Sunday, August 31, 2014

North Fork of John Day River: Silver Butte day hike

Sunday, August 17, day hike on Silver Butte Trail 3025 - round trip 8 miles

HAPPY 60th BIRTHDAY to MARK!! Sure do love this guy.

It's Sunday so we decide to be like Moses and go "up to the mountain." The Silver Butte trail, just across the river from our campsite, beckons.

 Looking down across the river to our campsite.

It is a steep climb from the outset.

Steep climbs bring wonderful views!

It isn't long before we have climbed higher than the surrounding mountains.

Some places along the trail are almost like tunnels through the new growth of young firs and the underbrush. I am disappointed, a little. If this were mature growth we would have a better view.

We stop on a grassy knoll for our devotional. Mark teaches Sunday School at home, so he shares the weekly lesson. A little bird that says "tock tock" seems to be listening in, fluttering from branch to branch. Everything is so peaceful and quiet. Somehow it is easier to feel close to God's grandeur out here in this wilderness solitude.

After resting and sharing our thoughts, we head to the "top" of the Butte.

Actually, the trail still continues on. I explore it for a bit more while the group settles in for lunch, but it is obvious that I'm not coming to the end, so I turn back. Later, when I have the map in hand, I realize that the Silver Butte trail actually continues another 1-2 miles to Road 5225. 

No matter. We have hiked our 4 miles for today, and after a lunch rest we had back down to camp for a total of 8 miles on our day hike.

Birthday surprise! Ken notices something shiny on the hillside, about halfway back to camp.

It's a birthday balloon for Mark! We count as a tender mercy from a loving Heavenly Father who knows just where we are and what day it is…and arranged to have a balloon from some little girl's birthday party--who knows how long ago or how many hundreds of miles away--land on our hillside and wait for us to find it today as a special acknowledgement of Mark's milestone birthday.

Back in camp we relax and appreciate our beautiful Sabbath surroundings. 

After dinner, of course we have birthday cake…embellished with some of the local delicious huckleberries, naturally.

Then we head to bed. Tomorrow we will load our packs and head back down the North Fork trail.

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