Back in May, a woman named Sue left a comment on one of my posts about the Barlow Trail. I hiked this trail almost two years ago and blogged about my experience. You can read the full story here.
Size matters! Click on any photo to enjoy a larger view.
|At the trailhead|
|Manny and Sue enjoying the trail|
|Three happy hikers|
About a week before Sue's arrival, we nailed down a hike date via email. Sue also mentioned she'd be meeting a friend in Portland who would like to join us. I started to think "hmmm I don't know these people, maybe I shouldn't go off in the woods with them by myself." So I recruited my friend Debbie to come along by asking her "How would you like to go hiking with me and someone I met on the internet?" Like the good friend that she is, Debbie agreed to accompany me on my latest adventure.
|Fallen rhodie petals|
|There were still a few rhodies blooming|
|Group photo at the old highway tunnel|
Sue makes her home in Chicago, and Manny hails from LA. Both of them are volunteers with the Habitat for Humanity, and met during a build in Thailand. Sue and Manny have traveled to many countries and the US, building homes with this organization. Habitat for Humanity was the reason for Sue's visit to Portland. The following week she was scheduled to assist with a home building project in nearby Corvallis.
Manny was a very intelligent and handy person (and a very good photographer with his iphone!). From our conversations, I could tell he was very good at fixing up or building anything. Habitat for Humanity had sent him all over the world to participate in numerous home building projects. He'd been to the Gulf Coast alone a total of three times after Hurricane Katrina.
|Manny checks out the creek|
|Group photo No. 2 at Little Zig Zag Falls|
|Sue and Debbie in the woods|
I was delighted to discover that, like myself, my companions also loved to take pictures. Our progress was slow, due to many photo stops, but I didn't mind in the least. It's nice to have hiking buddies that don't mind taking "Kodak moments."
|Manny strikes a hiker's pose|
We climbed up the Barlow Trail, which is the very same road the pioneers used to travel over Mt. Hood to the "promised land." The rocky, rutted trail is rough in places, and it's hard to imagine a car driving over it, let alone a Conestoga wagon. It does however appear to be a perfect trail for mountain bikes. We encountered a couple groups of bikers. Luckily all of them were able to slow down before encountering us, except for one young kid who stopped inches short of taking out poor Debbie.
|Roadside sign to the wagon chute|
|Pioneer wagon chute at Laurel Hill|
|Photo ops at the top of the chute|
|My hiking party at an Oregon Trail sign|
|Sue becomes a tree hugger!|
We closed our wonderful day with dinner and drinks at a nearby restaurant. The conversation was so good, we sat and chatted for a long time, almost closing down the place. I could've talked with Manny and Sue for hours, they were such interesting and selfless people. And to think I was worried about meeting these guys!
As I'd hoped, Manny and Sue loved the hike. Sue was very happy to be able to set foot on the actual Oregon Trail. Debbie and I enjoyed the great company and the opportunity to show off our beautiful state.
What a great experience! Who would've thought that a blog post about an old trail would bring me together with two amazing people, who I now call my friends.
Happy travels, Manny and Sue!