We got Gorged after our Mississippi Art Fair Outing
We came back from the Mississippi Street Fair ready to relax, or water a yard, orâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦.
At 1300, Kristen called from Scappoose (west of here) wondering if we wanted to go out to the Gorge with the dogs (Her Mason and our Mac are buds.). Well we werenâ€™t ambitious, but Hell, it WAS only 1:00, it was about 80, it should be fabulous up the gorge. We said come on down! Weâ€™ll be ready. Mark immediately thought about Macâ€™s Leash Aggression, his unrelability if strangers are in our driveway, etc, and saidâ€¦â€¦.I donâ€™t know I donâ€™t know.
Kristen and Mason showed up and we took off completely FORGETTING just what Oregonâ€™s Biggest Tourism Draw is in July any year: Yes, the Columbia Gorge. We passed Multnomah Falls (about 30 miles away) to see about 1 trillion cars parked in every imaginable position and Mark again said, â€œThis wonâ€™t work.â€ Mac will be attacking everything. In Macâ€™s defense, when at Dog Parkâ€™s, or on the trail, heâ€™s usually friendly to everything. At home in the driveway, itâ€™s another matter.
Well. We park, and suddenly Masonâ€™s loose running up the hill on the trail. What could I do? I unleashed Mac knowing he was least likely to growl if heâ€™s running loose, and maybe, heâ€™d think this was a Dog Park.
What do you know. The entire climb up to Horsetail Falls went beautifully. The Mac-n-Mason show was a hit with tourists hiking up and down the trail:
I know, not a good shot of Mason, but heâ€™s just a year old. YOU try to get him to sit still for .001 second.
This proved to be a fabulous experience. In this environment, for some reason, Mac considered it neutral territory just like he does a dog park or the river and every person who came by he treated as a â€œpalâ€. (Oddly, the only growl came at the end of the hike when Mason, the most friendly little dog ever sensed â€œfearâ€ in a couple coming up toward us and growledâ€¦.. the guy cowered behind his wife, we leashed the dogs and went on our way without Mac even paying attention).
Anyways. We hiked up switchbacks I think about 300 ft above the gorge floor and finally hiked down into Horsetail Falls where Mac and Mason immediately jumped into the pool around the falls. It is, as dozens of other Gorge Falls are, a gorgeous spot:
Here Kristen ponders the meaning of life? No, sheâ€™s wondering HOW are those dogs going to get out of that current.
Thereâ€™s several viewpoints from this little trail that wander behind the falls and on:
Here you are 300 ft up the steep hillsides, and not 100 feet from some cliffs that drop straight down. Whew! Didnâ€™t affect the dogs:
Here was where we began to wonder if he was having trouble fighting the current.
Mac would swim away and toward me (sometimes) when called or yelled for, and then suddenly seem to be drawn in like the falls was creating an undertow. We got worried. We ALL began to yell. Finally, minutes later, Mac obeyed and swam outward toward Rodger and got out of the waterâ€¦â€¦â€¦ thenâ€¦â€¦..in a flash, looked back at that pond of cold snow melt water and the falls, ANDâ€¦â€¦.JUMPED right back in heading toward the falls itself. Then we all relaxed, laughed and laughed as he swam back and forth. It was so odd that he looked like he was swimming in panic sometimes near the falls with that current, but would always swim away when he needed to. He was in ecstasy!
It took about 15-20 minutes for him to wear himself down enough just to get out and follow us away.
So we continued. The total hike was about 3 miles, and beautiful. We passed some trees under cliffs that showed exactly how tortured nature can be in the right conditions. The branches in this pic of an old Maple Tree were about 2 feet across (yes, hold your hands out here and measure that), the picture canâ€™t show the real perspective of seeing it live:
And then the Fir Tree that also was huge at the base, but at some point in itâ€™s early life had been split by a falling rock and so grew up with a short trunk, then a secondary branch took over the climb toward the canopy:
Hopefully you can see the short THICK trunk at the bottomâ€¦â€¦.and just to the left? That tall straight fir tree that actually was probably 18 inches thick grew straight out of a branch that had grown sideways from the old original trunk. It was an awesome feeling to be so close to this exhibition of natureâ€™s power. Had we seen this when it happened, it would probably appear insignificant. We have in our own yard a small hemlock that deer have broken down more than once. At 5 years old now, itâ€™s still only about 3 feet high, but with 3-4 main branches trying to take over being the one guy that gets to do the big climb up to the sky. So now to understand that 30-40-50 years later, a branch that climbed upward and now must weigh TONS and tons, is still being supported by much less primary branches than originally designed to fill that purpose.
We passed the classic old maple tree still alive, but very ill, and full of bugs.
You can easily see that although this mighty tree is still holding up tons of weight, itâ€™s plainly hollow near the base as it comes to the end of life. At some point, it will simply collapse under its own weight, but for years before that happens, the interiors become buffets for all kinds of bugs who eat on the bacteria rotting the wood. Once that happens, the wood begins to get chipped at by Birds (woodpeckers, etc), to get at the â€œnewâ€ buffet, i.e., the bugs who are eating the bacteria. Then, in the final BIG collapse, the tree falls, rots, and becomes beautiful mulch for the future forest. Oh well. This ainâ€™t something youâ€™ll read on the new Bush EPA webs pages.
Back to the hike. Yep, we finished. Back down on the road, you can see that we had done some climbing. Hereâ€™s looking up at the cliff we were aboveâ€¦â€¦you can see the Fir Trees are mature trees, not little as the pic may appear:
So. Finally, one year old Mason was ready to get back into the car:
We headed back toward Portland, met Paul at â€œThe Lucky Labradorâ€ a dog friendly brew pub in NW Portland, and had dinner. We ended up back home for more chat. A terrific day and fun evening. We miss having Kristen and Paul living across the street.
A classic summer day in Portland, and one without worrying whether slugs, moles, raccoons or squirrels were devouring our food supplies. Yeah.