Before readers jump to the conclusion that the bnb has transitioned away from Distant Outpost on the River/Lodging Under the Trees — and I wouldn’t fault you for thinking it — I want to move beyond the recent shaking of the family tree and nudge everyone back toward the muffins, the hot tub, the trails, mushrooms, and, well, the muffins. Be assured I haven’t become a clearing house for ancient moms and wayward dogs (though that could be a business model to consider). There’s still plenty of action in Hiouchi, day and night. Uh, mostly days.
Here’s today’s report. After a week of heavy rains and high river, the Smith is now calm, almost swimmable. The steelhead are running and the trees have received rain enough to satisfy their endless thirst. Oddly for February, temperatures have been high, in the 70s. Unseasonably warm. As a result, though, the trails are in superb shape for hiking. The leaves and needles are still a shimmery green, yet the trails are packed solid, with no standing water to impede one’s gait (though take care care on those always-muddy stretches of the Damnation Creek Trail). With these dry days now the norm, I have my sights set on walking the 11-mile James Irvine-Miner’s Ridge-Fern Canyon loop before long. We’ll see.
With the madre back in San Francisco, I’ve been busy at the bnb with guests of a spontaneous nature. This is typical of the winter crowd. The call for rooms comes just a few days ahead of a stay, not the months and months ahead like summer. The stories from the wayward are still music to my ears.
As we all do, I have my family saga that hangs, albatross like, around my being. It surfaces in unpredictable, sometimes satisfying, ways. But in the end, it is this steady stream of strangers that saves me.
Urban architecture is all about style and function, yes? Architects Jeanette and Ras, and colleague Michelle (and J&R’s two kids Charlie and My, to the right) were on a massive drive from LA to Portland. A 10-day odyssey of work and pleasure. I loved the way they integrated both, including a business colleague and their kids in what most would have considered an either/or trip. I think one of their mantras, loosely translated, might be make it work.
Hey Charlie and My! How do you like Molly?
I look at this shot and think, no, I don’t rent rooms to high schoolers. Too young, too young. If I told you the birthday Daren was celebrating, though, you’d never believe it. Brian and the birthday girl did party like teenagers tho! An arrival after midnight was no impediment to the three of us sharing a bottle of wine (Meg was well into her REMs). The fun continued.
Bill and Elaine returned for a second visit last week. Hot on the trail of steelhead, Elaine and Bill each caught one (though neither were hatchery fish so had to be released). But there was plenty to eat as they’d come bearing gifts – a massive stalk of brussels sprout (looking like something from a sci-fi film) and a big box of grapefruit. All organic. We supped, we drank, we talked into the night. They made the bnb feel like a summer camp for adults!
Sue and Sandy were up from the coast, just to the south. A mellow couple with their hands in the healing arts (a generalization, but on point). Overlap enough to spur conversation, a massive photostream session, and that sure-fire link that unites so many, a love of dogs.
Son and father, Michael and Camille. No, I didn’t pay them to offer up those big smiles. Just content with life and each other I guess. Dad works in the world of fisheries. Michael had more techie leanings. We accept all kinds at the bnb!
Peter and Laurie continued the almost bullet-proof tradition of the civilized Canadians down for a romp in the lower forty-eight. Late-ish arrivals and in for just one night, they still exuded enough positive energy to remain memorable.
Pat and Steve left one of the epic lines in my bnb guest book. “Homeless and happy” they wrote. On a major road trip with fruit orchards, subway commutes, and million-mile flier awards now in their rear view mirror, they’d worked hard and smart and were now taking their time. We were among their first stops on a massive cross-country, two-year trip. Don’t know where you are tonight, crew, but we’ll leave a light on in Hiouchi.
East coasters Morgan and Josh were on a trial run up and down the west coast. High strung New Yorkers? With furrowed brows, premature crow’s feet, and high-powered Under Armour Ts? I’m a reformed Brooklynite myself and I cast my vote as I think they’d fit right in. I hope they opt for an about face that lands them somewhere nearby. I think they have a chance.