Tag Archives: mt hood

Camping at Veda Lake 02 & 03 September, 2018

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Camping at Veda Lake 02 & 03 September, 2018

Sunday, 02-Sept-2018 through Monday, 03-Sept-2018

 

It’s labor day weekend, and we’re not planning on laboring particularly hard.  In fact, our goal is to basically labor not at all.  The car’s going to do the bulk of the laboring.
Specifically, we’re going backpacking!  Sarah’s first post-surgery backpacking trip!  Woo!
It’s a trial run, though, not a full-on trip.  More of a “see how our legs feel, and make sure all the gear still works” kind of trip, instead of a “let’s work ourselves and be exhausted by the end of it” sort of trip.
With that in mind, Sarah was careful about which hike to pick… and found what was absolutely the perfect destination for us: a place called Veda Lake.  It’s a small lake South of Mt. Hood, about a mile away from the trailhead.  The challenge, though, is getting to the trailhead itself – it’s 30min down an extremely rough road – rough enough that the trip reports all warned us that we’d need a tough vehicle and even tougher nerves to make it up.
Sunday
Thankfully, we’re tough cookies, and the Subaru is just as tough a car as we are cookies.  We made it up without any trouble, and found a beautifully empty parking lot waiting for us.  There were cars there, true, but not nearly as many as we’d seen on the drive in – and since it was labor day that was a rather major blessing for us.
The hike in?  It went quickly and easily.
I mean, come on.  It was barely over a mile – we’re out of shape, but thankfully not that far out of shape.  I’ve been working out a fair bit, and Sarah’s been doing a ton of PT, so the hike was pretty clean for us.  The only challenges arose from my backpack – this was the first time I’d taken it out for a real backpacking trip, and it’s definitely a bit different than the one I’ve gotten used to.  I… hesitate to admit to the sheer number of curses I uttered as I was packing it and trying to get it comfortable, but that’s how it goes with a new pack, right?
We walked in, past a few groups walking out, and even passing one going in!  Don’t let that fool you though, the only reason we were able to pass them was because they were a huge team – three humans, four dogs, and one kayak.  Not one of the light ones either… one of those heavy wal-mart kayaks.  They… they were making some life decisions that day.
Anyways, we ended up being thankful for that Kayak, because it slowed the other team down long enough for Sarah, Ollie and I to get one of the best campsites on the lake.  It wasn’t right on the water, but it had a nice fallen tree to eat dinner by, and enough room for us to set up the tent on perfectly level ground beautifully devoid of any roots or rocks.  It was lovely, and we had camp set up quickly enough that we were able to spend some time exploring the lake and playing around in the water before dinner.
One strange thing we found?  Spears.  As in, wooden sticks that had been sharpened, and stabbed into a dead tree in our campsite.  Not in a creepy way, though.  I know that description sounds “children of the forest hunting for your face-meat”, but it was more “some young kids sharpened sticks and threw them at a tree because it’s fun” sort of thing.  So clearly Sarah and I had a spear-throwing competition in the middle of the woods.  I can’t remember who won, but I can promise that Sarah and I both enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.
Dinner?  Simple stuff this time – just mountain house freeze-dried meals and some whiskey and tea.  It was a practice run, remember, so we wanted to go light and simple.  No back country cooking cuisine this time, I’m afraid.  But hey – that’s fine.  We enjoyed ourselves immensely!  Just being outside, watching the sun set and then watching the stars come out… it was beautiful, and an amazing chance to enjoy spending time with each other.
Evening
Random challenge that I didn’t expect to run into?  Getting Ollie to come to bed.  When we camp, Ollie usually runs right into the tent… but for some reason she was on full sentry-duty this time, insistent on guarding the campsite all evening.  She was good, and came when we called her, but she wasn’t super happy about it.  She’d even made a little nest for herself under one of the trees nearby, so that she could overlook the camp and keep watch… cute!
Monday
Monday dawned bright and early – it was perfect, and we were even able to wake up quietly and pleasantly, since Ollie was nicely tired from the day before and wasn’t quite into full spaz mode just yet.  Getting to bed early definitely helped too; we were up and mobile early, having breakfast and enjoying seeing the sun rising over the mountains around us.
Quick side note?  Starbucks instant lattes are delicious… when they’re fresh.  Turns out, they do go bad.  Not like “make you sick” bad, but… definitely less than optimal.
We played around in the lake a little bit, but honestly… it was cold, yo.  Veda Lake is in a depression, with pretty steep hills all around it, so we didn’t get any direct sunlight until we had already packed up and were heading out, sometime around 9:30 or 10:00.
We’d planned on staying most of the day; swimming and catching crawfish and enjoying the solitude of the lake, but that didn’t quite work… so instead we aimed to head back into town early and enjoy the chance to rest, relax, and make a fancy dinner.
Packing went well, hiking went well… the walk out was honestly really pleasant.  The sun had already risen, so it was that perfect kind of weather where it’s warm, but not hot quite yet.  Cool enough that we enjoyed the walking, but not so cold that we wanted to put jackets on.
Ollie, of course, loved the whole event – sprinting forward and backwards, jumping over logs, and sending out the kind of happy energy that makes you wish that you could just run screaming through the woods for hours at a time.  You know, like I did when I was younger and somehow even less sane than I currently am?  Yeah, just like that.
It was a good trip.
**Last side note: Ollie doesn’t like sitting up front at first.  She’s always cranky about coming up, instead of just hanging out in the back seat.  But the problem is that she gets bored in the back seat, and barks at everything that looks interesting as we drive.  Once we drag her into the front seat, she remembers how fun it is to stick your head out the window!**

A tale of two mountains – Mt Hood, and Mt. Adams. Wy’east and Klickitat.

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A tale of two mountains – Mt Hood, and Mt. Adams.  Wy’east and Klickitat.

Sunday, 29-July-2018

 

The mountains of Eastern Oregon/Washington are beautiful; giant peaks that seem to scrape the sky, rising up high above the land around them.  When I first moved to Hood River, I was continually reminded of The Hobbit and the Lonely Mountain, since Mt. Hood seems to soar alone along the horizon.

We’d been stuck in Portland for a while, and feeling pretty antsy to get moving and exploring.  While Sarah’s leg wasn’t quite up to a full hike along the mountain, and I wasn’t up for a summit attempt, we were feeling like visiting the mountains in some manner.  Our plan – drive out to the base of both, and visit Hood River to let Ollie run around her old stomping grounds as a rest between the two.

 

I’m happy to report that the plan went off without a hitch!  Our drive to Mt. Adams was a bit rockier than planned, but the rest of the adventure went beautifully!

The challenge with Adams was that we’d forgotten about a big forest fire that’d happened a few years back, and had closed off some of the roads around the base of the mountain.  Specifically, the road that we’d planned on taking up to a pretty lake above the foothills of the mountain… we drove up it, but then (not literally, thankfully) ran into a literal wall of construction equipment blocking the trail.  Turns out that they’re re-building the road after the fire, and don’t want people driving up through their work area.  So, to make sure people don’t sneak in, they simply parked their massive bulldozers as a barricade, and called it a day.

So… we didn’t make it to the lake.  But we did get some amazing views, a chance to run around, and a very enjoyable stop out of the whole event.  I’ll call that a win.

 

From Mt. Adams, we headed South to a little town that we haven’t visited in a very long time… Hood River!

Our goal with Hood River wasn’t the town itself though – instead, we were going for our lovely little monster, Ollie.  When we lived in Hood River, her favorite place in the world was The Spit, where she could run and swim and jump and splash and chase dogs and chase birds and sniff and run and play forever and ever.  Since we needed to take the Hood River bridge, which is right next to the spit… it would have been mean not to go, right?

We went.  We walked, Sarah tried walking on different surfaces (Sand is pleasant, pebbles weren’t so much so), and we enjoyed being nostalgic about the summer nights and winter days that we’d spent exploring the spit, way back when.

 

With our walking done, and Ollie’s tweaking out needs satisfied for the time being, we continued on our adventure, heading southbound toward Adam’s companion mountain, Mt. Hood.  Our goal wasn’t anything super intense or special; we were going to one of the sno-parks, with the goal of playing in the glacial runoff and enjoying the views.

As you can see, we succeeded here, just as well as our other stops:

We… uhh… may have been a little loopy from the car ride, the lack of food, and the time we’d spent in the sun while walking on the spit.  I admit to nothing; we were having fun, and that’s what counts!

A trip to Mt. Hood, and the legendary Timberline Lodge

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A trip to Mt. Hood, and the legendary Timberline Lodge

Friday, June 29th through Saturday, June 30th

 

Friday Night

Earlier this week was Sarah’s birthday!  She’s a whole year older – and since it’s a pretty major birthday, we figured that it was worth going all out to celebrate.

Where better than the slopes of Mt. Hood, at the Timberline lodge?

I mean, not that Sarah knew that’s where we were going, of course.  I had told her that we were going North, to Seattle, where I’d bought VIP overnight tickets to see a previously unreleased musical remake of the famous Ben Stiller movie Tropic Thunder.  I mean, part of a birthday surprise is the misdirection, right?  And how else would I have convinced her to pack an overnight bag?

So we drove.  When we turned East, instead of North, Sarah called me out and guessed where we were going.  I mean, I’ll admit that the misdirection wasn’t the strongest, since she hates musicals and knows that neither of us really like Tropic Thunder… but I was still hoping that she wouldn’t have guessed our destination on her first try.

But hey.  It’s her birthday, so Sarah deserved a quick win to start out the trip.

Once we had arrived and gotten checked in, we were able to fully appreciate just exactly where we were staying – This is the famous Timberline Lodge.  Huge vaulted ceilings, thick wooden beams surrounding a massive wrought iron fireplace, all topped by the soaring mountain peak above us, still capped with glacial snow.  Our room was a king, with an in-room fireplace stocked with seasoned wood, with views of Mt. Jefferson and the slopes below.  Sarah was ecstatic, and I was slightly ridiculously proud that I’d been able to book us such an awesome room.

Ollie was pretty excited too, I must add.  Yes, Ollie.  The dog.  Didn’t I mention?  Timberline Lodge just opened its doors to canine guests – and our room was one of the special dog friendly rooms set aside.  The best way I can describe Ollie is “a small child, in a candy shop, in Disney World, with a credit card”.  She was seriously tweaking out, running and sniffing and just being the most excited dog to ever exist.

So we left her to relax and decompress for a bit, and had a glorious dinner at the Ram’s Head grill.  Spare ribs and Venison, with paired beers and cheesecake for dessert.  Words cannot describe.

The rest of the evening was spent relaxing and enjoying the room and the views.  The fireplace was used, though I’ll admit that the amount of kindling they provided was pretty weak.  Sarah and I had a nice bonding moment where we used my pocket knife and a log to split one of the other logs into kindling… yeah, we’re pretty inventive and handy.  It was fun though, and honestly a really pleasant evening as we enjoyed the fire and we drifted off to sleep at 6,000 ft with the moonlight illuminating the Southern Cascades.

 

Saturday

Ollie was excited to be at Mt. Hood.  She loves going for hikes on the slopes, and was acting like a toddler on crack.

We woke up at 5:00.

We woke up not because we wanted to, but because Ollie wanted to go for walks.  She’s a monster, sometimes.  But hey – it meant that we could see the sunrise, so… that’s a good thing, right?

It also meant that we were first up for the buffet downstairs, and first up to start into our adventures of the day; which ended up including meeting an old friend from Northeastern!  Gene and his family were here in Oregon to summit Mt. Hood, as part of his 50 highpoints circuit.  Unexpected, but really awesome to be able to see them and catch up for a while.  The breakfast was pretty good too – though I’ll freely admit that Sarah made the better choice: she got the simple buffet, instead of the full buffet that I ordered… while Bacon is always good, the fresh fruits and yogurt that Sarah had was easily as good.

From there, Ollie and I went out on a hike, in order to give Sarah a bit of time to herself to relax, enjoy the mountain, and paint.  We made sure she was impressively nested up outside the lodge, of course, ensuring she had deep supplies of both water, sunscreen, and coffee to keep her energetic.  Our target was ZigZag Canyon, and we made it without too much trouble or fuss – all while keeping in touch with Sarah, thanks to the walkie talkies that we’d thought to bring along.  It was fun!  Nothing too intense, and nothing that would keep us away from the birthday girl for too long, but I think everyone enjoyed the relaxing morning before our drive back into the city.