Dog Mountain—Don’t bring your dog!
From the sounds of “Dog Mountain”, I was thinking this would be an easy trail full of puppies that I could stop and pet along the way. Where Dog Mountain gets its name, I am not sure, but it certainly isn’t because it’s a walk in the park. The hike is beyond breathtaking—in both beauty and literal terms. Like many of our perfect hikes, we went with our Oregon "family." They warned us that the hike was tough—we didn’t listen.
The drive to Dog Mountain was beautiful in itself. As we crossed the Bridge of the Gods into Washington, I was already in love. When we parked at the trailhead, I wanted to take a picture across the street at the railroad track. The scenery was incredible. When crossing back over the railroad, I smashed my knee on the rusty train track and began bleeding. A huge bruise took over my thigh in a matter of minutes. This should have been my warning. The first step of the trail was uphill—up steep hill. It didn’t stop for the next four miles. Hours. Hours of uphill. There was a point that I literally didn’t think I would make it. By a point I mean the whole time. Although I couldn’t feel my legs and they didn’t seem to be cooperating with me, I kept placing one foot in front of the other while Blakely sang "It's the Climb!" Along the way there were a few overlooks that certainly made the trip worth it. Once we reached the top, we about crashed. We sat for a long time just admiring the view and each other’s company.
Once it was time to hike back down a few of our friends decided they were trail running. Not us. We were going to take it nice and slow. Nice and slow was too slow for me. I was so ready to be at the bottom by this point. So, what did I do? I decided trail running was the quickest way down the mountain. I held my pace well for a while, and Heather, Blakely, and Jordan decided to join me. Heather wasn’t too keen on the idea seeing that I am the least graceful human to stumble on the planet, but she believed in me. She shouldn't have. I busted it! The force from running downhill lunged me forward. I turned midair in some way and landed on my right hip—the same thigh that was already bruised from hours earlier. Like some kind of spider monkey, I hit the ground and popped back up to my feet. I think it was the force to be honest. It surely wasn’t my own doing. With a bleeding hip, bruised and bleeding thigh, and hands and legs now full of splinters from whatever form of earth I skid across, I still had miles to go.
We eventually reached the bottom, and I immediately began picking splinters out of my hands with tweezers. So far, this has been my only hiking injury—knock on tree wood. Now that I’ve had the time to heel, I’m crazy enough to want to return during the spring to see the wild flowers that take over. My pictures and memories from the trip made it all worthwhile. It is still one of the prettiest landscapes I have ever seen; however, Dog Mountain left me with my tail between my legs. Until next time!