A Little Road Adventure

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Blue-sky real-clouds kind of day

As some of you may know, our planned road trip to central Oregon and the California coast has been delayed because of Clifford being too sick to drive.  Today is a beautiful blue-sky and real-cloud kind of day, and it feels like we should be outside enjoying it.  This is the first day that he feels well enough to go for a drive, so we decide to make a short road trip over Lookout Pass to the exit at Taft on the Montana side.  We have been here before, planning to explore the road up the canyon in hopes of finding a place alongside a creek where we can park the Pony (our little pop-up) for shorter close-to-home camping outings, but the road has always been too snowy.  Well, this time we are able to go about a quarter of a mile before we begin sinking too deep into the slushy snow.  So, no more exploring here today, but at least it is a quarter mile further than we’ve been before.

As we are heading back out to the interstate, we see a forest road alongside a stream that somewhat parallels the highway. We decide to explore it a ways in case it pulls away from the interstate and provides a peaceful spot to pull over – today for a little picnic that I put together for us and as a potential place to camp in the future.  A short way in, we stop so I can take photos of the colorful dogwood bushes and the lovely clear-water stream, but we are still on the lookout for a place to pull off the road.

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Lovely clear stream alongside the forest road

The gravel road has lots of puddles from the melting snow, but it looks do-able…. and it is for awhile.  But then we run into snow; Clifford says it is okay: the snow is hard-packed and in the shade, so we’ll be fine.  To make a long story short, it is a hairy five miles of slipping and slushing and we are quite relieved when the forest road merges with the frontage road of the town at the next exit.

Instead of a  picnic by the creek, which is what I had envisioned for us, we have our picnic at the rest stop up the road, sitting at a picnic table in the sun to enjoy our lunch.

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Rest stop picnic

Although it was a bit more of an adventure than we bargained for, we are grateful that it ends well and that we had an outing on this lovely day.

Consolation Prize

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Morning Rain

The Blazer was all packed and the Pony (our little pop-up tent trailer) in place; we were ready to leave on our 2 1/2 month road trip to Oregon and California.  Then, during the night Clifford got sick, really sick, and didn’t start to get better until after I took him to the clinic where he had a couple liters of fluid dripped into his blood.  He is still very weak, but at least he is alive.  But the trip is on hold.  Now and then I go out to the Blazer and unpack something that I need – my cameras and journal were first to come out, then  essential oils and hiking shoes, tomorrow the supplements which are buried a bit deeper.  Don’t want to give up on making the trip yet this spring, so hesitate to unload more than is absolutely necessary. But I am sorely disappointed that we are not at the moment camped along the Deschutes River in central Oregon.  So, as a consolation prize, and I mean this in the very best sense of the word, I decide to drive up the creek outside of town and take time to be with the creek and the trees, the fresh air and the breeze… to console myself and sooth my soul.

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Mist Rises from the Ravine

The morning had started out rainy; I see mist rising from the ravines and droplets clinging to branches on the nearer trees.

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Droplets Cling to Tree Branches

By time I reach the Pulaski Trail Head, it has stopped raining altogether, and sunshine peeks through the remaining clouds, creating highlights on the frothy rushing of Placer Creek at the beginning of the trail.  The rain has certainly brought flamboyance to this little stream.

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Frothy Placer Creek

At first I plan only to go in a short ways, as I don’t want to leave Clifford alone too long, but once I am on the trail, it is hard to turn back.  The rain has brought a richness of color to the earthy trail, the trees, and the moss. Saturday the 21st 045Saturday the 21st 014 Around each footbridge along the trail there exudes a musky odor from the creatures who live beneath – muskrats, perhaps.

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Musky Footbridge

I feel drawn to go further into the quiet moistness of the ravine.

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Quiet Moistness

Clifford doesn’t like me to hike in by myself – a mis-step on the trail, a wild animal, a weirdo, whatever.  But if I don’t hike alone, I might not be doing much hiking at all, so I continue on… alone.  I hike to my favorite waterfalls, the one I call Fairyland Falls, which in summer is a delicate falls encased in green shrubbery and abundance of mossy rocks.  Now, with the recent rains, it is not quite so delicate, but showing its more exuberant side.

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But this is as far as I will go today.  Heading back down the trail, I find a place alongside the creek where I can hang out for a few minutes, watching the water dash by, letting myself feel oneness with the lively movement of the water and the strength of the tall forest trees. Sunday outing 027Sunday outing 035 My soul is soothed; I am consoled.