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Ponytail FallsIt only takes an hour's drive from the heart of Portland to reach a scenic spot by a wild river. Just east of Portland metro, pure icy waters rush down through rugged drainages from Ht. Hood and surrounding Cascade ranges.

With just a tank of gas and a picnic basket, Portlanders are priviledged to have Easy Access Serenity by the banks of a scenic river or creek in Mt Hood National Forest.

Spend the day listening to the rushing, bubbling water. Notice the dragonflies, butterflies and native bees. Discover trilliums. Pick huckleberries.

About Mt Hood Wilderness

All photos © property of Maggie Volk Presentation Graphics
PonyTail Falls, Columbia River Gorge

Favorite Low Stress Day Trips to Mt Hood/Cascade Scenic Rivers

salmon riverSalmon-Huckleberry Wilderness. Southeast out of Sandy on HWY 26, drive 15 miles to the town of Zigzag, turn right (south) on FSD 2618. 4 miles to Green Canyon Campground. Hiking trail 742 begins here. Follow the path through old growth forests along the breathtaking tumble of the Salmon River and its tributaries. After a day of fresh air and exercise, on the way home back in town, you can look forward to great home style food served up at the Zigzag Cafe.
rafting on the clackamasClackamas River. Southeast out of Estacada, HWY 224. Campgrounds with names like Ripplebrook, Lazy Bend and Kingfisher. Many easy access swimming holes along the way. Take your blow-up rafts and tubes to shoot the riffles. One of the best places to be when those summer metro temps hit sizzle range.

bridge over Nohom CreekNohom Creek. The trailhead to Bagby Hot Springs. HWY 224 to 46. 63. 70. This crossing bridge begins Trail 544 along Hot Springs Fork. 1 1/2 miles of well maintained, enchanting path through old growth forests. Trail continues from hot springs into Bull of the Woods Wilderness.

Note! You will have to pay a "$5 per day" fee to allow parking almost anywhere in a National Forest. Or buy an annual National Forest Pass. Or risk getting a $100 ticket.

Spontaneous Art - Balanced River Rock Towers

rock sculpture tower

By the side of a river, build a rock tower sculpture as high as you can. Embellish with feathers, sticks or other found objects.
Why would someone do this?

Start with rocks as flat as you can find and as big as you can lift. Place one rock upon the other, building carefully to balance. As the tower gets to be several feet tall, you will have to set smaller and smaller rocks atop, to keep the tower from toppling. Do not rush the project. Look for the perfect stone for each new level. When you cannot place one more stone, it is finished. The smallest stones at the tip of your tower may sway with the river breezes. 

Longevity and circumstances are variable, but obviously, these sculptures do not last forever. Humans, animals, wind or water will eventually knock them down.

I had been working on building a rock tower sculpture for quite some time, lazily enjoying the sunshine and meandering about the river's edge. My vision cast about the boulders at my feet, searching, searching for the most suitable "next" stone for my construction project. Then I noticed a delicate little spider several yards away scrambling over the rocks in my direction. It steadfastly made it's way and marched right up to the base of my rock tower and stood looking up at it, as if to contemplate the nature of it. The spider turned this way and that, looked all around, at the left side of the tower, at the right side of the tower, and up at me. Then it climbed the tower. It went slowly round and up, carefully exploring each new level of stone in the order, right to the top. The spider observed the view. Then it went back down and continued on its way. I stopped working on the tower for awhile to let the spider get far enough away to not be squished.

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