Friday and Saturday, 14-April-2023 and 15-April-2023
It’s been a hot minute since I went backpacking… and an even hotter minute since I’ve been backpacking with someone!
This weekend, I’d be taking Jess on her first snow backpacking experience – so I went with the basics, and we headed up to the White River Glacier to hopefully take advantage of the campsite that I’d tamped down back in… January? Okay, yeah there’s no way that campsite is still prepared.
Ahh well – it’d just make it more of a learning experience, right? Right. Right!
We got a nice Pine State biscuits breakfast, and headed into the woods. Snow. Onto the Glacier.
As always, it was beautiful.
As always, there’s not much to say about walking. We snowshoed, it was fun, had a blast.
Got to camp, carved out a campsite, and settled in for a relaxing and cold evening… good books, good gin, and delicious cocoa!
Nothing really huge of note, though I was really happy with how the tent site came out!
Saturday dawned nice and clear, with a beautifully crisp and cold world around the campsite.
We had some coffee and tea, a good breakfast, and headed upward, toward the little overlook at the top of the glacier. It was lovely, with solid snow and great views of the Cascades down to the south – and some stellar clouds filtering the light around us!
We hiked upward, and descended back down. Packed up camp, and made the shortish walk back to the car… just in time to make the early dinner bell at the Timberline Lodge, and get to see the sunset from the restaurant!
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.
Holy crap… how is 2022 already done and gone? I feel like it just started… but also that it’s been going on for a lifetime? I can’t imaging that I was in BCEP a short seven months ago…
It’s intense, and impressive, how time seems so variable. It’s not healthy, undoubtedly, as I’ve repeatedly heard people echoing the sentiment of trauma that “A day lasts forever… but a week is gone before you realize”. The constant influx of “once in a generation” disasters, events, and improbable or impossible happenings… It wears on you, you know?
So let’s forget all that tomfoolery, and focus on the one small slice of life I really understand. My own.
Here’s a list of all the archetype galleries that I have saved from this year, in chronological order… followed by a single gallery of my favorite photos I’ve taken:
Hiking on the beach
Cross country skiing at Elk Meadows
Sunsets in Wilsonville
Making babyback ribs
Photos of a tree in Wilsonville
Walking around Wilsonville
An oyster dinner with coworkers (holy crap, this wasn’t even a year ago?!?!)
Camping at Smith Rock
Hiking up the White River Glacier
Walking around POrtland
Seeing a punk show in Portland
Hiking up near Timberline Lodge
Hiking and Stargazing near the coast (Wait, this was a year ago too??? I thought it was like… two years back!)
Fog in Wilsonville
BCEP! Hiking Story Burn
Wandering around Portland
BCEP! MMC Night
BCEP! King’s Mountain
BCEP! Horsethief Butte
BCEP! Land Nav at Mt. Tabor
BCEP! Hardy Ridge
BCEP! Snow School
Gardening, Pt. 2
Spring is springing in Wilsonville
Visiting Massachusetts – Rumney
Visiting Massachusetts – Rising Phoenix
Visiting Massachusetts – Flying, archery, and dinner
Hiking Elk Meadows again
Backpacking the White River Glacier
Skies and flowers
Backpacking Flapjack Lakes
Summer in Wilsonville
Wandering and paddling around Wilsonville
Elk Meadows on the 4th of July (Again with Elk Meadows? Jeeze, Ben!)