Washington--Up Around Mt. Hood

Mt. Hood overlooks the greater Portland-Vancouver area, keeping watch with Mt. Adams and Mt. St. Helens.  Growing up in the shadow of this beauty was absolutely a treat, and exploring it as an adult is even more fun!  We loaded up my parents Suburban with a cooler, people (Mom, Dad, Kael, Deena, kids, myself) and the corresponding dogs and set off for a day of adventure.

We headed east to Hood River and then up towards Mt. Hood.  It was a beautiful day!  We stopped at the Hood River Waterfront Park to use the facilities, fill up the gas tank, stretch our legs, and let the kids get close to the windsurfing action.  The wind was making the windsurfers and kite boarders happy and it is always cool to see how big that gear is up close!  I am always also struck by how far people come to hit the water in the Gorge.  We saw plates from New Jersey!  Just out of Hood River we stopped at a fruit stand to look at the price of cherries.  Fruit stands used to be a guaranteed good deal, but now they're popular (especially if you throw in a few antiques!) and you have to be on the lookout for a good deal.  No such deal presented itself, so we contented ourselves with our cherries from Safeway.

Our first stop was the Still Creek Campground looking for the Barlow Road.  This looks like a great campground (way off the road, private spots), but the draw for us was the trail.  We ate in the picnic area and after some exploring and chatting with others, discovered that we were literally steps from where we wanted to be!  A group of us took off to walk this section of the historic Barlow Road.

Just in case you didn't grow up playing the Oregon Trail by inserting a 5.5 inch floppy disc into an Apple IIGS and ending up Oregon Trail obsessed for the rest of your life, I should tell you that the Barlow Trail was one of the forks in the trail available to pioneers once they reached the Columbia River.  It provided an option to avoid the rapids of the Columbia, although the road wasn't a much better option.  It was still rough and dangerous, the danger was just different.  The Barlow Road was a toll road.  The toll in 1846 was $5 for wagons and $.10 per head of livestock.  $5 in 1846 is approximately $150 in today's dollars.  I honestly have no idea how anyone had money by the end of the treacherous journey, but they somehow scraped it together and the Barlow Trail was in operation until 1918 when it was turned over to the state.  It was so cool to walk in the footsteps of Oregon Trail pioneers and try to imagine what it would have been like.  At one point I recieved a phone call and it made me think--if someone had told pioneers that 170 years later people would walk the same route for fun and talk on the phone, would they even have been able to imagine it?  The pace of change then was so much slower than now.  We're all used to our computers and phones being outdated as soon as we purchase them, but they were living life much as it had been lived 150 years before them.

Anyway.  Back to the adventure!

From the campground we hopped back in the car and headed to the Catalpa Lake Trail.  This was such a great hike!  It was short, beautiful and the lake at the end...so picturesque!

My folks had been here before, so suggested we pack swimsuits and towels for the girls.  I was glad we had!

Hiking to a hidden lake and having it all to yourselves?  Fantastic!  I propped my camera up on a log and captured a fairly decent shot of us as well!

From the lake, we also hit another part of the Barlow Road for a walk before heading home.  The kids were in search of "a tree that was here when the people on the Oregon Trail were" and were ASTOUNDED when my dad told them many of the trees were that old, some probably 400 years old.

We can't always put history in our kids' hands, but when we can it is such a gift!  Adventure on!