Illustration of a linebacker with the name Tiny and the number 4.4 on his jersey.

”Let’s go hike Tidbits Mountain”

I should have focused on the “mountain” part of that sentence

#0016

Hiking is not the easiest activity for me. Don’t get me wrong. I love walking! I would happily walk everywhere if time weren’t a factor. I’m an excellent walker on flat, paved sidewalks.

But hiking with any kind of elevation is a bit different. Add to that rocks, dirt, water, bugs, snakes, and all manner of other natural objects and animals, then things can be a bit challenging.

So when Handsome declared he wanted to hike a mountain, I was more than a little reluctant.

It didn’t matter that it was called Tidbits Mountain, which obviously is an attempt to lull the newbie hikers like me into a sense of confidence. “Oh, it is called ‘tidbits?’ It should be easy.”

I learned quickly that Tidbits is a name just like the name “Tiny” for a 350-pound linebacker, more of an ironic nickname than any actual indication of size.

I learned quickly that Tidbits is a name just like the name “Tiny” for a 350-pound linebacker, more of an ironic nickname than any actual indication of size.

Although, to be fair, expert hikers see this as a walk in the park. According to books and a few blogs, it is an intermediate-level hike with an elevation increase of 1,100 and is only (yes, it says “only”) 4.4 miles.

The drive to Tidbits

Just to get to Tidbits, we had to drive almost 8 miles on a gravel, one-lane road with maybe two turnouts and a drop-off on one side. Sure, the drop-off had trees, lots of them, but it was still a definite edge. I stared at the few feet between our front wheel and that edge most of the way, praying that we wouldn’t go over while worrying we’d meet up with a car coming back the other way.

Happily, we made it to the turnoff for the trail. But rather than get stuck on the narrow road next to the trailhead, we parked 0.2 miles further down the road where there was just enough room to pull to the side of the road and park.

If you got to go…

There are no facilities or even a Porta Potty so being squeamish about peeing in the woods is not an option. As a woman, it is a bit more of an experience being bare-assed in the woods and trying to aim without getting clothes or feet in the way. But it is easier than it sounds and not as big a deal as it seems.

Reaching the trailhead

Even at only 0.2 miles, the climb up to the trailhead proved arduous because it is a gravel road with a 40° angle to climb up with no good footholds. Slipping and sliding on our way up didn’t seem so bad since we were fresh with energy. Coming back was a chore, and we ended up relying on the edges with plants more than trying to walk on the road itself.

The trailhead was clear and easy to follow. The marker was an old wood sign, but it seems to have weathered well over the years. The shade of the trees was lovely in the morning sunshine.

Hiking the mountain

The incessant buzz of flies and bees was challenging for an insect hater like me. Whenever one got close to my ears, I’d sharply shake my head and pick up the pace. They say they only bother you if you are within about 100 yards of the hive. There must have been a lot of hives along the trail because the buzzing was a constant noise for most of the hike. The good part is it didn’t seem too bad in the places on the trail with the best views and at the top. Also, it could be said, with all the beautiful wildflowers on the trail, the buzzing is worth it. Happily, despite the abundance of bees, I didn’t get stung once.

The trees and flowers are lovely, but I was in awe when I hiked around a bend and witnessed the first view of the valley full of trees and surrounding mountains.

The view from the top

At the top are the remains of a wooden staircase that used to lead up to a forest service lookout long since removed. The rocks are steep. Scrambling up the side and getting up there is the easy part. It is getting down that is more challenging, especially for those uncomfortable with heights. I don’t have a problem with heights, but even I chose to climb back down with my butt against the rocks. It felt safer because my center of gravity was back against the stones rather than out in mid-air.

The view is incredible! You can see the snow-covered Three Sisters and Mount Jefferson in the distance among millions of trees, blue sky, and sunshine. It is a lovely 360° experience.

Closer to the edge

Even though hiking is a challenge for me, the views make it worth the work. I’m always eager to get close to an edge for a better view. However, I’m as much a climber as I am a hiker. More than once, Handsome would call out, “Please don’t get so close to the edge.” I think he likes me.

Rock for two with a view

Handsome packed us a nice snack lunch. We found a big rock and were able to sit and enjoy the view while nibbling on carrot sticks, celery, and hummus—a nice relaxing respite.

One hiking tip – don’t litter. Ever. No joke. Anything you bring in, you pack out. It is hiking law.

If you litter, the gods of the Northwest forests will curse you. You will trip over your feet, and all your electronic devices will malfunction. Ok, that is a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point.

Heading back

There is supposed to be a shortcut, a switchback trail from the top back to the original trail. We tried to follow it, but it was too overgrown. Fears of us lost on the mountain, wandering aimlessly, trying to find our way, prompted me to convince Handsome we should go back up and use the original path to get back to the car. It took time and energy, but we got back to the original trail without any trouble.

On our way back, we greeted fellow hikers on the trail who were headed up. In total, only eight of us were on the mountain that morning.

It is worth it

Back at the car, I happily traded my boots for tennis slippers and stripped off my sweaty, dirty shirt (full coverage sports bra underneath) to exchange for a clean shirt. Felt so good. Not as good as the shower when we got home, but good.

All I can say is it is worth it—the dirt, the bugs, the inclines that made me huff and puff and realize just how out of shape I am—all worth it.

Perhaps I will become a hiker after all.

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Honey Madison

  • MiniPost #0031

    Forget Plan A. I’m on Plan F, which comes with a complimentary bottle of vodka.

    #goals #GoalSetting #LifeLessons

  • MiniPost #0002

    Just about anything, if it is shiny, I’ll be attracted to it. I won’t buy it of course. That would be impractical and a house full of reflective objects would be too much stimulation for my highly sensitive self. But if I’m in a store and I see sparkles, I’m all happy smiles and sunshine.