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Further defenestrations: the return Big Cascadian Trip thru Spokes & Crapalachia

South Sister & Green Lake

South Sister & Green lake

Dear Internet,                                                     Klamath Falls—Aug 8-9, 2013

After dipping counter-clockwise into Norcal (left/coastal side of loop below, covered in last post), headed back up thrU the middle of Oregon to complete the circle. Both in driving, running & walking we prefer routes that form a loop or circuit ... not elegant to have to retrace your steps backwards ...

Oregon trip

completing the circuit

... some 1600 miles or so altogether ... all on about 30 gallons of gas (thanks to our Prius). Impossible to find a place in Crater Lake, so stayed at some lodgey place south ... on shores of Klamath Lake. Thankfully not so smoky, as they've had problems these last few weeks with forest fires ... drove to Crater Lake. Looked at it. Suppose it's something worthy of seeing ... but compared to say, Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe ... not all that. And way touristy. Walked up Garfield peak. Nice views, hardly any one on trail. Drove around lake, walked up Scott Peak ... so 'hiked' the two hardest hikes in Crater Lake & done by 1 p.m. & still itching to see/walk more.

Crater Lake

Crater lake

Drove up to Diamond Lake. Walked around the lakeshore some. Drove a different way back to Klamath Falls, ate in some 'family' Mexican place called El Palacio, which was indeed palatial, in a Scarface way.

diamon lake & Mt Thielsen

Mt Thielsen over Diamond Lake

Sunriver, OR—Aug 10

Back north along Klamath lake again  ... this time saw White Pelicans that eluded us yesterday. Through range-fed cattle country ... seemingly 'happy' cows ... back to the main road (after a bit of getting lost). Then back off to the Cascade Scenic Byway ... past a bunch of lakes ... walked along some river & saw some more White pelicans & a family of 5 river otters that were hissing & making noises at us ... first time for us seeing river otters in the wild (& it was good).

river otters

river otters


white pelicans

White pelicans

Stopped at a few more lakes, Elk Lake ... & Sparks Lake in particular very scenic. Went for a walk, up the Soda Creek trail along the base of Broken Top mountain & then down the Green Lakes trail (11.6 miles total).

broken top

Not a lot of other 'hikers' but some trail runners. Nothing we enjoy more than long, strenuous walks, preferably in Alpine-ish settings ... backcountry flâneuring. Where you just get into a groove ... trudging, sweating, breathing ... when you can feel your body & how it relates to the environment ... not just observing, but engaging ... even more pure than running.

South Sister over Sparks Lake

South Sister reflected in Sparks Lake


Sisters & Bachelor

South Sister & Broken top

Diverse landscapes, through forests, meadows & eventually to great views of South Sister ... though it was starting to cloud up. Could see the Middle Sister too, though couldn't quite see the 3rd Sister (of the Three Sisters ... each of which is over 10,000 feet). Hailed on us going down ... ate some & it tasted good. Then it turned to rain ... as j said: «as Johnny Rotten said: «no fun»». Thundering & grumbling. Soaked by the time we got to th the car.


river on the way down

Continued on to Sunriver which is like some manicured family resort with golf & swimming pools ... kids on bikes & parents wearing collared shirts tucked into khakis or cargo shorts. 'Comfortable' for the night ... if you can resist the urge to puke. And a fireplace (gas with fake plastic logs, of course) to dry our clothes.

Mt Hood, OR—Aug 11

Woke up Sunriver ... scones & coffee at McKay's Cottage in Bend (again, resisting the urge to puke on the clientele ... everything in Oregon so ... what? ... antiseptic ... white ... & don't get us started on the drivers ... ridiculously slow & law-abiding). Walked around Smith Rock some.

sisters smith

2 of the Sisters seen from Smith Rock


Smith Rock

Smith Rock


Smith River

Smith Rock & river

Continued on to Mt Hood. Stopped at Trillium lake. Even though we are originally from Oregon, most of the stuff we'd seen so far this inner half of trip thru central Oregon we were seeing for the first time ... Crater Lake, Three Sisters, Bend ... but Mt Hood we knew well ... many a day spent fishing at Trillium Lake when we was a kid. A little cloudy so the view not as great as normal.

Mt Hood

Mt Hood

Then up to Timberline Lodge ... which surprisingly we'd never been to before either (we always had season passes to Ski Bowl or Mount Hood Meadows). Timberline is where they filmed the external shots in The Shining ... been curious to see it ... but once seen we're not so impressed.

up on Mt Hood

further up on Mt Hood

Walked up steep scree to the glacier where people were skiing & snowboarding (one of the few if not only places in the U.S. where you can ski year round).


skiing mid-August at Timberline

Now staying in Welches, not too far from where we had a cabin growing up & used to spend almost every weekend. Had great Mexican food at El Burro Loco ... even little podunk towns on the west coast have cheap great Mexican food better than most anything in NYC.

Portland, OR—Aug 12

Drove around the backside of Mt. Hood north towards Hood River. Then drove along the Columbia back to Portland stopping here & there & Multnomah Falls.

horsetail falls

horsetail falls

Back in Portland went back to Powell's (still no sign of Sampsell) to pick up some plane reading & other small press titles that we've been meaning to get:

  • The Spokes by Miranda Mellis
  • Boycott by Vanessa Place
  • Crapalachia by Scott McClanahan
  • Asunder by Robert Lopez
  • Big American Road Trip by Christian Peet
  • Troublers by Rob Walsh

Went for a long run in Forest Park hills above Portland ... on various steep fire roads & the Leif Ericsson trail. Then ate at Salty's, overlooking the Columbia ... good stuff.

Portlandia to NYC (via SEAttle)—Aug 13

Free WIFI in PDX ... PDX to SEA on puddle-jumper, great views of Hood, Adams, St. Helens with its blown top & then the mighty Rainier ...

Mt Adams & St Helens

Mt St Helens & a distant Mt Adams


Mt Ranier

Mt Rainier

Read Big American Trip by Xtian Peet ... or should say re-read, though we read it originally in manuscript form ... came close to publishing it back 5 or so years ago ... fell through for regrettable reasons we can't remember, maybe because we were about to move to Africa & didn't want to commit or maybe because we felt too close to Peet & the book. Like us, Peet is a transplant from the Pacific Northwest ... somewhere in northern Washington, probably within sight of the above Mt Rainier. His trippy trip starts in Washington & ends in Brooklyn, so seemed apt enough. Selah Saterstrom captures it better than we ever could in her blurb (which perhaps in turn quotes from the recently read Traveling With Derrida):

«The complexities of alienation hybridize the mouth, double the tongue. Derrida writes, “What does a post card want to say to you? On what conditions is it possible? Its destination traverses you, you no longer know who you are…instead of reaching you it divides you…it leaves you, it gives you.” Christian Peet’s Big American Trip embodies the enigma of the postcard—writing that is at once private and public—and like all letters, these maintain a sense of internal drifting that requires us to question our own sense of identity and location. The logic of Peet’s syntax and juxtapositions gives us the poetry of the divided tongue: in the space between multiple languages, we are invited to trespass our own borders that we might hear (and learn to speak) radical loss. A whole new spin on the classic postcard message: “wish you were here,” Big American Trip is a remarkable, necessary book….”»

home sweet home

home sweet home & some of what we picked up along the way

Then we read The Spokes by Miranda Mellis ... another we've been meaning to get, if anything to have in our library. Mellis herself offered to give us a copy last year, but we were traveling homeless & didn't want to carry around the hardback to far reaches of the world, though we did then receive a copy of None of This is Real (a more wieldly paperback). The Spokes is another concise, elegant book ... & well packaged by Solid Objects ... & also a quick read (finished it before even getting to Seattle).

Then we turned to Crapalachia by Scott McClanahan, which was thick enough to sink our teeth for a cross-country flight (at least flying west to east with the jet stream) ... it seems most of the reading we do is cerebral, but this one sucker-punched us in the gut. McClanahan serves it straight up ... no metaphor, no stylization, no hipster irony or literary tricks ... he just tells it like it is ... from his experience growing up in West Virginia. He reveals the strange Deliverance backwardassness of it, but in a way that is endearing, not condescending ... in the vein of What's Eating Gilbert Grape. We look forward to reading more from him ... including Hill William which is due soon from Tyrant Books, if not already ...

And now, home sweet home, eating leftover trail mix for breakfast because there's nothing else to eat ... & hot off the press ... a few boxes of The Becoming just delivered ...

  >> NEXT: Priming the 4-cycle canonical engine of The Becoming: a primer for the perplexed (& disgusted)

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