Trail's End

Operation: Last Backpacking Trip of the Season? Allison’s email showed up in my inbox, posing the question for the final (maybe) overnighter of the year. It seems like the weather is reversed this year- September was October and October is now September, with glorious fall light, color and warm temps. Our last hoorah before the rains settle in.

color along the Tamanawas Falls trail

We never took the overnighter. Somehow, neither one of us was feeling it. Instead, Allison proposed a “pokey” (her words, not mine) hike, with no promise for the spectacular, but rather a sleuthing trip for a field of larch on Mount Hood’s east side. With Allison, “pokey” is usually a good workout. I was in.

The sleuthing began on the very well-traveled and maintained trail to Tamanawas Falls (soooo much prettier in winter), then began a climb into unknown territory along the little-used Lambertson Spur trail. 37° and frosty at the trailhead, we ended the hike stripped down to shorts, occasionally yodeling “It’s October!” to no one in particular.  

October. In less than a mile, it will be shorts & T-shirt weather

At one point, Allison turned to me with apologies for the “not spectacular” hike, and I shrugged, grinning ear to ear. I was just glad to be out. I’ve been very, very short on summer mileage this year- it felt beyond words good to just walk, to be outside, exploring the woods. Besides, I already won the lottery on the morning’s drive: a bushy-tailed, feline shadow leap across Highway 35 as we rounded a corner. In seventeen years of hiking in Oregon, I’ve never seen a cougar in the wild. Now, I won’t lie and say I’m not glad that we didn’t meet on the trail…still, really cool to see one even if it was only a transitional shadow bounding across the pavement.

looking for pots of larch gold at the end of the trail
Oscar in full-terrier mode, enjoying the great outdoors

And the larch were beautiful- a golden climax community at the end of the remains of the Lambertson Spur trail.

Mount Hood Wilderness, Oregon
~10 miles, ~3,000 feet elevation gain


Ingunn said...

Oscar should be trained as a truffle dog!

Allison said...

Thanks for a great pokey day, Amanda! And thanks for helping me itch that scratch, even if we got a few scratches of our own. (Meat hooks!)