Beautiful Misery

Dramatic title, I know.

Don’t worry. This isn’t about Kathy Bates breaking somebody’s ankles with a sledgehammer. (Shudder.)

This post is about this other crazy bitch…

crooked river

misery ridge

Yep, you’re reading that right.

Misery Ridge Trail. Most difficult.

And, we hiked it.

Wondering if the trail lived up to its name? I would have my ass and legs tell you, but we’re still not on speaking terms.

At around 3,000 feet in elevation, the huffing and puffing as you climb this steep trail humbles even the savviest hikers. There was seriously a moment when I wanted to stop, turn around, and give up.

Yeah, me.

Yet, determination came from somewhere inside. I thought of nothing else but making it to the top. Everything faded away and it was only me, Mr. H, and nature—bound together, beneath the bright sky.

Eventually, we conquered that damn rock.

top of misery ridge trail

conquering smith rock

We were still in Oregon—Smith Rock, to be exact—but it seemed like Mars. The high desert was so different from the mossy wonderland we were used to.

In central Oregon, there is still a hint of what lies on the other side of the mountains. It’s half desert, half forest.

And, holy shit is it gorgeous!

smith rock trails

Can you see the monkey face?
Can you see the monkey face?

smith rock trees

crooked river

A climbers paradise, every time you look up, you see one human or a whole group of humans hanging on the side of the giant rock.

They move with slow precision, choosing each movement as if their life depends on it.

smith rock climbers

Because it does. One false move is all it takes for these daring climbers to have a really bad day.

Which is why medical huts with crutches and stretchers are strategically placed throughout the park.

mountain climbing

At the start of our adventure on Misery Ridge Trail, it was all about this deep internal discovery. What we were truly capable of when fatigue and doubt set in.

After all of that was done and the trail leveled out, our breath slowed and our smiles returned. But we were different, walking with a newfound energy, almost bouncing the rest of the way.

Hell, I even skipped a few times. And obviously, a Yoga tradition was a must.

half moon pose smith rock

There were times of difficulty, but we never gave up. There were times when I slipped and his hand was right there.

Climbing that rock together was a bit of a defining moment, a beautiful misery where it was only us against the rest of it.

Kind of like life. Hmm…

How about you guys…any defining travel/sport/adventure moments that changed you in some way?

couples selfie smith rock

43 thoughts on “Beautiful Misery

  1. Britt its been a while since I abseiled down a fifty metre cliff or jumped out of a plane tandem style. Now days I am happy to take these old creaky bones for a slow paced walk. Looks like a beautiful place, your photo’s speak for themselves. I also walked to the top of Mount Sinai once and had a whisky watching the sun come up… glad I had adventures back then… I should start thinking about what the kids could handle….thanks for waking the passion in me again and reminding me its never to late to discover new challenges.

    1. You jumped out of a plane, Kath?! I thought about that once and now have absolutely no desire to. My boss keeps saying we’re going to do it for a work outing. I’d rather go to happy hour on the ground, thank you very much.

      The sunrise whiskey sounds lovely. But, I would have a beer. 🙂

      So glad to remind you of adventurous you. Hey, we’ll always have these memories, sweetness.

  2. Oh I’m always so jealous when I see you hanging around Oregon and showing off some new gorgeous place! That hike looks like something fabulous! Good on you to get all the way up there, the reward of getting there and the view must have felt uplifting.

    I’ve been hiking more since I went on the Big Trip and love and enjoy it every time. But I remember particularly and fondly that day I hiked 4 14ers in 1 day in Colorado…

    Enjoy the trails, happy monkey!

    1. It is quite nice here, I must say. Though you’re traipsing around the beautiful streets of Paris, so I’m jealous! 🙂

      I have yet to go to Colorado, believe it or not. Mr. H lived there at one point and I know some people that live there now. So many places I need to see, even in my US backyard.

  3. I love hiking, but I have bad knees so I have to be careful. That fence is pretty neat – do you know if that’s from people once living up there, or is it just part of the hiking trail? The monkey face is a fun sight!

    1. There was a moderate trail that circled the base of the rock, which would have been fine for your knees. It had a few ups and downs with all of the scenery punch.

      The fence is part of the hiking trail when you first enter the park. Very cool.

      And, the monkey face was crazy to see, especially because there was a climber on him too. 🙂

  4. And boy was it worth it!! Gorgeous views! Congrats Britt on this amazing accomplishment. Yes, I see the monkey face 🙂
    I love love hiking! Massachusetts was paradise for me. Over here it’s much flatter, less green but I feel urged to go on an adventure.
    I think the most challenging climb was to the top of Macchu Picchu at about 8,000ft. I was so eager to take on that mountaintop I started my usual light and well paced tread, passing other visitors wondering why they were so slow and had to stop all the time.. haha I soon found out why :p

    1. Totally worth it…so gorgeous it didn’t seem real! Yes, unfortunately I lost my hiking legs in Texas, since it’s so flat. 😦

      Wowza, Macchu Picchu! That’s so cool. Go, Karin!

  5. Hey Britt, what a worthwhile bit of Misery to endure! I have missed the blogging adventure with you, but have been on a bit of my own Misery Trail that I now hope may be turning Beautiful. At any rate, I love the bringing together of those two states of being in this post, and the reminder that all things worth doing involve a bit of pain! Hope you are well.

    1. Indeed. I’ve missed you, love! I saw your comment pop up in my inbox and I was like, hey stranger!

      Misery Trail can only last for so long, then something ridiculously beautiful happens. Hugs.

  6. The idea of rock climbing, or climbing anything rocky scares me to death. It’s not for me. I’d rather have my feet firmly on level ground staring up and admiring the view. I could climb a forested mountain trail, but not something rocky where I could always see where a foot slip would send me.

    1. My ass needs to be on two legs, not flying in the air while I straddle a giant rock. I don’t know how some of these crazy kids climb like they do. Climbing is big out here, so we’re actually in the minority of active people for not doing it.

      Rocky trails are quite slippery. I prefer the forest as well. 🙂

  7. Riding a horse bareback, running…pretty much made me who I am. Good for you guys!! looking forward to some, not so challenging walks on the beach with my man 🙂 peace a

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