oregon adventures

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Indian Heaven

Sunday Terri and Jim took me horseback riding through the Indian Heaven wilderness area in southern Washington. The weather forecast said it was supposed to be nice, but of course it was wrong. Got to an old trailhead by the road to Lone Butte and saddled up. I hadn't been on a horse since 1999 or so. I was on an 8 year old called Mister. Jim led us up an abandoned trail to Placid Lake. It was fun try to pick up the trail as it vanished and reappeared. It was easier to do from a horse because you could see ahead. Made it to Placid Lake and there was a large group and an older guy came over and asked about the trail. He said he was George Acker and had a lake in the wilderness named for him. I had to ask him what he did to get a lake named for him. He explained that he was a logger and had built most of the roads up around the area. Luckily they stopped before cutting Indian Heaven. He was 83 and still hiking and going strong. We took a trail that launched straight up the mountain and had to rest the horses periodically. It was nice climbing and not having to work hard at it. Got up to the Pacific Crest trail and took that to a junction and went to Clear Lake where we stopped to eat lunch.
By then it was sprinkling and pretty cold at 4900 feet. Ate an apple and gave the core to Mister, he seemed to like me better after that. Got back on and took the loop trail back to the Pacific Crest trail. It was muddy and the horses had to work to find good footing. Got to Junction Lake where three trails come together and took a fourth trail, the abandoned old Pacific Crest route. It took us through beautiful meadows to Acker Lake. Then we rejoined the new route of the Pacific Crest at Bear Lake and then took a newer trail back to Placid Lake that was longer but more gentle. By then we settled into a rhythm and the only sounds were the soft clop of hoofs, the creak of the saddle and the tinkling of a metal strap on Terri's horse. The woods and meadows were beautiful and so quiet. The whole trip we saw one couple backpacking with their dogs, that's it. When we almost back to the truck, I realized I had never ridden more than an hour (rental rides), this had been almost 6 hours. Legs felt a little sore, but I felt great. On the drive back to town, I conked out for awhile from the fresh air probably. Great day and a lot of fun- Thanks Terri and Jim!


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