String rows of foggy days between foggy nights and you get a seemingly unending monochromatic rope of undulating grays and murky black threatening to subdue even the most optimistic person.

There was a brief moment early this morning when the sun broke through and the fog and clouds looked to be thinning, scattering. Spirits rose at the enticement of even a partially sunny day only to be dashed minutes later as the fog rolled thickly back down the ridges.

For the majority of this month the firs and oaks beyond our back yard have stood as silent ghostly sentinels.
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If the weather forecast hadn’t been for a week of sunshine and temps in the high 50′s we could be handling it better. With all the fog we’ve had this month the tantalizing promise or warmth and sun made our spirits soar, only to be doused. Compared to what people are enduring in the mid-west and back east, weeks of unending fog really aren’t a hardship. Just depressing. Cold damp. Gloomy.

Gray days steeped in deep bone-chilling moisture aren’t exactly cheery.

Yesterday Ed saw an ad on Craigs List for some sawn maple for a decent price. Calling the number we discovered that he lived east of Portland  high in the Cascade foothills, a scant mile from the summer camp where Ed and I had met almost 37 years ago when he was the maintenance crew leader and I the assistant wrangler. The good price for the wood, the prospect of a beautiful drive along roads we used to traverse,  and the very real possibility that the drive would take us above the fog, soon had us headed to the land of blue sky and sunshine.

About 40 miles from home the road climbed out of the fog and we had a stunning glimpse of Mt Hood shining in majestic whiteness. (But no place to pull over before trees or hills obscured it.)

Past the town of Sandy the narrow county road stitched back and forth, down, down plunging back into the fog. Across the Sandy River foaming icy green from the mountain snow run-off, then hairpining up the other side onto a higher ridge, over the bench in glorious sun then plunging down into another river canyon also steeped in fog, white frost lining the road at high noon. Across an old bridge spanning smaller Bull Run river and the ancient power plant huddling in the gloom of the narrow fir crusted canyon, again winding, winding higher and higher, back into the sunshine..

One never knows quite what to expect on these types of jaunts to buy wood. Sometimes it’s a total bust, except for perhaps a pleasant drive. We spied the boards propped up against a car and our hearts soared at the sight, even if they weren’t quite as thick as mentioned in the listing. Ed had hopes the maple might be suitable for another Walking Wheel.

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The warmth, bright colors and sun were balm to our souls. We wanted to just stand, chatting to the amiable fellows and soak in the sun. Breathing deeply the rich scents of the soil, trees and moisture. To listen beyond the chatter and hear the vast silence that this area can produce. To the west the fog clouds hovered.

The fellow and his son have some very impressive bigleaf maple logs that they’ve been milling with an Alaskan chain saw.037

Ferns take root almost anywhere in this damp place, even on the sides of trees.
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Looking down a ravine beyond their pasture.

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We spied the log cabin tree house which they’d built that summer. There are two beds that fold down from the wall, a table and benches, a propane burner, lamp and shelves – quite cozy!

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Getting a good workout loading all the boards into our rig we were finally winding back down the hills to Sandy where I spied this sign. Of course we stopped and did a bit of shopping. :) I wish I’d been thinking and had gotten a picture of the proprietress, a very pleasant woman who’s run this yarn store for 10 years. If you’re ever driving through Sandy stop by and say hi to her and support her little business. It’s just off the main street heading West.

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The warmth and sunshine almost made us forget the conditions back home. Until we dipped further down the Cascades and back into the fog.

The shrouded museum at the end of our block.
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On a cheery note! The second take of the sweater for my grandson is nearing completion. I have high hopes of finishing it this week.

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