Friday, October 28, 2011

Breitenbush Gorge- Amazing fall color

It was the true beginning of fall, too cold for dabbling, a bit cloudy, but a great day for a hike. We headed to Breitenbush Gorge which is public land near a private hot springs. It was a glorious fall day as we headed down the trail to the water.

The beginning of the hike had a serious of fun bridges to cross as we enjoyed the yellows, reds, and orange hues of the leaves above and below our feet.

The old growth forest was amazing with moss, nurse logs, and plenty of mushrooms.

We enjoyed gazing down at the "raging river" below us, which led to that difficult question from Amy, "Do bridges rage?", after asking this she laughs hysterically at whatever answer we choose to give her.

She spent some time riding on my back and some time bounding down the trail. These days, when she is riding on my back she really enjoys keeping track of my hat.

We took time to savor the gorge at a high point. My friend Sarah pointed out that I had told her the trail was flat. Apparently she wasn't buying it.

We made a bridge over a creek our turn around point and got to enjoy the trail a second time on the way back. The great thing about fall hiking is that it is not about the destination. There is a lot of meandering and focusing on the smaller beauties of the forest rather than the expansive high country.

One particular orange mushroom really stood out because of its color.

We enjoyed gazing up at the tall trees. It is such a gift to be among these giants.

Once again, we enjoyed the bridges and being closer to the water before heading up to the car and saying goodbye to this beautiful old growth forest. Just breathing in this fresh fall air is so refreshing to my spirit. I hope for a few more forest hikes before the snowshoe adventures begin!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Huckleberries, June Lake, and Ice Cream

After our "swinging bridge over raging river" adventure at Lava Canyon, we drove a short distance to the June Lake Trailhead. The huckleberries were still abundant and that made Amy quite ecstatic!

It was a cloudy hike next to a creek through beautiful forest with leaves changing color.

We took our time getting to June Lake. Since it was somewhat uphill, Amy rode in the backpack for much of it. I still endure carrying the 60 pounds of Amy plus gear and water. Fortunately, we no longer need to carry diapers! Amy frequently steals my hat when she is riding in the backpack to help "keep track of it".

The clouds and mist were beautiful. When we got closer to June Lake, there were more open areas that were devastated by the 1980 eruption but now have started to group back.

June Lake is a pretty little lake with a waterfall at one end. There were some campers and some teen boys bush wacking to and walking behind the waterfall. We just decided to admire it from a distance.

Mt. St. Helens was mostly hidden by clouds but we got peeks and glimpses of it.

On the way back down we continued to admire the fall color and eat huckleberries! I continue to remind Amy to "save some for the bears".

When we returned to the trail head, Amy announced that she wanted ice cream for a treat on the way home. I wholeheartedly agreed that we needed to stop at Burgerville since they have the best mocha perk milkshakes.

When we arrived at Burgerville, I saw a familiar car and thought it might have belonged to the climbers that search and rescue had been looking for earlier in the day.

Our friend Sarah got up the courage to ask, and sure enough, it was the lost climbers that we had been praying for earlier that day! They were amazed that we knew about the search and told us their story.

The ice cream was taller than Amy's head. I had to help her some and she flat out refused to eat it with a bowl and spoon. She had a great time getting very sticky and recalling the days event of swinging bridges over raging rivers, June Lake, and Huckleberries. It was a sweet end to a beautiful day!

Swinging Bridge over Raging River

I have always wanted to explore Lava Canyon at Mt. St. Helens. It is a short hike but well worth it with its beautiful views of a gorge formed by lava from the eruption. We got the added bonus of fall color. We had Amy's "favorite Sarah" with us on this hike and some of these pictures our hers.

There were places where this trail is quite exposed but I never felt unsafe. There are also danger signs everywhere. We were a little more cautious because we passed search and rescue looking for climbers.

The sound and site of the "raging river" through the gorge was amazing.

The fall leaves were in all their glory.

Amy hiked the entire short loop (1.3 miles) and did a great job listening and holding hands when needed.

Soon we got to the suspension bridge swaying high above the raging river. Amy did a great job crossing this and we stopped for a break on the other side to take in the view.

What a view it was. We only got glimpses of Mt. St. Helens this day, but the water, the shear rock formed from lava flow, and forest growing back after the 1980 eruption, were all quite amazing to see.

At the beginning and end of the hike there was a bench to check out. I had to promise to carry Amy on the next short hike for her to agree to walk all the way to the car.

We stopped to admire one of the many signs about danger in the area that had danger written in seven languages and a symbol of a person falling off a cliff. We had a safe and happy hike, but said a prayer for the climbers who were missing.

Stay tuned for pictures of the second short hike of this day, June Lake...We told Amy to tell her preschool teacher about crossing the swinging bridge over the raging river. What an amazing hike!