Ever since we moved to Central Oregon, I had been anxiously waiting for a day to go properly explore this magnificent place. Had we known a long time ago that this place was only 6 miles from the town we now live in, I think the decision to move here would have happened much sooner.

Smith Rock State Park is a world renowned rock climbing destination. It’s volcanic rock so it’s really grippy and there are hundreds of bolted routes. One of them is considered to be one of the 3 most difficult in the world. It’s also a breathtaking place for day hikes.

Its tough to find time for personal adventure recreation when you have little kids. So far we had explored the areas near the parking lot really well. Pretty much all that is kid friendly in this rugged grown up land.

This morning my amazing wife offered to let me have a day to myself. I’ve been primarily the one with the kids for the last couple months while she works away from home. It didn’t take long to decide what I wanted to do with a day to myself. I got dressed, packed my camera and hit the trail.

I didn’t actually have an entire day. It was noon before I left and my wife had to leave for work by 4:15. That gave me about 3.5 hrs of trail time. I chose the 4 mile Misery Ridge Loop. In the winter it’s very aptly named. Its as rugged and difficult to navigate as any place I’ve hiked before and when you throw in the ice element it was downright dangerous. But I’m a well experienced hiker so I didn’t let the difficulty deter me from finding the views I was looking for. I wasn’t technically alone either. Despite the conditions, there were plenty of other people out there. I even made some new friends with a cool couple I met.

I’m really looking forward to the day when our boys are old enough to do this with me.

Smith Rock Oregon smith-rock-oregon-04 Smith Rock Oregon smith-rock-oregon-06 Smith Rock Oregon smith-rock-oregon-12 smith-rock-oregon-13 Smith Rock Oregon smith-rock-oregon-16 smith-rock-oregon-19 Smith Rock Oregon View of the Sisters Mountains from the peak of Smith Rock. Foreground: Monkey Face rock column. Background: Mt Washington. Monkey Face at Smith Rock Oregon smith-rock-oregon-30 smith-rock-oregon-31 smith-rock-oregon-33