Smith Rock State Park: Our Astounding Accomplishment

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Memorial Day weekend at the most popular hiking/climbing location in Central Oregon. What were we thinking? We almost turned back when we saw the cars parked more than a mile away from the entrance to Smith Rock State Park. But we thought we’d just get a little closer and see what there was to see, and we found a parking spot right close to the entrance, so of course we had to go on in and do the park. First tough choice made.
After visiting the facilities and paying our entrance fee. the next big choice was which hike to take. There are 12 different hikes identified on the park map, from short and easy to the infamous “Misery Ridge Trail” that goes to the summit of the most imposing rock in the park. Mmm…
This….
Or this…
(just the easy beginning of Misery Ridge Trail)

I looked up at the top of the giant rock face in front of us (3,660 feet) and thought I didn’t need to be up there.  Rick concurred without pressure so we headed down the River Trail through the truly gorgeous valley created by the Crooked River. 
Ahh…