Saturday, February 1, 2014

Romona Falls with Leo

Today Emily and I ventured to Mount Hood with Leo for an afternoon of hiking.  We had intended on climbing a small peak out of Lolo Pass but there was too much snow.  Instead we found ourselves hiking along the Sandy River towards Romona Falls in just under a foot of fresh snow.  We had an interesting stream crossing with Leo and got to see a very cool waterfall.  Leo was beat tired at the end of the hike and so were we actually... Need to get in shape... Click the title to read about our hike...

Today Emily and I wanted to Leo out for an adventure since it had been so long since our last doggy trek.  We packed up the Prius and headed towards the northwest side of Mt. Hood and Lolo Pass.  Unfortunately, to our surprise it had snowed about 8+ inches and the forest service road to the pass was unplowed.  There were some tire tracks and we drove the Prius as far as we could in the ruts until the bottom of the car was literally gliding on the fresh snow pack before we called it and turned around.  A little disappointed, we started scouting the map and gps for other nearby locations that we could get the car to.  It was a dumb choice not to bring the truck…

We decided on trying to find the trailhead for Romona Falls which was off a road at lower elevations.  We again started driving down a road covered in thick snow and once again got to a point where we felt we should turn around.  Thankfully a large SUV Cadillac rolled up to us with some local guys who were taking their dog out as well and told us the trailhead was just another half mile.  We followed them along the road keeping up speed in their tracks so as not to get the Prius stuck.  After what seemed like much farther than half a mile we came to the trailhead and rammed the car into the fresh snow to park.  It was just us and another car in the lot as the guys kept rolling deeper into the woods.  

As soon as Leo got out he went bonkers running all around in the snow excited for the hike.  We followed a freshly beaten path of footprints through the snow along the Sandy river for a mile or so before losing them and realizing that we had to cross the river.  There were a few trees down across the river that were easy for Em and I to cross but they would be tough for Leo and there were a few snags that didn’t look safe if he fell in.  Emily crossed first to the other side and tried to call him over through a shallow area but he was too nervous….

The only way both of us were crossing was if I took off my socks and boots in the snow and carried him across the frigid river.  He didn’t seem to mind much and thankfully once we got safely across my wool socks warmed my feet right back up again.  From there it was a pleasant walk through the woods to Romona Falls that poured over a cliff into the neighboring valley.  It took us longer that we thought to get there so we snapped a few photos and turned back down the trail so we could make it out by dark.

It was much faster heading back down the trail in the deep snow than coming in and we often found ourselves jogging through the soft snow with Leo always at my heal.  We got back to the Sandy River crossing just before sunset and had great views of Mt. Hood in the distance.  Once again I had to carry Leo across the water but slipped so had to toss him a little bit and he got wet.  Towards the end of the hike Leo slowed quite a bit and even appeared to be limping.  7-8 miles in snow seems to definitely be his limit and he doesn’t seem to drink enough on trips like this so we think it is just his muscles cramping up.

We got back to the car just before 5pm and I had to give the car a good push backwards with Emily steering at the wheel to get us out.  The snow had melted a little under the car but it had turned cold and we didn’t want to be locked into ice, stuck there for the night.  As you can imagine, Leo slept soundly the rest of the night when we got home.  :)

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