Hood River, Oregon is kind of like Eden. The land is lush with orchards, Mt. Hood peaking as a backdrop and smells of fruit permeate the air around you. We watched coastal Oregon fade away in our rear view mirrors and started making our way east. There was a brief stop in Portland to catch up over sushi and a hike with a former Ashland friend and then on-wards. We had been to Hood River once before and I had always wanted to return.
Unlike our time previous when we had stayed in a posh vacation house, we were planning to camp. It took us awhile to find the most idyllic spot, passing over a crowded campground on a lake, but when we did it was worth it. Not an official campsite but you can get just about anywhere with the right vehicle! Up the mountain we rode, finding a little dirt path off-shoot that we could get the truck up. The view was perfect. Mt. Hood looming over our site as if to keep a watchful eye over us. As the sun set, the colors on the mountain shifted from a striking white to glorious pink and then to a softening shade of purple.
Camp was set up and it was time to relax. Or so we thought. As we prepared our meal for the evening and kept the fire ablaze, we kept hearing a strange sounds coming from the dark, night capped forest. It starts out as one of those things where you are not sure if you are just hearing things or not. A sound echoes and you pause to listen. Nothing. Then it comes again. And you do the same. Finally, you do hear it (and fortunately the husband heard it too!) and realize you are not crazy and there is something actually there. We never actually saw anything but it was still a bit nerve racking. I was assured that it was not a bear or mountain lion sound so that helped a bit but nevertheless kept a large stick and hatchet nearby. The husband was pretty sure it was a couple of deer or elk communicating across our campsite. I felt the need to apologize for getting between their conversation.
After surviving the night of eerie sounds, we packed it up and drove back down the mountain to check out a fruit stand we had visited once before. The Draper Girls Country Farm is a charming little spot where during this time of year, you can pick your own strawberries. After perusing the antique shop and purchasing 2 amazingly delicious homemade mini pies and a bag of the sweetest rainier cherries, we strolled our way back to the strawberry patch. Even just standing in the middle of the patch, you could smell the sweet fragrance of the strawberries in the air. We filled up our pint and decided to spend some time lounging in the gardens, swing from the tree swing and eat one of those amazing pies. It was a picture perfect day and one that will remain in my memory for years to come.