Every time I go to a farmer’s market, I’ve felt really good about myself. Like, oh look at me, supporting local farms, I’m such a good person.
But there’s so much more to farming than you might expect when you’re searching for the most perfect carrots. Good farming requires years of knowledge, hard work, serious dedication and grit. I learned this when I volunteered on a farm in Oregon City, the summer of 2017.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned how to do in the past seven years it’s how to pack for a backpacking trip. I’m always packing that extra layer, thinking of everything, because I hate wishing I had something on the trail or forgetting something important. And yet that’s exactly what happened when I arrived at the Pole Creek trail head in Sisters, Oregon last weekend. I was all packed and ready to go, with the exception of one crucial item—boots. My boots were no where to be found. I swore I had them in my hand when I left, how could I forget something like boots? But it didn’t matter how much I swore, how much I repeated, “I put them right there!” They were not right there. They were no where. They were at home, three hours away, in our one room apartment. Luckily I had my Chacos. If I were to hike in anything else, it would be my Chacos.
The first eight miles of trail was a mix of flat and gentle ascent, consisting of soft dirt and sand. I was thankful for that. Beautiful surroundings of the North, Middle, and South Sister volcanoes. The trail came to an end at Camp Lake, where we’d spend a night. I wanted to sleep right next to the lake so we could watch the sun set and look up at the stars. Once our tent was up, we left everything but a water bottle and headed for the summit of Middle Sister.
Ten minutes on Interstate 84 East and the city is behind us. We ride along the crisp edge of the Columbia River Gorge, growing richer in color as the sun burns away the morning fog. A blue sky is the greatest gift on a Saturday morning. To my right are swelling hills of green, puckering up to the sun. Trees, relieved from winter rain, uncurl sulking spines and stretch their shoulders. Trickling down the hill crevices are gentle blue blades, shining rocks and lathering earth, evidence of snow coaxed by the sun.
Taylor and I cross the Bridge of the Gods and turn right, cruising another fourteen miles past fishing docks and crusty mountain towns.