Deschutes River trail, a smattering of rain, it feels like walking through a purifying mist, and there’s no Covid out here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 –
Celilo Falls, Salmon fishing, before the dam:
“Courtesy of the U.S. National Library of Medicine”