Tag Archives: Sunset

Hiking McNeil Point – 24-Oct-2020


Saturday, 24-Oct-2020

Mt. Hood is beautiful, year round.

Sun, rain, clouds or fog… it doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t matter what sort of coat Hood is wearing, the views are always breathtaking.

Today was a good example of that: the forecast called for rain, changing into snow as the elevation increased. The trailhead would be a light mist, and McNeil point itself would be cleanly into the sub-freezing temperatures.

Did that stop us?

Heck no! That just meant that the trailhead would be empty!

The hike was glorious – I clocked a total of 11 miles and ~2,800ft elevation gain… though the official count is supposed to be 10.4 miles & 2,200ft gain. Meh, I’ve been working out more, and thankfully it wasn’t too bad of a hike. Made easier by a, frankly silly-large, breakfast order from Starbucks…a Danish, egg bites, and a burrito… on top of a pumpkin-spice latte. Yup. I’m cool.

I went with my friend Bri – McNeil point is her happy place, and I was really thankful to go with someone who knows the trail as well as she does. We walked, gasped at the views, and took breaks to chat, eat snacks, and enjoy the perfectly crisp air.

I love hiking up into the mountains in the fall – as the miles vanished beneath our boots, the trees got more and more snow-covered, and the trail crunched just a little bit more under each footfall. I never had to put on crampons, and we didn’t really see any true snow on the ground, but the thin layer of frost and ice that covered everything added that perfectly mystical quality to the whole world.

We had two lunches – various snacks that we’d brought, along with my standard French sandwich (apple, brie, and prosciutto on a baguette) – one at a beautiful rock about 3 miles in, and then the second lunch at McNeil point itself beside the shelter. We took a few other breaks too… but mostly just pressed onward slowly but steadily.

When we did get to McNeil point itself, we were greeted with the bluest skies of the day – The clouds didn’t fully clear, of course, but they did open up just enough for us to see the summit of Hood peaking out through the mist!

We took a shortcut on the way up, a steeper side trail that Bri knew about, but on the way down we took the longer / more scenic route – just in time to be greeted by our second clearing of the clouds for Sunset!

See, that’s another advantage to cloudy days; the sunsets are especially vibrant, and we caught a beautiful spot where we could see one layer of clouds above us, and one layer below of scraping over the mountains in the distance, being lit up a vibrant red as the sun dipped below the horizon.

We watched the sun dip below the horizon.

Well, we’d brought headlamps, since hiking out in the dark was always a very real possibility. Daniel would have been proud too – after one of the headlamps died, and is USB-charge only so I couldn’t just replace the batteries, we pulled out our phones and used the extra battery there as a flashlight… Not that we really needed it, thanks to the light of the moon… but still. Better to have headlamps.

Back to the car, then down from the trailhead and into town for dinner.

Where we learned a second lesson – dive bars don’t always have pub-food.

Sometimes, they have some of the best fried chicken and grilled cheese sandwiches that I’ve ever eaten. Also, the spiciest cajun fries.

Yeah. It was a very good day.

A quick stop at Smith Rock, 13-Oct-2019


Sunday, 13-October-2019


After spending the weekend in Bend, and the morning exploring the Newbury Volcanic Monument, we stopped into Smith Rock to take a quick tour of the climbing area.


We got some amazing pictures.

That’s… that’s kind of it.  It was a pretty quick stop.

Christmas and New Years break, 2016 into 2017: Exploring Edinburgh – Hiking Arthur’s Seat

Christmas and New Years break, 2016 into 2017: Exploring Edinburgh – Hiking Arthur’s Seat

Exploring Edinburgh – Hiking Arthur’s Seat, and walking through portraits.

Thursday, 29-Dec-2016

We’d spent a lot of time with the family… so Sarah and I took this chance to split off from the group and do a bit of exploring and hiking on our own. Serious hiking. Or at least as serious as Edinburgh had to offer.

And what was on offer was a hike up Arthur’s Seat – a cliff near the center of the city. From the distance, it looked massive; a huge mountain surrounded by cliffs. The map, however, showed a much different story – a walk barely 3 miles from the apartment.

The best way to rectify this difference was to walk up. So, we did.

We walked in via the Wojtek statue and Holyrood palace, two seriously cool places to see. But this is Edinburgh, so we were a little oversaturated with seriously cool places at this point, and so we went through them pretty quick. The neat details of the hike, however, were definitely memorable…

    • A small ruined abbey for skin conditions – turns out, they knew about skin conditions back around 1150, which was the first record of the abbey. A record detailing repairs, so… who knows how old it actually is?
    • The hiking was really fun, and even had some mini bouldering sections! Sort of… not full bouldering problems, but still enough to keep us busy.
    • Sarah took the pack… awww… I wanted more training weight… but that meant I got to run around and scramble a bit extra, which is always good.
    • The summit is packed with random people, because it’s super pretty! Amazing views of everything, though the intense wind keeps us from staying too long.
    • Take pictures and enjoy said intense wind, before heading down and enjoying some more intense wind! It’s amazingly pretty. Also windy. Intensely windy, in fact.
    • Hike down via another mini-summit, saying hi to some people in a sumo suit and a lemur costume. Because that’s normal, right? You see people in inflatable sumo suits and lemur onesies all the time in Scotland, right?
    • Find a cool ancient well body, which is cool. And by ancient, I mean it was moved there in the tenth century sometime. As in, it had already existed for who knows how long before then.

After our hike, we linked up with the rest of the family for a relaxed lunch of bangers and mash. Or at least, a relaxed lunch at a fancy bangers and mash place. I had beef ribs. Relaxingly. Extremely so, we learned, because while the food was amazing, the service… well, it was super relaxing. Barely any intrusions by the staff at all, in fact.

Then the national portrait gallery!

Again, more awesome galleries and views and things to look at. So many. Ohh my lord I couldn’t even anymore.

  • We saw an amazing portrait competition, where the winner was clearly chosen because of their social connections instead of their talent. Though the rest of the portraits in the gallery were amazing to look at, especially one called “Three oncologists”.
  • I learned about a young king, who looked kind of like a jerk in his painting. Turns out, he wasn’t all that bright in real life, either. In battle (The one the painting was about) he accidentally rode into the enemy lines, trying to find his generals. He then had to be rescued.
  • Scotland has super cool historic rock climbers! Ladies from so long ago that they climbed (technical, vertical rock climbing) in heavy dresses and pettycoats, using hemp rope and fancy boots. Holy… badass!
  • There was a cool library. It had medallion portraits (small ivory carvings), but I enjoyed the feel of the old area, full of many leather bound books.

The rest of the night… meh, it was fun. But nothing too special after the hiking and paintings. We ate at an Italian place that doesn’t hold a candle to Boston’s North End, though it was really nice to have after a whole day of exploring and walking.