Return from Mojave, Day 6

Seattle, WA to Ochoco National Forest, OR

Start: 88087 miles

Act I

Wind RIPS down the Columbia Gorge
The Green water dances, leaps
Smashing into the rocks
Spraying into the air
Sound fills space
Splash whoosh
Trees get horizontal
Windsurfers get vertical
Water explores all space that it can
This is power and force
Contained within this rocky gorge

Act II

Today was somewhat anticlimactic, but very good nonetheless. Much more driving than anticipated, perhaps because I subconsciously don't want to put up my tent in the light.

Yesterday was a subtly good day, and was designed almost as a scouting mission for today. On the way up I-5 to Seattle from Portland, I detoured to the east to visit Mt. St. Helens. It was a superb day to visit, with sunny skies and warm weather, much unlike what I expected form the northwest coast.

The features of the volcano, still active, were strikingly pretty. The remainder of the mountain sits high sbove the surrounding area, its open face where the eruption occurred pointed in the direction of the approaching road. The snow pack within the caldera would periodically cause small plumes of steam, enough to stir an overactive imagination. The landscape below the snowline was straight from another planet. The grey surface pitted and sliced by tributaries, the lack of vegetation quite prominent.

The timing of yesterday's visit would be key, becuase the cloud level today was at 3800 ft, almost 6000 feet below the top of the peak and below the trail I had picked out. This was the weather I had expected.

The evening yesterday was spent with SEDS friends from the University of Washington in Seattle. The world's fanciest ramen and Star Wars with a girl on each side. Fantastic.

Back to the present -- mostly driving today, including the misspent three hours traveling to the Johnston Ridge visitor center at Mt. St. Helens. But, the drive after this snafu was well worth the trouble. Passing near the crossing to Portland, I traveled east on WA-14 through the Columbia River Gorge instead. The weather in this gorge was quite windy, a trait which attracted many windsurfers. A number of miles later, I crossed the river at the Mt. Hood River Bridge into Oregon. True to its name, the bridge and OR-35 led into Mt. Hood National Forest and past the base of Mt. Hood.

From here the landscape changed primarily to grassland near Machas and back to evergreen forest past Prineville and into camp at Ochoco National Forest.

Expenses

Gas: Shell, Olympia, WA
$23.13, $2.319/gal, 9.975 gal
314.2/88148 miles, 31.50 mpg

Gas, Mobil, Vancouver, WA
$14.96, $2.379/gal, 6.289 gal
200.9/88349 miles, 31.94 mpg
Coffee, $1.07

Campsite, Deep Creek, Ochoco National Forest, $8.00

Bridge Toll, Columbia River, $0.75

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