Tag Archives: mt hood

The Start of the Summer – Hiking, dining, and sleeping on Mt. Hood

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Friday and Saturday, 19 & 20-June-2020

 

Well.

2020 has been a year, hasn’t it?

 

It started in Scotland, then dove into a global pandemic, then protests across the United States. Now, when COVID cases are starting to rise again, Oregon has decided to re-open itself.

Well, I can’t do anything about that. I can’t really do anything about any of those things… but what I can do is keep distancing myself, keep wearing a mask, and keep active. And maybe take advantage of the re-opening as best I can.

Today, I went hiking on Hood for the first time in recent memory.

From the Timberline Lodge, the Timberline Trail circumnavigates the whole mountain – to the West, there’s ZigZag Canyon and the beautiful paradise park. Perfect day-hike destinations. So I went East instead, where no one else generally goes. I saw not a single person on the trail, but had what seemed like the entire side of the mountain to myself.

It.

Was.

Perfect.

Warm weather, a good breeze, and bright sunlight. The mountain was in full glory, peaking above the treeline at almost every turn of the trail.

I went all the way down to the White River – not far, by any means, but something like a 5mile round trip. I felt good… for a starter hike, trying to regain my legs after nearly three months of COVID-related staying at home, I felt strong. I felt tired, but I’m proud of myself for pushing through and hiking at a fairly strong pace the whole time.

After the trail dropped me back off at my car, I treated myself. I’ve been trying to eat a bit healthier, after the stressful and sedentary recent months, but today I’d hiked at altitude, and had skipped lunch. And, I’d parked at the Timberline Lodge, which was still open for dinner.

I walked in 10 minutes before they closed – I was going to head back to the car to cook up a mountain house, but the waiter insisted that I should sit down anyways. We chatted a bit, I ordered, and that’s how I found myself sitting by the window, watching the sun set on the Southern face of Mt. Hood, with a pastrami sandwich, two cups of hot cocoa, and a full cup of whipped cream topped with chocolate and caramel.

The crazy thing is – I only ordered the sandwich. The cocoa? I saw the waiter walking by with them, and asked what they were. See, I love the cocoa at Timberline, but I hadn’t noticed it on the menu… so when I saw him carrying them, I needed to find out more. It turns out that they were mistakes – and he was carrying them back to the kitchen to be thrown out. Well, he offered, and I couldn’t say no! When he brought over the cup of toppings, I lost it.

I’ve had a bad year. It’s been unpleasant, challenging, and just simply a not good year. I recognize that many people have had it far, far worse than I have, and I’m infinitely thankful for everything I have in life. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been hard.

The gift of two cups of cocoa, after my first hike, right before camping out on my own, was exactly what I needed.

Now, as I sit in my camp chair typing this up, I feel good. I’m tired, but it’s a good tired. A well-earned tired.

I can’t say I’m doing great. But sitting here, looking at the mountain, I can say that I’m doing well.

Post Thanksgiving adventures – Mirror Lake and Mt Hood… And a huge pretzel!

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Saturday, 30-Nov-2019

 

After Thanksgiving this year, we went hiking!  Two days afterward, we hiked out to Mirror Lake, and then did a few quick steps on Mt. Hood, before relaxing in the Timberline Lodge with cocoa and a huge warm pretzel.

It was excellent.

 

Our first objective was Mirror Lake, on the Tom Dick and Harry trail to the South West of Mt. Hood.  We’d hiked here before, a few times if I recall, but hiking in the snow is always a new experience… the Sun coming through, the snow levels, how much ice and how much melt… it all ties together into making a unique winter wonderland for us to enjoy.

More importantly makes for a wonderland for Ollie to enjoy, since I think the sheer exultation that she felt after we got out of the car was more than both Sarah and I combined.

Before we could get started though, we earned a bit of good Karma – When parking, we ended up parking next to a rather large camper-van vehicle.  One of those pickup campers, where there’s a camper placed into the bed of a standard pickup truck?  Yeah, that.

As we packed up to start hiking, it became readily apparent that the family staying in the camper was having a bit of trouble.  The Dad had the hood open, was trying to turn the engine over, the whole nine yards.  We offered to help, of course, and ended up trying a few things to get them up and running.  After a ton of battling, a simple jump-start was all they needed – We got their engine turned over and making happy noises, all before their kids even realized that anything out of the ordinary was happening.

 

After that quite auspicious start, we headed into the woods and had a glorious time crunching through the ice and snow.  The tree canopy kept the sun pretty dispersed, but every so often we’d get a beautiful beam of light cutting through – it was beautiful, in a very calm and collected sort of way.

There’s not much to be said about the hike aside from that… it was lovely, Ollie spent the whole time sprinting around, and Sarah and I had a great time.  We hiked, we rested at Mirror Lake, and then we hiked back.  It was excellent!

 

After Mirror Lake we were tired, but not quite tired enough to head back to the house just yet… so we headed to Mt. Hood to do a bit more exploring.  The weather on Hood was a far sight from Mirror Lake – without the tree cover, the wind was doing its best to blast us off the side of the mountain and the clouds were at just the right level to cut off most of the direct light from the sun.  The whole scene had this interesting diffused light, painting everything into a beautifully bleak and desolate scene.

We didn’t last too long, thanks to the harsh wing slinging snow and sand at us, combined with the quite chilly temperature.  Thankfully, we’d already tired ourselves out pretty well on Mirror Lake, so we didn’t feel too bad turning around after an hour or so.  Ollie didn’t even seem to mind too much… but then again, we’ve found that it takes at least a day and a half of solid hiking to really tire her out.

 

We headed back to the car, stashed our gear, bundled Ollie up in her blankets, and grabbed a quick snack at the Timberline Lodge.  A cup of cocoa, a mug of coffee, and a huge pretzel kept us company while sitting and reading by the fire – we didn’t stay for too long, since the sun was getting close to setting, but we had an amazing time nonetheless.  A very good ending to a very lovely day.

 

 

A day on Mt. Hood – Zig Zag Canyon, 04-Aug-2019

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Sunday, 04-Aug-2019

Mt. Hood, Oregon.

 

It’d been a long time since Sarah and I had gotten out of the city… It’s been an impressively busy and rough summer, in terms of work and stress and low energy, so instead of trying to get ourselves together for a big, huge, epic adventure objective we stuck with a simpler goal – go hiking on Mt. Hood, and then have a nice dinner at the Timberline Lodge afterward.

Sometimes, big goals are fun and exactly what you need.  Other times, it’s just a simple walk in the woods with your partner and your dog.

Today was absolutely one of those second times.

 

We didn’t pack up the night before, we didn’t wake up at dawn and get going early, we didn’t rush out the door, and we didn’t speed toward the mountain with the wind in our hair.  It was nice, slow, and relaxing – we had a nice breakfast, we packed up our gear, and we drove out to the mountain after the morning traffic had fully died down.  We even packed a nice thermos of coffee for ourselves to sip as we drove… even though we’d already had a cup with breakfast.  Like I mentioned – we took it easy.

Once we got to the mountain and onto the trail, we kept that theme pretty well.  We didn’t go slowly, but we didn’t go quickly either… I don’t think we went quite slow enough to mosey, but we were definitely enjoying the scenery.  Ollie wasn’t going slowly of course, but that’s part of the fun of the hike, right?  Watching the crazy-dog run like she’s got infinite energy, sniffing and chasing sticks and exploring every nook and cranny she can find?

The hike itself was beautiful – it’s not a new area for us, and there’s a pretty good case that this is actually our most-visited hike anywhere in the world… but that makes it relaxing and homey, and we enjoyed every mile of it.  Seeing the sights that we’ve seen before, but with the slight variances that seasons and even days can bring.  The flowers were in pretty good bloom, and the day itself was beautiful and sunny.  Enough that we put on some sunscreen, but not so much that we were sweating as we hiked.

Our objective, if you could even say we had one, was a beautiful waterfall at the base of Zig Zag canyon – one that we’d taken Sarah’s brother Henry to see a year or two ago.  It wasn’t too far, but we figured that it would be a perfect place to have a quick lunch before heading back to civilization.  The day’d been getting pretty warm too, so the chance to sit in the mist was way too good to pass up!  It ended up being exactly as perfect of a lunch spot as we remembered, and we had a glorious time relaxing and soaking in the mist while Ollie swam and explored all the little pools.

The way back was a bit rougher than the way in, since it was mostly uphill, but we still made it back to the car and the Timberline lodge in good time – just in time to watch the sunset while having dinner at the Rams Head in the lodge!  We didn’t get a window seat, unfortunately, but we still got a good view of the sunset… and most importantly we got a good sturdy table for them to pile our post-hiking meal on!  We’d hiked pretty far, but for some reason we weren’t super hungry – a soft pretzel and a big bowl of stew (with hot cocoa on the side, of course!) filled us up nicely, and gave us just enough energy to make it back into Portland in time for showers and a warm bed!