Tag Archives: Snow

Sunday, 24-Feb-2019 – Hiking to Angels Rest, Columbia River Gorge

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Sunday, 24-Feb-2019

 

Sarah and I have been having rather amazingly relaxing weekends – getting things done around the house, decompressing from the weeks, and trying to keep calm amid the swirling chaos of my new job and Sarah’s art fair deadlines.

For the most part, we’re doing well and staying sane.

But… it’s not easy, and sometimes what we need is an escape into the mountains.  Or, in this case, the cliffs of the gorge.

 

This weekend was kind of rough, starting out… we knew that we wanted to go on some sort of adventure, but couldn’t decide what to do or where to go.  The mountains of the Pacific Northwest had gotten hit pretty hard the previous week with snow, so all the major peaks were under avalanche warning – those weren’t an option.  Long drives were possible… but we honestly couldn’t see ourselves sitting in the car for four hours after the craziness of the week.

We ended up cutting ourselves some slack, and taking it easy: The Columbia River Gorge is right in our back yard, after all, so why not take advantage of that?  Especially when it’s being blanketed in a new coat of light snow!

 

We packed the night before, poured a thermos of coffee that morning, and drove in.

Honestly, there’s not much to say about the hike.  It was simple, it was beautiful, and it was easy.  It was, with all of those, exactly what we needed.  A chance to get into the woods, to feel the wind and the snow, and to enjoy the stillness of the winter air.  Or, the stillness of the air being broken by the sound of Ollie sprinting up and down the trail, loving every second of being able to play in the snow.

It was a good hike.

 

Christmas and New Years break, 2016 into 2017: Hiking Lochnagar

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Hiking the Munros of Scotland – Lochnagar!

Monday, 02-Jan-2017

The Lydecker’s like getting up early.

I am less enthusiastic about this… but somehow I make it out of bed at o’dark:30 with Sarah and Greta, and find myself sitting in the car, watching the sunrise over the munros… a significant time after leaving the house.

But it was worth it! We’re in Cairngorm national park by 8:00, with the pink sky lighting up the mountains, and a whole herd of red tailed deer (really the size of elk) wandering around in the pre-dawn light. It was amazing.

We started in at the car park near Loch Muick, having a short bit of an adventure with the parking machine not working, before Sarah remembered her training and literally kicked it back into functionality. Turns out, not all tropes are incorrect… sometimes the best way to fix electronics is just to smack them. With that settled, we headed up toward the summit of Lochnagar – a short hill compared to what we’ve got in Oregon, but a non-trivial ascent per Scotland’s standards.

We’d prepared as well as we could, bringing all sorts of winter gear, maps, GPS receivers, and extra layers. But we didn’t expect to use them… after all, this was a quick 3,500 ft hill walk, how bad could it be?

Well… it was bad.

It was bad, but we enjoyed every minute of it. Every boot planted in the river that we had to cross, soaking through our socks. Every parry during Sarah and my ice-jedi duel (we found some 2ft icicles, so… clearly fencing), and every dirty look from elderly Scotsmen who don’t take kindly to ice-jedi shenanigans on their mountains. But the weather kept getting worse, and the snow fall kept getting thicker around us.

The fun and games could only keep us going so long… once we rounded the south side of the mount, and started West, we felt the full fury of Scotland’s weather. It was cold. The wind was nearly enough to knock us over. Ice and snow and rain and pelting hail stung us. I mean… this was a serious, right out of a movie, full on Scottish storm. Or, as the older gentleman who passed us would probably say, a Monday in Cairngorm.

We went as far as we could, making to a large trail cairn before we really couldn’t make it any further. We placed our stones on top of the trail marker, and started our way back down. Our second river crossing wasn’t any easier than our first, but thankfully no boots got any more wet than they already were… and we didn’t have to walk very far anyways, because our short term target was right past the river…

A small pumphouse, nestled in the forest above the mansion that we’d passed earlier. A perfect spot to stop and have a sandwich, some water, and a granola bar. Also, a perfect spot to just appreciate the storm front that was coming in… from here, we could see the entire top of the Munro covered in a snowstorm, and could even see how quickly that storm was coming toward us.

We walked out a bit quicker than we’d walked in, enjoying the sparse deep forest, the picturesque mansion (seemingly straight out of Game of Thrones), and the moors that we had to cross. Then, instead of turning directly toward the car, we took advantage of the slowing storm and walked up to the edge of Loch Muick, the beautiful lake right nearby.

Here, I got my perfect view of Scotland: Small rivers running through a peat bog, with cliffs and a storm in the background, silhouetting the mountains slowly being covered in snow. Ohh my lord it was gorgeous!

And a bonus? We’d gotten up so early, that there was still light left in the day! We got to get some coffee, some scotch, and even pick up a new pair of boots for Sarah, and a super nice rain jacket for myself in the town of Ballater before heading back into Aberdeen proper for dinner with everyone else.

Malmaison was the dinner of the evening, and since we’d earned a few extra calories, Sarah and I both got the venison dish. It was amazing, but I’ll admit that Henry’s prime rib kind of out did it… though I did kind of prefer the sauce that came with the venison over the seared flavor of the prime.

Ascending the Alps of MIT!

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Tuesday,  17-Feb-2015

 

As we’ve discussed, Boston deals with this thing called “snow” during the winter.

It’s white, sometimes fluffy and light, and sometimes wet and heavy.  So far this winter, it’s mostly been light and fluffy.

But in either case, it takes up a lot of room, and we have to put it somewhere.  MIT is of the opinion that you should take an open lot, and build a mountain in that open lot.  Using the spare snow, of course.

So when I had a chance to have lunch with a friend, and that lunch happened to be near where this mountain had been built… we had to go and explore.

We took the back route onto the hill, where some MIT kids had built a rather amazing sledding ramp, and ascended our way up to the top of the pile.  The pictures honestly do it a little too much justice… it was a total of 25ft high, maybe 35 if you’re being generous.  And it was packed pretty solidly – the way that they built it up was by packing it down and then driving excavation equipment on top of the pile, to pile more snow on top.  So there were industrial ramps packed down leading up to the top for the drivers to use… impressive, definitely.

We couldn’t stay too long, of course, since some of the MIT facilities staff noticed us exploring and clambering around… and they started clamoring on their own for us to “get down from there you crazy kids!”.  I can see their point – a few ice-slides had obviously happened around the base, so it probably wasn’t the most stable of mountains to be exploring…