Holiday adventure/ride/trail run in the Gorge:)

This is one of those posts where I’m writing about a thing that happened a million years ago now (or, yknow, a few weeks ago;) — but that’s how it goes sometimes.

So imagine, if you will, back in the holiday season, when people were excited about lights and ornaments and decorations of all kinds. Somewhere in there, I stumbled across something that mentioned a secret “Ornament Trail” out in the Columbia River Gorge. Intrigued, I did some internet sleuthing and spent some quality time looking at maps, and decided that I would try to find the Ornament Trail for myself.

.

(ornaments in store on this adventure!)

.

Given that I didn’t really know where I was going or what exactly I was aiming for, I figured I should be prepared to cover a lot of ground — which is why I decided this particular brand of adventure should be a trail run, not a hike. And to round it out, I’d bike there, since any true adventure should involve a bike, too:) (And heck no am I going to rent or borrow a car just to go to the Gorge by myself.)

Thus it was that at first light, I found myself biking out to Multnomah Falls, where I’d decided to start, running shoes and lightweight pack strapped to my back rack, bag full of snacks in the front. It was a super misty morning, so much so that I couldn’t even see the Vista House at Crown Point until I was basically on top of it.

.

(such a lovely view! heh. For realz though, usually you can see all the way up and down the Gorge from here)

.

Despite the gloominess of that picture, it was a nice start to an adventure: the world a magical wonderland where nothing was quite as it seemed. And once I parked my bike and swapped my bike shoes for my running ones, the magic held out for my trek up and along the trails.

.

(Multnomah Falls: the beginning!:)

.

(above Multnomah Falls)

.

So, no real details here, but I did ultimately find the Ornament Trail, and ended up running maybe a good 9 or 10 miles, many of which were actually spent pulling up short in quick halts when I saw and had to investigate something super awesome along the trail.

.

(like tons of hair ice, which may be a post for another day:)

.

(I joked to myself that this was another kind of hair ice, too, since it was cold enough in the morning that the mist that collected on my hair froze it to my jacket zipper)

.

When I got back to my bike, I took a good long stretch, ate some more snacks, and headed back to Portland, taking the long way because I got sucked into riding the Springwater Corridor, my lovely old commute that I miss very much. And I got home just as it was getting dark, having used basically every molecule of sunlight during the day to adventure. Which is the best possible use of sunlight:)

It made me think, though: I’ve often gone out to the Gorge to run with my buddy John, but we always drive his car. I’d never really thought to do it on my own on my bike, not really, just because it seemed like kind of a big effort investment. (Caveat: I have biked out there to hike, but for some reason biking out to run has always seemed sort of ridiculous.) But it was actually fairly mellow. I mean, it took all the daylight I had, but that was on basically the shortest day of the year, and without feeling any pressure to hurry up.

I’m psyched that if I ever have a free day, I could totally make a bike-to-run adventure out of the Gorge without feeling super wrecked. It expands my reach, I suppose, and that’s always a good feeling, to find that something is actually way more possible than you previously supposed.

.

(Also, yay for finding the Ornament Trail!:)

.

Pro tip: Multnomah Falls is a great place to start a bike-and-run or bike-and-hike Gorge adventure, since the lodge there means there are bathrooms and running water to refill your water bottles! There are also bike racks, and even though I’ve never eaten there so I don’t know anything about it, a restaurant in the lodge.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *