Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Larch Madness!

 I have all three dogs by myself again, so this has meant less adventure and more sticking to areas without people. It's hunting season too, which adds another challenge, and dogs sporting flagging and harnesses. 

What makes it better is that we are having a spectacular larch season. The larches, the only deciduous conifer, are always amazing here, since they show up golden in a dark forest, but for some reason this fall they stand out more than ever.

The dogs and I have some normal routes, which include little-known ski trails and an old logging road. First we drive anxiously to the parking area, checking to make sure no hunters are there. If there are, we move to Plan B. Fortunately, people are fairly predictable and we have been able to hike through sunlit groves of larches quite often.


Route one is a walk into the closed ski area. I can then connect a series of ski trails if I want to run, or hike longer. In fall, it is a quiet place with nobody around. We meander through tall grass and walk up toward the canal, logging a few miles. Soon there will be snow and we will be skiing here.

Route two is up a road closed to most motor vehicles. I hike this a lot in the winter, slogging with snowshoes. In fall it's easier, but no less strenuous. However, the view looking into the fogged in valley is gratifying. I hardly ever make it to the top with the dogs--it's a lot of effort to train them. But even though I don't get to 8000 feet, it's still worth it.
Route 3 is up a trail where few people go, because it doesn't have much for views until you reach the five mile mark. But at the trailhead, the views are outstanding. After staring at the larches, I head up the trail, sometimes going as far as the wilderness boundary. If I hang in there long enough, the trail opens up into an alpine basin.

The thing I like best about larches is that even when it's a gloomy day, their bright color makes it look like little spots of sunshine. Unlike previous years, we haven't had our typical winds, so the larches are hanging on longer. I can't get enough of them.

18 comments:

  1. Larches - golden, uplifting beauty!
    They pop like our jacranadas.

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    1. Yes! The only showy thing around here--we don't get the colors like they do back East. Except poison ivy turns red! Ha.

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  2. We were in Canada one fall years ago...hiking with some Canadian friends. They were marveling at the views and colors when naive me said, "To bad all those trees are dying." Of course they got a good chuckle out of that :)
    mark

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    1. Ha! but I get it, they do look that way if you don't know better!

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  3. There's a bunch of larches just east of Mt Hood. I hiked one trail in early October and they were just getting started. Never did make it back for the full color show. Next year!

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    1. One day you must come here. My camera photos do not do them justice.

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  4. Hi Mary, your pictures look really nice, it seems a place someone can go camping and chill out away from all the craziness going on in the world.

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    1. John! Good to hear from you. Yes, it isn't as remote as Alaska but it's far from people and traffic and "reality".

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  5. Your larch trees look gorgeous! It seems so late in the season for them to be prime! Ours were at their best a month and a half ago.

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    1. It is late. We had a really warm fall. Maybe that's why.

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  6. The high elevation larches were just starting to turn when I was there last month. I always remember October's where I'd going down into Imnaha for a week long writing retreat and when I'd come back up out of the canyon the larches were ablaze. Having grown up in Colorado I miss the aspens, but I do love the larches.

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    1. I miss those writing retreats. I also grew up with birches and maples.

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  7. I've seen more photos of options in Oregon this fall than in previous years so I think it's indeed been a larch bonanza. I think the color really pops on cloudy low light days. It's wonderful you still have some options away from people. I can't imagine trying to manage 3 big dogs. Eh gads!

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    1. It is definitely a challenge. They will get better as they get older. Ruby is 5 and just about perfect.

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    2. Ruby is 5? omg. That happened fast!

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    3. I know! The rescue kitten is 7.

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  8. I'm wondering what it looks likes just north of me. The pup and I may have to take a little drive this weekend up towards our property and check. I chuckle now as I remember it wasn't long ago that I realized larches were what I grew up knowing as tamarack.

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    1. I have heard both names for them. Definitely take River on an adventure.

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