Two of our fine friends from California, Danielle and Meehan, decided to go with my sons Lamont and Leland and me to make my goal of walking from the Larch Mountain parking lot to the Sherrard Point viewpoint. In fact, Danielle graciously drove us in her Toyota Highlander! After a detour brought about by a July 4th parade in Corbett on the Historic Columbia River Highway, we circled around and found a paved road all the way to the Larch Mountain parking lot.
I made a mistake asking you to remember the rotting tree trunk in yesterday's post--I thought it was the one I had them stand on and around for this photo on the 4th of July. Nevertheless, this is a sweet photo of Meehan, Leland, Lamont, and Danielle.
Because I was surrounded by caring people who love me, I had no problem getting to the steps. Once there, I listened to everyone's advice and encouragement and just put one foot up on a step, then the other one beside that one and made my way up each set of steps that appeared on the path. I didn't let myself think about walking back down them yet because I knew in my heart that I'd be able to cope with that when the time came. It's that love and caring that got me there. There's young, energetic Meehan already at the top of the steps.
When I stopped to rest for a few seconds, I decided to take this photo of the trees off the side of the path. I didn't notice that there was no path underneath that railroad tie step until I selected this photo to post here. Glad that I didn't!
This moment that I stopped and took this photo allowed me to have a look at where I'd be going on the way back to the car in the parking lot. Thankful for that moment. Once again I'm thankful I didn't notice that those steps appear to have empty air beneath them there on the grassy edges at the edge of the path.
I found a spider at work. Over the few seconds that I took several photos, the spider moved around a bit.
We're getting higher now, into the clouds which you can see here through the trees.
My son Leland knows how to distract me from the fact that I'm high up on a mountain top! Let me also tell you that each of us was proud of our layers--it was cool up there in the clouds!
Meehan, being fearless near the top. We didn't have to climb up that rock--there were well-formed steps with railing and chain link on each side.
A tiny cluster of pretty flowers called my name when I saw it beside the steps to the viewpoint.
While the absence of the blue sky day that I had dreamed of made me sad, I still found the clouds slowly drifting through the trees amazing! From the Internet about the trees:
Larch Mountain contains some of the largest old-growth forest strands left in the Columbia River Gorge area, characterized by the presence of many nurse logs. Dominant tree species include pacific silver fir, grand fir, Douglas fir, and western hemlock.
Lamont at the top of the Sherrard Point viewpoint.
Here I am, at the top! I made it! Meehan took this photo for me with my iPhone! It felt terrific to be there in the clouds! That's my best California bud in the background, Danielle. She's Meehan's proud Auntie!
I decided that since I couldn't see distant mountain peaks, I'd take advantage of what I could see--close up--taking photographs carefully over the railing or through the chain link fence.
I even looked down, too!
Thank goodness for a zoom lens!
Another photo that makes me proud to have a zoom lens.
Look at the lines in those rocks! Amazing sight to see atop this extinct volcano. From the Internet about Larch Mountain:
Larch Mountain is the remnant of an ancient shield volcano, with broad slopes covering tens of square kilometers. It is currently the tallest peak in the Boring Lava Field, a volcanic field active during the Plio-Pleistocene time frame. Active between 1.8 and 1.4 million years ago, the volcano is composed mainly of basalts, although the summit at Sherrard Point is composed mainly of iron-rich andesite. Larch Mountain's basalt is tough to distinguish from the surrounding Columbia River Basalt, although the Columbia River Basalt is slightly lighter in color and less brittle. Sherrard Point is the eroded remains of the original volcanic plug.
Sherrard Point was exposed during the last glacial period, when the majority of the mountain's peak was destroyed by glaciers. The glaciers carved a large cirque into the mountain, forming a large lake. Over time, the lake was filled with sediment, and today the area is now a large meadow.
Equally amazing, the lines in the remains of this tree.
I couldn't get enough of these tiny beauties beside the rings in that tree trunk. Wow!
On the way back to the car, one more photograph of the beautiful forest.
Found on the path; I wonder what kind of bird used to have this particular feather?
You can see the descent of the path to the left of these rotting tree trunks.
Yes! Here are the four people who helped me overcome my visceral fear of heights: Lamont, Leland, Danielle, and Meehan. You for rock! Thank you so much for helping me achieve my goal and make great memories!
This photo of a happy me with equally happy Danielle and Meehan gives you an idea of the size of the forest, the paths. We used the path on the left, both directions; Leland asked me if I cared if he took the path on the right back to the car. Of course I told him it was fine with me, to be careful. I have my foot on the low retaining wall where I rested back in 2012, steeling myself for the walk back to my Zipcar.
Love this photo of my sweet sons on each side of me. I am blessed!
We're almost to the parking lot. I really like the determination to survive for years and years that I see in this tree trunk, curved up amid the towering nearby trees, seeking light. That's what we all need to survive--determination.