I feel old and creaky the day after our hike up the mountain. My feet hurt from all of the rough terrain that we traveled. When we set off, the boys took off up the mountain. We only saw them again when we reached our summit. When I say our summit, I don’t mean the summit. We only made it as far as Columbia Rock and then the lower fall’s overlook, but that is all we had time for. The full trail runs three miles and climbs 2000 feet. We only did half that, but it was enough for me. Near our summit, a crew was working on the trail. I wise cracked, “You’ve got one heck of a commute.” To which one of them responded, “Yeah, but when I go on vacation, I can spend forty hours in a cube.” “Touché!”
When we got to our turnaround point, we were level with the base of the upper falls. The trail continued on to the top of that falls. The overlook above the lower and middle falls was enough to give me a fear of heights. The iron railing just seemed too flimsy for my taste. You could see clouds of pine pollen blowing off the trees on the valley floor.
The work crew was placing foot square granite blocks. Too heavy to pick up, these blocks were hand winched into place. I meant to ask on the way back down, how did the dozens of granite blocks that littered their building site get up the mountain? I suspect pack mules did it, but I don’t know for sure. Certainly, no wheeled vehicle could have made it up the path.
On the way back down, we passed people on their way up. Some looked like they weren’t going to make it, while some were still springing up the trail. One young couple were still running up the trail at our turnaround point.
A sign at the base of the trail says that there are 60 switchbacks on the way to Columbia Rock and Anne accurately counted them on our way back down.