Monthly Archives: August 2021

A triumphant return to Elk Meadows!

Standard

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

Not all good views come from big trips

Standard

July , 2021


Most of my posts are about trips I’ve been on – beautiful landscapes, long drives, that sort of thing.

But sometimes, great views are closer to home. I try to stay active; some days that means going to the gym down the road, some days it means driving to the climbing gym, and other days it means just going for a walk in the nearby park.

These are some pictures from the last option – just random times, with nothing particularly special to make them stand out except that they’re pretty snippets of daily beauty.

A drive to Hobbits – A beach day

Standard

Saturday, 24-July-2021



I had a gloriously lazy weekend.

Had a gloriously lazy morning, too!


Around 3:00pm though, I started getting antsy and felt the need to go and get out of town. Kinda too late to do that, though, since I’d get back after midnight.

So, obviously, I jumped in the car and started driving out of town. Man, it’s a Saturday. Who cares it I get home after midnight??



My target was Hobbit Beach – I’d been there once or twice before, and the timing today was just right that I would be arriving a bit before sunset. I packed my book and some snacks, and planned on hanging out and watching / photographing the sun dipping below the horizon.

Of course, it was completely cloud-covered as I drove… but I’ve been around the block enough to know that if you don’t like the weather or conditions, then just wait 20min and it’ll change completely. Since I had a 3-hour drive ahead of me, I wasn’t particularly concerned about the weather – there’s no way it would be remotely similar once I arrived, so the best thing to do was just put the top down on the car, crank some music, and charge ahead toward the Pacific.


I was right, of course.



As I got closer and closer to the coast, the clouds thickened and the temperature dropped. It got darker, colder, and windier. I started considering ways to keep my dumb tee-shirt clad self warm; ways including wrapping my emergency blanket around me like a kilt, or using the self-heating ration pack in my trunk as a body warmer.

I mean, I could have stopped at a store for a sweater, or I could have given up, but… come on now. You know me better than that, right?



By the time I got to the trailhead, I’d already seen a massive shift in the conditions. It was warmer, the clouds had split to let the sun through, and any traces of traffic had been left far behind.

Don’t get me wrong – it wasn’t actually warm yet… it was warmer, but still conditions where I debated lugging along the nice fleece blanket that I keep in the trunk.

I didn’t, though, and instead kept my warm hat on my head and promised myself I’d move quickly. Holding to that promise found me on the beach lickity-split, gazing in wonder at the clouds scraping over the coastal peaks to catch the red light of the sunset.



The wind was intense, and I was definitely not a particularly cozy camper… but thankfully I ran into a bit of luck, meeting a family who were quite cozy around their beach campfire. I don’t know the exact legalese for having a bonfire on the coast, but I’ll fully admit to being quite happy when they welcomed me to their fire circle and chatted with me as I warmed up my hands and toes (since I was barefoot, as I’m pretty confident that it is illegal to wear shoes on the beach).


I explored, took photos, debated re-warming myself by the fire, decided against it, and then headed back to the car after the sun had dipped down and I couldn’t quite feel my fingers anymore.



It was an excellent escape from town… and I even made it back home within 30min of midnight, if I recall correctly. I’ll take it all as an absolute win.