According to my new marathon training regimen, Sundays are “cross train” days. The idea of cross training strikes me as a little bit funny since it makes me sound like a serious athlete, which I am not. I love running. It’s my medicine and my therapy. I take its benefits and challenges seriously.
But, I am far from someone who should say things like “Sunday is my cross training day” in regular conversation. This is further complicated by the fact that I hate the following common cross-training-for-runners activities: swimming (I don’t know how), bike riding (ugh, the seats! They’re the worst!), power walking (blerg, slow and humiliating!) yoga (sitting still and quietly stretching for an hour?!) and the elliptical machine (it’s for 19-year-old naturally skinny college girls who want to read US Weekly while they “work out.”)
I’ve landed on hiking. Which I realize is basically just walking sort of fast, up a hill. But, it’s not boring, Oregon is full of good places to hike, and steep hills will give me strong quads.
This past Sunday, Oliver and I headed out to the Columbia River Gorge – which you probably remember from the time you floated your wagon down-river during the last leg of the Oregon Trail – and saw some waterfalls. The Gorge is full of ’em. Some you’ve heard of – Bridal Veil, Multnomah – some you probably haven’t.
Accessibility ranges in difficulty from “park your car, walk across the street, see waterfall, lazy-ass” to “park car, hike one mile up a steep hill, sweat an embarrassing amount, get passed by a toddler on her way up. Then, see waterfall.”
My favorite discovery of the day was Fairy Falls, which is a relatively challenging climb up an un-maintained trail with what seems like 1 billion switchbacks, about a mile above Wahkeena Falls. While we were walking we discovered that there’s actually a loop that you can do from Wahkeena to Multnomah and back. We’re going to try it the next Sunday that I’m not flying off somewhere.
I’d still prefer a nice, long run, but I’m excited about the idea of working our way through the other dozen or so Gorge waterfalls. Maybe I’ll get to the point where I can run these hikes instead of walking them. If I’m ever going to turn my Western States pipe dream into a reality, I’ll have to start somewhere…