106 degrees (41C for you euros out there) in Portland.Â A bit cooler at the coast, and frickin hot in the gorge and the Cascades.Â Sounds like the perfect weekend to get back into backpacking and beat the crowds.Â So I’m figuring a solo trip into the gorge, but I got my buddy Dave into it.Â He’s experienced and we hit the Bull of the Woods Mountain area.Â Which is huge, diverse, and has a bunch of lakes.Â We got a late start on Saturday afternoon and it was hot.Â But it was great.Â The crowds were all at the river or the coast or the movies.Â Not climbing around in the high desert with a frame pack on their backs.
I drank an amazing amount of water this weekend.Â That spring water (filtered, of course) tasted so good.Â We hiked 6-7 miles each day, a decent distance, especially considering the switchbacks and heat and weight.Â I packed way too much food, and probably too much stuff in general.Â A little couscous goes a long ways.Â And a pound of cheese on an overnight is too much.Â The dogs ate well, at least!
We hiked to Welcome Lake, a nice little spot, and did some trout fishing.Â I am not the most experienced fisherman, and I don’t really have the knack for it…something that won’t keep me from trying.Â But we did catch some fish.Â And release.
Saturday night, we split a bottle of Patron Silver.Â Pretty fancy stuff.Â I’d lost a bet and that was the price.Â It tasted soo good, but there didn’t seem to be enough of it.Â We probably shouldn’t have cut into it on the trail up.
Sunday morning we got up lazy.Â I had couscous with trail mix (man, the stuff with cranberries in it from New Seasons is grubbin!) for breakfast, and we fished.Â Augie and Bear played a lot, which probably didn’t contribute to our success a lot.Â Then Augie sat right near me, ass in the water.Â It was pretty sweet.Â I battled fishing line on several occasions.Â We cleaned up camp, packed, and hit the trail.
The walk back was nice, there were some really fun trails with some truly breathtaking views.Â At the top of Bull Mountain is a fire lookout that we hiked to.Â There was some shade under the lookout, as well as a precious gentle breeze, that we enjoyed.Â We climbed into the lookout (by walking up the stairs), but it was scary, perched at the edge of the cliff, and made out of ancient dried-out wood.Â I walked very lightly.
We were getting short on water.Â Dave mentioned Corona with lime.Â That became my mantra.Â I consume a ton of the pure liquid to function.Â We walked down, and I was good about conserving.Â On the map, there was a creek just ahead.Â I could hear it, smell it, in anticipation.Â Turning the coner, it had gone dry. Â Heartbreak.Â Fortunately, it emerged from the rocks flowing well somewhat below.Â We pumped and pumped, and I swallowed a nalgene whole.Â The dogs laid in the cool water.
We’d decided to hit the Clackamas for a dip rather than drop our fishing lines again, so we cruised to the car, and drove to the river.Â It felt magnificent.Â We then stopped in Estacada for possibly the best tasting Corona ever.Â It was an excellent weekend.Â cheers.