11 September 2008

Down the mountain

I think I wrote earlier that free time for us “scholars” is in short supply. My low light photographic efforts in the lodge were cut short after lunch for a field trip to the Wildwood Recreation Site. Wildwood is a forest park in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains along the Salmon River. Our route from the lodge and down the mountain took us along US 26 through Government Camp, Zig Zag, around Laurel Mountain where wagons during the settlement of the west were lowered by ropes down the 60% grade -- with a lower percentage of success than that of the grade, I might add, past a replica of a toll gate on the less-than-successful Barlow Trail. Why less-than-successful you ask? By the time people reached mid-Oregon on their westward journey there wasn't any money to pay the toll.

Tal and I explored a little bit of two easy trails, but our attention was on the Salmon River which begins in the Palmer Snowfield behind and above Timberline Lodge and ends 33 miles later when it joins the Sandy River itself. It’s the only waterway in the lower 48 states where its free-flowing nature and resource values are protected for the entire length of the river. None of my photographs of the river itself warrant space here, but I really like this one of hinting of the impending arrival of autumn.

While the recreation area celebrates the flora and the fauna of the area, given the name of the river, salmon holds a special place. Near the shelter which serves as a welcome and information center and at the junction of the two main trails is a dramatic, low-to-the-ground stainless steel sculpture which I found very appealing.

Shame on me for not thinking to make an image of the plague giving the artist's name so I could give proper credit.

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