Saturday, June 21, 2014

Mt. Hood Rambles

This blog is not done, but I lose my photos if I don't publish.  Please come back to this blog later to read  it when I am finished.

For many years we drove along Highway 26 to Mt. Hood like so many other people.  Then one day we   drove through the farm fields of Eastern Multnomah County, past Gresham, past Troutdale and found ourselves along the Sandy River.  The day was a rainy, and fog wafted among the conifers, making the view magical.  So we took the drive again and again and again, finding a new road, a new scenic view, a new place to park, pigs, cows, horses and Alpacas farms, tree farms

Bridges crossing the Sandy into Troutdale.

Winter rains bring ephemeral waterfalls along the gorge.

The road leads the the Stark Street Bridge.

Cross over.

As Stark Street curves along the gorge, turn left at Sweet Briar onto the farm roads of Eastern Multnomah County.  Travel the lanes leading to horse stables and tree nurseries.

Row after row of trees:  Christmas Trees, Noble Firs, Doug Firs, Cyrpress for Hedge Rows, Colorado Blue Spruce………

The farms perch along the precipice, above the Sandy.

On rainy days, mist hangs above the river, drifting among the trees.

Water logged soils form a seasonal swamp.  Tree trunks swaddled in moss, reflect on the still waters.

At Dodge Park, the Sandy River, pregnant with rain and rushing, white capped waves.  Fog wafts above the willows, shrouding the pines.

Fishermen border the beach when Steelhead season opens.

Driving past the Sandy we enter farmland again and find Alpacas in a pasture.

Turning left up on Marmot Road just out of Sandy Oregon leads to this plateau.

And further on horse barns and horses.

As we follow the Barlow Trail along the Sandy River, Ivy covered trees form a corridor along the road.

We come to an opening along the river, where the toppled trees leave clear view of the river.

In November 2006 and January, 2011, the Sandy River flooded.  Waves of water washed out roads, bridges and houses, trees, leaving behind the debris strewn channel as the river coursed its way to the Columbia.

But on this peaceful February Day the snow gently dusts the trees in the upper reaches of the Sandy watershed.  Softly, silently the snowflakes fall.

Devastation can be massive, leaving behind a damaged landscape for a lifetime.  But in time calm will come.   

During the flood, can you remember this?

The name, Sandy River, came from the course gray sand that is not sand but volcanic ash from past eruptions of  Mt. Hood.  The ash allows the water to seep through quickly -- hence the sparse understory. But winters are wet -- hence the carpet of moss.  This habitat and the vegetation that grows here is unique.

Devastation can make us unique and beautiful too.  Has devastation that has made you unique and beautiful too?

At the end of the road, snow blocks the bridge and we must continue on foot through the snow.  Others, human and animal, have passed before us.

Although our journey is ours and no one else's, others have passed before us and others will pass after us.  Is it possible to find others who have gone down the same road, who have seen what we have seen, who know the devastation we know, who have seen the beauty we have seen?  Where can we find these people in our world?

After a long day of driving and walking, hunger sets in.  As we come out at Hoodland Road onto 26 an old building can be found to our right along the Zig-Zag River.  This is the historic Zig Zag Mountain Store and Cage.  They specialize in fresh cobblers and pies and may run low as they prefer to serve only fresh food.  We also tried the Mountain Man Pizza which abound in meat and red and yellow peppers.  Very yummy.

You may dine at a table with a view of the river.

After our late lunch we head back to Portland on Highway 26.  One variant we enjoy is turning off onto Orient Drive west of Sandy.  Orient Drive shows remnants of the road to Mt. Hood before Highway 26 was built -- farms, feeds stores, and more.

One winter evening heading home along the Drive, the rain poured down on the windshield so heavily we could not see.  We pulled off the road and waited for the downpour to become a drizzle.

After the storm,   Rain washes the winter evening driving into Gresham, Oregon.  Street lights reflect on the wet road.  A bulbous upwelling of grey storm clouds threaten more rain.

But through the clouds gleams the last rays of the setting sun silhouetting a slender tree, glistening gold on the soaked macadam pavement.

Life is filled with storms.  Can you find golden rays of hope in your own life?

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