Technically, it is spring. Right now, however, spring feels very far away, my breath almost visible in the air. I have on all my layers: it’s 44° at the trailhead and just shy of noon. Try, try, try as we might, when J.B. and I get together it’s never an early start.
Both dogs launch from the car, exploring new smells and wrestling. I’ve dragged J.B. on what I hope is a promising adventure, on a trail I’ve never been to before.
Gifford Pinchot National Forest’s Siouxon Roadless Area, Washington
8 miles, 700 feet elevation gain
About a week ago, an unusual occurrence took place. When Andy asked me where we should go with some friends and none of my suggestions really fit what we were looking for, I suddenly realized that I had (gasp!) run out of ideas of where to go. I’ve explored a great deal of the hiking in the greater Portland area, and many trails are like old friends- tried, true and with different faces and personalities that I love through the various seasons. For myself, I am most often content to just be outside, but that doesn’t always work for others. So I’ve made a pact with myself to start exploring unknown (to me) trails. A new guidebook procured after last week’s episode has me all trail giddy with new places to go.
Siouxon Creek (apparently pronounced “SOO-sahn”), is a place I have heard much about but somehow never taken the time to visit. Original plans for the day included Catherine Creek or Silver Star, but there are ticks galore right now at Catherine Creek (dogs & ticks are not a great mix), and afternoon thunderstorms in the forecast do not make Silver Star’s bald ridge top an intelligent place to hang out. So, Siouxon it is.
'Twas a lovely choice. And I have to wonder why I have never been here before.
|the forest immediately greets you|
To sum it up as concisely as possible, if someone were to ask me to choose a trail oozing stereotypical PNW forest, I would be hard-pressed to choose between Siouxon and Eagle Creek. It’s just that green.
|J.B., Shenzi & Pepper take it all in|
There are nurse logs and moss, Oregon ginger and oxalis pushing up through the loam.
|the trail is lined with all the colors of the PNW|
Sometimes, you can't tell if it's a moss or if it's a fern. Maybe both?
|moss or fern? you pick|
Rock walls alive with clinging ferns, both beautiful and imposing.
|little hiker for perspective|
Sun-dappled bogs and forest floors.
|nurse logs give birth to the forest|
Water is ever-present: raging falls, a roaring creek, trail side streams, tiny discoveries.
|delights along the trail|
|Horseshoe Creek Falls|
And Shenzi, the former stray-from-the-streets, is an acrobatic creek-crosser, while the space alien/pug requires more coaxing.
|one of many moments spent contemplating how NOT to get her feet wet|
|coaxing a fussy dog across the creek|
|Shenzi leads the way|
|nope. wants NOTHING to do with it|
We discovered an array of beauty, of green, of deep, quiet forest that surprised us both. Now, like an old friend, Siouxon is officially on my list.