Saturday, September 6, 2014

"This land was made for you and me."

We returned, just today, from three nights out on our first trip in Thistle. 

We were in the Mount Baker/Snoqualmie National Forest near Crystal Mountain/Mt. Rainier up highway 410, one of Washington's most glorious highways, where the trees bower over the road creating a magical dance of shadows and sun rays.  The understory full of treasurers enchanted me as always.  Naturally, Rainier stunned!  And, look at that blue, blue sky!

Majestic Mt. Rainier

Yessi the climber

Ed and I, with Benton's help, were the trail angels providing rides  for  Brad and Yessi high up into the mountains so they could hike down, recording trail miles and conditions for Green Trail Maps.  The views were superb, the gravel forest service roads full of switch backs, steep and rutted, were challenging.  We definitely tested Thistle's stuff.

As we drove Thistle into Dalles State Camp at 8:00 Tuesday night it was dark and raining, but there were Yessi and Brad, soaking wet, waving a welcome.  They had hiked all day in the rain and were more than anxious for dry and warm in Thistle, with the awning to stand under looking like heaven itself.  They'd waited dinner and were starving; wet from hanging out in the rain; cold from being soaked through and through; and gleeful to see us.

The next morning was a slow start. It was still raining and not only were Brad and Yessi  still trying to dry their gear they were killing time waiting for the sun, including walking the camp ground.  About noon here came the sun.  Benton, Brad and I did a short hike on trails around a landing strip while Ed and Yessi completed a much longer one along the White River.

A tree much too big to hug

White River hiking companions

The Second Day we delivered Brad, Yessi and Benton way up forest service road 72 dropping them in the middle of no where so they could descend 13 miles into the valley to our camp in Dalles. As they hiked, Ed and I explored more back roads in Thistle and then hiked a  trail of huge trees, moss, vine maples and lush understory at an Interpretive Center at Federation Park.

"Both light and shadow are the dance of Love."

Today, our last day before returning to Whidbey Island, we dropped Brad and Yessi up even higher, after traveling an even more rugged road, and drove away, leaving them to  hike a big loop that will take them three or four days, before returning to the motorbike which had been left at a  trail head, and returning home.      It is indeed a strange feeling to just drive away leaving behind Brad and Yessi up a little-used road in this remote forest.

Thistle had just delivered us to the top of the world over very rugged roads.

Ready to head out for a three or four day hike.
How Yessi and Brad travel

The bike waiting at the trail head for the return home.

On our way down off the mountain, after leaving off Yessi and Brad, we stopped a few times to let Thistle's brakes rest, although we saw no signs of overheating, nor did we smell  hot brakes.  On one of these rest stops we walked out onto a bluff and discovered, of all things, a large colony of Manzanita.

Manzanita in the foreground

Our camp at Dalles…

This log crossed the White River from our camp to an island in the river.

Benton tries a little cycling 

Who knows what these two are doing…Benton is certainly curious

The galley in Thistle served us well as we provided trail angel meals for Yessi and Brad.  We prepared and gobbled down stir fry;  pork chops with salad; spaghetti; and huge breakfasts, including biscuits from our new stove top oven.  We even put our Vitamix to work making smoothies.

Tossing the microwave and adding the Vitamix to Thistle's galley was brilliant!!

Ed and I shunpiked our way home to Whidbey Island.


"This land is your land, this land is my land, from California to the New York Island.  From the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters this land was made for you and me."
~ Woody Guthrie

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