Tuesday, February 01, 2011

HCRHST: Day 3 - Hood River to Wyeth

HCRHST stands for the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail. My son and I are attempting his first end-to-end which turned out to be about 90 miles. For pictures and back story check out these links: Getting Ready, Day 1, Day 2, Pictures, Progress.

Day 3 in Hood River was our zero day. We didn't cover any miles, lazed around the hotel until 10:30 am and then headed to the library to spend some time out of the frigid air. Things were supposedly melting off, but someone forgot to tell that to Hood River. We were still on the west side of the Cascades and it just plain doesn't get warm there in January. However, the library was closed, permanently. Due to complete loss of funding, the building was no longer occupied and didn't look to reopen for at least another year while private funds were being located. I was shocked. It was quite the wake up call of what a bad economy can mean for a small community. There was quite a nice list of places in town one could make copies, use the Internet, and generally enjoy some time indoors. We picked a close coffee shop and went down there instead.

I'd like to throw a giant shout out to Dog River Coffee Company of Hood River. These guys have become a pillar of the community. They provide Internet access along with a computer to use, serve up tasty food, and now have a book swap since the library closed. What is more, after entering we saw the nice young teacher who gave us a ride. Dog River now allows her to tutor expelled students (who used to use the library) to get their GED's or get into the local community college. She was working with three or four kids when we came in. We said hi, warmed up, and used the Internet to check in. After a quick glance at the map and a discussion of where we were headed over the next couple days, it was off to some hot destinations. The toy store was first on The Barracuda's list. Next came the Taco del Mar. Finally it was off to the kid's playground.
Leave it to my kid to be completely undaunted by almost not having somewhere to stay the night before, a playground completely covered in snow, and freezing temperatures for the last 3 days.

As I watched my son play with complete carefree abandon, it became apparent I'd never fully actualized a zero day before. My previously, zero days had been spent sleeping in, resupplying, gorging myself on food, letting gear dry out and muscles relax. They were never spent playing, or wandering the town, or looking in bookstores. They were spent in sheer physical gluttony. The Barracuda spent his zero day enjoying everything he found wonderful - toys, coffee shop smoothies, snow, tacos, and the playground. He was completely unaffected by what had passed in the days before, the weight of his pack, the miles we had walked and the many ahead of us. When I got over marveling at his Zen level, I momentarily became disgusted by it, and then joined in and helped him build a snow castle/fort which we destroyed like Godzilla after it had been erected.

We headed back down to the coffee shop since we were completely frozen and I needed to more thoroughly plan our next couple days. We were almost out of the snow and entering warmer weather. Crossing the Cascades was two days ahead of us and we were going to begin our climb slowly over the next little bit. I knew that Rowena Crest, Mt. Defiance, and Starvation Creek lay before us and those were going to be some considerable obstacles for someone under 4 feet tall. However, when we got back to Dog River Coffee Company, we were informed there was no way we were going to be able to continue. Rowena Crest had been completely taken out by a large boulder and the road didn't exist unless we had technical climbing gear, Mt. Defiance had a major mudslide and had been closed, and Starvation Creek was flooded and washed out. Well....okay then.

A quick call to Jules, our Trail Angel. He would come up after work to bring us waterproof clothing and jump us to Wyeth (only 4 miles away). So we sat down, read Call of the Wild and The Barracuda enjoyed some toys they had. I was a bit discouraged at how choppy and crazed this trip was becoming. Nothing seemed to be going right. The Barracuda was quick to remind me that it was probably just as weird for Lewis and Clark since they didn't know where they were going to be either. They couldn't predict the weather. They had tons of stuff go wrong. They were at the mercy of circumstance as well. "But they made it," he assured me.

Dang Zen...It Gets Me Every Time

1 thoughts:

Mel said...

I love how kids put things in perspective!

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