Thursday, February 7, 2008
The Trail to the Edge of the World....
It is mid-May, 10 days before my 49th birthday, and I am driving on Oregon Highway 97 south, on the sunny side of the Cascades east of Bend. I am in the high desert area at the northern limit of the Great Basin region of the American West. It is sunny and cool this time of year with the sky clear and the bright light of blue you can only see at these higher elevations.
I can see the white mariposa lilies, the violet lupines and the yellow monkey flowers which dot the side of the roadway as I drive by. I haven’t seen any of the red Indian paintbrush yet, it may be too early for them. I decide to pass by the turnoff for Crater Lake. The high country is still snowed in, so I change my route and continue on to Klamath Falls through the aspen forest of the Deschutes National Forest.
I had spent the past weekend at a camp in the rain-forest at the foot of Mt Hood. At lunchtime on Saturday, the sun broke through the clouds briefly, just enough for me to walk through the moss-covered trees that hung over the river that ran through the camp. Other than that one hour break, I spent most of my time indoors due to the almost constant rain.
But I found myself still longing for the sun, so I chose this route in the hopes of getting warm and dry again.
I had stopped earlier in the day at the Warm Springs Reservation, and enjoyed the sagebrush, scrub, juniper and rock landscape that has become so familiar to me after more than 20 years in the Western United States. The Warm Springs Reservation spans over 600,000 acres and is home to the Wasco, Pauite and Warm Springs Tribes. It gave me a comforting feeling to get out of the car and stretch my legs and walk the land of dry rocks among the the spring waters on the Reservation of the Confederated Tribes.
I felt a connection to the tribal ancestors, which gave me some of the courage I needed to begin the journey to approach mine. In this medium, I am going to try to share what I have found, how I found it and some of what it has meant to me along the way.
I am hoping my family may be interested in having this record preserved. If not, at least I will have this for me and my readers, and that is enough.