Skip navigation and jump to content.

A broken desert canyon at Smith Rock

Father's Day Hike

 Smith Rock

 Elevation: 3,635 Feet


We have had a full year so far.  Ciernan coming into our lives has picked us up and thrown us around the house with childlike glee and a disposition of a doting granny who loves to give homemade cookies to the neighborhood children.  Of course, you don't have to change granny's drawers near as much as you do a poop-machine infant.  Fatherhood for the second time, I thought back on all those people who told me that having a second child wasn't anymore work than a single child.  First, I would like to call unadulterated bullshit to that statement.  It's not that it isn't harder, you have already changed your life and conformed to the first child and understood that you are no longer the Big Numero Uno within your own world.  It's that you now have two chirping beaks, meaning everytime you turn your head to quiet one of them up, the other starts chirping louder.  It is more work, but we fortunately have a very accepting, helpful and doting big brother.  I have heard the stories of others with an older child and the difficulties they went through.  We have watched with baited breath to see any of the myriad of problems which others had experienced.  So far, Tanis loves his little brother and has a very calming affect with his younger.

Eric Norwood, Linda ODonnell and Sammy enjoying a rest at the top of Misery

I always like to go do something as a family on Father's Day, and a hike is something we can generally all do.  Not that my family doesn't like to go hiking, but it can be difficult to marshall them as a force and actually go do it.  Father's Day is that extra piece of arm twisting that I can get them on the trail without hassle.  I called my dad and asked him if he would like to go for a stroll around Smith Rock.  My dad has a bit of a fear of heights and doesn't like going up Misery Ridge, so I figured we could go up Misery Ridge and meet my dad on the baskside of Smith Rock near Monkey Face.  I love this hike and it is one of my favorite places to be at any given time.  We would be joined by a friend of my father's visiting from Chicago.  My dad met Eric at the FBI academy and was his roommate for the duration of the school.

The Crooked River winding through the Smith Rock park

We got out to the parking lot around 10:00 AM and the first thing that struck me was the parking lot was empty compared to most Saturdays.  I was amazed!  Normally in early June, especially on the weekends, this parking lot was packed, lining the streets and spilling out onto the roadway.  The trail was hot and the hike felt invigorating.  We made it up and over Misery Ridge to watch several groups of people climbing up Monkey Face.  It is always amazing to me to see how small people are as they come up the neck, out the mouth and over the cheek.  It still made my stomach queasy to think about my own trip up that rock pillar.  I am not sure I would do it again, not out of fear, but it wasn't all that fun to go up the bolt ladder.

Overlooking Monkey Face

We finished up the hike and went out my parent's house for an unreal dinner of filet mignon, potatoes, garlic bread, salad and strawberry rhubarb pie.  Being with my family reminds me of why I look at my life as starting when I had kids.  Children don't define who I am, they are my definition of my life.  I base the rest of who I am upon the foundation of my two boys and my wife.  Father's Day is a day which makes me look at how lucky I am and reflect upon my own father and hope that my relationship with my children remains one harboring love, understanding and unwavering support for who they are and who they want to be.

The colors of choss on Misery Ridge, Smith Rocks State Park