The word Cascade generally evokes one of two things for me.
A) One of the best dance songs from my college days and
B) A mellow waterway trickling down some rocks, often found in a fairy-tale.
Well ladies and gentlemen, neither of these apply to Blue’s hiking trail Cascade. The trail got its name because of the waterfalls that cascade down the mountain. But this trail should really be named something like “Ascent”, “Limestone Stairs”, or “Steeper Than You Think.” Sure, they don’t sound as pretty as “Cascade” but they are far more descriptive. This hiking trail is 1.2 km of uphill steps and root climbs and I would say it’s hands down our most challenging path.
For some reason, any day that I choose to document my hikes, the humidex is insane. I usually get going at 1:00 pm, when the sun is in its heyday and pelts its UV rays down on me. Until now, I have never really understood why people wear hats when they are running. I would see some lady in her matchy-matchy outfit with a hat and think to myself “we get it, you’re sporty”. My thoughts on hats drastically changed when I hiked last week and had a massive amount sweat dripping down my face, instantly burning my eyes. Is that normal? Or do I have super human sweat that is actually magic? Let’s go with the second option. Either way, the Low Pro Trucker hat started off with a strong start to be the MVP of this week’s hike up Cascade.
My last trip up Cascade was very leisurely. I spent 40 minutes climbing up, handing out Clif Bars to fellow hikers and cleaning up garbage. I was extremely disappointed to come down the trail with two 55 gallon bags of half full of garbage in my hand. It’s 2019 people…. STOP littering!! This time, I was pleased to see that there were no more bags of dog poop at the side of the trail, and that Andrea had thrown her Starbucks cup into the garbage this time. 40 minutes on my last Cascade hike was a bit long, but remember, I wasn’t really focused on hiking. I was cleaning the trail, updating social media and giving out treats to members of our community who were living it outside.
This time, I was much faster. I was top to bottom in 22 minutes! WHO AM I??! Let me tell you this was NOT easy, nor am I likely to hit this time again. When I got to the mountain bike bridge crossing, I was almost 7 minutes ahead of my usual time, and the pizza I had for lunch wasn’t sitting so pretty. 7 minutes doesn’t seem like a big deal but think of it this way; that’s the length of Hey Jude, by The Beatles, a minute longer than Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody and one minute shorter than Meatloaf’s Paradise by the Dashboard Light. I also had Fran Lung at this point (Crossfitters will understand that term, but for the rest of you, here is a definition). Regardless, I took a quick swig of water out of my Field Bag and kept climbing.
The Field Bag was also invaluable on this hike. It doesn’t move around when I am jaunting at a quicker pace, holds my water bottle very well, and there is a nice little zipper compartment at the top that my phone can go into without my headphones being yanked out of my ears. I think a huge win for me on this run was my playlist of choice.
Feel Good Summer was giving me 💯 and 🔥🔥🔥 vibes. I hit shuffle and before I knew it The Temptations – Ain’t Too Proud to Beg was blasting, followed up by some Stevie Wonder, Harry Belafonte, Jackson 5, Chiffons and Beach Boys, to name a few. I jived my way over the large limestone steps, the steep inclines with the roots and rocks, all the way to the top.
Just before the summit of Cascade, I met a family who were on my level of sweatiness. The teenager of the group was dunking his head in the waterfall and I paused for a moment to contemplate doing that too. It was THAT hot and it looked refreshing. I did give a friendly warning about poison ivy to the rest of the family, who were climbing over some brush to join him in the waterfall run-off.
SIDE NOTE: The hiking trails at Blue are absolutely beautiful but tend to have a lot of shady damp areas, which are a breeding ground for poison ivy. We have signs posted and ask everyone to stay on the trails, but we do see many people who “choose their own path”. That’s unfortunately often right through an ivy patch. The best way to stay ivy free is to stay on the marked trails! If you ignore this advice and DO get it on your skin, don’t touch it or rub it. Get to the bottom of the hill and use sunlight dish soap and a hose to scrub it off your skin. It cuts the oil and helps to minimize, if not wash it away.
As I got to the top and caught my breath, my face was as red as a tomato. I wiped my face on my tank top, which was the white Ambition tank. For the first time I truly understood the power of Quick-Dry Moisture wicking fabric. The tank top was wet from sweat, but not actually wet. I can’t really describe it, but it almost felt like cold fabric. It now outranks my Bottle Source T as my fav shirt to get sweaty in. I plan to purchase another 1 or 2 at the North Face Store before they sell out again. I totally understand why they move quickly off the shelves.
The rest of the hike was very mellow. I went across the top and down The Grind. I was disappointed there were no dogs to pet on the way down this time but was able to do the 4.3 km loop in about 40 minutes total.
As we are hitting the half way mark in our Hiking series, we will be rewarding those, who like myself, are getting better and more dedicated to hiking. Climb up to the top of Village Way on Friday July 26th between 10 am and 2 pm and earn your Gon-down-dola ticket, along with some other free goodies (while supplies last) and your chance to win a $275* gift certificate to The North Face in Blue Mountain Village! I’ll be heading out around 11:30 am for my Village Way adventure, if you care to join the fun.