Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Along Hwy 35

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.

Roadside 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.


  1. Great series, Linda! I smiled at your last comment about any time spent out doors beating staying at home and cleaning bathrooms. So true!

  2. I agree as well, time spent outdoors is way better than just about anything!
    Loved your post and your amazing captures.
    I've been known to balance an umbrella over tripod and camera.. not easy to do.

  3. So funny that you became a tourist attraction in your own right! Perhaps next year you'll capture the perfect moment. But there's also beauty in the fallen leaves and bare branches.

  4. Interesting hike but as you say the fall colors have gone, even here in the UK the trees are now bare. Not sure I'd hav ebothered settting up in the rain, I hate the rain at the best of times and would rather be inside that out.

  5. I'm right there with you on this one..can't tell you how many times I've just gotten in the car and driven up to the Smokies with no intent to hike, just enjoy the scenery and appreciate the solitude. Have found numerous "secret" spots that I return to frequently! So amazing to me how rivers and creeks look different. What an incredible gift we have in nature - sure hope to see your rivers one of these days! Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. I love your hiking pictures, Linda! What a beautiful adventure you get to enjoy and share.

    I hope you have a very Happy Turkey Day!

  7. Any day outside is better than almost anything!

    Are you eyeing the mountains and praying for snow yet Linda?

    Happy Thanksgiving my friend.

  8. Your pictures are always so splendid dear Linda :) it's like you paint a picture. Love the vivid colors of fall and the cascading stream. It's lovely. Have a good week ahead :)

  9. One of the best highways in Oregon for gorgeous scenery! I LOVE it when autumn leaves are on the trees, but I also love it when they carpet the ground:)
    Happy Thanksgiving 'Eve' Linda!

  10. Your water shots are amazing! I love how you captured the moving water. It looks so beautiful with the colors of the leaves in the background. Fantastic shots!

  11. I also love the water pictures. Sounds like a fun day!

  12. I want to walk that trail, shuffle through the drying leaves!

  13. May be not the best weather, but you certainly didn't disappoint with capturing the colours.

  14. Very nice series- those colors are just a memory now, here in Maine.

  15. Gorgeous!

    ¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)
    (¸.•´ (¸.•` ¤ Happy Thanksgiving! ¤

  16. Indeed, that is a lot of autumn beauty. Happy Thanksgiving!

  17. Great slow shutter shots of these beautiful fall scenes, Linda!
    I grew up on the northern winding beginnings of the Mississippi River, with creeks that ran into it.
    Rivers & moving water will always be magical to me.

    A monotone world here, colorless & dusted in snow. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  18. Hi! Nice captures . I like your leaf-covered bank photo and Hood river photos in the rain. Thanks for sharing. Wishing you a happy weekend.

  19. Hi Linda, since i enjoy your blog a lot , have awarded you the Leibster Award. Details on my blog :) Thanks for being an awesome blogger!

  20. Autumn in all it's splendor! Lovely shots!

  21. I would love to be in your part of the world in autumn--the colors are so fabulous! I love each of these shots.

  22. Lovely series♪ Visiting from Weekly Top shot...Have a wonder filled week!


Don't be shy! Please leave a comment.