Winter Exploration

The Adventurer, Vernon Wade

Vernon was born in the Pacific Northwest and still lives in the shadow of Mt. Hood, near the small town where he grew up. Vernon has spent decades wandering the hills, hunting mushrooms, camping and riding motorcycles into the remotest nooks and crannies to be found in the region.

There were a couple of spots on the map that looked interesting; a stream I had been trying to find a way down to and, across the road, another stream with a pond I hadn’t checked out. Last weekend, we went looking for them.

The first creek was just a short hike from the road. It was beautiful but lay at the bottom of a rocky ravine where the winter sun did not reach. We did not linger.


We crossed the road and struck out to the north.

Entering a magical copse of moss covered trees.







There were delicate mushrooms, encrusted with ice.







We also found fragile formations of hair ice, growing with the help of the mysterious Exidiopsis effusa fungi.

















We came to the confluence of several streams.





Moss covered logs crisscrossed the water










Springs burbled up from the earth, like a something from a Baba Yaga tale.

We felt strangely affected by these dark and misty environs.













Andy crossed an icy log to reconnoiter the far shore while the rest of us gathered firewood.


Nothing was dry. It was a struggle getting the fire to take.

Eventually, with the help of some cedar splinters Andy found while he was out scouting, we got it going and cooked some lunch.


And heated some water.


Hot chocolate laced with rum chased away the chill.







And the waning day chased us out of the woods. We trekked back to our cars, satisfied with our explorations.



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