The parking lot was full of buses, vans, cars and trucks. Filled with skiers and snowboarders. Some were part of summer ski camps and lessons. Others were just on the mountain for a fun day on the snowy slopes. Some of them skied off the mountain right at the edge of the parking lot. I was amazed by the amount of snow that still covered most of the ground around the lodge. Near the front entrance we watched the Sno-Cat scoot across the top of the snow, stop and deliver a few people from somewhere up the mountain. Like a snow shuttle. On one side of the steps to the front entrance the snow drifts were still piled up to the second story windows! (The windows you see above the snow are on the third floor!)
This snowdrift blocked one set of steps to the second floor balcony.
As we approached the front steps we saw this tiny skier. Waiting. Not looking at anyone. Just waiting. Not moving. Just waiting. I wondered if her mother had told her to sit there. Don't move. Stay here. And don't talk to strangers. She didn't! The second story balcony offers incredible views of surrounding mountains on a clear day. Flags from several countries add color as they fly above the lodge.
As soon as I stepped onto the balcony I saw this huge drift of snow. It was the top of the snowdrift we had seen from below. Right up to the lodge windows. The reason the steps on that side are closed. The snow is melting but it was obvious that some second-story windows had been blocked by snow through the winter.
The door from the balcony into the lodge intrigued me. What a masterpiece. Handmade many years ago. Up close you see the detail. On the door knocker. . . And on the handle. Once inside I headed for the big window on the second floor. Overlooking the mountain. With a stone courtyard below. A favorite place of mine. Last year we stood at this window and watched preparations for a wedding below. No wedding this time. Snow all the way from the mountain to the lodge. No courtyard in sight! A few minutes later we found an unlocked door onto a side courtyard where I could get a better view of the big window and back courtyard area now covered by snow. (The pole in the snow marks the edge for skiers.) High above, the peak of the lodge is free of snow. Finally. Nearby, the entrance to a wonderful trail on the mountain. Anyone care to hike today? Back in the lodge we enjoyed little details we had missed on previous trips. Even the door to the elevator shows the beauty and craftsmanship of artists long ago. The elevator was part of the original construction. Included for President Franklin Roosevelt who travelled to Oregon to dedicate the lodge. After time in the lodge we crossed the upper parking lot to a newer building that contains various services for skiers and tourists. And a wonderful gift shop. While we waited for the elevator to take us down three floors to the lower parking lot area I turned around and saw the top of the mountain. Framed by concrete! A few minutes later, as we drove down the mountain, we came to a viewpoint with a breathtaking view. Many miles away Mt. Jefferson stood like a sentinel in another part of the Oregon Cascades. I was thrilled to get this picture. As I turned around to return to the truck I looked up. There she was. My mountain! One last look before we reached the highway far below. Along the road to the base of the mountain we saw several waterfalls. Created by the snow melt. Each one was beautiful. Then we found this one. The biggest. Right by the road. We had to stop.The water runs under the road and out the other side, forming a wonderful stream. When we stopped a father and his children were beside the stream. One of the boys came over to tell us that the water was VERY good! I'm sure it was. Fresh.running.mountain water. Nothing like it. The time we spent together on the mountain was special. We will return again. Perhaps in winter. When snow covers everything on the mountain and far below. Until then we will enjoy this special place each time we see the mountain from around our community. We will appreciate her beauty, remember times spent there. And dream. And return. Again and again.