smith rockin' getaway

Taking advantage of a long weekend and a free hotel stay, my wife and I road tripped down to Smith Rock for a day, on our way to Bend. I've been drooling over epic photos of this incredible park for over a year now, and have it set that I will rock climb here one day. 

Driving from Portland, through Mount Hood, and seeing the transition to the dry, high plain region that surrounds Central Oregon is pretty magical. Even in mid December, it was around 50 degrees, without any snow to be found. 

We arrived at Smith Rock around 12 on Friday the 15th. We took a million photos on our way in, and set on our way to tackle the famous Misery Ridge trail. We saw three climbers along the way and stopped for a few photos of a tree I was attracted to, and to get the quintessential Smith Rock shot. About a mile and a half in, we realized we had gone too far west, followed a different trail, and turned back walking along the river that runs through the entire park. The terrain is rocky, dry and monotonous in color, so getting lost is quite easy. About 3/4 of a mile into our ascent on misery ridge, we first realized where it got its name. We were feeling the misery. We shed some layers, took ALOT of water breaks, and eventually made our way to the top. 

The views were 100% breathtaking, and 100% worth all of the misery to get there. We continued along the trail to visit Monkey Face, something I was extremely excited to finally see. Its amazing to see that climbers can actually climb monkey face, once you see how difficult it must be.  My description will never do it justice, its simply something you must see for yourself. 

After monkey face, we headed back down and out of the park, to continue on our way to bend, and to check-in our hotel. We ended the night with a flight of beers by the fire, and soaking in the pool at St. Francis. All in all, it was a pretty fantastic first trip to Smith Rock. I look forward to returning in the summer, once we have more time to explore.