We’re excited about the upcoming August hiking season at Meadows. We’ll be operating the Stadium chair every weekend for 10 days of operation. With an event set for every Saturday, and singer / songwriters performing Sundays, there’s many reasons to make your plans for a mountain visit in August.
But you don’t need to wait until August. There’s plenty of hikes, beauty and nature available right now. Today, I had a little extra time before a morning meeting so I took a quick hike on the Umbrella Falls trail. It’s easy to find on your right on our main access road. My plan was to refresh myself, clear some thoughts and truly enjoy the nature of Mt. Hood.
I tracked the hike with two apps - the “S-Health” app built into my Galaxy S5, and the free Strava app. We suggest using an app to track your hiking this summer. It creates a great record of your hikes, but also provides some incentive to reach goals, always good to have for motivation.
Or you can forget the technology, and just get into the natural serenity and magnificence you’ll discover along the way.
The trail is well maintained and the downhill ascent takes you to the namesake Umbrella Falls. The water is showering over the rocks and streaming down under the walking bridge. It was refreshing - the air temperature was five degrees cooler than at the road, just a 1/4 mile away. I don’t know if the rush of fresh mountain water is more clarifying than other water, but pausing and soaking in the sound sure felt good.
Continuing my walk I reached the Sahallie Falls loop trail and turned right towards the falls. The S-Health app signaled that I had reached the half way point to a 1 mile target it had set. At 9/10s of a mile it urged me on to make that goal. Really I wanted to try to get to the falls, but unfortunately I didn’t have enough time. So just after a mile (and a congratulations from S-Health) I turned back. Partly because the app announced I had covered 1 mile in 18 minutes, and I had only 25 minutes to make it to my meeting. I took a moment to soak in the dead silence. In contrast to the splash of the cascading waterfall, at this point on the trail there was almost utter silence. Standing still a moment I could barely hear the white noise of insectual humming, and an occasional bird chirp.
I was planning on a brisk walk, but found I enjoy running up hills more than walking, giving me a good workout. The Galaxy5 has a heart rate monitor, and I was able to sustain an elevated heart rate of between 110 and 136 for approximately a half hour. That was an unexpected benefit of this morning’s hike that will stick with me all day.
The Strava app was silent, although I could have listened to a playlist feature accessing files on my phone. Both recorded the hike and presented the trail on a topo overlay. Both allowed me to post pictures to remember the hike by. Both said I traveled 2.2 miles, 2.16 according to S-Health which reported a 44 minute hike. Strava said 35:41 of “moving time” not counting the moments I took gazing at the waterfall, taking pictures and enjoying the silence. S-Health provided some great stats for max speed, avg speed and pace, weather conditions and elevation gain, and the Strata app showed speed and elevation profiles. Considering these are both free apps, I am more than pleased with their record keeping and reporting.
Thanks for reading this far.
As an incentive to get you up and moving, we’re offering two free scenic chairlift ride tickets (valid any Saturday or Sunday in August) to the first person who posts to our Facebook page a photo they took of this Pumpkin Tree (pictured below) found along the Umbrella / Sahallie Falls trail.
As you can see, you can take the picture from the trail (we appreciate you sticking to our trail system). If you already have a 15/16 season pass, you can use the scenic chairlift tickets to treat friends or family. We hope to see you here in August, and hopefully, this month for many hikes as well!