Sunday, December 11, 2011

A DECEMBER HIKE


So may I suggest the secret of Christmas
Is not the things you do at Christmas time
But the Christmas things you do all year through.
John McDermott

My nostalgic advent celebration keeps being interrupted by real life. I keep telling myself that it's good to have a real life.

Perhaps you know that Mike has trouble sitting still, so he thinks of together activities for us. But when December comes, I just think it all ought to be about the coming holiday – the music, the television programs, the reading material, the activity of preparation, etc. I know – that just isn’t realistic.

When Mike said he wanted to geocache on a hiking trail at Dworkshak Dam today, I admit I didn’t want to go. But I need to push myself to get out of the house and out of my very comfortable rut. You know what they say: standing is better than sitting and walking is best of all. So, I reluctantly agreed to go.
 
We set off from the head of the West Ridge Hiking Trail at 10:00 a.m. I was freezing and suggested this wasn’t the right day for such a hike, but Mike wanted to give it a try. That was the last time I thought about being cold. It was a good trail but rather steep – not dangerously so, just continually bearing upward, and I came to bless the fact that it wasn’t summer. I was indeed warm enough. And slow -- oh so slow. I vowed to myself that I would never burden my family by backpacking with them. I managed to sort of keep up by moving on up the trail while Mike recorded the caches. [Through the trees in the picture above you can see Orofino, the Riverside area.]

The geogaches along this trail, 18 in all from one end to the other, had been hidden by a cacher out of Orofino. Most of the caches were straightforward and easy to find. A couple were more challenging. We found them all. Only one other party had found them before us, but Mike was the first to find an off-trail cache. 

I had never hiked in this area before, but of course I know about the Dworkshak Construction Quarry. A perfectly good mountain was sacrificed in order to provide material for the earth-filled dam, and now this monument [left and above right] stands to tell the story. Back in the day, when work began on the dam in the mid ‘60s, locals were provided with small granite drill cores from this quarry (at least, I think they were from this quarry) made into paperweights. I still have one someplace.
 
We were warned of the dangers of not staying on the trail and told not to climb over the fence. We weren’t tempted.

And as we came over the mountain and down to the reservoir, we could see houseboats on the lake.
 
Neither one of us were interested in returning to the pick-up the way we came. We walked back on the roadway – downhill all the way – arriving back at the trail head at 1:30. Mike said round trip it was 3 ¼ miles. It was every bit of that.

Then – because I was so good as to do all that hiking, I insisted Mike take me shopping. That’s a joke. There is no shopping in Orofino, especially if you can shop someplace else. But we visited the King’s discount store, where we didn’t buy anything, and Harvest Foods, where we picked up some staples.

It was good to be home, to take care of our chores and sit by the fire. KW

5 comments:

Chris said...

You're such a good sport!

Is that Merry's Bay in the picture with the houseboats?

Kathy said...

Well,Chris,you're one person who knows that I am not defined by physical activity. Yes, the West Ridge Hiking Trail came out at Merry's Bay. Then we walked back through the parking lot and down the main road. No traffic. No interest in the area on a cold day.

Mike said...

Kathy forgot to mention that I did take her to a late lunch at Subway.

Hallie said...

18 caches??? Blech! It was good to get out--makes sitting by the fire that much more of a treat.

The stamps arrived today...now I need to get busy!

Kathy said...

Lunch at Subway -- a foregone conclusion. It was on the way to "shopping."

It was a lot of caches all right, but they weren't hard to find.