The edge of the wilderness...

Geocaching brought us back to Oregon. We're in search of the oldest caches that still remain, and since geocaching started in the Pacific Northwest, some of the oldest are here. Today we're hiking about ten miles to get two of them: numbers 12 and 16, placed back in early 2000 in the mountains west of Mount Hood. We've poured over topo maps to try and get a sense of the terrain, and read the accounts of those who've gone before us, and we think we're ready.

  The original log book in the 12th geocache ever placed

What those accounts didn't say, and which prove the old adage about pictures and words, is how beautiful the hike was. I expected a faint trail through a clear cut, in the hot sun. But once we made it over the roller-coaster terrain of an old road to a rock quarry and onto the official trail, we found a spectacular trail through the forest.

We started out on a stretch of the Douglas trail, through deep woods at first, then along a vast river valley. The native rhododendrons, which had already finishing blooming in the lowlands, were in full bloom.

We climbed steadily up along the knife edge of a ridge until we reached a junction. Straight ahead would take us into the Salmon Huckleberry Wilderness, but our path led us to the left, onto the McCarthy Ridge trail, with stunning views of Mount Hood.

Our cache was near a bench on a wide saddle carpeted with wildflowers, with the mountain in the background.

We stayed a while to enjoy the view and take pictures, and I wished we could keep on walking down this trail, to see where it went, and what other spectacular views we'd find. But we didn't have time today. Maybe one day, we'll come back with packs and spend a few days here.

1 comment:

  1. I've hiked this trail many times - fun to see it through another's eyes. Didn't realize there were geocaches here. Too bad I didn't know you were in my home turf - we could've met and gone hiking together! Oh well, another time maybe. (And by the way, it's McIntyre Ridge, not McCarthy)


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