I started this post out by just creating a list of all the adventures that I went on in 2021. But… I realized pretty quickly that wasn’t particularly interesting – While it was informative, it was pretty dry, and the list didn’t really capture the feeling of the year.
Instead, I think I’ll just post my favorite pictures, along with a quick summary of the sort of the major adventures of the year:
The winter brought lots of backpacking and snow hiking – It’s still strange to me how much I’ve grown to know Oregon in the last year and a half… or, more accurately, how little of Oregon I really met in the preceding four years.
I visited friends in Sacramento in the spring; had amazing catch-up time, and saw some stunning views of Lake Tahoe
In the late spring, I visited one of the most photographed lakes in the Pacific North West – Colchuck Lake! I even summitted Asgard’s Pass with a friend… though the blood-price for that trip was steep. I injured my knee again, which put me out of hiking condition for nearly two months afterward.
The summer saw the death of my Grandmother, a blow to the entire family that we’ll never truly move on from. I was brought unexpectedly face-to-face with just how much of my personality came from her. Her passing brought an unexpected gift, though, in the form of nearly two weeks visiting family and friends back in New England.
The early fall brought my first dedicated rock climbing trip in quite some time – along with summitting what is probably the most iconic climbing route I’ve ever done. Devil’s Tower, in the bag!
The late fall brought friendship and comradery in amounts I haven’t seen in years. A backpacking trip with friends, and a huge event in my friend group – My friend Dillon’s bachelor party, and my role as best man in his wedding!
The winter is still coming in to Oregon, but the end of 2021 brought the return of beautifully snowy conditions up on Mt. Hood, and a reminder of just how glorious the Oregon Coast really can be…
**As always, if anyone would like a copy of any of these photos, please let me know. I have many of them already printed, but can always re-print anything that anyone would like.
For the second day that my friend Mike was in town, we’d originally planned on heading to the snow – Mt. Hood, specifically, aiming to do some hiking up on the flanks of the mountain.
But… plans change, sometimes – Like I mentioned in a previous post, we were in the middle of a pretty intense cold snap. While we had quite good snow-travel options (a chained-up Mustang and an all-wheel drive Mazda with top of the line snow tires), the actual traction part wasn’t really a concern. The real challenge with snow driving in Oregon is, unfortunately, other drivers.
See… Driving in the snow is easy. If you’ve grown up with it.
I think I’ve mentioned, but most of Oregon doesn’t really get snow, or any seasons aside from “rain” and “not-rain”. So very few people (it seems, at least) are used to driving in the snow.
That means that, when snow does show up in unexpected places, traffic gets bad. Like, “30-min commute turns into 6 hours” level of bad.
Mike and I… we weren’t really feeling a long traffic-filled drive. Not really feeling it at all.
So instead, we went to the Oregon Zoo!
Going to Zoos isn’t really something that I’ve regularly done historically… but in the past few years I’ve been re-introduced to the idea… and honestly, it makes for a really fun day out. The Oregon Zoo especially – I love how well their habitats are made, and how the pathway through the zoo just melds seamlessly between one environment into the next. It’s a really cool experience, and if you haven’t gone then I very much recommend it.
So we walked, chatted some more, and saw lots of animals. It was neat.
Afterward, we got home just in time for a really nice sunset walk, and… this is really starting to sound like a date, isn’t it?
You know what? What can I say – I hadn’t seen Mike in ages, and it’s been nearly as long since I’ve had a really good date to go all out on… so yeah. Then I cooked an awesome dinner.
It wasn’t a date, damnit!
Yeah, maybe it was a little bit of a bro-date. A lot a bit of a bro-date.
I haven’t lived in Wilsonville long, but in my time living in the Portland area… we don’t really get snow in town that often. Then, in the few situations that we do, it usually melts off within a day or two.
When Wilsonville got an actual, legitimate, standing accumulation of snow? I was ecstatic! One of the things I miss from New England is the actual seasons:
Spring – Rainy, warm, and the slow swap from standing snow to flowers and green
Summer – Hot, sticky, and the perfect time to escape to the mountains and streams
Fall – Absolutely the best season! Pleasant days, cold nights, crisp air and changing leaves
Winter – Snow, cold days and colder nights, the entire world blanketed in a layer of insulating white
In temperate Oregon, we basically have “Rain”, and “Not Rain”.
The snow didn’t last long, of course. But it stayed for a solid week or so… and you know what? That was enough for me. I still miss it… but I’ll freely admit that I did appreciate never having to shovel. And not having to worry about an extended commute was definitely a bit of a bonus too!