Friday, August 17, 2007

Coming 'Round The Mountain!

Over the past two weeks I have shared our recent trip with family through the Columbia River Gorge, along a historic old highway and our stop in Hood River. I have always loved the mountains and wish I could live where I could see them from my window. Until that might happen, if it ever does, I will just enjoy the mountains whenever I have a chance to see them. My favorite mountain is nearly 'in my backyard' - Mount Hood. As we turned south, away from the Columbia River, we soon had a full view of the mountain. We stopped several times along the way to take pictures or to take a closer look with the help of our binoculars.

We stopped at a popular ski resort that is closed during the summer months. The view of the mountain is worth the short drive off the highway. Through our binoculars we could see many ski lifts standing silent and alone in the summer sunlight.Back on the highway, continuing around the mountain, we soon came to a historic place. We drove a few miles on an old highway that took us through the woods to a place where we stopped to see a pioneer woman's grave. In 1924 survey crews building the Mount Hood Loop Highway discovered the grave of a pioneer woman buried in a wooden box. The simple grave was marked by a wagon tongue. There is no headstone, but rocks have been piled on the grave by visitors as a memorial. Each time we visit this place my heart is touched by thoughts of the struggles the pioneers faced as they traveled to this beautiful land I call home. I was very moved to see that someone had recently put fresh roses on this lady's forest grave.
Not far from here we turned and began our ascent up the mountain to visit Timberline Lodge, a famous historic Lodge that attracts many visitors each year. I will share that part of our trip soon in another post.

After that 'side trip' we began our descent down the mountain toward home. One final stop on the side of the mountain challenged our legs, our hearts and our lungs but it was worth the climb to see a spot that is beyond my imagination. Laurel Hill is named after the native rhododendron foliage that resembled laurel leaves. Laurel Hill was the horrific descent off the southern slope of Mount Hood. Oxen were usually able to anchor the wagons on most declines, but they could not withstand the strain of this hill. Wagons had to be lowered by ropes tied to large trees and lashed to trees and stumps to slow the descent. Some of the pioneers dismantled their wagons and sent them skidding down the chute like a sled. I can't imagine the fear this must have caused in the hearts of the travelers who had chosen this route through the mountains rather than the more treacherous route on the Columbia River where they would have to deal with many fierce and swift rapids before arriving in the valley beyond.

The pathway to see the chute begins with carefully laid steps up a steep incline to the trail above. Once at the top of the steps we walked along a section of the old, now-abandoned Columbia Loop Highway. Asphalt is still in place on part of this trail and, if you look closely, you can see a bit of the old yellow line peeking through.


Farther down the trail we came to the site of a chute where the wagons were lowered from far above our heads to the forest floor far below where we stood. You may be able to see the top of the chute where the sky shows through the trees. It is hard to capture the full impact in a picture. We opted out of the chance to hike to the top of the chute by way of another upward trail. Instead we found large flat rocks where we sat to rest and eat the snacks we had carried up the hill with us. Crackers, cheese, fruit and water taste much better on the side of a mountain while enjoying the fresh, open air! Returning to our car we were thankful for the wonderful highway with a gradual slope that helped us descend the mountain safely. One last look at the mountain brought the same response from each of us: "We had a good time - it was such a good day together!"

5 comments:

  1. Oh My! Those photos are stunning. I do live in the mountains in North Carolina and I am in awe everyday when I look out my windows. Your area you live in is beautiful too. I am looking forward to visiting your state someday.
    Penny

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  2. Great pictures! Thanks for sharing. I was looking for pictures of knitting projects.
    judy, also in Oregon

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  3. Beautiful beyond description, Adrienne. The camera just cannot possibly soak up the full meaning of a site, so if your pictures show such beauty I can only imagine what it's like to be up close and personal, as you were.

    In answer to your questions..
    * Mr. Darcy will be attending Cornerstone Bible Institute in Hot Springs, South Dakota.
    * Ellen will be taking online classes through Calvary Chapel Bible College.
    * Our dear friends who moved to Oregon live in Brookings.

    Bless you this day...

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  4. one more thing ...

    I've nominated you for the *Nice Matters* award. Bless you.

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  5. What a lovely area! The picture of the mountains is just beautiful.

    Manuela

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