but we beat them to the top.
The husband redeemed himself (by not having lied to me) as we continued to round this mountain, versus climbing to its top. Although, as you’ll see, our destination was higher than this nasty peak (bless my tolerant lungs!).
And there it is, the lookout at Coffin Mt. trail (and old Nasty Cliff a comfortable distance behind me). I was feeling
a little less testy better already.
The steepness of this hillside and how this trail got its name kept gnawing at me, and I couldn’t keep the two ideas separate. The husband reassured me the name was NOT from those who perished trying to make it to the top (but hadn’t). Uh, huh.
But, there, in all its glory was the “manned” lookout oddly devoid of living souls as we know them (I did not look too closely over the edge and I heard no cries for help).
A few more steps and, aaaahhhh:
It doesn’t get much better. In fact, if it weren’t for the fact that I was giddy with relief that I made it to the top, I might have given him the glare when I realized the yellowing peak below–the one with the power poles–is lower in elevation and sits this side of the top of Mr. Nasty than where I stand taking this picture. Lucky for him, my energy reserves had been depleted.
Can’t say I’ve ever eaten lunch on a helicopter pad, but that we did. The lookout station was closed to visitors. We could not have chosen a more perfect day to hike this trail. By the time we headed down, seven
other idiots hikers had made it to the top.
As we descended, I began feeling that old familiar feeling of elation, gratitude, satisfaction, happiness, and pride that I, once again,
made it to the end without falling on hiked one of Oregon’s magnificent trails. With one last look, a farewell to our new friends, and lungs filled with mountain air, we began our descent.
When the trail opened up, what with the air, the smell, the trail, the flowers, the oxygen or lack thereof, I was powerless to stop myself. I just had to open my mouth:
And, “that’s it,” folks.