Sunday, July 14, 2013

Wide Open Spaces

It struck me yesterday, as I realized that once again I had planned too long a walk to possibly fit into one day, that the ultimate goal shouldn't necessarily be getting to the planned destination, but rather enjoying what there is to see along the way. Sauvie Island is a good example of a place where it's easy to forget about the finish line and just enjoy the journey. Yesterday morning found me yet again on Highway 30 on the way to Sauvie Island. This has become one of my favorite places to visit, even more so than the Columbia River Gorge, for one simple reason: wide open spaces. When I drove across the bridge, I immediately pulled out of the car to snap this picture of Mt. St. Helens. And guess what? There were no trees to dodge, no hills in the way, just farmland and a few trees to decorate the foreground.

After wending along past mown fields of alfalfa and farmhouses, I came to the first of many parking areas on this island that is a combination of nature reserves and farmland. I should have checked the handy dandy GPS to see how far it was to Warrior Rock and the lighthouse but figured it hadn't looked that far when I checked the map earlier and probably wasn't more than five or six miles to the trail head, add another six-mile round trip to see the lighthouse and it equaled a decent walk for the day. Except that, as usual, there was a slight miscalculation and after about four miles I checked and saw that it was going to be at least seven more miles to the trail head. Eighteen to twenty miles is one thing, thirty is a (very) far distant goal. At that point, I decided to look for a loop that would take me back another way so I could check out different scenery. The lighthouse will have to wait until another day. It probably isn't going anywhere any time soon. A dirt road curved off the main drag just past the beach parking area and took me off the beaten path into fields of yellow flowers (probably weeds, but they look good in pictures) and along a dirt trail that ran alongside one of the many lakes on the island. Here, except for the wind whistling past, it was quiet and easy to forget that there was a bustling city about 10 miles away.
The road made its way up a gentle rise until Mt. St. Helens was again on the horizon. That sight alone made the day worth it and it, and made me realize how blessed I am to be a desert rat in the northwest.