Viewing entries tagged
Oregon Trail

I Found My Thrill On Cabbage Hill

I Found My Thrill On Cabbage Hill

It has taken two years, two trucks, and about ten trips back and forth to Oregon to finally see Cabbage Hill in the daylight. Every time prior to that when we've gone over Cabbage it was dark. I'm wondering if that was preferable.

Mountain Snow, Deer, and Anxiety

Last week while night driving through the western part of Idaho there was a range of mountains ahead of us that was covered in snow.  It was later in the afternoon, closer to early evening.  The sun hadn't quite set yet, so the sky had that bluish haze of dusk that makes things seem magical and surreal.  While my picture doesn't do justice to the actual site I saw ahead of me, hopefully you can get a little bit of an idea.  We have all heard about mountains being blanketed in snow.  Indeed these appeared that way, blanketed in a shimmery layer of whitish/bluish satin.

Of course cooler weather and snow at these elevations brings creatures of all sorts down from the mountain tops.  This created an up-close encounter that was slightly less exhilarating than the Bald Eagles from the other day.  Rounding a curve there straddling the center line was a mule deer.

A giant female mule deer.

The top of her head must have come at least as high as the hood of our big truck.  There was no where to go, and she was in no hurry to go anywhere.  Thank goodness he was driving because my brain froze.  The only thing I could do was put my feet on the dash (don't laugh) and say “Baby! Baby! Baby! Baby!” over and over again like a record with a scratch stuck in repeat.  With his many years experience of driving his reaction was much calmer and productive.  Thankfully, he was able to slow enough to give the mammoth doe time to make up her mind that yes, she did want to get out of the road.  I watched as she casually trotted off to the snowy grass on the other side and he went around her.

Heart pounding, stomach churning, I spent the rest of the night curled up in the sleeper.  I will never forget that deer, her eyes, her size, and the fear of hitting her or sliding off the side of the mountain.  Thankfully, I will also never forget the beauty seen just a little while before of the satiny mountaintops.  And I am so very thankful for his calm handling of our fully-loaded, nearly 80,000lb truck in that sticky situation.

If anyone ever thinks driving a big truck is a skill-less trade that anyone can do better think again!  It takes a calm mind, quick thinking, rational though, quick and steady reflexes. And lots of road, equipment, land, and animal knowledge to successfully survive out here across America's highways.


Daily View: The Oregon Trail

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Early morning fog along the Columbia River Gorge.
I am not a morning person, not by a long shot.  But on this particular morning the view outside our truck windows was well worth the waking up for.  Coffee in hand I climbed into the front seat early (for me) as we started our trek across Oregon.  We were on I-84 across the top of Oregon which follows the Colombia River and Gorge area – The Oregon Trail.

To the left of us was thousands of acres of mountains and evergreen trees rising high into the sky.  To the right was the Columbia river in all its glory.  There were rock cliffs, deep water, white water rapids, and old trails.  The far side of the river was the state of Washington, mountains and hills rising and falling to meet the water.  Some peaks snow-capped, others rocky, and still others covered in thick evergreen forests.

Washington State side of the Columbia River.
Around each bend there was another view that made me gasp in wonder and point, “See that baby!?”  Unbelievably lush green and thriving vegetation, especially for this time of the year.  Ancient railroad tracks still in use.  Rocky gorges and waterfalls.  And OH the waterfalls!  Pure and clean mountain water escaping from the mountain tops, some in little trickles, a few in massive gushing cascades.

Then, rounding a bend, right there in a tree on the side of the road sat the most majestic creature alive, the Bald Eagle.  It was so close I could almost reach out and touch it!  I nearly came out of my seat in excitement.  I've seen a few of these beautiful birds from a distance as they were flying high in search of prey, but never one so close and sitting still.  When I say these birds are beyond description, I mean it.  No words or pictures can do them justice.  They are huge, powerful, regal, and just.... wow!  But my excitement didn't end there, a few miles up, on the same side of the road, my side, the passenger side, was yet ANOTHER Bald Eagle perched on a tree branch, not even 20 yards from my window.  If I never see another one of these birds again in my lifetime, I will never forget their strength and beauty, those eyes ever watchful as they sit above the world keeping eye on all that is below.  I finally understand why this bird represents our nation.

Grassy cliff along the Columbia River
where we went "hiking".
Finding a rest area along the river, he stopped so we could stretch our legs.  And stretch them we did!  A  trail near the back led to some rocky cliffs, then down to the river.  What morning isn't complete without a little trail hiking and mountain climbing?  The cool crisp air filled our lungs and the landscape dazzled our eyes.  We spent about an hour hiking, not long, but long enough to get a little exercise and fresh air.  And definitely long enough to create a morning to remember for a lifetime in my mind.

There were many of these little island
in the river. The native indians used
them as burial grounds and were
called "memaloose", literally
'Island of the Dead'.