Saturday, April 07, 2007

Indian Heaven

I came across this photograph recently from a stunted backpacking trip in 2005.
Billy and I had planned an overnight trip to Indian Heaven in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest on a warm Friday in August.

Our 3 mile hike to the Indian Racetrack led us through a light forest of second-growth timber, past a tree-lined lake or two, and finally to this large meadow where several different tribes of Native Americans historically gathered to pick and dry huckleberries, fish, race their horses, and socialize. The lake was almost completely dry, and while we saw a few birds we couldn't pick out the racetrack in the grasses that surrounded the bed.

After we arrived, Billy searched for fresh water while I rested on the edge of the trees. He returned after about an hour with no news, so we relaxed for bit and decided that we didn't have enough water to camp. On the drive home I snapped this shot out the car window.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Dog Mountain made my Dogs Bark

Friday, Billy's last day of spring break (during which he graded final exams, developed syllabi for new classes, did chores around the house, and amused me), we decided to take a day and drive up the gorge. I've always been interested in hiking Dog Mountain, so we made that our plan. After getting a rather late start, we traveled through the sunny midmorning to the bridge of the gods, through Stevenson, Washington, and past sloughs and birds to the trailhead.
Dog Mountain, as you can learn from the link, is a 28oo foot mountain that gains 1000 feet in every half mile during the first part of the hike. Billy needed some personal time for reflection partway up, so he sat with his back to a tree and thought about life and work and why he was in a bad mood. Here is a photograph of him checking his messages, which was someone from PSU offering him two new classes. I made it to half a mile from the very top, which was about 3.3 miles each way. The view at the top was pretty great, and amazing because we'd started down at the bottom near the Columbia River.
Unfortunately, Billy had to put up with my groaning and whining all weekend anytime I walked up or down the stairs. He, of course, was fine. (All that mountain climbing in his past, no doubt.)