With the current weather we've been getting in Oregon, I have a sneaking suspicion that the Cascade Lakes Highway probably won't be open until June at the earliest. Even then, probably be late July before I get a shot at South Sister, so in the meantime I'll keep working on physical fitness. Today I decided to go for a distance hike out in McDonald Forest from Oak Creek to the Vineyard Mountain area on the North side of Corvallis. I picked up a Camelback Cloud Walker pack yesterday for more light and fast hiking or biking (once I get my bike, should be soon) and threw a few things in and hit the trail. At Oak Creek I took the 600 or Patterson Rd. from the gate up and over to Sulfur Springs Rd. which is around 5.5 miles. Since I wasn't quite ready to turn back yet, I decided to cross Sulfur Springs and head up the 500 road which circles Vineyard Mountain. After a few miles, I felt it was time to head back since I was still a ways away from the Vineyard summit. I reached Sulfur Springs and a quick check of my GPS showed I'd gone 3 miles up the 500, so my total hike for the day was going to be around 14 miles.
Gear wise, clothing was great and pack works awesome for day hikes, but still having some foot issues. I'm going to say that the Lowa boots are just fine, I've been having similar problems with my right foot in the gym with other shoes as well. I made it back to my truck in almost exactly 5 hours, so with a few rest breaks along the way, not a bad pace and it was much more hilly than I'd expected. Probably a good 1000' change in elevation along the way, a very decent workout for the day. Even though I was in a good mood and feeling pretty good about the days hike, my feet were pretty pissed at me by the time I finished. I stopped by the store on my way home and picked up a foot brace used for treating plantar fasciitis to see if that might help my foot after workouts by keeping it splinted at a ninety degree angle.
Upcoming events, I did get myself enrolled in the RMI Wilderness First Responder course in Seattle for June, until then I've been reading my Medicine for Mountaineering book and a few others. Besides training myself physically, I'm trying to exercise my brain as well. I haven't really considered myself a student since flight school, so its been awhile. Until the weather changes or more classes come about, I'll keep working on preparing myself physically and mentally.