When I first met Buck, he told me I had better buckle up, because it was going to be a wild ride. The man doesn’t lie.
I ran across some notes today from a terrific mostly-hiking trip we took to Oregon a few years ago. It made me laugh some, and generally think about what a great ride it’s been.
Every day on that trip was bright from early dawn to late, lingering sunset. From Crater Lake to the coast, we were out in it, actively exploring and experiencing. Buck got blisters from our trek across hot black sands on the beach near the Pistol River. I sustained a sunburned ear with a mosquito bite on it from a mail boat excursion on the Rogue River from Gold Beach up to the tiny wilderness village of Agnes.
Some memorable names from that trip:
* The Greasy Spoon Cafe
* One Old Hen’s Gifts
* The Sea Gull Factory (surely a misnomer)
* The Shasta Blue Pigmy Goat Farm
* A car license plate that spelled out “I HOPE”
* A boat and also a creek named “Wake Up Riley”
* The Stone Butte Riding Stables
* The Good Times Bar in Eugene, Oregon featuring a live band (and I’ll bet it was, too) called Harp Dog Brown and the Bloodhounds
* And then there was the huge, hand-painted banner spread out on the fence of a farm in the Willamette Valley, seen as we were driving from Portland to Crater Lake: “KINDER, GENTLER NATION — HOOEY!!”
We saw many critters on that trip, from peregrine falcons soaring over the cobalt waters of Crater Lake, to a pale gold giant land slug, spotted on a redwood’s trunk. I glimpsed a marmot sunning on a rock near Crater Lake. Made me think of Lewis Carroll’s Cheshire cat when he flashed his furry tail and disappeared into a crevice. Near the Tu`Tu`Ton Lodge along the banks of the Rogue River in Gold Beach, we spied a bald eagle perched on the spire of the tallest tree within eyesight.
There were the ubiquitous feisty, demanding sea gulls. From our balcony at Jot’s Landing in Gold Beach, one fellow perched on the balcony railing, staring in at me as if to say, “Okay, you fed me last night. So, where’s breakfast? Bring out some more of that cracked wheat french bread — now!” So I did. He never budged from the rail, only moved to one side a few steps. I lined up three bites of bread on the railing. He looked me over carefully, took several flat-footed steps over, snapping up all three pieces, then stepped quickly back to his original position. We continued this ritual. Once I put down four bites instead of three. He hesitated, then snapped up his usual three bites and stepped back.
Cormorants in the Rogue River fished continuously. We were told they eat three times their weight in fish each day and can dive to one hundred feet.
Good memories, happy trails.