Sunday, May 22, 2005

The Upside of Living in a Rainy Clime

Triple Falls
Originally uploaded by Rozanne.
OK--so I groused a little about the rain in my last post. I'm over it. Being the keen hiker that I am, I should hardly need reminding that it is copious lashings of rain (and other forms of precipitation) that make for jaw-dropping natural wonders like this photo of Triple Falls, which B and I hiked to on Saturday.

It may sound cliched, but hiking has always had an incredibly restorative and therapeutic and balancing effect on me. I believe I've mentioned before that the primary reason we chose to move to Portland from Chicago was so that we could hike regularly in some of the best wilderness the Lower 48 has to offer. I am very, very happy living here, and I think a lot of my happiness has to do with being able to retreat (relatively easily) to places that are so lushly verdant that they seem enchanted.

I snapped this photo* on a section of trail just past Triple Falls. For my money, it is one of the prettiest and most magical sections of trail in the entire Columbia River Gorge. Very few people hike beyond Triple Falls even though there are another six miles (and ~4,000 feet of elevation gain) to the top of Larch Mountain. I always insist we go about a quarter of a mile down it because I am convinced that one day I will see an elf or a fairy or a wood nymph or--worst-case scenario--a troll among all the overwhelmingly diverse shades of green moss, lichen, and foliage. There is evidence of their existence. Click here to see a miniature Stonehenge that could only have been built by elves (or similiar LOTRish creatures). (Hint: Mouseover the image if you can't locate Stonehenge.) I'm telling you, it's a bit eerie to walk this section of trail--but in a good way. One day, when I'm feeling suitably spry, I will hike it all the way to the top of Larch Mountain.

*Sorry about the blurriness--I am (I promise) going to read the instruction manual for my camera as soon as I post this entry. I know I'm not getting optimal results at the moment.


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