Saturday, October 21, 2006

Rooster rock

Today I woke up so hungover I didn't know if I wanted to do anything but Anna called me and motivated me to make a plan for the day and make the most out of the weather.  Her and Eleanor were downtown at the Farmer's Market where I met them briefly to say hi before heading East towards the mountains for a day hike up to Rooster Rock, a really cool volcanic tower of rock off route 20.  I got to the trail aorund 1:30pm and noticed that the guidebook said there were two trails up to the top.  Being a hiker who loves loop hikes rather than returning the same way I decided to drive further East to the Rooster Rock Trail and return via the Trout Creek trail 2.5 miles back from where I had come.  The trail up was very steep with very few switchbacks but I hauled ass up it so that I could get back and study some Chemical Oceanography with Anna and Eleanor (which didn't happen because they had their phonesRooster_rock_102106_001
off... my bad luck I guess).  On both hikes I've done in the area I've noticed that in the valley where the road and river are the vegetation is pretty much like a rainforest with ferns and moss covering literally all of the bark on trees and rock.  It's amazing.  It feels as if I'm walking through a rainforest until I ascend further up the slope of the mountain and the vegetation turns to enormous Cedars and volcanic rock formations.  The variation in vegetation and the amazing geological structures created from ancient volcanism are truly amazing to behold.  On the way Rooster_rock_102106_002
up I saw several Pacific banana slugs (Ariolimax columbianus).  See pic.  they are enormous and look more like rotten bananas!  When I got up to Rooster
Rooster_rock_102106_017 Rock I was truly amazed.  It was a giant spire rising from the side of the mountain into the sky.  The small part of it was easily the size of my parents
house and the spire behind it was about 3 times as big.  Check out the picture of it from the trail going down.  I climbed about 100 feet more
Rooster_rock_102106_024to a lookout that was about level with the top of Rooster Rock from where I had come.  I was afforded great viewsRooster_rock_102106_027 from the lookout over the range of mountains towards the glaciated snow caps of the Sisters, a famous volcanic
chain of mountains to the East.  After a
few minutes soaking up the views I tightened my pack and literally ran down the Trout Creek trail back to Route 20 where I dumped my pack and then
ran the 2.5 miles east down the road to my truck again...  It was a beautiful day, a great hike and the fall colors are really beginning to show despite the relatively warm and beautiful weather we have been having! 


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