Friday, December 4, 2009

Hurricane Creek

This is a picture of Legore Lake. It's cool.

So lately I've been spending a lot of time at Hurricane Creek. It's become an expedition now that it's winter. I'm glad I have studded tires and four wheel drive because without it I'm not sure I could make it, except on foot. Pretty soon it might be too snowy and I'll have to stop at the school bus turnaround. But I keep going anyway, because it's one of those places where I belong.


I think we all have these, some little acre of land where we let out a long breath we've been holding and think: I've come home. I've found a few of these in my travels. The Tranquil Bluff trail on the Island, a winding leaf-strewn path that wound around to British Landing, never with anyone else on it. Bighorn Basin in the White Cloud Mountains. Fishhook Creek in the Sawtooths. The long Oregon coast beaches.


So right now mine is Hurricane Creek. I love the big meadows on the trail when I come out of the dark woods and into the light. In fall the glowing larches made it look like there were a thousand individual rays of sun on the slopes. Now that it's cold the waterfalls at Slick Rock are frozen into sleek icicles. I'm already planning next summer's adventures: I'll turn off at Deadman Meadow and find mysterious Deadman Lake, rumored to be difficult to reach. Or I'll go back to Legore Lake, the highest lake in Oregon, and camp in the upper basin.


I wish I could live along Hurricane Creek instead of in my nondescript rental hemmed in by the neighbors with a past and the others who have mining equipment on display in their yard (one of these days I'm going to sneak out and paste my Pebble Creek Mine protest bumpersticker on one of their "decorations"). But nobody is selling except for the people at the foot of the road who optimistically want almost half a million for their house with many carpets.


Luckily it isn't too far--take a right from town, slow down on the scary curves and head past the Grange. Pass the expensive place, the new cute cedar house that I want, Jerry's A-frame, the miner's shacks and the pottery place. Past the campground, closed now for winter and another mile or two of trees and creek and there you are.


By the way there are no hurricanes on Hurricane Creek. It's named for the massive winds that blow downcanyon. I've seen what they've left in their wake--hundreds of trees snapped off, lying prone on the ground. It's impressive.


People say it's too dark in winter, too dusty in summer, too crowded with tourists wielding trekking poles. Maybe all of that is true. Maybe there's other places I haven't found yet. For now though I'll keep making my way up to Hurricane Creek. I'm excited to see what it has to show me each time I go.

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