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Monday, February 18, 2008

WILSON RIVER MYSTERY: Footbridge Trailhead

Some of my colleagues headed out to fish on the Wilson River last Saturday. I thought it might be a good photo opportunity and planned to meet them somewhere between Lee’s Camp and the Footbridge Trailhead, but I forgot how early fishermen like to get up on weekends and I’m pretty sure they had gutted and cleaned their fish before I was even conscious that morning.

It didn’t escape my attention that a trailhead implies access to a trail. Soon, I found myself exploring a short section of the Wilson River Trail.

View from the footbridge – looking downriver

The river flows pretty quickly around a corner and into a kind of narrow rock throat that results in a variety of flow ratio phenomena like whirlpools and eddies and something that almost looks like boiling water. Knowledgeable fisher-people say things like, “Yeah, there’s a good ole’ hole there.” It is sometimes difficult to determine when fisher-people transition from talking about fishing to talking about sex.

There were signs that the amount of water in the riverbed had recently been much higher.

The Wilson River Trail might more appropriately be called the High Coast Range Trail That Never Affords a Glimpse of the Wilson River Unless It’s the Middle of Winter and There Aren’t Any Leaves on the Trees.

Eventually, I left the trail in order to get close to the river.

The direct sunlight was surprisingly warm. I sat on a rock next to the water and opened a beer. I was content to watch an underwater snail travel an inch or two. Some people had to settle for NASCAR

Later I found a tiny diagonally flowing waterfall.

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil

I noticed a strange carving in a rock along the trail. I wondered what people had populated this land in earlier times.

Detailed image of rock carving.

It was cold in the shade, and here and there were the tell-tale signs of winter – patches of snow hiding from the sun. I weaved my way through the woods and underbrush and broke into a hidden clearing.

Detailed image of clearing.

I’ve seen some strange things on my hiking trips this past year – or at least thought I saw strange things (Naked Picasso comes to mind) – but I was hard pressed to come up with a theory that would explain the presence of a barbell loaded with 400 pounds of weight in the middle of an empty clearing…

…and a carrot lying amongst a handful of rocks.

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