It’s raining today (has been all week so far) so I thought I’d take a look back at this past weekend when things were dry and there was some sun. Not sure if I’ll get out this weekend, the forecast looks wet. Anyway, I was really shocked when I got to Memorial County Park and it was empty. Well, not empty, there were 4 rangers at the gate doing some upkeep. There were no cars in the park and no hikers on the trails. The visitor center was closed and I felt really weird. The main trails are across the road but there is no parking so you have to park in the lots which are pay. I’m getting used to paying now, but it was weird to be so isolated. At least there were rangers.
I was going pretty darn slow. I just wasn’t feeling the hike and I felt like the inclines were killing me for some reason, especially my knees this week. Not that every hike has to be a sprint, I was sure as hell burning some calories. The first part of the Mt. Ellen Summit loop was nice and groomed. Then the Pomponio Trail zipped up a bit more and the trail was very unkept. Which would have been totally fine if I had wore long pants. Instead I got scrapes and scratches all over my legs, and it hurt. Made a wrong turn on a switchback and had to actually climb back up… brilliant. I should have brought my jacket too because I was a bit chilly and that always puts me in a bad mood.
I generally love empty parks but I just wasn’t feeling it. Some parts of the Mt. Ellen Summit Trail were way too close to 84 and there was traffic noise. It was a super busy Saturday afternoon (which is why I wasÂ surprisedÂ there was nobody here) but still a little chilly. I also kind of missed the “summit” somehow. Or maybe there wasn’t a stopping and viewing point. Who knows.
On the parking side there are campsites and a river. I missed a bit of mileage on my Garmin so I wandered around closer to the car and found the oldest tree. 1600 years is a long time! Rounded out the hike at 5 miles (5.32 was actually travelled it seemed) and while I wanted a longer hike I don’t think I was up to it anyway. Next hike will probably be the county park down the road to compare.Â