Every Labor Day my family has had the run of a private camp. Acres of trees, and just us. It's on the Gorge so we enjoy the vinyards and the hikes. This year my brother-in-law and I hiked up Dog Mountain while everyone else went wine tasting.
The trail split at one point, to the left an easier hike, to the right a steeper grade. Next to the more challenging path were several warnings written by past hikers. Chris and I pondered for a moment if they were sarcastic, but then at the written warning of dragons, we both nodded. Chris turned to me said, "this is the zombie trail." Note to those who hike with others, never hike with someone who is deep into a zombie novel--they see zombie apocolypse hideouts in every cave and dark cavern of the trail. While Chris scanned for zombie hideouts, I breathed in the pine air, and tried to imagine the lush trail in the heart of wildflower season. We kept a good clip and I felt warm and comfortable until we crested the top.
The mountain next to Dog Mountain is called Wind Mountain. We hiked it last Labor Day, and stood sweating in the still, warmth at the top. This, Dog Mountain, should have been named after a scavenger dog or dingo because it must have stole the wind from poor Wind Mountain. At the top of Dog Mountain, gusts ripped through my jacket and chilled the sweat on my back. Gorge wind is famous, and as we started up the goat sized ledge to the apex, I was brought back to Nepal.
My village was on top of a 6,000 foot hill just below the Annapurna Himals. The Himalayan wind blew against me on my hour-long daily ridge walk to my school. I didn't wear a jacket, because Nepalis didn't have jackets. Instead I would cacoon myself in a green shawl and walk as fast as I could. I got into pretty good shape, and my cheeks took on a nice rouge red. I also remember that, during the winter months, I spent my time running from fire to fire, and filling my stomach with the most scalding tea available, not to mention that I hate tea.
Not having a fire or scalding tea, we scanned the beauty of the Columbia River and decided to run down. Besides running down a mountain is good training in case there is a zombie appocolypse.