Climbing Mount Defiance: Shaun, Seamus, and I put on our smirking faces after reaching the views of Mount Hood at the top
Trying to beat 2012’s spectacular birthday weekend (I'll post more on our skydiving adventure next week!) would be futile. Why even try? Skydiving, hiking, rock wall climbing, go carts, dancing, live music, celebrating with friends and fam… the bar was set a bit high last year!
Truth be told, I was planning to just skip my birthday this year. Life’s been crazy since we got home from our Mexico mission trip a weekend ago (link), and I haven't even started posting our Mexico blog posts yet. Last week was spent furiously catching up on emails, messages, chores, assignments, and sermon prep. Plus, I worked at Delta all last week, including on my birthday night.
My friends and family were sadly informed that I wouldn’t have time to celebrate my birthday this year. But they wouldn’t take “no” for an answer.
PDX Airport: Kathy, Lena, and my parents treated me to a birthday dinner at Beaches on my Delta dinner break
My workweek was made a little more birthday-ish by the 100+ messages, calls, visits, and gifts from friends and family. It was more than I had planned, which was nothing, and much more than I deserved.
To squeeze in some off the clock fun for my birthday week, I reconnected with my long lost hiking buddy Shaun for a climb up the brutal Mount Defiance on Saturday.
Shaun's dog Seamus hopped in the back of my Jeep for the warm air cruise.
Mount Defiance was always Shaun’s and my favorite climb, and it’s a doozy. The steep 12.1 mile loop boasts nearly 5,000 of elevation gain to reach the highest point in the Columbia River Gorge.
Climbing up one side...
The ascent to the summit of Mount Defiance isn’t so bad. But it doesn’t take a mountaineering expert to guess that the steep, slippery descent back down to the trailhead is the most painful part. And it’s also the most fun, assuming you don’t conform to the whole “control your speed” mantra.
... And running back down the other side
Our trail run/plummet back down to the trailhead inevitably hit a speed bump, in the form of one of the most spectacular near-wipeouts of my life.
Miraculously, I narrowly avoided a rock implant in my skull with a maneuver that only smashed up a couple of toes. The quick of my toenails were bruised, from top to bottom. Who does that? Speechless, Shaun and I later conceded that I must have broken at least a couple of physics laws just to land on my feet!
It goes without saying that Shaun’s and my previous Mount Defiance speed records remain unchallenged. For now.
Against all odds, even a full work schedule couldn’t ruin my birthday week. God is good. Now that I’ve finally experienced a mellow birthday, I may have to hop back on board the crazy train for next year's August 12!