Spring has come to the Willamette Valley. I know this because yesterday the sun came out in all its majesty and highlighted the work it has been doing while we weren’t paying attention.
In celebration of the sunshine, I threw a couple peanut butter & black raspberry rollups and a blanket in my old college backpack and headed up to the McDonald-Dunn forest. The idea was to hike to Dimple Hill and lay in the sun on the south-facing slope and immerse myself in a book. I started at the trailhead at Chip Ross Park, which incidentally is right behind my church. How many people have 11,250 acres of forested and trails behind their church?! The hike turned out to be about 7.5 miles roundtrip, so it took a little longer than i was expecting, but that’s okay. It was such a glorious day!
On the trail, I met a homeless man. He was carrying a milk jug, a pair of dirty white socks, and a backpack. He stopped to let me pass and warned me to be careful of cougars in the woods. “Just stay on the trail and you’ll be safe. There are cougars out here and they have big jaws (he demonstrates with his hands) and teeth about this long. But they won’t get you if you stay on the trail.” As if the trail itself has cougar-repellant properties. What a concept! I assured him I’d be safe.
Lying in the grass on top of Dimple Hill, you are afforded a bird’s-eye view of most of West Corvallis. With a telescope, I may have been able to make out my place in the sprawl of housing complexes marring the verdant valley. Through the trees to the east, I could make out the snow-capped peaks of the Three Sisters, one of which I may finally climb this summer if I put my mind to it.
I lay in the sun and being the nerd that I am, read a textbook on biotechnology. Did you know that there exists a tool called a Gene Gun? It is used by scientists to introduce new genes into cells. Essentially it blows holes in the cells with little gene-bullets, and then the genes are free to make themselves at home. Fascinating concept, isn’t it? I love science.
I am very much looking forward to the predicted summertime weather this weekend. 80 degrees, ya’ll. So glad winter is over.