Hi, my name is Mike, my wife and I recently moved to Madras, OR, from Portland, OR a few months ago.
I am super stoked to explore the area......I have a long list, I view it as a multi year perhaps even decade(s) long endeavor, I'm a bit of a nerdy researcher about this sort of thing......but have my eyes particularly on Eagle Cap Wilderness, Central Oregon, Southern Oregon, Alpine Lakes Wilderness up in WA, Sawtooth Wilderness in Idaho, and Trinity Alps and Desolation Wilderness down in Northern CA (trying to stay within around 8 hours of my house as far as driving time).
Was only able to get in one summer backpacking trip in October to Green Lakes and then one winter snowshoe backpacking trip to Big Lake in January (was my first winter camping experience, trudging through 4.5 - 5 ft of snow in sections, digging out an area for my tent with a shovel, good times).
I'm a bit of an unusual dichotomy.....I'm in good shape, so don't have a problem with elevation gains and long distances, I have a positive attitude, I have good gear, but unfortunately I do have a very bad fear of heights that does act as my biggest filterer of what trips I'm going to go on and not. I do cost/benefit analysis and I can't turn off the risk/reward calculator in my brain when it comes to my hobbies. For instance I was going to do Jade/Marmot Lake, Tuck and Robins Lake, and Spade Lake in Alpine Lakes in Washington, the lakes look amazing, but after reading about how sketchy/dangerous the trails are as far as steep treacherous scrambling and very narrow high elevation cliffed switchbacks I've deleted them from my list. I love the magical payoff of a high alpine lake carved into a granite mountain bowl, and I love the solitude, but I don't think its worth potentially dying to get there.
Thus I'm looking for beautiful alpine lakes with mountain views, and I don't mind a good huff to get there as far as elevation and distance, but I am looking for trails that aren't on a cliff, a rim, a never-ending series of narrow switchbacks where one wrong step with a heavy pack on and its your last. I'm looking for relative flatness on both sides of me as I ascend, like going up through a forest is perfect. It is supposed to be relaxing and fun, and if my fight or flight kicks in I lose that zen feeling I'm going for. I want my wife to be safe at all times.
I have Alltrails pro, use outdoor project, outbound, various websites as resources when planning. I read the comments from people that have done a particular trail and look through the pictures and look at the map and elevation changes, but the one thing I have trouble gauging often is the "fear of heights rating", most people just take pictures of the lake at the top or the trailhead at the beginning, so often its hard to gauge. So please don't be annoyed if I ask people questions specifically about the fear of heights aspect of the ascension. For instance I did Smith Rock for the first time yesterday, did the main part to the top up Misery Ridge to Mesa Verde Trail back down to River Trail, the workout part of it wasn't an issue at all, but that Misery Ridge going up was more naked fear of heights exposure than I'm comfortable with, I'm not doing that one again, although it was beautiful.
Always feel free to email me, I want to be helpful and contribute, as my knowledge base grows and I do many of the hikes in the area I will always be happy/open to share what I learn if it can ever be helpful.
Introduce yourself to the group! We welcome novice and expert alike! We especially love hearing from those new to Portland and those new to hiking
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