Sunday morning almost always finds me in the Columbia Gorge, climbing one of my favorite trails to a summit where I can see the view spread out in front of me. It’s great exercise, and the peace and solitude are a great way to start the week.

Usually I get started at sunrise, because I like having the trail to myself. But a few Sundays ago I got a late start on a climb up to Indian Point. As I drove into the Herman Creek Campground, I was resigned to sharing the Nick Eaton Ridge trail with all the others who were out in this sunny morning.

But, what’s this? The entrance road is partially blocked and a sign says “Road Closed”.

There were no other cars around, but I decided to park my car at the park entrance and walk in to the trail head. Then my analytical nature switched on. WHY DOES IT SAY “CLOSED” WHEN IT’S ONLY PARTLY BLOCKED? I swung my trusty SUV around the barricade and drove up to the trail head. Here I found another hiker of like mind.

The campground was blocked off, but the parking at the trailhead was open. Good old Forest Service!

They shut down the camping, which takes the time and attention of a ranger, but left the trail open for us “take only pictures, leave only footprints” people.

Up the trail I went. And in a four hour round trip, I didn’t see a single person. My own private chunk of woods. At the summit, I took a minute to thank the guardian of the place. Then I scuttled down to the rock ridge at Indian Point. Along the way a haiku I’ve been working on fell into place.