Cathlamet — Skateboarding and so much more…

The fifth annual Cathlamet Downhill Corral skateboarding contest took place over 3 days in late August with my attendance on finals’ day. I went to Cathlamet the first time on 4th of July after moving to Longview, Washington and attempting to find Lake Sacajawea. I was told there would be fireworks and a lot of activities during the day. I turned the wrong way from the driveway of my apartment complex, which I soon realized. Since I was anxious to take a much-needed break from unpacking, I kept going having sufficient time before it would be dark enough for fireworks. I drove along the scenic Columbia River and followed the sign to Cathlamet (Cath-lam-et), 20 miles farther along, wanting a bit of rest and relaxation. Life on some days is good and possibly an adventure.

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When I arrived on the main street of this very small town, (approx. pop. 600 people), I visually took in a diner, massage salon, coffee shop and small grocery store. It was quiet and mostly shuttered, which wasn’t a surprise for the time of evening but it was the 4th of July. Everyone must have gone to Lake Sacajawea for the fireworks. As I continued on my drive, I saw a bridge that crossed the Columbia River and a sign that there was a ferry 3 miles ahead. Wow! How cool is that? I saw a woman walking across the bridge and decided I would come back and walk it another time and turned the car around and went back to the town.

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I was to find out, as I shopped in the grocery store, that there was a local farmer’s market. I put it in my memory for a return visit. This took place a few weeks later. I came back on a Sunday and the young woman who served me coffee told me the market was on Fridays. I had a cup of great coffee at the Tall Tree Cafe, and then walked the bridge inspired by the beauty and calm of nature. I looked forward to coming again to see what the farmer’s market had to offer, as I like to buy local.

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The small farmer’s market, known as Two Islands Farm Market, has locally grown produce, plants, and baked goods. After buying produce and a houseplant I got on the cable car on wheels, (original body is vintage San Francisco), and went to the marina where I got a latte at a freestanding coffee shack. The aroma and taste of fresh coffee and the delight of boats were a delicious combination. There is signage of the passage by Lewis and Clark through the water corridor that yields magnificent scenery where the marina exists.

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Sitting by the water eating a bowl of pasta was a gentleman who told me about how beautiful the area was and how much he enjoyed semi-retirement living on a boat.  This contemplative man told me about the upcoming skateboarder’s contest. It was a few weekends away and I planned on returning. I wanted to take pictures having been a skateboarder earlier in my life. I wasn’t disappointed.

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It was thrilling watching the young males (mostly) speed downhill toward town and hearing cheers from the expectant fans. A sharp left at the bottom of the hill and rounding the curve took those who stayed on their boards toward the water. But first it meant taking the ramp and getting air and, of course, there were crashes. It was exhilarating to be an observer photographing the action and capturing happy smiles. Come visit Cathlamet any time you want a dose of small town fun, adventure and travel rewards.

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Forest and Waterfalls

Forest and Waterfalls – a Natural Delight

Diva Livingston

November 30, 2012

The palest of winter skies reflected soothingly in her eyes and the woman’s introspective gaze altered as she stepped from the fertile forest into a clearing to continue on a well-worn foot path with its puddles and high ground littered with gravel. The northwest sky typical at this time of year was gray and heavy with clouds that moved ever so slightly. A breeze felt miles below caused the physically fit woman to look up in the event it darkened with the advance of rain. The pensive mood which occupied her wandering senses while among the magnificent trees changed to keen observation upon entering a meadow with its grasses and shrubs. Might there be plant material to gather?  A few days ago while reading a book about floral arrangements, her interest was piqued in the discovery of a Japanese designer who used only foliage, no flowers in his arrangements. This could be a possibility in all seasons then, she sagely mused.

A favorite season of this wayfinder was spring because of the newness of life that comes forth from the earth with a variety of colors, textures and shapes, and the pungent smells of nature. It was a playful time with scurrying and leaping of lively insects and furry creatures — a time of wonder. Whenever the adventuress was  alone in the forest or in other natural environments, she was attuned toward a contemplative mood more so than what seemed to be revealed in most people. Then again, the lone hiker determined with a smile, she wasn’t like most people. Most people wouldn’t notice the shade of green in grasses that changed with the seasons or the rocks that glistened in the stream but were not so vibrant once dried and lying on a sandy bank. The “not so pretty any more rocks” made fascinating miniature Stonehenge creations where balancing the stones was a fun, idyllic activity. The woman made them when she went out on walks and noticed that adults and children made them too. There must be something magical in the pensive ritual that keep people’s interest in doing such a task. Maybe this was the key – simplicity in a multi-task, time line driven, hurry-to-the-next-thing, and far too distracted world of automatrons.

Water saved the woman from being an automatron.  The magnificent waterfalls close to the Columbia River Gorge, where she had been living only a few months, were indeed salvation to her soul. Getting to them required a more invigorating walk but was entirely worth it. It was peaceful and an enjoyable realization to be removed from bustle of the city, even with its delightful activities, she readily determined. Renewed and with a creative mindset, she advanced with her camera toward the cascading waterfalls. Voluminous water pummeled over the peaks and bounced against the ground with fierce velocity invigorating her. It was almost unbelievable and incredibly fascinating to watch. This cost-free entertainment could be enjoyed by anyone willing to take a hike. With a trained eye for photography and composition, she moved her body — bending down and climbing up, to the left or the right — peering through the lens and wiping it dry, after a few seconds, as  the water lightly sprayed her face. This was what she loved — Aliveness! A superior moment brought by an adventurous walk and an open-minded attitude toward the possibility of all seasons having something to offer to those who sought joyousness in nature.

 

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Diva Livingston, Photographer – Oregon, USA

Watermark (#3 image) Photoshop enhancement  by Jon  Livingston

Please ask for use permission!