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Dick B
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Dick B
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PostMon Dec 25, 2023 7:26 pm 
Recently I began corresponding with a new friend from the Portland area about hikes and other common interests. We are both up in years and we agreed that our hiking ability has diminished with age. That brought to mind the following hike a local buddy of mine and I took that really brought this home. It was in the fall of 2020 and was a hike to the top of Tumalo Mountain, which lies just to the east of Mt. Bachelor. My wife and I had done it years ago without difficulty and I was impressed with the views from the top. My buddy had never hiked it and I thought he would enjoy what the hike had to offer. The hike leaves the parking lot next to Century Drive and is a reasonable 3.6 mile round trip effort. There is a 1200 foot elevation gain per William Sullivan's hiking guide of the Central Oregon Cascades and is a constant climb and descent. Our trek to the top was without incident. We would stop when we needed to rest, chat a bit, then continue. It was a beautiful day, many people, and a lot of kids. Not too long after starting down, I became aware that the going up muscles are different than the going down muscles. I had forgotten that. Even tho it was less than 2 miles back to the car, it was not long before my legs were in a world of hurt. Stops became more and more frequent. Finally, as I was resting, within probably a quarter mile to the TH, my buddy could see I was hurting. While I was recouping, 4 ladies came by, heading down. By buddy asked them if they could help me the rest of the way. They agreed and may have said "sure, I think we can drag him that far". I declined the offer. After all a guy still has to have some pride and dignity. Anyhow, I bring this subject up to see if anyone out there may have had a hike from hell experience that they would like to share. Also, any advice as to what they might have done differently if they had a do over. Here's my advice. Since I've reached the 80+ mark, I'm very selective of the hikes I choose. If it's an out and back hike, I don't assume I will be able to reach my hoped for destination. Take lots of rests. I turn around when I know I still have the stamina to make it back the car. My distance traveled becomes dependent on the terrain and the condition of the trail. Recently another hike of 4 miles round trip was aborted after only a mile or so. The trail was not too bad topo wise but had a lot of rock outcropping that had to be scaled. My wife concurred as she is also in the above 80 group. Bushwhacking and off trail scrambling are also our.

KascadeFlat, SpookyKite89
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BigBrunyon
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BigBrunyon
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PostMon Dec 25, 2023 8:36 pm 
Went on a 3 miler couple years back 3 guys' stoves exploded, saw 5 bears at close range, it rained and I yelled at everyone.

raising3hikers, SpookyKite89  KascadeFlat
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Sculpin
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PostTue Dec 26, 2023 11:02 am 
I had a similar "hike from hell." A few years ago, I hiked solo up to Monogram Lake after making camp part way up the trail in the woods. On the way down, I picked up my backpack and started down the steep trail. After a half mile or so of keeping a good pace, my quads started cramping. I stopped and rested and they calmed down. But if I got up and started again, I couldn't make it more than a few steps without more cramping. I slowed waaaaaay down. Nothing helped. I tried to make 50 paces before resting again. It was excruciating. So I'm guessing that is what happened to you. I've had issues with electrolytes over the years, and I have read that salt balance is important to prevent cramping. But I don't really know what happened that day. shakehead.gif

Between every two pines is a doorway to the new world. - John Muir

KascadeFlat
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KascadeFlat
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KascadeFlat
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PostTue Dec 26, 2023 1:38 pm 
I'll bite. I wore jeans on my first ever backpacking trip. My hip belt rode against the belt loops and rubbed the skin off the front off my hip bones. Lesson learned: Jeans are poor backpacking clothes. Exiting the Enchantments via Snow Lakes (after entering at Stuart Lake TH) I was "too tired" to switch out of my water crossing shoes (sandals) after the dam. A couple of miles later I tore my big toe nail partially off when stepping over a log. Lesson learned: Carry a first aid kit. Two girlfriends and I were on a "girls trip" at a notorious back country lake renowned for fishing. Through a series of extremely unfortunate events we lost ALL of our food for the multi-day trip and had to bail early. The next morning we filled every container we had with water for the return trip through dry country. This included dumping out all the wine we had brought. frown.gif But thank God my giant inflatable flamingo survived the trip! Not having eaten in 1.5 days, I cursed that thing every step of the way home. Lesson learned: Flamingos belong in Florida, not the NCNP.

For a good time call: 1-800-SLD-ALDR.

peter707, Sculpin, zimmertr
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grannyhiker
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PostTue Dec 26, 2023 4:16 pm 
This "hike from hell" was 11 years ago. I took my grandson (about 11 at the time) on an overnighter to Lake Dorothy. If you are familiar with this popular trail, you'll know that it has many steps, some up to 3 feet high. I had surgery on my left knee back in the 1980s (ski accident) which left that knee not fully bending. On stairs, I have to descend with the left (bad) knee first to compensate for this. On the higher steps, I had to sit down and slide on my rear because my legs are rather short. By the time I got to the trailhead, my left knee was in massive pain, and my pants were ripped to shreds (thank heaven I had a clean pair in the car).

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.--E.Abbey

KascadeFlat
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zimmertr
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zimmertr
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PostTue Dec 26, 2023 5:14 pm 
The hardest hike I've ever done was a loop near Lake Ida. I was finally starting to get my feet under me and feeling confident with harder hikes but was new to cross-country. I decided to make an attempt for Lake Ida since many people here speak highly of it. I pulled a GPX file off Peakbagger and used it as a reference to find the turnoff from Chatter Creek. As I was climbing up the gully I saw the bootpath branch off to the right but I was feeling a bit frisky so I decided to throw in Frigid Peak as well. The GPX file I was using flipped over the other side and followed the scree field to the lake but in hindsight I probably should have just doubled back and followed the boot path. It was a couple miles of very steep choss that was very unstable and dangerous in my Altras. Eventually I made it there but I was a few hours behind schedule by that point and it was later in the season so sunset was coming. If you look at OpenStreetMap data on Caltopo or whatever, it shows a couple trails leaving Lake Ida as they head back to Icicle Ridge so I was excited to finally get back on a defined route. But in reality those trails don't exist. Then once I finally picked up the Icicle Ridge trail it was hardly a trail. More like tall grass and marshy soil. Then it started raining. Then it got dark. Meh. Not a fun day. Ended up clocking over 8,000' of gain in 16 miles by time I made it back to the car.

Flickr | Strava

ALW Hiker, catsp, Noheaperture, KascadeFlat
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Malachai Constant
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Malachai Constant
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PostTue Dec 26, 2023 6:21 pm 
I agree with Sarte, "hell is other people". I once went up mailbox with horizontal hail, sleet, snow, rain, and a whole gale. It hasbecome a treasured memory because it was with good friends and we were joking all the way. On the other hand I have been on an easy hike to Lower Lena Lakrpe with folks I despise sharing the trail with obnoxious inconsiderate other "hikers and hating ever step. The difference is people.

"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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Bowregard
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Bowregard
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PostTue Dec 26, 2023 8:17 pm 
I have found myself hiking towards hell many times but something always turned me back before summiting.

KascadeFlat
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Bootpathguy
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Bootpathguy
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PostWed Dec 27, 2023 11:58 am 
80 years old? Way to go!!! Hope I'm still that mobile @ 80

Experience is what'cha get, when you get what'cha don't want

KascadeFlat, MtnManic
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oldwild
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oldwild
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PostWed Dec 27, 2023 1:17 pm 
This wasn't too much of a hike from hell, but it sure was uncomfortable. My wife and I did the bushwhack up to lake Blethen. The bugs weren't bad and the fishing was good. I was fishing wearing nothing but my scandals and a fishing pole and I sunburnt my shoulders, hips, and the tops of my feet. It was not comfortable coming out with a backpack on.

KascadeFlat
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coldrain108
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coldrain108
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PostWed Dec 27, 2023 3:10 pm 
Hell for Sure Pass, from Indian Pass over to Lake Colden in the Adirondack Park. Nothing feels as bad as hiking in the midsummer heat and humidity of the Adirondacks with a full pack on. Someone had spelled out with rocks "hell for sure pass" with a rock arrow pointing the way. Not a good sign. It was 8am and already 85 degrees with sweltering humidity. Add to that a swarm of the world infamous 'dacks black flies buzzing all about. If you fell, hit your head and got knocked unconscious, the black flies would devour you where you fell - like airborne piranhas. Mosquitoes are nothing in comparison. The blood and sweat letting began. Tears followed quickly. Not a switchback to be seen, just up! Sweat dripping from every orifice, cramps like nobody's business. We got over the pass down to Colden Lake and the tent set up just in time for massive thunderstorms to roll through. Booming and blasting through the night. Hiked up to Algonquin Peak the next day, in a downpour, at least the humidity had coalesced into rain drops, much better. Oh yeah, that was my honeymoon....part of it anyway.

Since I have no expectations of forgiveness, I don't do it in the first place. That loop hole needs to be closed to everyone.

KascadeFlat
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oldwild
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oldwild
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PostWed Dec 27, 2023 4:26 pm 
Followup from our hike to Lake Blethen. Yes, it was uncomfortable coming down, but we had told a friend where we were going and he said he might meet us. We were about most of the way down the hill when we met him, and about all he had in his pack was a 6-pack of beer and a watermelon. We had a wonderful visit at the trailhead.

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Dick B
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Dick B
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PostWed Dec 27, 2023 7:46 pm 
coldrain108 wrote:
Hell for Sure Pass, from Indian Pass over to Lake Colden in the Adirondack Park. Nothing feels as bad as hiking in the midsummer heat and humidity of the Adirondacks with a full pack on. Someone had spelled out with rocks "hell for sure pass" with a rock arrow pointing the way. Not a good sign. It was 8am and already 85 degrees with sweltering humidity. Add to that a swarm of the world infamous 'dacks black flies buzzing all about. If you fell, hit your head and got knocked unconscious, the black flies would devour you where you fell - like airborne piranhas. Mosquitoes are nothing in comparison. The blood and sweat letting began. Tears followed quickly. Not a switchback to be seen, just up! Sweat dripping from every orifice, cramps like nobody's business. We got over the pass down to Colden Lake and the tent set up just in time for massive thunderstorms to roll through. Booming and blasting through the night. Hiked up to Algonquin Peak the next day, in a downpour, at least the humidity had coalesced into rain drops, much better. Oh yeah, that was my honeymoon....part of it anyway.
At one time or another I have experienced or witnessed most of which you posted. Black flies and skeeters, T storms with no shelter, just up or down. A new bride from Detroit, Mich. on her first backpack into Surprise Lake with tennis shoes. BTW she threatened to go back to Detroit after that, but we have hung in for 56 years. In prospective; my trip down Tumalo Mtn, had no bugs, humidity or T storms, just sore legs. I could have crawled the rest of the way if needed. I will give your experience a 9 out of 10 cuz you made it out. I would rate mine at a 5 in hellishness..

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Malachai Constant
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Malachai Constant
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PostWed Dec 27, 2023 8:10 pm 
Hey we went there when we lived in Ottawa only difference was Sandy had just gon through and wiped out Marcy Dam and most of the punchon on the trail, good times.

"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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hearingjd
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hearingjd
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PostThu Dec 28, 2023 10:40 am 
Upper Lena Lake. Actually the "hell" part was on the way down. We had camped at Lower Lena and a bunch of us decided to make a quick trip to the upper lake. One of the party, an elderly gentleman, wanted to go with us, so we agreed. He did great on the ascent, but as the day wore on it got hotter. When we started back down, he was already slow, but became more unsteady as we threaded our way down. He needed assistance for every step down, so what should have been a 1 hour descent took us almost 4 hours... in the heat... Loved to have Gene along, but wished I had said "no" to his request....

Hiker John
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