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.
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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!

13 comments:

elizabeth said...

That is such a great idea for a date day! I haven't been to Timberline in so long! I can't wait to see your photos from inside.
I'll have to suggest going up there to the Hubs. This Friday, his day off and our date day, we're heading overnight to Seattle, and I am so excited!

La Tea Dah said...

How beautiful! She's one of my favorite mountains as well. On a clear day, when the atmosphere is just right, I can see her when we drive down from "our" mountain too. :D

Ray and Jeanne said...

What an awesome day! Thanks for sharing. -Jeanne

Kathleen Grace said...

Well it certainly is beautiful Adrienne! I'm so glad you could have a day with your sweetie, it's what makes life beautiful:>)
I can't say I am a fan of the snow at this point, I'm ready for green and flowers and walking barefoot in the yard and listening to peepers and crickets at sunset...
But I'm awefully glad you could enjoy the cold and snow!

Creations By Cindy said...

Oh my! What beautiful photos you have captured! What a great getaway!
Hugs and blessings, Cindy

Marilyn said...

I love visiting this beautiful place in the winter. Sitting by the fireplace inside it is just amazing.

Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

Beautiful! I used to go to Mt. Rainier frequently when I lived in Washington. I think it's suppose to be the highest mountain in the Cascades. That was also a beautiful drive.

Steph said...

I've only visited in the summer. it would be great to see the lodge with snow!

Angela @ Cottage Magpie said...

What a lovely day out! It's so pretty up there. So glad you had a chance to run away for the day! :-) ~Angela~

Shelia said...

Hi Adrienne! Oh, I'm sure you had a wonderful time! Hope you're doing well and I wish you and your family a very blessed Easter.
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Gayle said...

So beautiful! I sure do see the similarities from Mt. Hood and Mt. Rainer.
I hope you had a blessed Easter. Ours was so warm we had a picnic outside!

Donna said...

Wow, would you look at the amount of snow there! And it looks c-c-c-cold! Hope you had a wonderful time.

You haven't posted in a while, so I hope you are doing OK.

Barbara said...

Beautiful and what a good idea the tunnel is. Roads seem clear too. I guess they have to leading to a ski resort.