Yesterday 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.Then, 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!It 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.
We were in a winter wonderland!
I 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! There 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.We 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. 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.
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. . . 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!