Upon waking Saturday, even though the sun had yet to rise, we could feel that it was going to be a good day for a walk in the woods. We lingered at home until sunrise before putting on our flannels and fleece and settling into the car for the hour-long drive to Hood River. We love that town and often make the drive on the weekend just to have coffee and to see the changing colors and conditions in the Gorge along the way. It is, I think, the most beautiful stretch of the Columbia River Gorge, the stretch between Portland and Hood River. Mossy-green rock cliffs surrounded by firs cocooned in a light grey fog against a dark sky, the river a muted gray-teal dotted with whitecaps from the ever-present east wind, golden leaves twisting and falling from increasingly bare branches, all exhibiting my favorite hues and preferred mood this time of year.
After stopping for warm drinks + pastries in Hood River, we took the winding road out of town, past the orchards and farm stands with their twinkling strings of lights offering seasonal bounty, into the dark autumnal forest and soft mist of Mt. Hood. We pulled over at one of the many trailheads along the road and took a beautiful walk on a lonely trail that laid out with stunning perfection the gifts of this season. I've never been good at articulating my thoughts and feelings (I often wish I could just dance them out à la Twyla Tharp, or paintpaintpaint them out), but suffice it say that the experience of being out there - the views + the scents, the colors + the textures, the energy + the vibrations, the sounds + the silence - is alchemy + elixir.