One of my friends has been poking me on sharing some photos of my daily walk. I have several nearby options for walking, but I’ve definitely settled on my favorite: Senator Hatfield State Park, a stretch of what used to be the Historic Columbia River Highway between Hood River and Moiser.
This section of highway went through a double tunnel just south of Moiser, but due to frequent rock slides, was eventually closed. Later the tunnels were re-enforced, netting set up to catch falling rocks, and the whole thing nicely repaved and turned into a hiking and biking trail. As a highway it must have been horribly narrow (I shudder to think of driving a modern truck on it) but as a bicycle and foot path, its wonderfully wide. Plus, never muddy or overly steep. Considering all the rain it’s nice to know I won’t get covered in mud and slide all over the place while taking my daily walk.
The one downside is that such a nice trail like that is very popular. I cut down on some of the foot traffic by starting at the less interesting Hood River end of the trail. Since 5 miles is far too far for me to walk, I only walk 30 minutes out and then 30 minutes back. If you do this at the Moiser end you get spectacular views of the river, followed by the double tunnels, which is why most people who walk pick that end. The Hood River end has an initial view of the river, but turns into thick woods rather quickly. It’s nothing but trees for 25 minutes, until there’s a small waterfall and picnic table. Another five minutes and I reach my turning point, where the woods gives way to a rather nice view of the river.
My friend wanted to know what animals and plants I see while walking…. well, being so popular, there isn’t much wildlife. I have found some road kill, which boggles me a little… this is obviously a deer, so it’s far too large for a bike to have killed it. All I can think of is a vulture carried it up from the freeway far below to finish it somewhere quietly.
Other sights include a mostly hidden crashed car remains at the bottom of the cliff… not sure if it’s been there for 30 or 40 years or however long its been since this was a highway… or got there some other way. I walk for the exercise, not the sights. There are some great wild flowers along the opening of the trail though… a ton of poison oak along the wooded section… if it really is poison oak, but I’m pretty sure it is from my girl scout camp days.
At least I’m exercising. Don’t forget, sitting at a computer all day can kill you. We writers need to remember to move.