Doge Camp 14 and Doge Camp 15
Left the valley for the Columbia River with the intention of camping at Beacon Rock. Beacon Rock is an 848 foot basalt monolith right on the banks of the big river. It used to be (not now because of the damn dams) the marker for the extent of the of ocean tides in the river. Pulled into the campground, old and rustic and somewhat crowded and with power lines nearby (because of the damn dams). Anyway, found an open campsite and decided pretty much that this was not a good place to camp so I got out the map to take a look at where to go to next when a man and a woman walked by with two Shiba inus!!! It was quite strange and all three doges, mine and theirs were all excited and whatnot. Of the two Shibas they had one was a very nice female cinnamon color about 5 months old. The man told me he got her in Japan where he used to work. The other was a black and not tan but white. He was four month old and weight eighteen pounds and though the man claimed he was a Shiba I just don’t know. It looked like there was some sort of mix there. Finally they left to continue their walk and we got in the car and headed back up river our destination Olallie Lake in the alpine country of Mt. Adams. Back when I was ten years old our family camped there. I distinctly remember the sunset going down on Mt. Adams all pink and orange and big and lit up. I caught a fish there. Also a frog. It’s a story.
So we drove up through the small towns of White Salmon, Husum, BZ Corner, and Trout Lake right up to the base of Mt. Adams. It was rainy and cold and foggy and when we got to the lake it was all steaming and the mountain was not to be seen. In the morning it was clear and the mountain was out and we took a hike through hemlock and silver fir forest. Left came in the afternoon and drove all over the back roads and ended up on the Yakama Nation who are the protectors and overseers of the eastern half of Mt. Adams. We were on our way to Bird Creek Meadows but did not have a permit to enter Yakama Nation lands. We drove part way in just to say we left the country and drove out respecting out lack of a permit. So then off to Morrison Forest Camp that I had noted on the map.
We drove through some very fine old growth forest up the road to Morrison Forest Camp until we hit the Cascade Creek Fire burn of 2012. This was rather unexpected but I did see the big burn from the White Salmon valley and so I figured this must be it. That was Doge Camp 15 in the middle of a 20,000 acre burn and all I could think about was all the cool science that you could do out there in that burn. All the counting and measuring and plots and observations.
There was an old CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) shelter there the survived the fire, the USFS had installed new picnic tables, the bathroom were still functioning, there was a stream nearby. Morrison Forest Camp was one of the most interesting camps we’ve camped at. Apparently, as I’ve found out, the forest there was already under stress from a bark beetle infestation. The forest was mostly silver fir, high elevation, cold, deep snow in the winter, the mountain right in your face. I think the burn did some good but it is going to be sometime before it fully recovers. Almost all the trees are standing like burnt matches and I think that says the fire burned fast and was wind swept through the forest. I also understand the fire went out in October when it started to rain.
There are a lot of trails around up there. I think you could spend a lifetime walking them and still not walk them all.