Fall Backpacking - Gathering More Rose Buds
03 November 2018 | Portland, Oregon
"Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying."
- Robert Herrick
Above photo shows me in October backpacking in the Three Sisters Wilderness. One of my close friends, who has also had heart surgery, warned me not to do it so close to my heart surgery. But I thought I could do it and I did do it.
Well, I sort of did it. I did carry a full pack, although not super heavy. I did hike some miles on trails and a little cross-country, although not always as fast as I would have in the past.
But a backpack trip should probably be defined as staying out overnight, right? And that is where my claim to backpacking is weak.
My plan was to hike cross-country to the east side of the base of North Sister, near the Soap Creek headwaters. This is a delightful cross-country trip that I have done probably over a dozen times in all times of the year, in all types of conditions. Usually I have skied into there in the Spring. So it is one of my favorite wilderness trips and I wanted to repeat it.
What happened? In 2012 the Pole Creek forest fire devastated part of this area. I knew about the fire of course, and in fact I had hided through part of the burned area in 2012 and witnessed the total devastation. When I hiked this year through the burned area it was uplifting to see the process of life returning. However, the downed timber from the fire precluded hiking cross-country through the forest like I had done before, and my attempt to find an alternative route that avoided the downed timber failed.
So on my post-surgery, October backpack trip we hiked back to the trailhead at sunset, having failed at finding a feasible hiking route to our destination.
Did I really do a backpack trip or not? You decide.
But I did carry the full backpack a number of miles on trails and on some cross-country hiking. That I was able to do that post heart surgery, I feel grateful. Even though my planned trip failed, I still feel that I gathered more rose buds.