Some family time, over a weekend in August

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19 through 23-Aug, 2021


My Mom came to visit!!!

In previous years, before COVID, She’d come to visit most Februarys, after finishing her conference… but it’s been a while since that’s been possible, and these last years have put a pretty large damper on how often we can see each other.

But this year! This year, COVID had calmed down just enough to make it possible! Granted, it was starting to swing upward again… but we had the window, travel was safe, we took all precautions we could, and we finally got to visit!



It was beautifully low-key. We did a ton of fun stuff, but also made a point to take the evenings quiet – It’s been so long since I’ve been able to just sit on the couch and read, or lay back and watch a movie with family… I’m getting misty eyed just thinking about it!

So what did we do, you may ask? Well, without going too poetic on this, since it’s kind of late tonight…

She arrived on a Thursday – I was able to take some time off work, but did have to run back into the office in the afternoon again… thankfully though, it was a quiet day, and I was able to head back early enough that we could make a lovely fun dinner of bucatini, asparagus, and sopressata. With Burrata, on top, obviously.



Friday, we took a quiet morning and then drove up to Mt Hood to have a simply amazing lunch at the Timberline Lodge. Then we did a bit of hiking around, before heading back into town and having a nice quiet evening. With ice cream, obviously.



Saturday, we visited a coworker of mine’s farm! He raises Alpacas, among other critters, and one of the Alpacas had just given birth – Something I rightly guessed that my Mom might enjoy. The Alpacas were so fluffy!! Then more home, relaxing, and anotehr amazing dinner – this time, salmon Cesar salad!



Sunday was, unfortunately, our last full day. Sad face! But we made good use of it – a full eggs-benedict breakfast, followed by some lovely walking around town, and… more ice cream! Reading, relaxing, and sitting out and enjoying the changing seasons… we’re not cold in Oregon, by any means, but we’re a heck of a lot cooler than we were back in July with those 117° days!



Monday came along far too quickly, if you ask me… but it arrived just as you’d expect it to. An early morning breakfast, a drive to the airport, and the whirlwind was over.



It was lovely, and a good reminder of what I’m missing in my life… visiting with friends in Boston earlier in the year reminded me, and this just reinforces that feeling. I’ve enjoyed Oregon, but I’m very much missing family as well…

A triumphant return to Elk Meadows!

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Friday and Saturday, 06 & 07-August, 2021


Seriously. Elk Meadows, man.

So good.

You don’t even know. Anytime I need to escape the city, but don’t quite have the energy to do some big backpacking trip?

Elk.
Meadows.


That’s what I did, the first weekend of August. If that part wasn’t obvious. Woke up, had a relaxing day, and then tossed my gear in the car to cruise up the highway and over to Mt. Hood.

The drive was exactly like it always is – traffic and chaos until I finally leave the city behind… then a few towns, one specific intersection where someone always tries to cut into traffic by screaming and ramming the person in front of them, and then some clear highway until I can start seeing the mountain.

The clouds stayed around for most of the drive out, but I wasn’t particularly worried – I’ve done this drive often enough to know that the clouds like the morning… one of the really cool things about Mt. Hood is that it’s tall enough to actually slice through a lot of the clouds coming in from the coast – which means that the Eastern aspect is usually cloud-free, or just has some interesting cloud formations left over by the evening.

You know… the aspect with Elk Meadows on it?

Yup. Keeps coming back, doesn’t it?




Anyways. It was great. A few cool things happened, too!

But before I dive into those… Enjoy a video of a literally babbling brook that I ran across!



I saved a teenager’s life! Or… well, he said that I “literally saved his life”, but I was a teenage boy, and I’m pretty sure he’s still learning what literally means. Or maybe not – what happened was that, as I was hiking in, I passed a group. Then, about 2min later, I saw a brand-new iPhone sitting on the side of the trail by a nice sitting log… The story was pretty clear, in my mind, so I quickly dropped my pack and started jogging back up the trail to try and catch up with the group I’d just passed.

My hunch was right, once I caught up with them – and I earned the aforementioned accolade of life-saving.

However, one downside was that I got overtaken by another group of backpackers… I was worried that it’d mean that I’d lose out on my favorite campsite, but… lo and behold, when I got there the site was still happy and open for me to flop down and stretch out. Yay, Karma!



The other cool thing was that I met the second Kirby of my life! Strange thing, I know, but… you know, it was just interesting enough that I feel like it’s worth noting. I’d never met anyone named Kirby before, so… kinda neat.

After setting up camp, there was still quite a bit of daylight left. I headed out for a bit of a pre-dinner walk, and ran into the team that had passed me on the trail while I was returning the phone. I told them the story, we laughed, chatted, and I played fetch with their dog for a few minutes. Nothing major, just… nice, you know?



Ohh! And a third thing happened! I’d lent my tent to my friend Laurel a week or five previously, and this was the first time I’d taken it out since getting it back from her. She hid a tiny hand in it. Hah!



Anyways. The rest of the trip went absolutely beautifully. Relaxed, chill, and pleasant.

I like this meadow.

LATE EDIT:

I just remembered! On the drive home, I got to meet a thru-hiker! Or… mostly thru? He was an older gentleman, coming up from the Oregon / California border with his pet chihuahua, looking for a ride over to Government Camp.

Yes, you read that right. A tiny one-pound dog, hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.

It was amazing.


Added 04-Sept-2021