Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Runaways

2013-03-18_15-33-31_804Yesterday my sweetheart and I decided to run away!  We haven’t had a day away together for awhile and it was time.  Time to take off and forget the projects and routines of life at home.  Just for a bit.  We knew exactly what we wanted to do – and we did it!  If you’ve read my blog for awhile you know that Mount Hood, in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon, is my favorite mountain.  I can’t seem to get enough of her.  She stands tall and regal above the floor of the valley where I live.  We can see her from all around our town – and in the rural areas of our county.  Mt. Hood is a landmark for many.  She can be seen from the far regions of Eastern Oregon and she can be seen from places all around the Willamette Valley to the west.  If you fly into Portland from just about anywhere you will see her from the air.  And what a sight that is!

So, we decided it was time to do what we’ve longed to do all winter.  We pulled out our super warm winter coats, our boots and heavy gloves, put water and fruit and some other healthy snacks in the car – and we headed up the mountain.  When we left home it was sunny and the skies were clear but before we got up the freeway a ways and turned off to head east we could see the clouds rolling in.  By the time we got to a little town near the base of the mountain, she couldn’t be seen at all!  Not long after leaving that little town we began to see signs of snow.P3186302Then, as we got higher on the mountain we came to a place where we saw more snow.  It was beautiful!  And, then, it started to snow!  I got so excited that my sweetheart laughed and reminded me that there would be so much more snow where we were going.  This was just the beginning!P3186307It wasn’t long before we turned off the highway and headed closer to our destination.  The sign said ‘Traction Devices Required’.  That meant tire chains or studded tires.  We had chains in the back of the car but they weren’t on our tires.  It only took a second to realize that someone forgot to change the sign.  Traction devices were definitely not needed.  A winter storm moved through the mountains last weekend and I’m sure the road up the mountain was impassable without the help of chains or studded tires.  But not today.  So on we went.  Excited and full of anticipation.P3186315
We were in a winter wonderland! 
It was just a few days before the beginning of Spring and this was exactly where I wanted to be!  I had hoped to make this trip before warmer weather comes and begins to melt the snow.  In all the years I’ve lived in Oregon I have never been on this road or seen what lies at the end of the road in the winter.  I’ve been there several times during the summer – and I love summer on the mountain.  But, my heart has longed to see it for myself when the winter blanket of snow is the deepest.  This was an extremely mild year around these parts and I know this isn’t the deepest snow ever on the mountain.  And, to be honest, we would never have attempted this trip if it was stormy or if the road conditions were not good.  Around another corner or two – and there she was!  The peak of the mountain.  Just ahead.  In full view!
P3186329I could hardly contain my excitement!  Right ahead of me stood Mount Hood blanketed with a full cover of snow!  I have looked at her winter beauty so many times from near our home.  But here we were.  Right there!  A minute or two more and we were in the parking at the base of the peak!  P3186344There was a lot of activity in the parking lots but we quickly found a place to park.  Skiers and snowboarders were everywhere!  Laughter and conversation and shouts and excitement filled the air.  We had arrived.  We were there!  At Timberline Lodge.  On the wintery slops of Mount Hood!  The sign on the Visitors Center and Ski Center confirmed it.  There was no doubt that we had accomplished our goal.  A day at Timberline Lodge – the historic lodge near the top of the mountain.P3186439We spent a some time in the Ski Center.  It was fun to sit and listen to the skiers and snowboarders who had just come off the slopes.  It was obvious that there is a camaraderie among them, no matter their age.  I was amazed to see skiers who were my age and older than me.  It almost gave me reason to believe I should try it!  We stepped outside for a few minutes to look at the ski lift at the top of the beginner slopes. P3186346 To the east you can see the heavy clouds we left behind when we turned off the highway far below.  To the east and all around us was nothing but blue sky and sunshine.  The temperature was below freezing and there was a cold wind that came off the mountain.  That gave good reason to be sure that I kept the hood of my coat on to protect my face and ears.  Back into the Ski Center for a bit – and then up three flights of stairs to the third floor exit into the parking lot of the historic lodge.  And was she ever amazing!  As always, but this time covered with snow.  The snow was piled high - up above the second story windows in most places.P3186358
I had only seen this view of the lodge on the news.  For a moment I paused to take a picture of this place.  I was standing where most of the news reporters stand when they are on the mountain.  Now I was finally seeing her in winter with my own eyes!  The entrance to the lodge is beautiful.  Stone stairs and landings grace the main entrance.  They are all fully visible during the summer months.  Now the stairs are covered - protected from the onslaught of drifting and blowing snow.  Protected by this metal tunnel.
Through the tunnel, up the stairs and then a moment to pause and look at the weathered commemorative sign beside the door. . .P3186366 And then we walked opened the heavy wooden doors and walked inside.  We had arrived.  We were inside Timberline Lodge again.  This time the winter snows, at times, hid the beauty just outside the windows.  She seemed so different than when I had been there during summer.  There was a strange quiet even though voices could be heard in through the hallways.  We walked through doorways and up stairs and down hallways, often without seeing anyone else.  There was a calm.  At times it was almost an eerie calm.  I couldn't help but think what it must be like to be there during a winter blizzard.

I’ll be back tomorrow to show you around inside the lodge, tell you about lunch on the mountain and more bits and pieces of the winter day we ran away!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Turkey Talk

A few days ago I was working around the house when I looked out the window and realized traffic was backed up in front of my house.  Now, that’s unusual!  Even though I live on a main street that is fairly busy it’s uncommon that traffic comes to a complete stop in front of my house.  I went to the living room to look out the window to see if I could tell what was happening.  As I entered the living room, I noticed that traffic was stopped from the other direction, too.  A quick glance out the window of our front door and I knew exactly what was going on – the turkeys were coming to visit!  For some reason a few wild turkeys have decided to adopt our town.  They strut through town – all over town – and capture everyone’s attention.  They don’t seem to be afraid unless you get too close.  They’ve been seen in the park – with two of my grandchildren running to get close.
They have their own Facebook page here.  They have visited schools and churches, and offices and stores.  And then, one day last week, they decided to visit me!
I couldn’t get very close but when I stepped out onto the porch to get a better picture their 'Secret Service  Agent' gave a warning!  Up went the tail feathers!
I wanted to invite them for tea but they only seemed interested in things growing on the spot where my sweetheart took out an old tree.  I hoped, in their picking and pecking, they would completely remove the last vestiges of the tree stump.  But it was not meant to be!  Not long after they arrived they went around the corner, strutted down our driveway and headed east.  I was tempted to call my dear, little mother and tell her they were headed her way.  Not long after that my sweetheart saw them in a neighborhood nearby! 

So, now we can say we’ve had the experience of a visit from the Canby Town Turkeys!  Now, if it had only been closer to Thanksgiving Day – hmmmm. . .I wonder what would have happened?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Missing In Action

I know I've been missing in action - but there has been a lot of action around here!  Recently I told you about my computer crash.  Then I told you I bought a new one.  That was the beginning of frustration beyond frustration!  I blamed it on Windows 8.  I blamed it on me!  Until I couldn't blame it on anything any longer because I had had it!  I took the 'new' computer back to the store and talked to the fellows in the tech department.  Their quick assessment brought news that renewed my faith in myself a bit.  Bad hard drive and motherboard issues.  They handed me a new computer!  But first they went over it with a fine tooth comb to make sure it would work well for me.  Then we paid a few dollars to have it 'optimized' so Windows 8 looks like Windows 7 and we can find our way around.  Since then I've been reloading programs and rebuilding contact lists and trying to get back to some kind of normal.  I still have photos to reload and programs to add.  But I'm online again and it looks like I'll soon be back in business.

I have so much to tell you.  I've been busy painting and redoing my office/creative studio (that's the new name for my sewing room!)  I'll share photos when it all comes together.  I've entertained turkeys.  Yes, turkeys.  No, I'm not calling my friends and family turkeys.  I have photos to prove that I really did entertain wild turkeys one sunny afternoon.  And there are photos of another project I promised to share with you.

So, my friends, I've been here all along.  You just couldn't see me!