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Cascade Houses; Fungus Among Us; Deadfall; A Tricky Bridge; Stopped by Snow

While Suzanne gave a very successful reading on Thursday, I drove around our temporary neighborhood casually looking at houses/land. We really like Washington State, but having living here once for two years, we know that we couldn’t stay in the Cascades from October through May when the days are uniformly grey and rainy. We had toyed with the idea of buying one acre of undeveloped land and putting in a concrete pad, electric, water, and sewer for summer forays of The Coach to cooler weather than Florida offers. Colorado, Idaho and Washington State are on the short list, but nothing has popped up on the radar screen yet.

There are some interesting houses here, some more rustic than others. It’s definitely NOT The Villages! The wood stove chimney on the left side of this house reminds me that I’d have to learn how to chop wood; serious wood, like cord upon cord… electric heat would be prohibitively expensive here.

This house backs up to pristine national forest land; you can hunt elk from your back porch! 

The Birdsview Grange Hall probably used to be the center of social activity for farmers and loggers in Concrete, WA, but has seen better days. (Hey, what an opportunity for a fixer-upper handyman!) 

Finally, this 1920’s house sits near a state park. For an asking price of $119,000, you can get a house to tear down and a nice acre of land to start over with… 

I had planned to go on a solo backpacking trip up to a trail in the Cascades on Thursday night, but while on a bike ride, Biker Babe’s mountain bike developed a flat tire, so I gave up my overnight sleeping on rocky ground next to a glacier to fix her faithful steed. That required driving to a nearby town for a new tire and an hour’s labor. In gratitude, My Lovely Bride surprised me by laying out this meal… gourmet chicken enchiladas (which I had made!) and a Corona for Her Majesty and the cold processed beef and potatoes dinner, peanut butter crackers and water that I had planned on eating at my mountain campsite, served with plain water, a spoon and roll of toilet paper. She is SUCH a comedian.

On Friday morning, we had to take Suzanne to a chiropractor to try to fix an upper back problem. Since we are out in the woods, it was a half hour drive to the nearby town of Sedro-Woolley. It was only partially successful, and she is still a bit of a hurting unit, so it was good that I hadn’t gone on an overnight backpacking trip, because she would have been without the car. We got her settled back in The Coach, where she was to do a radio interview by telephone, so I headed out to a nearby hiking trail for some communing with nature.

The ranger had told us that we could encounter snow on this trail. All was going well for the first mile or so, with beautiful virgin forest and unusual sights like this (I think it’s a fungus, rather than a mushroom, but I’m not sure.) 

This bridge has seen better days, but I’m glad they didn’t remove it; now it is simply rotting gracefully back into the forest floor from which it came, and the colors are dramatic. 

I am glad that I wasn’t on the trail recently when this tree fell; man, that would have ruined my whole day! (Normally, trail volunteers or the Forest Service would have cut a section of the tree away to clear the trail, but that hasn’t happened yet this year. It’s still very early in the season.) 

Then I started running into snow; this section covered the trail, and there were no footprints to follow – evidently I was the first hiker to come this way since the last snowfall, whenever that was. It made the trail hard to follow, particularly where there were multiple possibilities.

This photo shows the trail near where I turned around. The dark splotchy curving line is actually the line of a little snowmelt creek covered by the snow. I was looking for the continuation of the trail on the other side, but there were five (or more?) possible choices, and after finding nothing suitable on the second try, I figured it was just going to get worse the higher in elevation I proceeded. Also, I wasn’t happy about the possibility of falling through the snow into a creek and twisting an ankle or breaking a leg, since I was hiking alone. In the Navy, we call that N.G.: Not Good. So Prudence prevailed, and I returned to camp safely and had a glass of wine with my sweetheart. So, it wasn’t a total bust. 

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