If you highlight the text, you will be able to read the margins. This may be the longest clue ever...
WARNING: As with many of my boxes, there are plenty of places to FALL on this trail. Have a care, especially with your children. In fact, think twice about taking kids. It would be an awesome experience for them, but they should be supervised and obey their guardians. 8-20-05 Note, I was on this trail today and it was more slippery than when it was wet, due to loose dirt and steepness. Take your time here and wear shoes with good traction.
A long, long time ago, in a place not far away, a fairy princess was exiled to the Pacific Northwest. Her wishes had a habit of coming true a little too often. The fairy world was only trying to protect itself. They were very sad to see her go. She found her magic was much weakened in this beautiful land, but she could still fly and she could see, maybe even better than the natives, the numerous spirits in the wood.
One day, as she soared past majestic white-topped Wyeast, tears filled her eyes, for she had no one to share the beautiful view with. She came to rest on a hill and watered some wildflowers with her sorrow. Just then Coyote came by and asked why she was so sad. “I am so homesick,” she admitted. “I wish I could see my old friends. If things were just a little more like home, maybe…”
Coyote said, “Maybe I can help. Look over there in that forest.” The fairy princess could not believe her eyes when she saw her three brothers, looking very confused. Behind them, looking very angry, was her old wizard, Xabbos.
“Lyrian, what have you done now?”
Lyrian ignored their confusion and anger and ran to each one, hugging them tightly. She showed them her beautiful mountain, the emerald forests and happy little rivers sparkling through.
“This is quite a land you have here,” said Xabbos. “But magic here is weak. I have been looking for the way home, and cannot find it.”
“Is this place so bad? Make your home here. I am friends with the people, and can best any of the creatures that roam these woods.”
“It seems I may have no choice,” muttered Xabbos as he retreated deep into the earth to build his strength. Lyrian gathered her brothers and showed them where the huckleberries grew and where the shiny fish played in the stream. As she gave them the tour, more and more fairies and gnomes appeared. In three days, nearly everyone she knew had shown up.
When Xabbos returned he shook his head at the crowd that had gathered. Already they were roasting fish and brewing blackberry wine. “I have made my powers as great as they can be in this realm, and still, I cannot see the way home. This will be our home now. I will build a mighty castle in which we all can live.”
The native peoples never minded the fairy folk living high on the hill. They were peaceful and sometimes had very interesting things to trade, though they knew not why they cherished their stone lodges that could never be moved to better hunting grounds.
On the fifth day since her wish, a creature came across that made the Natives glad they could move their homes. And the people did move their lodges far away when the dragon flew over from the fairy realm.
The fairies were glad of their mighty castle to keep them safe, but they were harassed every time they left the castle walls. One by one the fairies were finding they could not best this new beast roaming their wood. Each loss was devastating to Lyrian, for it was her wish that had brought them here, only to be dragon food!
Lyrian saw Coyote pass one day with his head hung low. He was lonesome for his people who had moved far away from the dragon. “You!” she shouted at Coyote. “This is all your fault!”
“Well, I don’t know what you’re complaining about. Now you have all your family here, but mine have moved away.”
“Better they move away than be chased by the dragon.”
“If you will be chased one more time, I think I can make it the last.” He magicked the far castle wall so it looked like the forest, then built a gate just big enough for a fairy to fly through. Lyrian agreed to his plan and let Coyote put some magic on her. She became stronger and faster and brave enough to fly out to meet the dragon. The dragon gave her a good chase. She could just barely stay ahead of his flames. But she knew the wood like the back of her hand and could spot the magic wall. She aimed herself at the gate and flew at top speed through it. The dragon followed but crashed into the wall, only his head coming through the small gate. Lyrian hoisted the waiting sword and lopped off the dragon’s head. It’s body dropped to the forest floor beyond the gate but it’s head lay, crying out a curse on the castle.
A hissing rain began to fall and the fairies watched in horror as the rain began to dissolve their beloved castle! Lyrian’s brothers made themselves as tall as they could and tried to shelter the castle, but the stinging rain melded them with the stone. And they stand in the same spot to this day, giant silhouettes of stone.
“Oh, what have you done now?” Xabbos rushed up and shrunk the head of the dragon and placed it in a box, which he buried deep in the earth. Then he took Lyrian’s hand. “I must stand watch over this dragon forever more. Its power is still great over here, even in death. You can help me every so often by coating the dragon’s head in fairy ink, but remember to close him back up well. My job shall be hard enough as it is. I must sit at the top of that wall over there. I shall be turned to stone as your brothers were, but I shall keep you safe.”
“I don’t know how much I like your help after all,” Lyrian cried to Coyote. But the fairy folk were saved, and she was often happy, sharing her forest with them, though they had to live rough, since the castle was little more than eroded stone now. Some, like Lyrian, have stayed in the area. Others have made their home in the deep forests. If you are very lucky, you may catch a glimpse of their humble homes. If you are a member of the lbpnw group, you can catch a glimpse at this web address: http://photos.groups.yahoo.com/group/lbpnw/lst?.dir=/Olympia&.src=gr&.order=&.view=t&.done=http%3a//briefcase.yahoo.com/
If you would like to help strengthen Xabbos’ spell, bring your magic ink to the Castle Canyon trailhead. Take Highway 26 to the town of Rhododendron in the foothills of Mt. Hood. At the Portland side of the Mt. Hood Food Store, turn east onto Littlebrook lane. Follow the brown signs that say Barlow Route. You will be making a left right away onto East Arlie Mitchell road. This road will parallel 26 for a while and then curve right. Turn left at the intersection of Henry Creek road. You will soon see a sign that warns of storm damage. If you drive all the way to the roadblock, you will have passed the trailhead on the right, by maybe an 1/8th of a mile. There is parking by the roadblock as well as some pullouts near the actual trailhead. Take care not to park in front of someone’s driveway.
The trail starts out with a gentle up hill, but soon you will be working to get up the incline. Be prepared to rise 800 ft in less than a mile. About the time you want to use your hands to help you climb, be on the lookout for the Sentinel Stone, where the guard of Castle Canyon once stood on his mighty stone block. Continue toiling up the hill, but keep your eyes out for the ruins of Castle Canyon. The three brothers stand tall to your left. Some people don’t remember the fairy days, or they surely wouldn’t scrawl graffiti like “1971” on one of the three brother’s coats. When you stand parallel with that graffitti, look to see the wizard high on the wall at 17 degress. The trail forks but either trail will take you to the same place. A few steps after the trails become one, the wizard is now at 0 degrees. If you have stopped here, you can see the gate where the dragon crashed through, at 93 degrees. His head is imprisoned at the base of a tree at 65 degrees. Another way to find the right tree is to look through the gate at the grassy meadow that grew where the dragon’s body fell. Then when you return, you will find the dragon’s prison is the first tree on the right.
A young tree has grown its roots around the large boulder of the jail. To the right is where the fairy princess first made her home, to help with the wizard’s watch. She has moved away recently, her grief finally becoming too much to bear. Help her by carefully drawing the dragon’s head from the left side of the stone. Some bark and rocks conceal a black pouch. Open the zipper and remove the dragon's prison.
You know what you must do. Be sure to lock him up tight when you put him back. The fairies will be safe for a while now. Good job. Continue up the trail for a bit for an incredible look out over the forest. Listen for your echo, and wonder if there will ever be any more letterboxes around this place. Happy trails.