Sokei-an met an old man on the banks of the
Columbia growing potatoes & living all alone,
Sokei-an asked him the reason why he lived there
Boy, no one every asked me the reason why,
I like to be alone
I am an old man
I have forgotten how to speak human words.
-Gary Snyder, from Night Highway 99
rolling on the Columbia
After my down time in PDX I returned to the Historical Columbia River Highway and retraced the route I’d done just a few days ago. The initial segment was on Marine Drive which is right on the river and was a mix of paved trails and roads all the way to Troutdale. Then it was the HCRH the rest of the way in the bluffs above the river. It had been a cool and overcast morning but by noon it had cleared up which was quite the distinction from the ride in the pouring rain. It being Friday though also made a difference and the tourists were out in force. There was a backup at Multnomah Falls which I was able to wend my way through thanks to the bicycle. But the views from Vista House were longer than ever looking back toward Portland and fathead toward the layers of mountains.
Once I’m back on the main route I’ll be back into the hinterlands around Mt. Hood (and out of contact for a while I’d hazard) and it made since for me to camp west of the Cascade Locks. A shorter day to get back into the swing of things was certainly okay. I pulled into Ainsworth State Park around 3pm and it was already full. Happily the Hiker/Biker area was empty. Apart from having to share the field I camped on with the horsehoe pit and a ranger led ‘Disc Golf 101, for the kids it was ideal.
after the trains have passed
the cawing of a crow