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Hiking Barlow Wayside Park in Mt. Hood National Forest

hiking forest trail

Barlow Wayside Trail

You are about to enter a forested wonderland where everything is part of a whole – every plant, animal, tree, fish, bird, bug, and slug has its place…so, says Clackamas County and Bureau of Land Management Sandy Ridge Trail System.

The scent of the forest draws me every time I am in the Pacific Northwest. And, this little gem,

Barlow Wayside Park

that once used to be the Barlow Road, the last segment on the Oregon Trail, is my new favorite outdoor activity destination.

Hiking

on the Little Joe Loop is a very easy and enjoyable trail to navigate as are the Falls Loop and Northern Loop trails. While this park is a short way from Highway 26 on the way to Mt. Hood, it is easy to find and is well marked by road signs.
Here’s what we saw on our riparian adventure…

mushrooms on pine - hiking at Barlow Wayside Park

Mushrooms on pine nurse log

mushroom curly close - hiking at Barlow Wayside Park

Curly forest mushrooms

mushrooms on nurse log - hiking at Barlow Wayside Park

Mushrooms on nurse log

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mushrooms are the surface “fruit” that carry spores for propagation. Some mushrooms grow on organic matter (dead trees), while others in the soil are part of a larger, unseen underground fungus organism.

Nurse logs are fallen trees that become a resource of nutrient rich organic matter, water, and insects that vegetation and animals depend on.

Source:  Clackamas County

As I am not a mushroom expert, I don’t know if these are edible. If they are, one couldn’t possibly go hungry in this forest.

Mt. Hood Reflected in Trillium Lake Oregon

Reflection of Mt. Hood in Trillium Lake, Cascade Range, Oregon

Mt. Hood Reflected in Trillium Lake, Oregon

Fall in the Pacific Northwest can offer incredible scenic opportunities. In October last year we drove around the base of Mt. Hood to Trillium Lake and I was able to capture this image with my iPhone 4S.

Trillium Lake (man made) is located about seven miles south-southwest of Mt. Hood. It is formed by a dam at the headwaters of Mud Creek which is a tributary to the Salmon River. It was created in 1960 by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The area was part of Barlow Road which was a segment of the Oregon Trail. Trillium is a flower particularly noticeable here.

Mt. Hood, in the Cascade Range, is located about 50 miles east-southeast of Portland and is Oregon’s highest mountain at 11,249 feet and the peak is home to twelve glaciers. While Mt. Hood is considered potentially active, an eruption is unlikely, so is informally considered dormant.

It is a popular hiking destination, as well as skiing (sometimes into July) and climbing. More than 130 people have died in climbing-related accidents since records have been kept. It seems that someone always loses their life during the winter months on the mountain.

We travel here a lot and I have conducted of tours in this Pacific Northwest area. I call this the Oregon Bounty Tour and offer this program twice per year.

Varenna Italy on Lake Como

Varenna on Lake Como, Italy

Varenna, Italy on Lake Como

This idyllic municipality on Lake Como is in the Lombardy region of Northern Italy. It is about 60 km north of Milan and is a wonderful place to relax, enjoy the scenery, and sample the delicious food and wine. You can actually see the Swiss Alps, because it is so close to the border.

Varenna is also home to Italy’s shortest river, Fiumelatte, which is 820 feet long. The name comes from fiume (Italian for “river”) and latte (“milk”) because of the milky white color of its water.

Lake Como is one of the deepest lakes in Europe with the bottom more than 656 feet below sea level. It is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful lakes in Europe and has been a popular retreat for aristocrats and wealthy people since Roman times. Transportation between towns is made very easy by frequent boat schedules. Allow plenty of time for visiting villas that are open to the public.

Lake Como is still a very popular tourist attraction – and it is not surprising that many famous people live or have lived in the area – Madonna, George Clooney, Gianni Versace, Sylvester Stallone, and Richard Branson, to name a few. We didn’t meet up with any of these famous people, but it was not for lack of looking

Cape Blanco Lighthouse Oregon Coast

Cape Blanco Lighthouse, Oregon Coast, in black and white

Cape Blanco Lighthouse, Oregon Coast

On a West Coast lighthouse pilgrimage in 2009 I visited the lighthouse at Port Orford, Oregon. It is the southernmost of Oregon’s lighthouses, perched on the light cliffs that give its name. It is also the oldest original tower in Oregon and stands at 59 feet. The light was lit for the first time on December 20, 1870.

Cape Blanco Lighthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Oregon’s most westerly, oldest continuously operating light and highest focal plane above the sea. A two-family dwelling was built for keepers’ quarters with fireplaces in each room for heat. The construction materials were shipped in with the exception of the bricks, which were made locally. A photo of the bricks, captured for use as textures, will follow in a later post.

Augustin Jean Fresnel

Pronounced (Freh-nel), A.J. Fresnel made the greatest stride in lighthouse technology when he invented his optic system. Fresnel’s system used prisms to focus the light lost above and below the light source, back into a single beam of light. The light is focused through the center of the lens (drum panel or bulls eye) creating a highly visible beam of light. (Source T. Hewitt, http://www.portorfordoregon.com/blanco.html)

This was actually my second visit to these restricted Coast Guard grounds near Cape Blanco State Park. The first time I was there the fog was so thick it was impossible to see even a few feet in front of my face. The drive out to the lighthouse can be a little treacherous and we certainly weren’t going to take any undue risks.