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Saturday, September 20, 2014

A forest road

Everyone takes a break sometime; we are fortunate here in having the hills very near us to run to, and so we did that last week.

Our first stop was the place, thirty-seven years ago, that we honeymooned. I had been part of a Hoedad crew parked there for five or six weeks by the Forest Service on a tree planting contract, and had fond, if still fresh, memories of the place, with its grove of seven-foot-diameter Douglas firs and mystical bend in the river.

Beloved and I owned at that time a housetruck -- a cab-over-engine 1946 Chevrolet two-ton flatbed with a cedar-shake house built onto its flatbed. We lived beneath the oak trees in the meadow for a month in August 1977, getting to know each other better.

The place has now been marked off by the Forest Service as not-for-camping-or-vehicles; it's has a pressure-sensitive biome. But we knew no better at the time, and neither did they. They'd used it for a work-camp site for many years; babies had been born there.

We walked around the site, reminiscing. We'd car-camped here in the Eighties, with small children, and explored huge fallen tree trunks, upended towering root-wads, tiny frog-serenaded springs, and gravel bars filled with black rocks shot though with white like photos of night lightning.

We then traveled up the road beyond "Honeymoon Flat," checking the accessibility of various unofficial campsites, some of which nestled among trees almost as big as the ones at the Flat.

This route does not open huge vistas of lava flows, glaciers, and remote peaks, but it does give one a sense of what the old growth forests of the Cascades had once been. At over five thousand feet, we settled into an otherwise unpeopled campground for the night, and spent the evening listening to a hundred tiny waterfalls.

As we are in our sixties, we were once again reminded that tent camping is becoming difficult for us, and we suffered a bit, I'm afraid, from our communion with the hard ground. Nevertheless, the journey was good for us in more ways than not.

We returned to our tasks and routines refreshed.


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