So far, I think I really like this state. Part of that is psychological, I recognize: it’s so nice to finally be in a state other than California, and to feel that big sign of progress. But, much beyond that, this has been a genuinely nice place to be the last several days. Oregon is making me happy.
The areas we’re hiking through are more strikingly pretty than I’d expected. The hills here are often golden, filled with grasses that were green in the spring but have turned that perfect gold with the summer, and dotted with great pine trees. There’s little enough water that we have to consult the water report carefully, but the water that’s here seems to come in the form of beautiful rivers, expansive lakes, and lush springs.
There’s also a lot of forest cover. Probably two-thirds of the day we’re hiking in shade, covered by increasingly tall pine forests, which is not only pretty in and of itself but is a welcome relief when the sun is hot. The forests also seem to alternate with the golden hillsides, which provides a lot of variation and is enjoyable in and of itself.
At least this part of Oregon is also distinctly more populated and developed than what we’re used to. We seem to run across dirt roads used for either recreation (cars and trucks headed to campsites or lakes) or logging about every mile or two, and we’ve encountered several trailheads per day. We’ll often cross near car-camping sites, parking areas, resort buildings of some kind, or private residences. The effect so far has never been jarring or disconcerting, like we’ve been removed from the wilderness or anything like that. Rather, it’s felt like a comfortable familiarity, like we’re being kept company on our hike.
There’s still a lot of Oregon ahead of us…but, so far, I really like this place.