Exploring Nature One Step At A Time

Archive for January 21, 2010

Goat Rock, Brother Jim and The Jacksons

It was a glorious 7 mile, 4 1/2 hour hike on many trails I had never before traversed.  I met new people, climbed a rock and watched eagles soar over mountains.  Took so many photos my batteries died LOL.  Saw a ridge top like the one Jesse Colin Young sings about and I would love to live on it with my Fiance’ Rick.  A day like no other, how all should be experienced.

Hiked up to the Pagoda below the Hot Springs Mountain Tower and waited for birds.  It was eerie, no birds and so quiet.  A car pulled up and a lovely couple Peggy and Jerry Jackson from Byron, Illinois asked me if I thought they should go up in the tower.  I smiled and said “absolutely”.  They also needed directions to Bill Clinton’s boyhood home, I told them it was the one with all the signs saying “Go Away” on the lawn and then imparted a few tips about other places to see.  I snapped a photo for them in from of the Pagoda and asked if I could take one for my blog.  They were thrilled and asked another couple to take a photo of the three of us. I gave them the URL for my blog so they could check it out when they got home.

I decided to continued on the Hot Springs Mountain Trail and looked up to see several large birds fly over. I figured they would do a fly by after I had left the prime viewing spot at the Pagoda. It explained why all the small birds had suddenly vanished.

Along the trail I met a gentle soul of 70 years who called himself Brother Jim.  He was hiking while waiting for a mechanic to finish his work. He had moved here to live on one of the nearby mountains several decades ago after he and his wife tired of being University professors.  He explained she had died recently and this is where she used to hike everyday. I told him I was thinking about going to Goat Rock and he told me if he didn’t have to see the mechanic he would have like to have gone as well.  I gave him a big hug before we departed company.

I felt a bit like Dorothy in the Wizard of OZ being told to follow the yellow brick road. I headed on down the trail to catch the Gulpha to Goat Rock.

The Goat Rock Trail reminded me of Central Oregon forests, big pines and lots of rocks.  It was song filled stroll as bird calls rang out.  Not fast enough with my camera a Large black and white red crested woodpecker soared past, it was a beautiful site as wove in and out of the trees.  I have a confession I Love chipmunks (squirrels too), but they are so fast and rarely pause in the open.  You can’t blame them especially in the winter with no cover and a constant stream of big birds flying over.  Today I was fast enough on the two occasions, when I saw them in the open.

Goat Rock is a wonderful look out no matter what the season.  You climb two flights of stone steps to a wonderful viewing platform for a spectacular view of the surrounding mountains.  It is well worth the hike and I know I will be back often to watch as the seasons change.

I continued on Goat Rock Trail until I reached the end, at the top of the mountain and took the side trail to the North Mountain Lookout. The view was breathtaking and I stood mesmerized as in the distance eagles soared on the updraft between hills and mountains.  A car pulled up and the driver sat eating lunch.  It was the perfect place to be if you wanted to forget about work for and hour. This too is a plae I will return to often.

I left the lookout and continued my adventure on another new trail, the Upper Dogwood.  It gently slopes downward winding through a variety trees, including baby pines sprouting on the trail sides  I was struck by the sudden temperature drop as I went from the heat of the Goat Rock Trail to the breezy cool Upper Dogwood.

During my hike on the Goat Rock trail I notice fast moving insects springing up from the path as I was hiking. Near the end of the trail I tracked one to a tree and took several photos.  It was not until I returned home that I saw they were winged wood like grasshoppers.  I heard a noise behind me and saw a cluster of leaves moving in the breeze so I took a photo.  When I looked closer at the image I realized there was a tiny olive colored bird a Pine Siskin I think in the cluster of dead leave. Never forget to take random photos, you might be surprised what you will find.

I looked at my watch and noticed I had been gone nearly 4 hours and I had better move along.  It has been another wonderful day on the mountain.

Love, Lee


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