OHHHHHH We’re halfway THERE!

As you know I signed up for the Six Pack of Peaks challenge not too long ago. I had completed Paulina Peak as my first summit. I treated this one as a bit of a warmup as I had reached the summit of this one before. For my second hike, I couldn’t decide between Tumalo Mountain and Black Butte. After bouncing the ideas of which ones would be a better route to take, I finally settled on…

So  I decided (against the little nagging voice on my shoulder) that I would attempt to summit two mountains in the same day. What further fueled my insane ambition is that there was a post that there would be a group of 3 fellow hikers that were embarking on a quest to hammer out all 6 peaks in the span of 24 hours. 24. Hours. Even I’m not that crazy. But two? I could surely manage two hikes in a day, right? Let’s look at the tale of the tape:

Paulina Peak: 5.5 Miles Round Trip. 1,594 Feet Elevation Gain.

Black Butte: 3.9 Miles Round Trip. 1,538 Feet Elevation Gain.

Tumalo Mountain: 3.8 Miles Round Trip. 1,407 Feet Elevation Gain.

By themselves, Black Butte and Tumalo Mountain don’t compare to Paulina Peak’s distance and Elevation Gain. The numbers for Black Butte and Tumalo Mountain are a tad off as my Google Fit tracker had something else to say.

Based on my tracker, I did a combined distance of 8.96 Miles on this Double Hike day. And for the last 3 days, my body is reminding me that I really did accomplish this feat! OUCH! I will say that both of these hikes offered different experiences all on their own.

Black Butte

I began the day with a drive out passed Sisters, Oregon to head out to the trailhead of Black Butte. About an hour and a half commute from my home, I decided against trying for another sunrise summit. I left my van at 9 am and began my assent. A few things of note:

  • Black Butte’s incline can be steep at times. Bring trekking poles unless you’ve got very strong thighs. You’ll need them.
  • This trail is trafficked pretty heavily so don’t be surprised if you see people on your entry and your exit.
  • People will pass you (and that’s okay). I witnessed multiple joggers racing up to the summit.
  • Bring enough water. Especially in the Summer. The lower half of the Butte has ample tree coverage to help keep temperatures lower than the top half of the trail. Once the tree cover is gone, you will sweat. And with sweating comes dehydration!
  • Sunscreen. If you are prone to getting a sun burn, you don’t want to give the cancer gods any reason to smite you. Lather up!

Fortnite Players Know What’s Up

When you’re about 20 minutes from the Summit, you will notice a look-out tower. It resembles the look-out towers in the game Fortnite (I cannot confirm if Black Butte’s look-out tower contains any loot chests). Once you make it to the summit, the view is breathtaking! 

The hike back down was fairly easy. Heading back down to the trailhead is always a faster trek than going up and usually I have that excited feeling of accomplishment. That moment when you know that within a few hours you’ll be back in your vehicle headed home can bring about a feeling of elation. For me, knowing that my next adventure was only about an hour and a half drive away had me determined. At that moment I was pretty pumped and confident to take Tumalo Mountain by the horns and knock another one out!

Until I wasn’t.

Tumalo Mountain

I drove out to the trailhead of Tumalo Mountain after a quick pitstop at Target for some Aleve and to hit up the restroom. I’m sure I looked a little worse for wear as the temperatures had started climbing and I began turning into a sweat monster. I was met by far more vehicles than I expected at the base of Tumalo Mountain. In one section it looked like there were about 20 people sitting together on a fallen tree eating lunch. All looked sweaty and a little worn out. Gathering my backpack, water, trekking poles and situating my headphones to provide me with some musical accompaniment while questing to the summit, I headed up the trail.

In the words of Gob from Arrested Development: “I’ve made a huge mistake”. The incline on Tumalo Mountain is not a kind mistress if you’ve already burnt out your legs going at a moderate pace up a different mountain earlier in the day. I’m slightly embarrassed (only slightly) to mention that I stopped virtually every 5-10 minutes during my ascent. Luckily for me, the earlier portions of this trek is covered heavily with trees. By the time I started, the temps had

the view from a top…

already reached 82 degrees and that was already a bit warmer than I would have liked. I’m not going to lie, this part was tough. To make things a little worse, I started getting passed by lots of people that arrived before I did. Luckily, living here in the PNW, they would make small talk and upon learning that this was hike #2 for the day, they were both horrified and amused at the same time! I get a pass!

It’s lonely at the top!

Every time I thought I was close to the summit, another hill would appear for me to conquer. Sweat rolling down my temples and my legs on fire, I continued. There were times I considered turning back and attempting again later but I was not going to back out now. Once I made it to the summit, I was alone. Those that had passed me had long since began their descent and had passed me again, encouraging me that “it is worth it”. The view was breathtaking. It was silent. Standing there, by myself, no sound but the wind, fresh air in my lungs, and battery acid in my leg muscles… I felt alive. But also… a missing something. You see, Tash has wanted to go hiking with me. Obviously, given her current condition she can’t. But I remembered something…

Lovely Lady Accompanying Me….

I’m old school. One of the first pictures she ever sent to me I have kept in my wallet. It has migrated from wallet to wallet as each one dies but the picture lives on! So I whipped out my wallet really quick, found the picture and snapped another pic and sent it to her. You see, no matter where I go, she’s always with me. And while I was in a TON of pain ascending Tumalouch Mountain… She was there with me. my whole family was with me for that matter. My Spotify Hiking playlist consists of a few songs that remind me of each person in my family and they all played during my trip. I keep them with me even when they’re not physically present. Love you guys!

Takeaways from this trip

I have a few lessons learned from this double hike day:

  • Next time I decide to summit two mountains in one day, smack me.
  • PACK ENOUGH WATER. And if you think you have enough, add a little more (yes I ran out. No i’m not proud of it).
  • Get some really good boots. Picked up some Columbia hiking boots on sale and omg it’s night and day!
  • Cut your toenails down a bit before hiking because ouch.
  • Bring plenty of battery packs to plug your phone in if you’re listening to music and taking pictures. It’ll drain your battery fast
  • I need to pace myself. Going up doesn’t need to go fast. Don’t fret if people pass you. Take your time and enjoy it, Kenny!

My next hike will either be Maiden Point or Mt Bachelor. I’m giving South Sisters the Side eye right now being that an old neighbor of mine posted pics of his hike up to the summit the same day I did these and he said it was pretty brutal. There you have it. Three of Six… COMPLETE!

 

Kenny

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