Friday, October 8, 2021

Hike: Hamilton Mountain, N Bonneville, WA

AllTrails map

Getting There

See previous posts for directions. Spring for the annual Discover Pass for $30/yr instead of paying $10/day at the trailhead.

Take WA-14 from Vancouver, WA east toward N Bonneville. Just after Doetsch Ranch you'll see the Ranger Station on the north side of the road just before the Beacon Rock parking lot, then another road across from the bathrooms. The road winds up the hill for a bit.

The Hike

Distance: 5.43 miles 
Elevation Gain: 2,064 ft
Type: Up-n-back

This is only my 2nd hike since the MSH three weeks ago. I'm definitely feeling the effects of my inactivity. I was laboring on this hike a bit, my heart rate was pretty high so I really slowed down my pace. It made me a bit worried actually. I felt the same way about 13 days ago when I hiked Phlox Point.

While I was aware of any immediate air quality issues in the Gorge, it seems a bit hazy. I attributed my shortness of breath on that. There really isn't any AQI reporting nodes east of Gresham.

I have this mountain down pat. From a previous post, it is 8 sections to the top:

  8. Green: Top of bare rock to Summit
    - 14 turns (7 rights, 7 lefts)
  7. Indigo: Bare Rock 
  6. Aqua: To bottom of bare rock
  5. Pink: Little Ham. switchbacks
  4. Green: To bottom of Little Ham.
     - 3 sections
  3. Yellow: To Lookout
  2. Blue: To Rodney Falls
  1. Purple: To Power lines


As I continued this very familiar hike, I caught myself thinking "well, I need to hike more often 'cuz I'm winded and it's okay if I don't reach the top." I had this thought midway through the ash field at MSH; I thought "it's an accomplishment to just reach this far" for a few beats before pushing forward (up and on).

It's an interesting way to measure my fitness and state of my joints & muscles. But it's also weird to not being able to tackle it with same energy as earlier in the summer. It's the weather, it could be air quality, I went from 2-3 hike a week in June, July, August to one every couple of weeks and in between I'm home-bound.

I can see the correlation between my activity and my fitness. It should alarm me more but it's a reality, at least at the moment. Working from home removes the separation between office hours and personal time.

I realize that all the momentum from this summer is difficult to sustain. I see accounts I follow on IG and they are bagging peaks nonstop. It's hard to know if they are just trickling photos from past trips or are really just hiking every single week. I know a local friend really is hiking a lot and he's bagged some amazing peaks. 

Same with Roberto Moiola (a distant cousin with whom I share a name). He is an amazing landscape photographer with penchant for remote, snowy places. None of that is possible without a certain level of fitness but also drive & passion.

The tagline on my RTAH website is "I travel & hike to find awesome places to photograph and write about." I hope I can continue to make this statement truthfully, whether financially, physically, psychologically.