Cedar Pines: The Hike Up Gamble Run

Gamble Run is a small stream that washes down between two “mountains” and empties into Pine Creek. It flows on the southwest side of Cedar Pines, the family homestead.

Sunday I decided I’d to hike up Gamble Run Road, to the stream’s source in the Algerine Bog. I didn’t know how far it was to the Algerine, but thought it might be a couple of miles.

I left the Camp, taking a photo just before I turned the corner: Gamble Run hides under the bushes on the far right of the photo

The first part of the Gamble Run Road goes through a long stand of dark hemlock. It’s rather spooky and impossible to photograph, even if the sun is shining (which it wasn’t). A ways up the road, however, the view opens out: someone (the power company, the Forestry Department) clears out the trees and foliage, allowing sun to enter on the uphill side.

I was pretty excited to have reached this point, figuring that the Algerine swamp couldn’t be far away. The Algerines Hunting Camp, for which the swamp/bog and natural area is named, is a private camp in the middle of state forest land. The Algerines Camp keeps a big flat field cleared to land their planes. Or at least they did in the 1970s.  I wasn’t sure whether the Algerines’ camp still existed, and if it did, whether they had made way for Lear jets to land. But I could see on the map that  the Forestry Department had snagged  swamp and bog surrounding the private land, made a trail or two, and declared it open to the public.

So I was looking for a road off to the left, leading to the Algerine Swamp, Bog, and Camp, the headwaters of Gamble Run. I thought it should be right ahead. Right.

At some point I decided that, like running to catch a bus you think is just about to arrive, it was too late to stop. So I kept going, even as I thought that it was daft to do so. But even daftness can eventually seem beyond foolishness, so I photographed a big rock and went to turn around:

and bingo! There was the track I was looking for: “No Outlet” says the yellow sign; and the street sign meekly adds “Algerine Ln.” The latter tickled me; “lane” is altogether too suburban for the pock-marked, rumble-rocked, mud-hole infested track through the forest that led to the Algerines.

(This is an old sign pointing to the hunting camp; I couldn’t resist enjoying the way the forest is enveloping the sign. The owlish face is the tree slurping up the sign.)

I trundled up Algerine Lane as far as the camp gates, which were wide open. I took a photo of the gate and the boggy space; headwater territory is not exactly scenic.

The other side of the gate spelled out “gerines” and has a “no trespassing sign” on it. Nearby, on public land, is the trail head for a couple of different trails that I thought about following and then thought the better of. I remember Mike’s story about his friend who got lost hunting; in a swamp there’s no stream to follow to get out of the woods.

The way down was like the way up, only a bit prettier.

A flock of turkeys divided itself in half and flew up the road ahead of me. I admired their dueling flights and was thinking about their squawks when one remaining turkey, about ten feet away,  flew straight up in the air. I too went straight up in the air. Those suckers are huge when they spread their wings, and they make a lot of noise when they take off. I didn’t get a photo from my mid-air perch, but I also didn’t have a heart attack. I thought I might.

The dark space that the road dives into is the beginning of the hemlock grove. On the way up, I was happy to put it behind me. On the way down, I was delighted to see it again. The road seemed to have gotten steeper as I traveled it and my knees seemed to have gotten whinier as I came down.

But all was good in the end. Here’s the photo I took as I emerged from the Hemlocks and spotted home:

Still there, awaiting my return.  I’m counting this as a 6 mile hike, although it’s been stated as 5.8 round trip. The steepness gave me the extra 2/10ths:-)    –June

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17 Responses to Cedar Pines: The Hike Up Gamble Run

  1. Tani says:

    You should paint the last photo . . . I, like Kathy, have difficulty seeing camp as being so wide open. The front porch is supposed to be cool on any hot day . . . and how in the world can anyone play horseshoes when there is actual grass in the front yard. It’s supposed to be covered with pine needles, dirt, and knarled tree roots . . . you see, none of us like change!

    I love the photo of you sitting on the stone fence. That was my favorite reading place as a child . . . the place I’d go when my parents yelled at me to “get my nose out of a book and go play” . . . I’d simply walk out front, climb on the fence, and continue delving into wonderful stories!


    • june says:

      Tani, oddly enough, I did paint something (12 x 24″ — very horizontal) just like that last one. It was a little closer — from the Camp Cedar Pines Monument on the other side of the road. But it takes in the whole of the place.

      And another oddity (perhaps): I really loved the new openness of the place. But I don’t have the child’s memories to fall back on — I was an adult with a small child by the time my parents bought and moved in. The mountains are what got _me_. And the people.


  2. Jean de Maiffe says:

    I wish I had been there with you – me and my pony, that is. There is no way I can even imagine walking six miles these days. But then you always have been a caution, starting with that first marathon at age 50.


    • june says:

      Jean, I’m a bit late with these comments, but I have to –snort– a bit at your comment that I’ve “always been a caution…”. Somehow my mind runs to cautionary tales, stories in which the foolish heroine gets eaten by the bear because she doesn’t cook dinner properly (here you can add the other –snort–).


  3. A woman after my own heart. You explore and hike the way I do – just one more bend…And I would truly enjoy this hike, those beautiful woods. But I don’t know about the 6 miles – that sounds like a lot!


  4. Lia says:

    What a beautiful hike! I love the “tree slurping up the sign”… both the image and the phrase.


  5. Diane says:

    A heartfelt look at the fall. I’m so glad i got to see it and hear the past, present and future unfold through your eyes. I just am so amazed at your new hip’s stamina! Maybe it’s not too late to get one of those overpriced medical companies to sponsor part of the trip! 🙂


    • june says:

      Hey, Diane, I love this idea (of getting a medical company to sponsor the trip). But I fear it might be a bit late. I think I’ll check out my energizer bunny surgeon, to see if he’s interested –snort–


  6. Kathy says:

    Funny, I always liked the Hemlock tunnel. I STILL can’t get used to ‘seeing’ camp. My little pea brain still ‘sees’ camp with all the trees in front of it. You have beautiful photos for reference once you get back to Portland. Fantastic walk, thanks for taking me along.


    • june says:

      Kathy, you and Tani, seeing camp with all the trees. You both probably had more exposure to it than I did. But you are certainly right about the reference photos. I’m trying to process them, a few at a time. And at this rate I’ll be 120 before they are labeled and filed:-)


  7. Olga says:

    What wondrous environs you are in, and how marvellous that you can combine your current experiences with history and anecdote – alone, but one of several. I also think that you are a great advertisement for new hips!


    • june says:

      Thanks, Olga, for continuing to stay with me on this journey. It’s been great to have company — and yes, I’m a few blogs behind in my responses — somewhere along the way I lost this entire set of comments. I was probably looking at Cezanne at the new Barnes museum or some such:-)


  8. Kristin McNamara Freeman says:

    Oh my goodness June….whew…what a hike you just took me on with you. Wonder if a glass of OJ and a short rest will renew me. The beauty of the fall colors, the overarching forest as the “road” was traveled all came together to make the hike a magnificent experience.; and the wild turkeys, well they would’ve had me rushing to find a great place to pee….they are truly large and a group of them, whew!.
    This nice long journey to another of your memory places has truly been enjoyed by me. Thanks for letting me come along. It will be hard to say goodbye to such lovely sights, stories and words… and soon I will be riding on the train with you…..and as you travel across the High Line in Montana looking at the landscape of Ivan Doig’s many wonderful novels perhaps there will be a picture or two or three saved for putting on canvas when you are home in Portland.
    What a great addition to my summer this travel adventure has been.


    • june says:

      Hi Kristin, I’m slow to respond to this particular blog, but just wanted to reiterate that having you along has been great. I know of but haven’t read Ivan Doig’s novels, but Montana is one of my favorite states. I have lots of photos from the lower part of the state, where we auto-ed, but nothing I took from the High Line on Amtrak came out except the one I posted a couple of days ago. I will just have to go back. I am thinking with some longing of the Little Big Horn Battlefield; they don’t have a residency, but there’s a sort of tourist “camp” where we might be able to stay….

      Thanks again for sticking it out.


  9. Carla Preston says:

    Thanks for telling of your walk(?). What a beautiful, tranquil spot this place is. The photos are excellent and make me ache to get up that way.


    • june says:

      Carla, I hope you can get to the PA Grand Canyon and its environs. It’s one of those low-key places in the world that don’t get much attention (thank heavens!). But it’s beautiful. Of course, I have my own memories and history to carry me through it, and that always tints the landscape. But I found that while people and places changed, the space — the mountains, the ravines, the waterways — did not. Or if they did, it was for the better.


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