Today should have had a different title, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
A friend texted me saying that her friend (I have met her a couple of times) wanted to go hiking with me. She hikes on her own but would like to have a buddy to go with. Sweet! We chatted and came up with a plan. Finally, the day was here to go hiking! She met me at my place, and off we went.
Now, as many of you know, it can be hard to find new friends. This person, Jennifer, and I did not have a lot of time together, but I knew her well enough to know that she’s pretty nice. I get along with most people and she seemed cool, so it was a no-brainer. We had a great time talking for the entire trip! We planned on going to Diamond Creek Falls – a place neither of us have been…
Somewhere around Oakridge, we saw a flashing sign that let us know we should be prepared for ice and snow. I commented on that, scoffing a little. I don’t know why. I just hadn’t planned on snow. Well:
We pulled off the main road and found our road to take us to the trailhead. Um, I had to put it in 4-wheel drive on the side road! We only got about 15 or 20 feet when we were able to spy the closed gate. We didn’t bring snowshoes, and we weren’t about to trek a couple of miles just to get to the trailhead, so we backed up to the road. It was pretty!
Up the road a little was a snow park, so we thought we’d check it out.
Off to one side, there was a family playing with sleds and whatnot, but we were definitely NOT dressed for the snow, so we appreciated the view and decided to backtrack to another hike.
We stopped at the Hardesty trailhead. I think it would take about eight miles to get to the top of Hardesty Mountain, or we could join up with the Goodman Creek trail.
I’m not sure of the history, or what happened here, but it’s pretty!
The trail was a good one… if a bit on the muddy side.
I have no idea what this round thing is attached to the tree. If anybody knows, please put it in the comments!
Lots of vegetation, greenery, and some mud… so very Oregon.
The Goodman Creek trail wasn’t very far into the hike, and we veered off to join it.
It’s hard to see, but this mostly-dead tree is super-alive with new branches! It was very odd looking.
I love how the ferns and moss grow rampantly on the trees. I’m not sure if it’s healthy for the trees, but it sure is pretty!
We found some gloves that somebody else clearly found and left for them to be picked up by their owner.
The mud began to show in earnest. I started to miss my sticks, afraid I’d slip in the mess. I don’t mind getting dirty, but I prefer to stay dry.
Hello, pretty fungi!
I maaaay have squished this guy a little bit. I didn’t even see him! Jennifer saw it and we stopped to check him out. I think he’s okay – he was walking away after we checked on him. You can see the right, front leg, and how orange it is – that’s the color of his entire belly! I should have gotten a picture of it…
These sweet little salamanders have a poison (tetrodotoxin) that is released from glands when you touch it. When I was younger, we would grab them and wherever we touched them, they would release a white, sticky film. We knew we needed to wash it off, and we never got sick from it. This one didn’t release anything visibly, but I still turned my glove inside-out so I could wash it later.
I do not know what this stuff is… It looks like Sasquatch sneezed something nuclear out. But I think it’s pretty cool! I’m sure it’s a fungus or algae, and I’m pretty confident I’m not supposed to eat it.
This one, on the other hand, is very edible!
We saw this tree ahead and decided not to go around. The trail looked a bit rough (lots of debris, etc.) after this point, and it would be interesting to climb over.
I like this shot because you can see the trail in a few spots.
SPRING! Things are starting to bloom!
This little stream has very convenient (and sturdy) rocks for crossing. The drier I can keep my feet, the happier I am.
This was a great hike, especially since it was not where we planned. We were both flexible and ready to hike wherever the trail lead, and that was fun, even with the mud. It turns out Jennifer and I have some things in common! I’m glad we met up and hiked – I have a new hiking buddy! And that, friends, is always nice.
Distance: 3 miles; Elevation Gain: 515 feet