Photo Set: Surviving Elk Mountain

Our friend Jamie came to visit us in Portland over Labor Day weekend, so we hit up all her favorite spots in Portland. Powell’s Books. Sizzle Pie. Por Que No. It was our first playing the “host” in the city we just moved to.

On Labor Day, we decided to travel over to Tillamook, to go hiking in the Tillamook National Forest and stop by the Cheese Factory. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t even know Tillamook was an actual place, let alone an entire county in Oregon. Furthermore, I was always under the impression that Tillamook was boutique cheese company… boy was I wrong.

Our was supposed to be a short, fun one. Elk Mountain Trail. A loop of only a few miles, something to build up our appetite before heading over the factory to fill up on Colby Jack. As we hiked up the mountain, it was gorgeous, but we kept going higher and higher. Once we felt we got “to the top,” there were a few signs to send us back down to camp. What happened from there turned into a full blown assault on our bodies, and one of the hardest hikes I’ve ever gone on (everybody else seems to share the same opinion). There were sections of cliff drop offs, overgrown trees, narrow precipices to tiptoe across, sections of full blown climbing and equal sections of “bottom scooting” down the steep declines. We thought we were headed home, when we came upon the summit of Elk Mountain. It was truly majestic.

My knees hurt on the way down the mountain, but the views were absolutely breathtaking. These pictures, although there are many and beautiful at that, will never do justice to the expansive mountain views we saw around many of the corners and when we finally reached the summit. We wrote our names in the book along with the many travelers that had made it to the same spot, most likely intentionally.

I’d highly recommend it if you’re looking for a long hike on a beautiful day followed by an evening of sore muscles, painful joints, and fond memories.

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