I've driven a lot of miles down Highway 35. This road takes travelers from the Columbia River Gorge, up over the east shoulder of Mt. Hood, until finally connecting with US Highway 26 near Government Camp. It forms the backbone to access the many great recreational activities on Hood's eastern side. It's my "go-to" route for outdoor adventure.
|A lone leaf|
In the winter and spring, I follow this road's often snow-covered path to skiing bliss at Mt. Hood Meadows. Summer months, the blacktop guides me to a multitude of great hiking trails. But during the fall, trees along this road erupt into a wonderful riot of fall color.
|Fallen leaves litter the trail|
The Hood River parallels Highway 35's twisting path. A jaw-dropping beautiful water body in any season, fall is by far the best. After driving 35 on the way to some recent hikes, I made a mental note to return with the sole purpose of photographing the splendid autumn color show along this river.
|But they made some great patterns|
The last weekend of October, I finally got my chance. But - the forecast called for rain. No matter - I drove east anyway, hoping the showers would stick around Portland. At first, things looked promising. I parked at the Dog River Trailhead, with the intent of following this trail. Having never hiked here before, it appeared this path would provide access to Hood River.
|Not many leaves left on the trees|
Starting out from the parking area, things looked promising. A small creek (Dog River, I presumed) was gushing nearby. A thick carpet of fallen leaves covered the trail. Some orange and yellow colored foliage still clung to a few tree branches. But I soon discovered the fall colors were now past their peak, and most of the leaves were either on the ground, or an ugly, dry brown. Oh well, maybe there was still some nice color along the river.
|Scenic Dog River|
I'd only traveled a quarter mile when the trail began switchbacking uphill, away from all water sources. This wasn't what I wanted! So, I turned around and headed back. Peering through the trees, I could see the creek a short distance away. That's what I wanted to photograph. But how to get there?
|Leaves caught in the current|
I spied a clearing through the woods. Stepping off the trail, I made the decision to do a little bushwhacking. The creek didn't look very far - I knew I wouldn't get lost. I crashed through the bushes, stepping around fallen logs and through a few spiderwebs (Eeeewwwww!!!!) But my persistence paid off - in no time at all I had reached the leaf-covered bank of a very beautiful creek.
|A leaf-littered bank|
I'd found my scenic river shot. Although not the Hood River, this creek was a mighty close second.
After a lengthy photo session, I packed up and headed back to my car. Timing is everything - I'd no sooner unlocked the door, when the skies began to shed raindrops.
|Mother nature's canvas|
Where to go now? It was still early afternoon, and I wasn't ready to call it day. I drove to nearby Tamanawas Falls, thinking that would be a nice quick hike. But as I pulled into the parking area, the intermittent showers turned into a full-on downpour.
|More on the ground than on the trees|
Although I've been known to hike in the rain, my heart wasn't in it that day. So I turned my car around, heading for home. As my vehicle swung around the bends of Hwy 35, the Hood River came into view, and with it the lovely golden trees lining its banks. I needed to photograph this!
|Gorgeous golden colors line the Hood River|
Luckily, there's a few auto pullouts spaced along this road. Spotting one ahead, I parked and unloaded camera and tripod. I also discovered an old umbrella behind the front seat. As the rain was still coming down, it was a lucky find.
I set up my camera and tripod in the pouring rain. Balancing my umbrella in one hand over top of everything, I worked the shutter and controls with the other. I'm sure it was a funny sight to people passing on the highway, but I didn't care. (One guy even pulled over to see what I was up to) Through the downpour, I was able to get a couple of photos that adequately captured this wonderful scenery.
I didn't log many hiking miles that day. I probably spent more time driving than I did taking pictures. But I was able to capture the last of the fall colors along Highway 35 before they were gone for another year.
Besides, any day spent outdoors is way better than sitting at home cleaning bathrooms!
Sharing with: Sweet Shot Tuesday and Weekly Top Shot.