I probably shouldn’t share this, but I think a few of my Mount Hood stories already have: the weekend after Labor Day can be one of the most glorious of the summer.
The past couple Labor Days, for us anyway, have been ripe with the first signs of the season to come: chilly, gray, damp; the kind of weather that makes it feel OK to stay inside for a change. But that transition can be a hard one to make, but at least the first weekend of it is usually just a fleeting reminder to get the rest of your summer in while you can.
And how we got it in this past weekend at Lost Lake. I won’t share exactly why this annual trip to the mountain’s Northwest side this time of year sits so high atop the list, but I think it’s plain to see.
It can be tough to get the popular lakeside campsites in the campground at Lost Lake, but luckily many of the other sites, tidy and surrounded by soaring Doug firs and lodgepole pines, leave little to groan about. Even so, it’s not really about being in the campground at Lost Lake. It’s all about being on the water.
And that goes for everyone.
Our escape to Lost Lake this summer found us there for three nights. The first two days on the lake were summertime at its best, with sun and swimming and heat and barely a care in the world. I thought repeatedly about doing the three-mile hike around the lake or the 4.6-mile one up Lost Lake Butte, which I’ve never done, but the lake just kept pulling me back and making me stay. Why leave the sunny shoreline when days like this are as numbered as they are?
As if on cue, Sunday morning dawned breezy and with an unexpected chill in the air. The trees swayed with high mountain wind and white clouds swirled with the blue sky. The sun shone, but it never warmed above 65 degrees — a difference of at least 15 degrees from the days prior. Out on the wrinkled lake, tiny whitecaps sprayed off the waves, and where, days earlier, scores of rowboats, canoes, kayaks, rafts and standup paddle boards plied the waters, now only a handful bobbed around. Still, we lingered all day, chasing the sunshine and crawfish, soaking in just one more view of the mountain and hanging on to what might have been the very last drop of summertime on Lost Lake.
We’ve tried this winter to ski, we have. But conditions have not been all that conducive, at least not for us and the time we can commit. Rain soaked us out the day after a book event in Hood River and, earlier, the morning after a fun night at Timberline Lodge after we’d gotten in some good runs at Summit.
But finally this past Sunday, the mountain shined on us in full.
And it worked out. The day was an incredible one on Mount Hood: absolute bluebird sky, nice spring conditions at Timberline, and just a sense of gratitude for being up there on the beautiful mountain.
Madeline — and Amy and I too —skied the Magic Mile for the very first time. Pretty impressive for a seven-year-old who just started skiing last year.
On top of all that, Spence, who’s been dying to get on a chairlift and skim down a slope, had his wishes granted, too.
UPDATE: Because it’s spring break, and because today was another gorgeous day, Amy and Madeline headed back to the mountain for another session. Deadlines kept me and Spence at home working, but the ladies enjoyed a day on the hill. And though I was super impressed by Madeline’s skiing yesterday on Hood, today she apparently cranked it up another level — to the 8,500-foot level on Hood to be exact, otherwise known as the Palmer.
In case you’ve not come across it yet, a former Portland Tribune colleague of mine, Ben Jacklet, launched a site this fall called Shred Hood. Co-founded with Bjorn van der Voo, Shred Hood is a community news and information website that covers the skiing, snowboarding and backcountry scene on Mount Hood.
It’s kind of a stretch to connect Pickathon, the annual indie music fest happening this weekend in Happy Valley, with Mount Hood, but I’ve been doing it for a while now, whether it’s sharing a picture of the Mountain View stage, which offers a glimpse of the mountain in the distance, or using a line from the Heartless Bastards’ song “The Mountain” as an epigraph for the first chapter of the Mount Hood book. (I first got turned on to them at Pickathon 2010.)
Not sure I have any new connections to make between the festival and the mountain just now, but who knows, maybe I will after this weekend. In the meantime, a few images from last year’s Pickathon to get ready for this year’s . . .
When On Mount Hood initially came out two years ago, we launched it at Powell’s on Hawthorne. And while that was a great event and a great venue to launch a book — and while this may sound a touch petty and ungrateful — I’d be less than honest if I said there wasn’t a part of me that was really hoping it could have happened at the real-deal Powell’s, Powell’s City of Books on Burnside. It’s kind of the dream spot that a lot of writers have in mind.
Well, maybe for the next book, I remember thinking at the time.
The next book did come along — the paperback version of On Mount Hood — and with it the incredible opportunity to kick it off at Powell’s on Burnside.
We did it last night in the storied Pearl Room, and it was great.
But it wasn’t just me and it wasn’t just On Mount Hood.
It was also Hood photographer and artist Gary Randall, who shared some of his favorite and most amazing Mount Hood images.
Gary’s been photographing the great Northwest outdoors for decades, and his work has been published and posted and shared all over the place.
He’s got amazing pictures from all around the mountain, and some engaging stories too, from shooting a fierce lightning storm from inside his truck one stormy night to catching the Dollar Lake fire two years ago right when it blasted a massive mushroom cloud up into the sky.
The night was also Jon Tullis, the spokesman for Timberline who’s worked at the landmark lodge for more than 26 years. Long a huge fan of the lodge and the mountain, Jon shared some thoughts and a couple short videos celebrating the lodge, including one on the book he wrote and edited, Timberline Lodge: A Love Story.
And last night was also the 70 or so people who turned out to celebrate the beauty and glory and the singularity that is Mount Hood.
There are a lot of people out there who love and enjoy and revere that mountain, and a bunch of us got together at Powell’s last night because of it.
(Thanks to Sue Bartz and John Burton for some of the event pictures.)
A little press release about a great writing event happening this weekend:
The Estacada Area Arts Commission is sponsoring its eleventh annual Writers Night at the Springwater Grange on April 20th at 7 pm. The Springwater Grange is located at 24591 S. Springwater Rd, near the town of Estacada.
This year’s event will feature Jon Bell, author of On Mount Hood: A Biography of Oregon’s Perilous Peak.Bell will read from his book, and show slides of the mountain from his extensive collection of images.
Jon Bell will be joined onstage by hosts Stevan Allred and Joanna Rose, and by Portland based writer and publisher Laura Stanfill. Stanfill’s Forest Avenue Press has recently published its first book, Brave on the Page: Oregon Writers on Craft and the Creative Life. All four writers are included in this anthology.
To celebrate the publication of Brave on the Page Allred, Rose, and Bell will read work that explores and defines this evocative phrase. Stanfill will speak about her own creative life, and the pleasures and pitfalls of being a writer, an editor, a publisher, a wife, and the mother of two small children, all while bootstrapping Forest Avenue Press from nothing to a going enterprise in less than a year.
In September Forest Avenue Press will release Allred’s short story collection, A Simplified Map of the Real World. “It’s a suite of linked short stories set in a small town I call Renata,” says Allred. “For me, being brave on the page has meant writing about the place where I live, fictionalizing it of course, but always running the risk that my fellow Estacadans will feel like I’ve gotten it wrong.”
Rose will read from her novel-in-progress, Everybody’s Rules for Scrabble. Her novel takes on the controversial issue of abortion. “There are lots of things we’re scared to talk to each other about, like sex, and death, and religion,” says Rose. “Writing about them takes some courage. It helps if your parents have already passed on, which mine have.”
As always, host Stevan Allred will invite the entire audience to his home for a reception after the reading.
Forest Avenue Press will release Stevan Allred’s A Simplified Map of the Real World in September of 2013. Allred has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He has survived circumcision, a tonsillectomy, a religious upbringing, the 60’s, the break-up of The Beatles, any number of bad haircuts, the Reagan Revolution, plantar fasciitus, the Lewinsky Affair, the the Florida recount of 2000, the Bush oughts, the War on Terror, a divorce, hay fever, the real estate bubble, male pattern baldness, and heartburn. He is the editor of the zines Dixon Ticonderoga and The Intentional Ducati, and together with Joanna Rose, is the leader of the writing workshop known as The Pinewood Table.
Joanna Rose writes poems, short stories, long stories, and really long stories, true to life and also imagined. Some of them have been published (Bellingham Review, Windfall Journal, ZYZZYVA, High Desert Journal, Story Magazine, and the Oregonian newspaper.) One of them was so long it became a novel, Little Miss Strange. She teaches writing in classrooms all over the state, and with Stevan Allred at the Pinewood Table, which is in her living room in a small blue house in southeast Portland.
Laura Stanfill believes in community. She’s the founder and publisher of Forest Avenue Press and the editor of the anthology Brave on the Page: Oregon Writers on Craft and the Creative Life, a Powell’s Small Press Bestseller. Laura, an award-winning journalist, has been published in local newspapers and magazines in New York, Virginia and Oregon. She earned her English degree from Vassar College and she’s at work on a nineteenth century novel about bobbin lace, music boxes and a fainting pimp. See forestavenuepress.com for more information.
An outdoor enthusiast and wordsmith, Jon Bell has been writing from his home base in the Portland, Oregon, area since the late 1990s. After growing up in Mansfield, Ohio, Jon got a bachelor’s degree in history from Michigan State University, then traveled extensively across the American West before landing in Portland. His first published pieces were about some of his backpacking and climbing excursions in the Northwest, including countless weekends on Mount Hood. His work has appeared inBackpacker, The Oregonian, The Rowing News, Oregon Coast, and many other publications. He is also co-author of the climbing guidebook, Ozone, and a former president of the Ptarmigans Mountaineering Club. Visit his freelance writing web site, www.jbellink.com. He lives in Lake Oswego, Oregon, with his wife, two kids, and a black Lab.
With the paperback of On Mount Hood coming out later this month (7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 24 at the downtown Powell’s to be exact), I had to find some solid and willing folks to offer up blurbs for the back of the new cover. Luckily, since the book first came out, I’ve met a few of those folks and they have been kind enough to lend some lines to the paperback.
Many thanks to them all:
Jon Tullis, spokesman for Timberline Lodge, vice chair of the Oregon Heritage Commission, and the author and editor behind the book, Timberline Lodge: A Love Story. He’ll also be part of the paperback launch at Powell’s on April 24th!
I got a box in the mail today with something inside that reminded me I should probably start spreading the word about an upcoming event at Powell’s on April 24.
The paperback version of On Mount Hood officially comes out the day before the event at Powell’s. More info on that event to come soon. In the meantime, though, I thought I’d share the paperback image as a little peek at the next chapter of On Mount Hood.
It doesn’t happen all that often, but every now and then we’ll stumble across a copy of the Mount Hood book in an unexpected place. The Zigzag Ranger Station, the museum in Government Camp, even New Seasons.
Today it happened while hiking around and learning about owls at the Owl Fest at Tryon Creek State Park. There in the gift shop, we came across a lone copy on the top shelf. A nice surprise, indeed.