Yesterday we followed the river on the
The first leg of our journey takes us through the Fruit Loop, a fertile swath of the
We manage to limit ourselves to just two other Fruit Loop stops. At Hood River Lavender Farm, we loll amid the fields of over 70 different varieties of organic lavender, and other mixed flower gardens. The fragrant gardens are in the peak of their bloom, and humming with bees. There are lots of chairs scattered about the grounds for lounging, a little garden shed is full of lavender products (including a pear jelly flavored with lavender with little spoons for sampling), and photo ops abound, including many shots of gardens in the foreground and Mount Hood in the background.
We finally tear ourselves away, and drive down the road to the Draper Girls Country Farm, where we end up stopping right after two truckloads of forest service fire fighters unload. They are wearing tee shirts that identify them as the Zig Zag Hot Shots (Zig Zag is a town we will pass through along our scenic route later this afternoon). While chatting with a fire fighter woman in line ahead of me, I learn they are on their way home from a couple "man-made fires" in
We add frozen apple and pear cider pints to our cooler, and dried cinnamon apples to our snack bin, and, after a brief picnic stop in
But, the indoor views are spectacular, too. Everywhere we look, there are hand-crafted details—carved wood trim, decorative wrought iron, hand-hooked rugs, and fine stone work. A series of linoleum cut murals lines a large recreation room. Women got together to make curtains and quilts for the lodge guest rooms, which were all decorated differently in the lodge's earlier days.
When we are done wandering around the ski lodge, we go outside to watch the skiers. The lifts have just stopped, and everyone is on their last run of the day, but it is a big mountain, so it will be quite some time before the slopes are empty. When we get to the parking lot, there are 20 busses from just one ski tour provider lined up in the lot to take clients down the mountain and back to town.
We are ready for a little exercise ourselves, and the ranger recommends a path around
Sobered, we walk the trail. Since it circumnavigates the lake, we frequently have a clear view across the water, where we can see the CPR continuing. We hear from some fishermen that the ambulances have been here over an hour. We do not hold out much hope. But, later, when we are deep in a wetland beyond the lake, we hear sirens departing, and decide that must be a good sign. We pass a little ampitheater on a point overlooking a quiet inlet filled with lily pads. It is roped off and reserved for a wedding. Later, as we are almost to the spot where the ambulances were parked, we can hear a big group singing "Happy Birthday," their voices carrying across the lake. We feel as if we have witnessed the full circle of life in our little walk around the lake.