Fall In The Gorge

We had a very wet October, but November is starting out dry(ish) and warm… get out there and enjoy the last leaves!

This is Max and Ebb on Larch Mountain, right by the snow gate.  The gate is still open and it looks like we may get a couple more weeks of access to the five mountain view at the top from Sherrard Viewpoint.

– Loree

Larch Mountain Gate Opens 05.27.14!


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We have word from a reliable source that the Larch Mountain snow gate will open next Tuesday afternoon!

The gate at milepost 10 is closed from November until the snow clears in late May / early June (in 2008, it didn’t open until July!).  While we are all antsy to get up there starting about April, that area is at or above the same level as Government Camp on Mt. Hood, which is well above snow level.  Plowing it every day would only get you to mile 14  on the road, where you could stand and stare at buried parking and trails.

Put Sherrard Viewpoint on your list for this summer, and we’ll do our best to clear the skies for you so you can see all five mountains : ).

Sherrard Viewpoint_June 2012

Meanwhile, don’t let the closed gate keep you off Larch for the Memorial Day weekend… look for the small trailhead on your right beyond milepost 5, or grab any of the logging access gates with Recreational Use signs posted, and start walking.  It’s beautiful and green up there, and the small wildflowers are already in their second round, with salmon berries coming on, and thimble berries and huckleberries following shortly!

Larch Mountain with dogs and flowers

Remember to make your stick Scout arrows when you get to the forks in the road! (bread crumbs tend to get eaten, and that loaf of bread is bulky in the backpack) – it’s easy to get turned around out there.  I can testify, having had to enlist a friend with a large truck to blow the horn on the road so I could straighten my unreliable directional sense back out a couple weeks ago : ).

Larch with dogs

Enjoy the weekend!



All images and words © Loree Harrell; 2012 – 2014


Snapshot 8


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Cascade Locks from the Port;  Loree Harrell, 2012

The dogs and I hiked to the river tonight.   In truth, I wouldn’t have gone if the dogs weren’t promised a daily run down the trail – it was a long day and my head was tired, my body was junk, and all I wanted truly was to curl up in a warm bed and sleep.  But as soon as we started the hike down, I was glad I was there walking in the cold in the dark in a circle of light .

And then, two miles later, we walked out of the forest onto the beach by the river, and it was one of those moments when delight and peace are real things that you can feel in every cell of body and heart.  The mists of the morning had left tiny sparkling jewels all over the sand and the rocks and the bare branches and the brown leaves, the crescent moon was low over the river and dancing the water in light, and the stars were brilliant in a sky that endlessly black velvet blue that only a crystal night sky can be.

We sat by the river for a long time, and, once,  I wished for a camera and the skills to show you.  And then was glad of not having them.  Sometimes it’s enough for something to exist just for one person.

We stayed for a long time,
and then walked back up a hill through a winter forest with star-laden branches,
and went to sleep.

LLH;  01.05.14;  7:00p
Sandy River
Corbett, Oregon

Image: Bridge Of The Gods from the Cascade Locks Port;  Loree Harrell, 2013
Image related to the words only by virtue of a sparkle on the water, but it seemed the Snapshot series should have a snapshot.

And A…


As we ease into the new year, it’s a good moment to look back and dream ahead…

Wishing for you all of the good you hold for those you love.

Happy New Year.

Look look! Snow for the tree lighting!!


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Tree lighting

For maybe the first time ever (I made that up, but it’s a decent bet), we’re going to have snow on the ground for the tree lighting tonight at Troutdale’s First Friday Art Walk! No worries about getting there… it’s just blowing about and the streets are easy peasy.

Tree lighting in Mayor’s Square 6:00p, the C-Notes will be singing from 5:30 – 6:30, and Santa will be in the house.  Relax, find a wonderful gift or two at the Art Walk, and, most of all… have fun.

Merry Christmas to you!

Dec FF Dec FF2



Bah, Humbug! [not]


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Scrooge Lives

The Scrooge Lives show at MHCC opens this morning!  A preview walk-through by our resident artist (yeah, that’d be me) last night found LOTS of tables and some great gifts already set up and ready to go under your tree.  See you there!

Scrooge Lives 2

Thanks Giving


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Thankful for…

This place in the world.

Every day.


Turkeys courtesy of Daniel Baxter and Ana Chad Mosley. : ))

** Looks At Calendar And Gasps…**


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Subtitled:  “…An Annual Tradition”

So.  It’s November (almost 14th).  Which means one week from (almost tomorrow), it will be November 21st.  Which means one week (more or less exactly) after that will be November 28th.  Which is?

Right.  Thanksgiving Day.

Yes.  Thanksgiving Day.  Two (almost) weeks (exactly tomorrow).


Here’s what’s up for you around and about…

Larch Mountain Country Artisans Show & Sale
Friday November 22nd – Sunday November 24th
Glen Otto Community Park, Troutdale


This is an annual tradition around these parts and a great show and sale (which, not incidentally, benefits Corbett Schools, Troutdale Parks, and Vista House).  You’ll find everything for everyone on your list among the more than three dozen juried artists and artisans participating.  Hit the site link above to start browsing now, and plan to be here next weekend!  You can have everything wrapped and tucked into the closet before the turkey even comes out of the oven. : )

Black Friday
November 29th
Pretty much everywhere.

If Thanksgiving is November 28th, then November 29th is Black Friday.  While I’ve personally never felt driven to set the alarm for 4 a.m. to go get 2-for-1 socks (or is that the day after Christmas?  That might be the day after Christmas.  Still…), it is my understanding that there are Deals To Be Had and it is therefore Notable.  The Comfort Inn Columbia Gorge Gateway is rumored to be able and willing  to send you off in the wee hours with a bag full of Sustenance so you don’t fall on your nose before you have attended all the needful sales if you think you might need a bed at some point in the festivities.

Scrooge Lives
December 4th and 5th
Mount Hood Community College

I will confess to being a Scrooge Lives novice, however Scrooge Lives has been happening at MHCC for 44 (!) years, so there must be something to it.  Art & craft fair lovers, we’ll see you there…!

Troutdale Christmas Tree Lighting
December 6th
Mayor’s Square; Downtown Troutdale

The Christmas Tree Lighting happens in historic downtown Troutdale in conjunction with the December First Friday Art Walk!  Make the short run up the hill to browse through gifts from local artists and artisans, and enjoy the lighting of the tree.  Don’t eat before you go – our great restaurants will be open!

First Friday Art Walk
December 6th
Downtown Troutdale 5:00
p – 9:00p

Troutdale’s First Friday Art Walk for December includes the community Christmas tree lighting, artists out, in, and about the local businesses, great food in the restaurants. and the perfect place for Christmas gifts straight from the hearts that made them without a department store in sight.

YOUR Christmas Tree!
Is a day driving out to those wonderful places on the outskirts of civilization to track down the perfect beautiful tree one of your family’s holiday traditions?

No?  It should be.  While the best tree is always the one farthest from the car (sorry, Dad), there’s something magical about traipsing around in the mud trying to remember where the last good one was and knowing – just being absolutely certain – that the PERFECT tree is just two rows out and four rows over.

It’s a good day.  We’ll point you in the right direction sometime between now and Thanksgiving (acck!  two weeks [almost exactly]!) – promise.

Ease on in, and enjoy this time.

Yes, It’s Raining. But!…


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Sandy River Gorge rain puddle

Sandy River Gorge rain puddle

It looks like we have a week of wet coming up, so I’m going to tell you a little secret that might clutter up my winter trails a bit.

That rain that is pounding the windshield of your car, and looking like the outside world is unfit for man and beast?

When you’re walking in it, on a slightly muddy trail through a forest with wet-shined leaves, it isn’t nearly as intense as when you’re doing 60 mph down the freeway with the wipers flapping in your face.

In fact, if you have on good boots, a hat, and (preferably) some good rain pants (because wet jeans bite),  and maybe a dog or three, you’re pretty much guaranteed to enjoy the day.   My experience has been that if you’re committed to go no matter what, the rain will even work around you, and hold off until three minutes after you’re back in the car (the past two days we haven’t had a drop of anything other than wet from brushing through the ferns, and then the downpour has hit on the way back down the hill).  Throw a cuddly sweatshirt in the car to change into when you get back, and enjoy this third season.

Beaver fwap... slightly annoyed with the three dogs on the bank.

Beaver fwap… slightly annoyed with the three dogs on the bank.

You might even catch one of the local denizens who thinks everyone has gone home for the year.

Have fun out there : )