2021 ~ Adventures with The LovedOne

Well, 2021 started out bleak, then got happier, then got sad again. This was thanks to the two V’s – variants and vaccinations. Too much of one, not enough of the other. But we survived (yet again), with The LovedOne remaining as elusively photogenic as ever. But, thanks to being vaccinated, we were able to have a few big adventures without expiring.


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Boccard~Soda Loop (Soda Mountain Wilderness) 03-Dec-2021

After two days of heavy lifting and organizing, a swarm of volunteers (me included) got the library’s long-delayed used book sale ready to go. It’s not technically a sale, as the books are free, but donations are readily accepted. The LovedOne spent today there with other volunteers, running around keeping the cellulose moving out the door. Seems there was a pent-up demand for books (Why would that be?) and donations on this first day were particularly generous. 😁 The sale continues tomorrow and hopefully so will the donations – which are used to fund some of the library’s reading and outreach projects.

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Mystic Lake (Mountain Lakes Wilderness) 19-Oct-2021

Last September, Lee Juillerat wrote a piece for our local paper, the Mail Tribune, reminiscing about a trip he’d made to Mystic Lake, which sits at 7,200 feet (2,195 m) in the nearby Mountain Lakes Wilderness. I had passed near this little lake when I did the Mountain Lakes Loop in 2015 but didn’t have time to divert then for a visit. So I put Mystic on the seemingly bottomless hikes to do list, intending it for a late summer hike. Then heat, smoke, other hikes, other adventures, and personal business intervened and voilà it was mid-October. And La Niña was back – bringing with it rain and the first snows of winter. Was it now too late to reach Mystic without snowshoes?

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To the Devil (Sky Lakes Wilderness) 06-Oct-2021

Devils Peak (7,582 ft / 2,311 m) sits on the divide between the Seven Lakes and Sky Lakes Basins in the Sky Lakes Wilderness. It’s not the highest point in the wilderness but from its summit you have an expansive 360° view, plus a unique view north toward the Crater Lake Rim. Four years had passed since our last visit and it was certainly time for another. An attempt this August was foiled by choking clouds of wildfire smoke. 😥 But it’s rained a few times since, the fires are out, and the air is now clear. Another wet cold front went through last night, further clearing the air and dropping temperatures (and a tiny bit of snow); it was time for another go at Devils. 🙂

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Mark O. Hatfield Trail ~ Oregon (June 2010)

The Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness covers some 65,436 acres (26,481 ha) along the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge. It hosts numerous named and numbered hiking trails (including a piece of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT)). Linking these various extant trails into a continuous west-east (or east-west) route may have occurred to someone in days past. But my first awareness of such a possibility came in 2009 when Beer Town Bill explained how he’d backpacked through the wilderness from Starvation Creek to Multnomah Falls. The next year, Tom Kloster floated a proposal to formalize a similar route – to be called the Mark O. Hatfield Trail.

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