Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon
~5 miles, ~100 feet elevation gain

The last day of spring and the first day of summer. It's one of the first, really warm (for Portland) days of the year. I was supposed to be out of town this week, but plans didn't align quite right, so I ended up on a 'stay-cation' during the break between spring and summer quarters. It's turned out for the best as I have gotten an enormous amount accomplished this week and some quiet time to reflect upon things I have neglected- I have felt very much like being alone this week and simplifying the mental chaos in my life.

what old dogs do

With the mercury poised to hit eighty degrees, I was looking for a cool hike with plentiful water that was also short on mileage- at ten years old, my loyal boxer boy and trail companion, Rocky, is starting to show his age. I haven't visited the Old (Lower) Salmon River trail in many, many years, but it's always a beautiful choice, especially midweek or off-season. The trail is very quiet, the silence broken only by the sound of the rushing mountain creek nearby, and it's also a flat stroll on soft earth through ancient, mossy, forest. Although I would have preferred more mileage, I knew Rocky needed to get out as much as I did- I've been leaving him at home more often lately in concern for his feet and overall health (he still bounces around like a jumping bean whenever I get out the hiking gear though).

On this afternoon the trail was a verdant explosion of dynamic light ranges, a contrast of deepest shadows and brightest sunlight filtering through the canopy. There is a feel to old growth forest: the ground has a spongy, hollow quality to the loam, ferns and oxalis dominant the understory, and moss is everywhere.

Old Salmon River trail

I took my time on the walk, letting Rocky sniff and cavort, meander and wade, the walk as much for him as myself. I played with some macro photography and felt calmness settle over me, as the woods always blanket me in both forgetfulness and repose.

many, many idyllic places like this one along the trail

I had no idea this guy was even there until I looked through my macro lens