Bob and Rigamarole at Texas Canyon Rest Area, Arizona, September 30, 2017

Bob and Rigamarole at Texas Canyon Rest Area, Arizona, September 30, 2017
Bob and Rigamarole at Texas Canyon Rest Area, Arizona, September 30, 2017

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Amuse Bouche - Monday, June 20, 2016

Amuse bouche is French. Literally, it means amuse the mouth. However, amuse bouche is an appetizer before a meal or could be a palate cleanser, such as sorbet, between salad and the main dish.

Trompe l'oeil is also French and literally means "fools or deceives the eye." In application, it is a painting or decoration giving a convincing illusion of reality. For example, you may have seen the chalk sidewalk art going around on Facebook. Or click on the link at the beginning of this paragraph to see an example.

Where am I going with this? As I was hiking in the Columbia River Gorge, it occurred to me that maybe I could create a new idiom: amuse l'oeil. While hiking, one sees many appetizers for the eye - tiger lilies, birds, ferns, moss, berries - while one is on the way to see the main dish, which could be a spectacular waterfall, an awe-inspiring view, a snow-covered mountain, a canyon, arches, etc.

Monday, June 20, 2016: The hikes are finished so I slept in this morning. My body definitely needed the rest.

After breakfast, I helped Mom take out a passion fruit vine that was trying to take over the side of her her house. We put out the awning over her living room window to cut down on the sunlight that comes in, and to protect the window from itinerant golf balls from not-so-experienced golfers hitting toward the 9th hole of a 9-hole golf course. (She's had her kitchen and living room windows broken a number of times, and golf balls have put holes in her plastic patio roof.)

Today I had to return my rental car, but first I took it to a car wash to make it look clean again. Then I got all my packing done.

Mitsubishi Outlander, rental SUV
At 6 p.m., I took my mom, sister and son out to dinner at Elmer's Pancake House. I was able to spend quality time with my loved ones and we had a delicious dinner. The four of us then went back to Mom's house and played three games of pinochle. Michael and I won two games to one. We were shocked that in three games of pinochle two double runs were played. Double runs don't happen very often!

After Michael and Jan left, Mom and I watched "The Bachelorette." Crazy show this season.

My flight is 6:45 am tomorrow. I'll have to be up at 3:45 am to leave for the airport by 5:00 a.m. Good night all. 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Sunday is Angel's Rest Day - Sun., June 19, 2016

First, Happy Father's Day to Bob and all the other father's, uncles, and granddads.

Happy Father's Day, Bob!
What would we do without our dads? Mine taught me how to fish, how to dance, how to make pancakes, how to grill, how to make ice cream, how to camp, how to compromise, how not to fight, and how to be in love. I miss my dad.

At 6:45 a.m., I was on the road to Oregon's Columbia River Gorge. An early start was mandatory today because the crowds are insane in the gorge on the weekends. The parking lot for today's hike is very small. I figured I should be there before 8:00 a.m. When I got off the freeway and drove past the trailhead parking there were four spots left in the lot. However, there were no restrooms at the trailhead so I had to drive 1/2 mile to Bridal Veil Falls area to use their facilities. When I returned to trailhead parking, there was one spot left. Mine, all mine. I was very lucky.

Today, I did not take a coat because the temperature was supposed to be in the mid-70s. However, I was questioning that decision when my car thermometer showed an outside temperature of 49 degrees. Brr! I geared up with hiking poles, and in the backpack had a hat with wide brim, trail mix, water, suntan lotion, extra pair of socks, first aid kit, and callous cushions. People were already circling looking for a parking space.

At 7:55 a.m. I crossed the street to the trailhead and pulled out my camera to take a photo of the trailhead sign. I forgot to put my disk back in after I downloaded photos yesterday. Arrgh! I couldn't take photos with my camera today. How frustrating is that? So, once again, I took photos with my cell phone, but can't get them to send to my email. I think the phone is too old. I tried to download the latest version of Firefox, but it failed: server is not supported. Sigh.

The day was mine to enjoy. I was not hiking with buddies today as they chose not to do this hike. And I didn't have to worry about taking many photos. At least I know I have some in the phone, maybe Verizon can get to them and send them for me. I'm at a loss as to what else to do to get those photos to my email.

An early start meant tranquility on the trail. I saw very few people on the way to the top. As an aside, even though we lived in Oregon over 30 years, this is one hike in the gorge we have never done. I was a little intimidated by the elevation gain (1,450') and the description that the trail steepened as it got closer to the top.

I started up that trail with no coat in the 49 degree weather and was sweating within 10 minutes. All my worry about a steep trail was for naught. The trail switch-backed up gently and I kept going and going, not feeling winded or overly tired. If I needed to, I stopped and breathed deeply for a couple of minutes. (Either the trail was less steep or I was in better shape than earlier in the week.)

Along the trail were tiger lilies in various stages of blooming and the columbine was at its peak. The air was butterscotch-and-vanilla scented making the experience even more delightful. I wish I could share the sound of the wind in the trees and the rushing gurgle of  one small creek. Supposedly Coopey Falls was near the start of the trail, but I did not see it. That may have been the creek I heard.

A few people passed me on the way up: a mom with her 15-year-old son, a young couple, some hale and hearty young men, and a few twenty-something young ladies. I enjoyed my own pace.

As I neared the top, the winds became quite strong and chilly, but it felt good because I had become quite warm from hiking up the hill. When I came out of the forest close to the top, there was a field of large flat rocks and big boulders. I thought I had arrived at Angel's Rest. Folks were sitting on the rocks eating yogurt and settling in. I was so focused on not tripping on rocks, I didn't look around. But I saw others looking to the west and taking photos. When I turned around, the world was my oyster. The view toward Vista House, Portland and the West Hills was fantastic. Clear blue sky with the sun behind us made it even more magical. I can't recommend this hike enough.

What made me feel especially proud was looking across the Columbia River and seeing that I had hiked higher than the hills on the other side of the river. Wow. Pretty impressive accomplishment for so early in the morning. (As many of you know I am NOT a morning person.)

I quickly realized I was not at Angel's Rest. A number of through-hikers behind me kept on going. I followed. Soon we were through the rock field and back into lush forest. Angel's Rest certainly couldn't be too much farther, could it?

My Volksmarch instructions said just before reaching Angel's Rest I was to take a trail that veered off to the right. It didn't look quite right to me because it was a narrow ridge with a teensy trail through thick brush (including the dreaded poison oak), AND I could see drop offs in a couple of places through some rocks. Yikes!

I asked a lady if there was a trail there and she said, "Yes, it goes for miles." Alrighty then. My adventurous spirit took over and I braved the short stretch of ridge, then presto-chango I was back in deep forest.

My next walk instructions were to go left at a Y in the trail. The first Y I came to had a left turn that would take me off a cliff. A young couple was coming from that way and said not to go that way. Then I told them about my walk instructions. They said they had seen a Y in the trail ahead and had gone to the right on it, but the trail petered out into a bunch of branches. They hadn't tried the left fork. So I did.

The trail was absolutely beautiful. Soft, fine bark and pine needles made a cushioned path underfoot that was most welcome after all the mud, rocks and roots on the rest of the trail. I was up high, walking through a tall pine forest with views of the Columbia River far below. I was completely by myself and, I must admit, a little spooked. One of the Volksmarchers we hiked with had seen a bear on a different trail earlier in the week. Spring is when the bears wake up hungry and also may have cubs. So, I clanked my hiking poles together a lot so I wouldn't startle any bears unexpectedly. Didn't see any...it must have worked.

The tiger lilies were in full bloom; a lush understory of ferns and moss was a feast for the eyes, and tall trees kept the wind at bay. Did I mention it was really windy in the exposed areas I had already walked through?

The next instruction on my walk sheet was "Go 0.2 mi until you come to a makeshift bridge. Turn around and retrace your steps to the main trail." I walked and walked and walked. The last I checked 0.2 miles is 1/5 of of a mile. Not very far when you're hiking 6.2 miles. I'm a pretty good judge of distance and I can tell you there was no makeshift bridge. There wasn't a place on this part of the trail that needed a bridge. I heard no running water indicating a creek, and the trail and forest were pretty level. I finally got frustrated, turned around and went back to the main trail.

Holy cow! The place was packed. I found a flat bench-like rock to sit on. I wanted to change my callous cushions and put on dry socks. I was able to get one changed, but then a group of people with two dogs decided to hang around me and chat, so I ate my trail mix, waiting for them to move on. They kept talking and talking. I kept eating my trail mix.

They obviously weren't going anywhere soon. They didn't want to go the rest of the way up some boulders to Angel's Rest. The chill wind was blowing pretty strong in the exposed place I was sitting. I thought it felt great. The guy standing there chatting put on his coat.

Anyway, the people just wouldn't leave, so I changed my other callous cushion and sock, drank some water, then I scrambled up the boulders to Angel's Rest. Wow, impressive.

There is a 270 degree view of the Columbia River, Washington state hills and mountains, and it was glorious. Angel's Rest is a large outcrop of rock with brush and a flat area you can walk around. It's quite large. I heard if you walked out toward the end and followed a faint trail to the left, there was a bench. Really? Hmm, okay, I'll go see.

I asked a gentleman about the bench. He said there used to be one but he hadn't been up there for years. His young son said, "Dad, c'mon you've got to see this." So I followed them. Sure enough there was a bench. Two guys were hogging it. People were talking about taking their photos there with their dads, loud enough for the two guys to hear, but the two guys didn't budge. Jerks.

It was time to head down. My eyes and brain could only take in so much beauty at once. I carefully made my way back to the car. OMG, the parade of people coming up the trail was like a freeway. I'm glad I got there when I did. Unbelievable.

At the bottom I was shocked to see cars parked on both sides of the scenic highway, on both sides of a small side road, and on both sides of the road below the parking lot. When I got to the car, people were waiting for a spot. Two guys in a small car looked at me expectantly and no one else was around. I pointed to the spot and they were overjoyed. They got the spot when I left. I had been gone four hours.

The first thing on my mind was the bathroom at Bridal Veil Falls. I made it just in time. Whew.

In order to get to Cascade Locks for my hot dog lunch, I had to go 7 miles east on the Scenic Highway to reach eastbound I-84. Things were going swimmingly until about 1/2 mile before Wahkeena Falls. Traffic was at a standstill. Picture a narrow, two-lane scenic highway with very few turnouts, all available turnouts are filled with parked cars so people could get to Wahkeena Falls. I sat in traffic 20 minutes for that 1/2 mile. I thought surely once we got past the falls, traffic would move again. I saw people ahead of me making five-point turns to come back our way. No one was coming through from the other way.

After Wahkeena Falls, it's 1/2 mile to the granddaddy of the gorge falls, Multnomah. Traffic was again at a standstill. It was my turn to make a three-point turn and head back to I-84 west. I knew a secret. Three miles west on I-84 you can cross over the freeway at Rooster Rock and get onto I-84 east. You can only do this in a car, not an RV.

I made it to my hot dog lunch at 12:50 p.m. I was feeling energized and active, and I decided to do my last walk: a 5k in the town of Cascade Locks. All went well and it was time to go home. I was ready for a shower, a nap, and some relaxation. 

However, when I got back to mom's I washed my hiking poles, and two pairs of hiking boots, then did one load of laundry. My sister was there as well.

Mom asked me to make cod lettuce wraps for dinner and they wanted it before "60 Minutes" came on. I told them no problem, but I was taking a shower first.

We finished dinner just before "60 Minutes." We had cod lettuce wraps served with avocado, tomato and peach-mango salsa, steamed beets, and strawberry shortcake for dessert. The strawberries were from mom's garden and she mashed those, plus cut up the beets. My sister made whipped cream for the shortcake. Mmm.

Now my blog is done and I'm heading to bed to read. We'll see how long I stay awake.

Happy Father's Day again. I hope you all had a memorable day.


Saturday, June 18, 2016

Trail with the Most Poison Oak Award Goes to... - Sat., June 18, 2016

Herman Creek Pinnacles Trail in Cascade Locks, Oregon. Our group met at 8 a.m. to hike to Herman Creek Pinnacles, starting temperature 55 degrees. Weather.com's hourly forecast predicted thunderstorms with heavy rain starting at 1 p.m. We wanted to get our hike done before that happened. Trails are treacherous enough in the gorge without adding running water into the mix. Elevation gain: 1,000', length 5 miles.

All of us were on time and we were able to secure parking spots in the small trailhead parking lot. The local Volksmarch club sponsoring this hiking weekend posted warnings about poison oak on the trails. We had seen some, but nothing like we were about to experience.

The beginning of the trail switch-backs up a steep mountainside, then levels out under some power lines. On this hike, we had ups and downs to give our legs a reprieve once in a while. My legs are so sore after the hikes of the past two days. I stretched a little before we left, but probably not enough.

This trail passed through deep woods, across a number of rockfall areas, went across a stream, past Pacific Crest Falls and through a moss-covered boulder field where hobbits might feel at home. But the most awful part was all the poison oak on both sides of the trail. We tried hard to avoid it, but if we steered toward one side of the trail to avoid poison oak on the other, we would back into it on the side where we were trying to avoid it. Some of the poison oak was chest high. I had my big coat tied around my waist and Dennis told me the bottom of it was dragging through the poison oak. Aaack! I'm really allergic to the stuff! Here's hoping it didn't get on my skin.

Moss-covered boulder field
View from high up on the Herman Creek Pinnacles Trail
Rockfall area
Looking down  a rockfall toward the Columbia River
(Washington state across the river)
 Part of our hike was on the Pacific Crest Trail as indicated by the markers below.


A small rivulet coming off Pacific Crest Falls
Here are the Herman Creek Pinnacles. Now I can say I've been there, seen them, and don't need to go back.

Diana on trail up to the pinnacles
Carol (in back) and Marietta making their way up to
the Pinnacles
Carol showing off her fancy footwork
Below is Pacific Crest Falls. It's not the biggest or fullest waterfall, but it is tall. If you enlarge the photo and look carefully at the top center, you can see the top of the waterfall. Notice the random person at the base of the falls.


Gary and Marietta traversing mossy rockfall
Beautiful forests on all our hikes
Another view of the moss-covered boulders
Shasta daisies under the power lines
We finished our hike at 11 a.m. and made a beeline for the hot dog lunch. So far not much rain to speak of, only a couple of light sprinkles. We bought and fixed up our plates outside by the grills and took them inside to eat.

As we were eating, the pouring rain arrived. It was 11:45 a.m. The big rainstorm arrived early and rain was forming waterfalls off the roof. I felt really bad for all the people who were out on the trails in that weather. I hope everyone was okay.

As for doing the 5k Town walk, that wasn't going to happen today. The walk spends a lot of time out on an island which doesn't have a paved path, just boot-high grass which by now was drenching wet. If I have enough energy after my heavy-duty hike tomorrow, I will do it then.

Today, I decided to go home, do laundry (especially the coat and clothes I wore today to get rid of poison oak oils), write blogs, and go to bed early. I want to start tomorrow's hike at 7 a.m. to make sure I get a parking space ahead of the weekend crowds that flock to the Angel's Rest Trail. Good night.

Over the River and Through the Woods... - Fri., June 17, 2016

... to Falls Creek Falls we go. Nowheresville. No one told us how far away from our registration point this place was or how many potholes were in the roads as we bounced and jostled the last two miles to the trailhead. (Well, to be honest, had I read the instructions on how to get to the trailhead, I would have known it was a longer distance. It was 30 miles from our registration point!) What a drive. Four of the others in our group were late too.  Temperature at the  start of our hike: 51 degrees. Perfect hiking weather!

Carol and I started out before everyone else because we're a bit slower than the rest of this gung-ho group we walk with. About 1/4 mile in everyone caught up with us at this cute suspension bridge over a deep gorge which contained roaring Falls Creek.


Gary and Dennis hamming it up on the bridge
This trail can only be described as grueling. The walk instructions said it's a gradual climb with a short steep section. I don't know who wrote that. We went up and up and up and up on what I call a steep incline. My hiking poles had a work-out today. The saving grace was the prettiest scenery, the roar of the water, and memories of hiking here with Bob and the boys when they were about 14 and 10.

Dennis and Carol round a bend in the trail
The following photo shows an area that looks like it should have a waterfall flowing down it, but all that is there is a large field of moss-covered rocks. At some point there must be water because there's a bridge there. Or, it could be, that this is the safest way to get people across the boulder field.

Carol surveying the mossy rocks in the riverbed
As we approached the falls, we came upon a huge wall of rock. All of us were so impressed, we stopped to take photos. I was feeling the effects of all the exertion and needed some sustenance. I had left my trail mix in the car, so as not to attract bears with the scent of something good to eat. However, Dennis and Carol had persimmon and chocolate chip cookies in their pack, and they offered me some. How sweet is that? I had one piece of persimmon and one little chocolate chip cookie. Those gave me the energy boost I needed. Onward, upward and upward.

Large mossy rocks that go way high up
The wall of rocks with people added for
perspective on how big this rock is.
Carol next to the rock wall
After we did our photo shoots, a couple of us turned to continue on the trail. We hadn't gone but 25' when Dennis and Carol told us to turn around and come back because we needed to see something. I thought maybe they spotted a bear in a tree or something. Not. With all our fooling around taking photos of the rock, we missed our first sighting of Falls Creek Falls!
Falls Creek Falls - first glimpse
After a short hike, we came upon the full view of the falls. Impressive. These falls drop 335' over three tiers. Fed by an extensive network of springs and streams, Falls Creek Falls is one of the largest and most powerful in southern Washington. The waterfallsnorthwest.com website describes the falls like this:
"The upper tier veils 109 feet in a broad fan-shaped fall which skips down the initial tier of the cliff. Shortly after, the creek spreads out to a breadth of over 100-feet across a gently domed ledge and plunges 135 feet in several segments. After gathering through a cluster of large boulders which have fallen off the adjacent cliffs, the third tier leaps a final 91-feet into a narrow amphitheater gorge."
Falls Creek Falls - you can't even see
the top 109' tier from here!
Falls Creek Falls - lower two tiers
Marietta trying to capture the perfect shot
Dennis also trying to capture a great shot
Gary, Dennis, Susan, Marietta (in front), and Diana
What the trail is like
and why trekking poles really help
From Falls Creek Falls, we hiked back down the steep trail to a side trail. I had thought we were finished going up. Boy was I wrong. The side trail was very steep and our legs were treated to another free calf and thigh work out. Once we finished this little-steep-segment- of-a side-trail, we came to a larger trail and our instructions had us going uphill even more. This trail was also very steep. It kept going and going and going, making us the Energizer bunnies. Our goal was to find Fantail Falls, a short wide waterfall. The trail finally leveled out and we could walk on the level for about a mile.

Fantail Falls
At Fantail Falls, I had to put callous cushions on my feet because I knew we would be going downhill A LOT and my weight would be forward on my feet. Everyone rested and chatted before the long downhill.

Darlene, Sandy and Gary
Marietta, Carol and Dennis
This hike did me in. Elevation gain on this hike is 1,150'. Length: 10k (6.2 miles).

I immediately headed back to the Volksmarch area for the $3 hot dog lunch. My plan was to do the 5k Cascade Locks Town Walk after lunch, but decided against it. I was going to meet friends Curt and Lexi for dinner at 5:15 p.m. in Wilsonville and I wanted to go home, nap, shower and put on fresh clothes first. It was 1:50 p.m. and it was an hour to Mom's house without traffic.

It's a good thing I left when I did. Traffic was gridlocked all over Portland. I was stuck in traffic everywhere I went. Because we lived in the Portland area over 30 years, I knew a lot of back roads and I tried many of them, only to be stuck in more gridlock. Apparently there was an accident on I-5 at I-205 south of town which backed up the freeways for miles! Ugh.

It ended up taking me and hour and 45 minutes to get to Mom's place. I tried to take a nap at her house, but just lay there with my eyes closed. Then I showered and headed south to Wilsonville, which usually takes about 20 minutes. I-5 was stop and go. When I got to the north Wilsonville exit, I took side roads the rest of the way to the restaurant. Curt had just arrived and Lexi wasn't there yet. She arrived a couple of minutes after me. They had been stuck in the gridlock too.

Lexi, Curt and I at The Ram in Wilsonville, Oregon
Since the evening was beautiful, we sat outside. Our meal was delightful and we talked about movies, music, and travel. I enjoy connecting with friends.

What an active couple of days I've had! Stay tuned for another hike tomorrow. Forecast is for heavy rain at 1 p.m. We'll start our 10K walk at 8 a.m. to try to avoid heavy precipitation.

Travel Bug out.




Friday, June 17, 2016

Go Take a Hike! - Thurs., June 16, 2016

The Columbia River Gorge Biennial Classic: That's what this weekend is all about...hiking over four days. I signed up for five 10k Volksmarches and one 5k Volksmarch for the weekend (starting Thursday).

Pertinent info on each walk so you can choose your
walk wisely for your level of fitness
All the walk routes are in the boxes in front
and the board behind them gives event info.
Thursday's weather forecast for the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon called for rain after 11:00 a.m. I hit the trail from Multnomah Falls to Wahkeena Falls at 8:40 a.m. under cloudy, threatening skies. The temperature was 49 degrees, perfect for a strenuous hike. 

Since this is a loop hike, we parked our cars at Wahkeena Falls which would be our finish spot. From Wahkeena Falls, we took the Return Trial to Multnomah Falls. 

No matter how many times I hike in the gorge, Multnomah Falls continues to impress with its spectacular grandeur. Multnomah is the highest waterfall (621') in Oregon.

Multnomah Falls
First stop (besides multiple rest stops) will be the viewing platform at the top of the waterfall, and then the walk continues higher and higher past other waterfalls, a spring, and then coming back down through Wahkeena Canyon, past Fairy and Wahkeena Falls. Elevation gain: 1,600'. 

After crossing the Benson Bridge (pictured above), the trail climbs up a series of 11 switchbacks and there is a sign at each one. Even though the morning was chilly, I soon had my coat and hat off because I was sweating at about switchback #4. And, yes, I was counting. 
The view of the Columbia River is awesome
Viewing platform at the top of Multnomah Falls
From here you can look down on the Columbia River,
I-84, the mountains in Washington state, and the parking lot.
Easy part of the trail...flat for a little bit
Middle Dutchmen Falls
Middle Dutchmen Falls
Dutchmen Tunnel - a natural rock overhang

All along the trail the sound of rushing water accompanies your footsteps. It is such a soothing sound. For a long time I was hiking by myself. I took my time and photographed as I went along. This is a strenuous hike, so it wasn't long before hikers starting passing me. 
Weisendanger Falls
Columbine
Weisendanger Falls from the top
Ecola Falls
Tiger lily flowers
Connector trail from Multnomah Falls to
Wahkeena Springs
Cool mossy trees look like they're dancing
From the main trail, we made a short detour to Wahkeena Springs. I had the place to myself. I found a comfortable rock to sit on with a second rock perfect for a footrest. I took off my coat and my hat and settled in to relax for a bit with my trail mix and to listen to the sound of the springs bursting forth from the earth. Five yards above Wahkeena Springs there's nothing but forest and all of a sudden, the water is gushing out from underground. Enough water to make Wahkeena Canyon, Fairy Falls and Wahkeena Falls. (You'll see those in a minute.)
Wahkeena Springs as seen from my
resting spot
Trail mix, footrest rock and hiking poles...
what more could a lady ask for?
Our Volksmarch turn-around sign
No sooner did I get comfortable on my rock, than it started raining; not just a little annoying mist, but full-blown rain. I stowed the trail mix, and put on the coat, hat and backpack. Then I made my way down the trail into Wahkeena Canyon. The canyon is only wide enough for the rushing water and a trail next to it. 

Wahkeena Canyon

Wahkeena Canyon
The trail went steeply down and down. I had glorious sounds, forest scents, and scenes each step of the way. Wait a few minutes and the rain is gone, replaced by a sunny day!

Fairy Falls
Never underestimate the power of water. These Douglas fir trees are 70-100' tall, yet look what the flowing water did; it undercut the roots and bye-bye tree.


What the trail looks like
Lemmons Viewpoint of the Columbia River
(notice how nice the weather is now?)
Upon rounding a corner and taking a few steps down, Wahkeena Falls comes into view. You'll get spray from this waterfall as you pass by.

This bridge is 1/2 mile from my car!
Wahkeena Falls from the parking lot.
Wow! When I returned to the parking lot it was filled to overflowing with people waiting for spots. I took my time and changed from my hiking boots into my Skecher Airs for walking and comfort.

I was really hungry after 6.2 miles of heavy-duty hiking. Back at the Port of Cascade Locks, the HQ for our Gorge Hiking Weekend, they offer a $3 lunch of a fresh-grilled hot dog, chips, Famous Amos Cookies and a drink. I got there as fast as I could.

As I was waiting in line for my lunch, I was right behind Carol and Dennis, the secretary and treasurer of the Menehune Marchers Volksmarch Club which I used to belong to when we lived in Hawaii. Small world! We had lunch together and they introduced me to other friends of theirs. Before I knew it, I had four new friends. They invited me to do the 10K Starvation Creek Falls walk after lunch. This walk was rated easy which was much needed after the morning hike.
Columbia River Gorge
I rode with Dennis and Carol to the walk start point. From where we parked the cars, it was a one-mile walk, on a mostly level, wide paved path, to Starvation Creek Falls. The sun was glistening on the falls and we were all in awe of how pretty it was.

Starvation Creek Falls
 Everyone photographing and appreciating Starvation Creek Falls.


Starvation Creek Falls
Columbia River Gorge
We then returned on the same trail and were heading into a campground. An official-looking gentleman pulled up in his truck, got out and said, "I have something for all of you." OK, bring it on. Turns out his name is Kevin Price and he's the Region Manager for Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. He gave each of us a commemorative pin of the Columbia Gorge State Parks with a picture of the Vista House on it. We were all delighted. Volksmarchers like to collect souvenir pins, in addition to the pins and badges we earn by walking.

Before he drove off, I told him he picked a good group to stop because we were from all over. Diana is from Canberra, Australia; Marietta is from Alabama; Dennis and Carol are from Hawaii and I'm from Texas. He was so happy.

Diana, Gary, me, Kevin, Dennis and Carol
Our group was so thrilled, that Dennis ran back to the car and got a little clip-on koala from Australia to give to him.
Kevin with his clip-on koala on his pocket
Diana, Marietta, Kevin, Dennis, Carol
We then walked through a campground to a very small waterfall which was another turn-around point. From there they had us walk through someone's camp site. We had to explain to the people that they would probably be having a number of people visit them throughout the weekend. They were good-humored about it. They said, "Do any of them cook and clean?"
Very small waterfall (more like rapids!)
Our next destination on the walk was Viento State Park Campground. We walked on the roads through the campground out to the Columbia River.

Columbia River looking west
and looking east
We saw this little rental trailer that they're touting
as a tiny home.
From the campground, we walked back to the car. Dennis and Carol dropped me off at my car and we all continued back to our respective lodgings for the night. Tomorrow morning we will all meet at the Falls Creek Falls trailhead.

On the way home, I ran into massive traffic jams, but still made it back to mom's at 5:32 p.m. I had told her I thought I'd be home at 5:30. Pretty darned close with all that traffic to contend with.

Mom and Jan had made baked potatoes which we cut up and served with chili. We also had a tomato and cucumber salad with Italian dressing. I was so full I couldn't eat it all so I saved some for lunch another day. And then they had raspberry shortcake for dessert. I had to wait a while before I could eat that. Instead of shortcake or a biscuit, they serve the berries on a heated blueberry-walnut muffin. Mmmmmmm! Thank you Mom and Jan for a delicious dinner.

Are you tired yet? I am, and this was only Day 1 of a four-day hiking weekend!

Tomorrow Falls Creek Falls and Fantail Falls. Must. Get. Sleep!