Several weeks ago, during one of the northwest's seven cold, gray, drizzly winter months, Matthew and I planned a long Saturday of hiking out in the Columbia River Gorge. The main course was going to be a challenging nine-mile loop climbing a few thousand feet of elevation, but as a warm-up, we set our sights on Beacon Rock. For those of you unfamiliar with the popular monolith, Beacon Rock is not a strenuous hike, nor is it a long one, but it is steep, and it offers uncertain footing on wet windy days like the one we'd selected.
Sluggish and at least a little bit hung over, we found our way to the trailhead in what I can best describe as a driving mist, and we set off at what I considered to be a fairly brisk pace, all things considered. I was sure we were going to lop off a good 15-30 minutes from the advertised hike time.
Something like a third of the way up - or maybe half, but it doesn't matter - we were passed by a man who chose to make his ascent jogging. He caught my eye, but only because we hadn't yet seen anybody else on the trail, and after our brief wordless encounter I didn't pay him any mind. Matthew and I continued along, determined to summit without taking a break even though we knew no view would await us up top.
Near the summit, we were passed again, this time by the same man jogging in the other direction. If it was unremarkable to be passed by the man on the way up, it was even more unremarkable to be passed by the man on the way down, since he who jogs uphill jogs downhill. Again, I paid him no mind, and was more keenly interested in what would happen if my shoes got too muddy and stopped finding traction near the unsteady guard rail.
A short time after that, we reached the top and were rewarded with a view not unlike that which you would see if you stuffed your head in a white sock. We lingered for a little while, because we'd earned the right to linger and we wanted to see if any of the clouds would burn off, but none of the clouds burned off, so we began our descent.
The descent was as easy as you always imagine a descent to be but as so few descents actually are, and we were making great time back to the base. I paused to look around, squinting to see through the vapor, and at that point I heard quick approaching footsteps. I looked down the trail to my right, and there was the same jogging man as before, making his way right back up to the summit for the second time, appearing none the worse for wear. He passed us again, saying nothing, and for fewer seconds than I remember, I turned to watch him climb.
I have to imagine that the way I felt at that particular moment was not too dissimilar from the way the' hitters must feel on nights like tonight.
I don't have an extended recap, because I'm still getting settled back home after a quick weekend trip. Additionally, nothing really happened in this game anyway, and the Mariners destroyed the angle I was going to take by promoting Mike Carp almost the instant the last out was made. So it's probably in everybody's best interests that we just move on ahead. The downside is that the Mariners lost a game, and lost a series. Again, they couldn't take advantage of a loss by the . But the upside is that the rest of the division lost, so the M's didn't lose any ground, and they just made a move to make themselves better. It's great to be able to care again, but at the same time, if you live and die by every game in a 162-game season, you're going to end up dead, because you can only die once, or nine times if you are reading this as an exceptionally intelligent cat.