Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Rogue River Trail

I was sort of playing hooky from work (although it's not really playing hooky if you have permission from your employer) and joined friends John, Jennifer, Lindsay, and Penny on a mid-week hike. This was the day after the 2018 mid-term elections and already the sonic space that had previously been filled up with toxic political ads was blissfully quiet. Given our politics these days, the reflexive cacophony will soon resume, the relative silence being fleeting and ephemeral. Just a thought: Let's suppose I am going to vote for Candidate A. At the halftime break of a Portland Timber's game, while I'm assembling a taco in the kitchen, a commercial runs and the narrator says with snark and condescension dripping off of every hanging syllable, "Candidate A: Bad for you, bad for America". Am I supposed to think to myself "Wow, I had no idea Candidate A was bad for me, thanks for letting me know!. And bad for America too? Why, I'd be unpatriotic if I voted for him or her so I'm switching to Candidate B!" Does that ever really happen? And what happens to my vote when next I see an anti-Candidate B ad? Yeesh, my mind yearns for more intelligent discussion and a world with no election ads of any sort.

A photographic metaphor for elections
Speaking of more intelligence, we were out hiking on the Rogue River Trail. The trail showed signs of recent use but not by people avoiding election commercials. Nope, the frequent piles of dark black/purple poop evidenced fitness-oriented bears also enjoy hiking on the cliffs above the Rogue River. Or maybe they were expressing in their own bear way, their opinion of all the "Vote for Smokey" ads. Not that I am a poop connoisseur or poopologist, but many of the piles were seemingly just a few minutes old and answered the age old question "Do bears poop in the woods?", the answer being "No, but they do poop on the trail!" At any rate, I'm glad to report that no live bears were encountered by live hikers on this hike. I daresay there'd be a few more piles of poop on the path if that were that to happen.

The mountains were mist-covered
before the morning burn-off
It was a chill morning but the day was mostly sunny. The tall peaks surrounding the river all had their noses up in the clouds but after a mile or so of hiking, the clouds had burned off. The river was running a dark green but still had a little silt due to the rains from the week prior. The air had that pre-winter snap to it and we all hiked in jackets, despite the sun.

A weak sun filters through the trees
I tend to hike this trail in the early spring so it was a little surprising to see the small tributary creeks either dried up or just barely trickling, Sunlight trickled through the maze of tree leaves and branches arching over the trail, illuminating some of the autumnal-colored leaves and warming the hearts of hikers, if not their actual bodies.

The iPads of yore

We hiked as far as the historic Whiskey Creek Cabin where we took in the artifacts and rusting mining equipment surrounding the rustic abode. After the cursory visit to the backwoods museum, we plopped down in cool sand by the river at Whiskey Creek Camp. Jennifer, John, Lindsay, and I had all previously hiked full 40 mile length of the Rogue River Trail, and we regaled Penny with tales of our respective ventures, some of which were surely embellished.

Madrones, with some winter fur
Penny and I were both taking photographs and we soon lagged behind the front three of our small group. But hey. the river was ensconced deep in it's canyon with tranquil pools that reflected nicely in the shade, and each pool just had to be photographed. The big-leaf maples still had yellow leaves hanging off their limbs, further adding to our lagging behind.

Candidates A and B
After taking photos of everything we could think of, which included bear poop, we eventually arrived at the trailhead and our patiently waiting comrades, It had been a pleasant day and we all averred we had enjoyed the chilly weather, if only for the rare sunlight between rainy days. As we left the parking area, we spotted some goat creatures that for some reason, reminded me of Candidate B.  At least the they didn't bleat "Vote for me-e-e-e-...!"

I'm likin' the lichen
For more pictures of this hike, please visit the Flickr album.

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