Hot on the Lewis and Clark Trail

Yesterday we decided that we needed to take a hike…literally.  So off we went, parked the car at a trailhead and bounced down the trail which wasn’t anything special.  However, we were using our legs and so we followed our noses which lead us to a big field with giant utility poles that marched across the landscape like aliens.  We then entered a trail that became “treed”…that is we found ourselves amongst trees and were warned to stay on the path because the state was trying to re-tree the area.  Seems there was a dam that had been removed (there is quite a lot of that happening, I’ve heard).  And so the area affected was being “revegetated”.  And that is a great idea, I suppose.

So, as we marched along, the trail became narrow and then narrower still until we finally came upon a “bridge” that took us to a round structure.  On each of the individual boards, there were names of species inscribed in the wood.  With dates.  And when we looked at the data, it was discovered that the species were ones that Lewis described and listed in his journal.  Therefore, Lewis and Clark had actually been at that spot on the edge of the Sandy River.  They named the Sandy River the Quicksand River but that name did not endure because Lewis dragged his feet in securing an editor and Jefferson had many of Lewis’s specimens and papers sent by boat  across the Chesapeake and the darn boat ran aground and all the Lewis treasures were lost.  Ironic that he, Lewis, could get the specimens and journals back to Jefferson from the west coast, but they could not make it across a bay.  Are you kidding me?


The reason I am such a font of knowledge is because I read the book “Undaunted Courage”.  By Stephen Ambrose.  A must-read if you have any interest in the first trip by Americans from the East to the West coast.  It was quite the trip.  In this day and age when we hardly leave the house without a GPS, this group of men and Sacagewea (the only woman, the only Indian on the trip who joined the Voyage of Discovery ((when she was pregnant)) and she was with her husband, a french fellow who was needed for his experience in that neck of the woods and it turns out she was needed because she could speak the language of her tribe and she gave birth on that trip and made it all the way and back with her son) canoed, portaged and walked, rode horses in an effort to find out if there was a transcontinental waterway.  And this was done in the first decade of the 1800s.  It took about 3 1/2 years.  They stood where we stood in 1805.  Yikes.  Sends shivers down the spine.

So that hike was a winner.  We just fell into it.  

And let me tell you about Beau.  He ran headlong into a goldendoodle.  She was lovely.  And her mistress was a young woman who ran like the wind.  So we followed them down to the shore of the Sandy River.  OMG.  Beau and Goldie (just made that name and the sex up), frolicked in the muddy river.  There were sandy stretches between shallow water and they had quite a time.  So, an historic hike.


View from the trail to the top.

Now today, we decided to bike ride.  However, we overslept and so decided perhaps a hike would be better followed by a Voodoo Donut.  So, I found a hike and judging from the picture in the book, it looked to be right on Highway 84.  Only it wasn’t.  Rayman was riding shotgun and he couldn’t find it on his phone or ipad.  So, we finally got off the freeway and I looked it up.  Yep.  We overshot the Horsetail Falls by about 15 miles.  And then on our way back, we stopped at a day use area and the woman told us to go east on 84 and get off at exit 28.  Finally, we found the falls along with about 500,000 other day trippers that were cruising the road looking for a parking spot.  Really, people.  What were we thinking?  It was Saturday and every woman without a tan was spotted walking to the trail we planned to climb.  I have never seen so many white, white legs.  These people do not get out much.  In the sunlight.

Horsetail Falls...the lower one.

Horsetail Falls…the lower one.

But I digress.

The hike was described in the brochure as an easy hike.  My ass.  At least at the beginning.  We rose from the road to the top of the fall on a series to switchbacks that were steeper than a staircase.  We got to the top and reached the Upper Horsetail Fall.  Very pretty.  Except for the part of the trail where someone had just barfed.  

As Yogi Berra said, “If you find a fork in the road, take it.”  So, we could have returned from whence we came but decided to keep hiking.  We went up.  We went down.  We went round and round.  Rayman almost slipped off the side of the mountain twice.  Really.  It is quite remarkable that the state of OR has not installed railings.  There were some places that dropped off…immediately.  We came upon a marker memorializing a 14 year old boy that had died when he fell over the cliff.  The same cliff we were on.  Holy mackerel.  I’m serious about this.  Install some railings.  

Anyway, we kept passing people and it made us nervous when we were on the outside cliff side.  All they had to do was push suddenly and we’d be personas non gratas.  So, at one point when I thought I was about at the end of my rope with all this huffing and puffing, a couple came by and I asked them, “Do you know where we are going?”  They took the time to tell us that we were headed in the right direction.  So, I said, “We’ve been up here for 3 days and haven’t been able to get off the mountain.”  Of course, this was in jest.  The man got a startled look on his face.  I got him!!  So then I had to tell him I as kidding.  He looked annoyingly relieved.  We laughed once out of earshot.


Picture of the Upper Horsetail Fall.  See all those little people?  Quite fun.  A projectile fall.

Once we did get off the mountain, we headed back to TDH because I had to change my pants because I sat on a stump and got more pine pitch on my pants.  Second pair.  First pair ruined.  This pair probably ruined.  We then headed out to downtown Portland for a donut from Voodoo Doughnuts.  World famous.  Their donuts are fabulous and names even better.  Balls and Cock was the name of one donut.  No, I am not making this up.  I report.  You decide.  I ordered a bacon maple bar.  Yes.  A maple bar with two strips of bacon on top.  Come on.  I earned it.  Rayman whoosied out and got some mamby pamby lemon concoction.  It was good but not as decedent as mine!!  Then we went to Chicos and I bought two items to replace my pine pitched items.  Then we got lost looking for Whole Foods downtown and almost ended up at the Portland Zoo.  And then we retraced our steps and found the Whole Foods, purchased stuff for dinner and returned to TDH.


One tier of the donut display.

One tier of the donut display.


The bacon maple bar!!

Quite a day, overall.  Glad to be alive.  Really.  We could have died up there!!  Perhaps our hike was taken by Lewis and Clark too.  Except there were no paths except for what the Nez Perce Indians would have established.  I don’t know.  Stranger things have happened.  One thing is for certain.  Lewis and Clark would not have encountered people on the trail and asked them if they, the people, knew where they were going.

1 comment

add comment

Leave Comment