Deschutes River/Ferry Springs Trail, Oregon – October 14th, 2020

 

Image 10-18-20 at 12.36 PMDeschutes River trail, a smattering of rain, it feels like walking through a purifying mist, and there’s no Covid out here.

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Deschutes River

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Rabbit brush

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Sumac along the trail

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Sumac

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Raindrops on leaves

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Raindrops in the creek

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A place to rest

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Burned tree from 2017 fire

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Golden grasses

I could be wrong, we have passed a few hikers, anglers, a hydrologist; there are boats on the river, workers on the railroad across the river, campgrounds and powerlines nearby.

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Looking uphill to the east.

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Our trail continues south, upstream.

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Columbia Hills to the north.

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Rocky cliffs

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Seagull in the river

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Maybe because in this low desert landscape, with golden light on the black cliffs and the dry grass of late summer, I feel like I can really breathe out here; the scent of the high desert, and a smattering of rain only enhancing the sense of free fresh air.

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Climbing up the cliffs..

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Golden grasses

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Lunch view north.

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Looking down at the river from our lunch stop.

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Looking down to the river through the rock arch.

Up on the hill now after lunch, golden and desolate views of the rivers, views of the black volcanic rocks that used to enclose cascading waters of Celilo Falls, cascading waters that used to have salmon leaping up them every year, salmon leaping up into the nets of the Celilo people, before the dam.

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Ascending the hills.

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Closer view of the Deschutes/Columbia Confluence

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Windmills on the hills, power transmission lines to the dam, cell towers, highways, train tracks, campgrounds, and yet I feel alone on this golden hillside.

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Golden grasses

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Dried balsam root will bloom bright gold in spring.

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Approaching the upper Ferry Springs crossing.

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Ferry Springs

I feel alone even though the powerlines are buzzing above us, the powerlines are transmitting the thoughts and bytes of millions, and yet I feel blessedly alone.

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Its all downhill now to the trailhead.

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Dry waterfall and power lines humming above.

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Back down to river level, with power lines.

I’m not really alone of course – hiking with Dan, in a respite from the city; the desert is a place of wide open freedom – harsh, spiky, dry, rocky, steep, prickly; hidden hazards beyond each cliff, under every rock, yet wide open above, on an autumn day, I am lucky to be here, to be breathing freely.

Bonus content: More River otters! There were six otters playing in the river near the trailhead – 

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River otters

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River otters and ducks

Celilo Falls, Salmon fishing, before the dam:

“Courtesy of the U.S. National Library of Medicine” 

https://www.nlm.nih.gov/nativevoices/timeline/632.html

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