Monday, February 15, 2010
Valentine's Day Hike
Yesterday, Feb. 14, we headed for the hills again, this time to hike a segment of the old Tillamook trail. The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde are gradually restoring this foot trail that was used by coast Indians before white settlers arrived in the area. The Tillamook area tribe walked inland to spend the winter in a valley near what is now Willamina. Apparently, salmon had a resting spot in Willamina creek and provided food for the wintering tribe. At least, that's the story from a pioneer researcher in the area.
We are not yet sure where the Confederated Tribes will have their trail start and end, but we have hiked a few short segments thus far. The plan is to have the trail go all the way to the coast. The young adult work crew we met last year said the intention is to make it usable for hiking and horseback riding. I am eager to ride that trail when it is ready! Sure would beat charging through the underbrush like Mr. Smith and I do now.
Since the segment we hiked yesterday was quite short, we walked across the road and hiked down a trail to a couple of waterfalls, only one of which we could get to because of downed trees and landslides. Near the falls big Douglas Firs have survived logging, Johnny estimated, for one to two hundred years. We don't often see Doug firs this big anymore.
We explored roads on our way home, finding our way from the falls and Tillamook Trail segment on Yoncalla/Boulder Creek road via Wind River to Spirit Mountain (this is a polite way of saying we didn't know where we were going but somehow made it home). We passed Western Bluebirds flitting about in an old clearcut full of snags. We'll come back in the spring to see if they nest in those snags (presuming we can find that area again).
The forested vistas from the road around Spirit Mountain went on forever, with spectacular cloud formations adding to the beauty.
Near home, Johnny dropped me off at the head of the elusive trail through the woods that Mr. Smith and I had not found on Bad Horse Day. I hiked down through salal, ferns and firs and discovered where the "trail" (using the term loosely) comes out on the old/new logging road below. Next time I ride that road, I'll know where to direct my rambunctious, hill climbing horse. A Pygmy Owl tooted as I neared the logging road, but I could never see where it was calling from.
A nice way to spend Valentine's Day on the weekend of our 43rd wedding anniversary.