Monthly Archives: March 2019

An attempt on Saddle Mountain, 10-Mar-2019

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Sunday, 10-Mar-2019

 

Sarah had been mentioning that she really wanted to hike up Saddle Mountain for… ohh, roughly forever.  I honestly don’t know why I was against it initially, but for some reason I just wasn’t feeling it.  I’d suggested that she go on her own, but somehow it just never worked out.

Finally, I caved and planned out a trip for us on Sunday.  It didn’t quite go as planned.  It didn’t go poorly (for us, at least), but it… well, you’ll see.

 

We drove out fairly early in the morning, and hit the main road to the trailhead by 10:00, give or take.  We didn’t make it to the trailhead though, since we came across the first adventure of the day – a hybrid SUV stuck in a ditch!  Yes – the person driving had tried to be polite and pulled off  to the side of the road to let someone pass, and instead drove into a mud ditch.

Well, the Subaru wasn’t about to try pulling it out.  So we sat back and warned people to slow down.

The first truck couldn’t pull it out either, so they offered the driver a ride back to the road (and cellphone reception).

The second truck couldn’t pull it out either, though the driver did decide to stay, in the hopes that the second truck (a huge Lincoln) would be able to do it.

The third truck (actually a Mercedes jeep thing) couldn’t pull it out either.

In the end, it was a combination of the huge Lincoln and an old man in a beat up Subaru that got the SUV out.  Turns out, you need more than just a big truck… you also need to know where to attach the tow straps.  And when an older gentleman in a well-maintained, very old car drives up and tells you how to do it right?  That’s when you listen and learn.  The driver of the Lincoln did both, and so the SUV escaped and made its way back to civilization.

 

Then, we continued up the road; a convoy of new friends, bonds forged in mud.

Until the Mercedes lost traction.

And slid down half the mountain.

Into the Lincoln.

The Mercedes and Lincoln, stuck together, then slid further down the road.

 

We all then proceeded to help extricate the vehicles from each other, and then spent another hour or so helping the Lincoln turn around.  Then the Mercedes.  Then we gave up and went to the beach, because clearly the road was cursed.

The beach was fun.  We ran and played and frolicked and Ollie chased seagulls.  I ate ice cream.  It was good.  And we didn’t get stuck in mud, or ice, or anything.

Sunday, 24-Feb-2019 – Hiking to Angels Rest, Columbia River Gorge

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Sunday, 24-Feb-2019

 

Sarah and I have been having rather amazingly relaxing weekends – getting things done around the house, decompressing from the weeks, and trying to keep calm amid the swirling chaos of my new job and Sarah’s art fair deadlines.

For the most part, we’re doing well and staying sane.

But… it’s not easy, and sometimes what we need is an escape into the mountains.  Or, in this case, the cliffs of the gorge.

 

This weekend was kind of rough, starting out… we knew that we wanted to go on some sort of adventure, but couldn’t decide what to do or where to go.  The mountains of the Pacific Northwest had gotten hit pretty hard the previous week with snow, so all the major peaks were under avalanche warning – those weren’t an option.  Long drives were possible… but we honestly couldn’t see ourselves sitting in the car for four hours after the craziness of the week.

We ended up cutting ourselves some slack, and taking it easy: The Columbia River Gorge is right in our back yard, after all, so why not take advantage of that?  Especially when it’s being blanketed in a new coat of light snow!

 

We packed the night before, poured a thermos of coffee that morning, and drove in.

Honestly, there’s not much to say about the hike.  It was simple, it was beautiful, and it was easy.  It was, with all of those, exactly what we needed.  A chance to get into the woods, to feel the wind and the snow, and to enjoy the stillness of the winter air.  Or, the stillness of the air being broken by the sound of Ollie sprinting up and down the trail, loving every second of being able to play in the snow.

It was a good hike.

 

Sunday, 27-Jan-2019 – Cross Country Skiing at Pocket Creek, on Mt. Hood!

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Sunday, 27-Jan-2019

Pocket Creek trail.

Mount Hood.

Oregon.

United States of America.

This day and location shall live on in legend, as the first day that Ben and Sarah put on skiis after breaking their respective knees. The first time that they, either individually or together, faced the fear of re-injury and got back into something similar to a saddle. The first time, since each suffered through healing and recovery, that Sarah and Ben skiied up a mountain.

I mean, it’s sort of a mountain, right?

Okay, fine, we weren’t ON Mt. Hood. We were across the road, in the Mt. Hood national park. In a small, lightly graded snowpark.

Know what? Being safe is important, and discretion is the better part of valor, and live to fight another day, and fifteen different other idioms that mean we made a good decision and were safe, and had a great time with excellent views. And, just as important, the trail was dog friendly (but not snowmobile friendly), so Ollie could come along too, and help pull us up the steep bits.

We drove out, geared up, and headed in. Sarah had her alpine touring kit, complete with skins, and I had my cross country kit – complete with gifted skiis, consignment boots, and hiking poles. I’m still scared of skiing, okay? I don’t want to buy a nice kit before being confident that I’d be willing to ski again.  Both options worked, too!  Sarah’s was a bit more efficient, especially on the downhill parts (I took off my skiis and walked, after my first attempt as downhill cross country ended in white-knuckled terror), but both our setups were pleasant and carried us through.

There really isn’t that much more to say, to be honest.  It was fun, and we had a good time.  Look at the pretty pictures!