Friday and Saturday, 20-Jan-2023 and 21-Jan-2023
Man… it’s been ages since I’ve gotten my tent up onto Mt. Hood! 2023 is nearly a month old, and so far… You know what? Let’s not be harsh on ourselves here, huh? I’ve been getting by. I’ve been decompressing, getting into the flow of the year, and spending quite a bit of good time in the gym.
I’m socializing, making plans, and getting projects done… but that “getting out into the cold” itch still needs to be scratched, doesn’t it? Yeah it does! And so Thursday evening saw me packing a bag, and Friday morning found me driving the well-travelled road up toward Mount Hood. I had a good breakfast in my belly (Pine State with a friend!), and a nice and easy plan for the weekend. The weather looked good, and road conditions seemed positive. So was I, with a lovely relaxing trip on the horizon.
The universe obliged.
Hiking in, the slopes were beautifully devoid of the howling mobs. The sky was blue, clear, and crisp. The temperature was cold… but soon enough I had my sleeves rolled up and my jacket wrapped around my waist. I wasn’t quite sweating, thankfully, but the combination of the sun and exercise were definitely doing their job at keeping me warm.
I made camp, did some quick setup to make sure I had space to carve a good shelf for my tent out of the snow covered hillside, and took a walk up the ridgeline of the glacier. I enjoyed the sunset, appreciated the cold, and let myself slowly expand out of the compressed form it’d taken over the last few weeks.
As Yoda tells Luke, “Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.” I can take that to heart… I’m realizing that I need time alone in the wild woods to let myself expand back outward. Time at work, time in the city, time in the gym… I enjoy all of them, but they shrink me down a bit in a way that only the open sky can rectify.
This trip did an amazing job of that rectification – As the sun set, and I finished carving my little campsite out of the slope, with snowshoe and ice axe, I felt good. I felt excellent!
I ate my dinner, read my book, and drifted off to sleep way earlier than I expected. Not a bad thing.
The next morning was beautiful and clear – though there were a few lenticular clouds hovering over the summit block of Mt. Hood, indicating the oncoming snow expected in the late morning.
I breakfasted, hiked around a bit, and enjoyed the last bits of cold as the day warmed up.
Packing and hiking out went quickly, and I was back at the car far earlier than I’d really expected… though the snow was definitely starting to fall in earnest. I’d put chains of the car before leaving, in case the snow was thicker than expected, and they definitely helped power over the packed snow and ice of the parking lot. But… I didn’t need them after that.
I felt a little silly, taking the chains off at the end of the parking lot… but hey. Better to have them on and not need them, versus having to battle through the snow to get them on if I had needed them, right?
Without chains, the drive home was quick. I didn’t have to stop, and I simply relaxed. I think I put some music on… but maybe not? I felt great, exceptionally thankful for an excellent evening in the snow.