Zen Bastard (jimbojones) wrote,
Zen Bastard

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the 15 mile long club

And by "I feel fine" I mean "my left knee is pretty much shot, and the abductor muscle isn't far behind." The bottom dropped out of the sky about four or five miles in, and I hadn't brought a poncho, so I got thoroughly soaked to the bone. I was fine until we stopped at the farthest point out for lunch and a rest, but sitting in the chilly rain cooled my knee down and stiffened it and life was not great when we started back again. Which was GREATLY exacerbated by the fact that the drenched group picked up the pace to about half again as fast as the pace on the way out. Eventually the abductor decided it was really fucking tired of me Oompa-Loompa'ing around at high speed (avoiding putting pressure on the knee), and IT started spasming on me. Luckily eventually somebody offered me a staff when I started to fall behind too much; I ended up putting - literally - at least as much, maybe more, of my weight on the staff as I did on my left leg for the last five miles back.

Which I am pretty proud of - we did 7.7 miles on the way back in a little under three hours; that's a pretty decent pace regardless and it's one MOTHERFUCKER of a pace when you're missing the functionality of one leg.

Still, pouring rain or no pouring rain, knee injury or no knee injury - I hiked a little over 15 miles today, and I would not trade it for vegging out in front of the computer or the TV. I am pretty stoked about having done it, and truth be told I enjoyed most of it - even the part in the pouring rain. It was pretty awesome that when the bottom completely dropped out, not a single one of us bitched or moaned about it - we just stopped briefly while those who had ponchos broke 'em out and put 'em on, and we kept right on hiking.

But enough words - pics! As always, they're clickable.

Sometimes in a forest you can see this incredible, explosive GREEN everywhere. Like everything is completely luminous. What you can't do is actually capture that green with a camera - in the picture, all you see is brown. I tried anyway.

This long stretch of gravel road along the Palmetto Trail opens up onto a farmer's field. The deep, shaded green of the pines lining the road and making a near tunnel of it contrasts stunningly with the brilliant, sunlit green of the field at the end. Again, not something you can really capture with a camera.

A little box turtle we found on a small bridge over a creek.

What's up, little dude?

About two and a half miles or so in, we hit an obstacle. When you have another 13 miles or so to go after that, wet feet aren't anything to take lightly!

Translation: I am Ozymandias, bridge of bridges. Look upon my span, ye hikers, and despair.

After a quick vote of confidence, we all decide this is covered under the "adventure" part of the Columbia Hiking and Adventure Club, and doff shoes and socks for an amphibious crossing. John, here, leads the way. In about another three feet, he's going to discover that the creek goes from knee-deep to thigh-deep just before you attain the far bank.

It is an unwritten law of the Oregon Palmetto Trail that if you choose to ford the river, you will lose oxen. Nick's alternate crossing method did not work out as well as he had hoped.

The thorns this little guy was nestled among were nearly as long as my finger.

Along another stretch of gravel road a bajillion miles from nowhere, a tree had fallen across the road and subsequently been - barely - chainsawed clear. Oddly, a bright red flower seemed to be growing out of the bark on the tree. More oddly, it turned out to be silk. Someone, clearly, decided to leave the world a little weirder than they found it. I salute that.

Tags: hiking, omgpix, vignette

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