It wasn't, but it felt like the first real hike of the year. It was my kind of hike, which means that first we met up for breakfast, at the restaurant right near my house - oh, wait, confusion, the other one, across town - and lingered over coffee and food.
It was noon by the time we left town for the trail-head. This is just how I like my departure times: late.
Two of the three of us had hiked the same trail last summer, in the rain. What I remember of it is the closed in feeling of being surrounded by fog. I think I had forgotten that the makers of this trail were switch-back refusists. Would it have killed them to direct the trail in a direction other than straight up the hill? I think not.
This time, the world was open in front of us. The sun was out. We argued about which mountain was which. Is that far-off one the mountain that looms over Gone West, or the one north-east of it? (I really need to buy a good book or map about the Cascades.)
There was a man geocaching, and we caught up with him at the top of the little mountain and again at the cave. SHO listened to him talk about geocaching while I perused the hiking guide book, back against a rock, munching white cheddar cheez-its.
On the way home, driving, I blinded myself trying to look up at the eclipse, visible off and on behind the clouds and through the trees. It was worth it.