Monday, June 15, 2015

The Cascades

As expected, we had zero phone reception in the Cascades, so the blog went blank for a couple days… Now I'm back in Corvallis and can catch you up.

First off I have to tell you that I fell in love on this trip.  

Carolyn introduced me to the American Dipper.  I had never heard of this guy.  He's like a cross between a wren (quirky movements and bobbing tail), a Mocking bird (that size, but with a short tail),  a loon (can swim underwater), and a Kingfisher but one who dives into the rapids of whitewater!  Amazing!  I could watch for hours... They are so daring!  I want to bring one back!  Here's a YouTube video of him.  I love the bobbing tail - you'll see it about 20 seconds in…

The locals call him a water ouzel.

We camped at the House Rock campground in the Willamette National Forest,  Now of course seeing the word "Willamette" I pronounced it "Willa Mette" which of course is wrong!  Its the "will LAM ette" forest.  Ok, now we have that straight.  I wouldn't want you to read through this pronouncing the name wrong in your head.

The Willamette Forest was gorgeous.  Rich deep greens of moss and ferns.  

The trail from the campground crossed a bridge over a sparkling clear river - the Santiam - it was as clear as some of the Florida springs I've seen.  Just wonderful.  Carolyn snapped a shot on the bridge.  Notice the wool sweater AND down vest.  It was 45 degrees when we woke up the first morning!

Over this beautiful clear water flowing over colorful stones.

From there the trail meandered along the side of the hill overlooking the river up to a waterfall.  This was a beautiful pool below the waterfall.  Just a little warmer and  I woulda been IN that water!

On our first day we walked the trail and poor Theo got stung by something - on his ear!  Luckily Carolyn had an antihistamine in her pack so we gave him one and when we get back he dove into Carolyn's tent.  We zipped up the screen door - no more insects for T.  He went right to sleep (he's all better now).

On the second day, Carolyn's husband Greg and a friend, Barb joined us.  They took a long hike and I decided to hang out at camp with T.  We both needed a little rest.  I had planned to paint, but ended up writing in my journal and soaking in the beauty most of the day.  Very nice.  I think I'm starting to find the balance between seeing a new wonder and just absorbing the current wonder… Can't see it all and I want to slow down and really see… Our campsite was right on the river.

I spent the day watching the light change on the river and trees.  There was a big round stone on the other side of the river that caught my attention.  It was like a period after a long jumbled "sentence" of rocks.

Round stone in morning light…

Round stone in the afternoon...

The rest of the gang (Theo's pack now) got back late that afternoon.  They brought their chairs down to join me.  Before I described my day, one of the first things Barb said was "That's an interesting round rock over there."  See?  Its that kind of stone.

The next morning was cold again, so we piled into Mac for coffee.  I took a shot with the timer:

Notice all of us bundled up and Greg in shorts!

We took a leisurely walk on the trail by the campground.  When the others took the more rugged spur up to see the falls, I decided not to take Theo back there (where he was stung) so I started to head back.  Theo REALLY didn't want to go back without "his pack."  So we decided to just sit and wait for them to come back.  Theo kept his eyes on the trail where they had disappeared.

Overjoyed when they reappeared!  Loyal hound.

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