Sunday, January 16, 2011

Progress and Pictures

We've hunkered down in town waiting out the rain. Though it normally rains here, yesterday and tomorrow are going to be wetter than usual. We weren't able to cover much ground, it was down right cold, and we were getting soaked to the skin. The idea of this trip is to stick it out but also to have fun. In order to balance that we are holing up for a day or so, letting gear dry out, getting reorganized, and then going at it again. Though it adds on a few miles a day, it is much nicer than only covering 4 or 5 a day and hating life.

Here are a few pictures from the trip so far. I can't edit any of them, but I thought I'd throw them up so you all could see some of the great stuff we have.

Walking from the Dallas the ecosystem is dryer, colder, and much more windy. This creates the look of ancient hands holding onto the land around the river. The tiny little white specks down by the water is the railroad where a train is going through.

We break camp before daylight so we can maximize the day. The second day we awoke to some serious snow! The freezing rain held the snow in place like glue, creating quite the nice winter scene.

The Mosier Tunnels were awaiting us. These tunnels were blasted out of the mountain around 1915 and still stand as a monument to the amazing construction work of the time. They have been a highlight of the trip.

Frequently while walking the ridge lines, the mountains and trees will open up and we can stare down the Gorge for miles. It is a beautiful way to see our progress in real time and be reminded of the splendor of where we live.

After Wyeth the world tended to thaw out a bit. This meant some serious river crossings as the footbridges were blown. Very little trail maintenance is done until the early spring. The Barracuda learned to be confident and swift of foot. We also have spent much time walking in soggy boots.

The "trail" we are following isn't one that is frequently trafficked. It won't be completely open and well maintained until 2016 because that is apparently the 100 year anniversary of the when the original highway opened. Some sections are great, some sections really require some serious map work to make progress happen. I must say, my son's visual abilities and internal compass far surpass mine.

Crossing the Cascades was exhausting. My heart goes to those Oregon Trail folks and Lewis and Clark's party. The talus slopes almost made it worth it. Scree slope after moss covered scree slope were home to many a pika colony and the vantage point of some amazing views.

We're in world class waterfall country. Everyday we have seen incredible feats of water launching itself to the ground. It helps that this is winter and snow melt is coming down the basalt cliffs in buckets. As far as The Barracuda is concerned, all water is for throwing rocks into.

And water, and water, and water. Everywhere, water. It literally pours off the rocks and moss along the trails. Even when it isn't raining, the earth is shedding excess water. You hear it constantly and then begin to tune it out due to its ubiquitous nature. Sometimes it has been frozen, but as we have crossed the Cascades it is now melted and trickling as we walk.

Oh, but the green! All that water leads to a lushness rarely seen. I used to think of winter as a dead time, but this hike has really changed my perspective. Everything is green, carpeted in green, and encased in green. There are over a dozen types of moss on this tree alone. The type pictured above sticks out a good 4 to 6 inches like furry leaves and thick shag carpeting.

It has been a good trip, but high time for me to get off this computer and go to bed. Tomorrow morning will be an early one.

2 thoughts:

Renee @ FIMBY said...

Wow, I am a quite amazed at your trip. Thanks for sharing so far.

Mr. H. said...

What an amazing trip and beautiful pictures, sounds like the two of you are having a great time of it.

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