Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Seen On A Mountain

If you have been reading my blog over the past year you may remember that we live quite close to my favorite mountain. Mt. Hood has been a landmark in our area for many generations. Seen for many miles around. She is a beauty that gets our attention year-round. Last year we made two trips up the mountain with out-of-state family. You can read about those adventures here and here. The lake where my sweetheart and I camped and fished last weekend was on the side of Mt. Hood. Mid-day on Sunday we drove up the mountain once again to visit Timberline Lodge.This historic lodge has captured my imagination and I couldn't wait to return again. I have never visited the lodge during the winter months. Normally, by this time of year, the snow levels would be low and the mountain around the lodge would be covered with far less snow than this year. This has been an incredible winter for Pacific Northwest ski resorts. Just a few weeks ago the mountain was totally covered by a thick blanket of snow. No rock formations were visible. Everything was pristine white. Over the past few weeks the snow has begun to melt. The face of the mountain changes daily.

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.

8 comments:

  1. Adrienne, what gorgeous pictures you've shared. I come to your blog almost every day and wanted you to know I've started a blog too and today was my first post! Come by and visit me sometimes.
    Blessings,
    Shelia
    NoteSongs.blogspot.com

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  2. Wow! That's quite a place!! Beautiful! Makes this Florida gal shiver looking at it!

    Katherine

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  3. Oh how beautiful! I can see why it is your favorite mountain. I can't believe how much snow is still there! Thank you for showing me this beautiful area.
    Penny

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  4. Isn't this lovely, thanks for taking me, Adrienne!

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  5. Hi Adrianne! Thank you for coming by. Wish you lived close by too - we'd go for more tours! I know this is going to be fun!
    Blessings,
    Shelia :)

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  6. Oh my! The lodge is beautiful and that door...wow! Seeing the snow has given me a cool moment in our humid heat and smoke-filled air here in NorCal. Refreshing. :o)

    The little child staring straight ahead. hehe tickled my funny bone.

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  7. Oh those pictures! Oh that lodge! We haven't made it up to Timberline but it is on our long list of things to do. You have just quickly moved it ahead 10 spaces or so. Glad you had such a wonderful weekend! Enjoy this new one.

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  8. what an incredibly beautiful place to live and visit...
    I can't live there but I can enjoy the beautiful pictures you so graciously share with us
    blessings,
    Mimi

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