Like one of those pictures from the early 20th century (Roosevelt at Tahawus etc), except with a pair of Indigos, synthetic fabrics, and the tall trees are layin' down.
Latest installment in the Traveblogue:
It was a fine day to load up a few of the kids -- the two that have not come down with a summer cold -- and head into what has been to me a mysterious low green part of the Cascades, down a certain tributary of the Willamette which has lately scored a reputation as a place overrun by legions of drunken rafters from Portland, but which quickly turns into a pristine valley and runs for dozens of boatable miles before it finally vanishes into a cockpit country of hills that is not completely unlike interior Idaho -- the Clackamas River.
Sounds like an STD, Tiia-Triin said, breaking the vibe and the rhetorical flow of that last sentence -- but she was right. And I should add that you have to drive past Boring to get there. That's Oregon place names for ya. But it really is a beautiful river.
The destination today: Bagby Hot Springs, a rare thing -- uncommercial and developed natural geotherms. At 78 miles south of our current home base in Vancouver, WA, we completely flouted the Sierra Club's recommendations on driving distances for daytrips. So did about 15 other people. But this is light usage, especially for a dazzlingly beautiful Monday. After a few wrong turns when we quit the Clackamas proper, we arrived around noon.
The 1.4 mile hike is worth it just for the old-growth Douglas fir and the swimming holes. We proceeded silently. Amiilia age 6 was Sacagawea/Pocahontas, Tiia-Triin the medicine woman, Morgan the chief, I was the other chief, the outgoing one, and I don't mean as in gregarious.
Amiilia wanted to play the Hunted, with the white man somewhere up in the higher reaches, trying in vain to stalk us lightfoots. But instead of persecution sagas, it was more like playing garbageman to the white man who leaves his microbrew bottles everywhere, even on a shell fungus sticking out from a tree like a coaster.
The springs are well-kept. Even some of the best hot springs have scum, odor, seediness issues, it's inevitable -- but these were immaculate yet rustic. There are private soaking tubs dug out of fir trunks, complete with drain hole and inflow stoppers. The water comes out at a toasty 136 degrees F. and has to be cooled with buckets from the cistern. Morgan took a bath and he also enjoyed playing in a 6ft diameter trunk hollowed out for a good 40 ft toward the crown.