The Book. The Mountain. Everything in between.

Posts tagged “photos

New Year’s on Mount Hood

Though I’ve not yet celebrated New Year’s on Mount Hood, I’ve always wanted to. The setting, the snow, the festivities, it all just seems very inviting.

We won’t be up on the mountain for the holiday again this year, but for anyone who might be, there’s plenty to choose from.

Timberline Lodge — The mountain’s landmark lodge ushers in the new year with style: two dinner seatings in its Cascade Dining Room, dancing, champagne toasts and more. There’s also late-night skiing and snowboarding on into 2013, and at midnight, a one-of-a-kind fireworks display:

Timberline Lodge Fireworks 1/01/2011Photo courtesy of Timberline Lodge

Mt. Hood Meadows — The ski area teams up with Widmer Brothers Brewing to ring in the new year with skiing and riding till midnight, a dinner buffet, live music from Keegan Smith and The Fam, and fireworks beginning at 10 p.m.

NewYearsEventPoster - smallMt. Hood Skibowl — For its 25th annual gala, Skibowl will be packing in skiing and riding till 2 a.m., Cosmic Tubing until midnight, two fireworks shows, DJs, live bands, the torchlight parade featuring the Powder Hounds snow bikers and Olympic speed skier Petr Kakes, champagne toasts, a Glow in the Dark Dance Party, and tons more.

Happy New Year!


Mount Hood Sledding

Looking for a little sledding on Mount Hood this winter season? The big hill’s got some nice runs. See below . . .

Sledding at White River Sno Park, Jan. 2012.

  • White River Sno-Park — About 4 miles north of US 26 on Oregon 35 just south of Mt. Hood Meadows, the White River Sno-Park is great for easy, fun and free sledding on Mount Hood with little ones. The closest hill is just a five-minute walk up the snowy road from the parking lot; bigger and better hills are just a little farther along. Because it’s also a popular skiing and snowshoeing spot, White River can be a touch crowded, but it’s expansive enough that there’s room enough for everyone. And with an incredible view of the mountain as backdrop, there’s little to complain about. (It doesn’t cost anything to sled here other than a Sno-Park permit. If you buy a permit from a DMV, they’re $3; most vendors that sell them jack them up to $5.)
  • Little John Sno-Park — At 3,700 feet just 30 miles south of Hood River on Oregon 35, this free Sno-Park (free sledding on Mount Hood except for the Sno-Park permit) is fairly low in elevation, so if it’s a low snow year the pickings can be slim. But when there is snow, the sledding looks like good fun. There’s also an old log warming hut.
  • Summit Ski Area — Mount Hood’s oldest ski area is also home to a tubing area. You can’t bring your own sled, but for $20, adults get a tube from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. M-F; kids 48″ and under are $10. Weekend and holiday prices for the kids are the same, but for adults it’s $25. Summit is just east of Government Camp. Summit also operates Snow Bunny, a little Sno-Park next door, where you can tube (not sled) for $20 all day; kids under 48″ are $10.
  • Cooper Spur Mountain Resort — A sleepy but quaint little resort on the beautiful north side of Mount Hood, Cooper Spur is home to a tubing park with a rope tow. Ten bucks for the morning or afternoon, which includes some great views of the north side of Mount Hood on the drive up from Hood River.
  • Mt. Hood Skibowl — The closest ski area to Portland is also home to a snow tubing area. Cost is $25 for adults for three hours, $20 for juniors; an all-day tube ticket is $50. The area includes a tube conveyor for heading back up the hill. In addition to regular tubing, Skibowl also offers Cosmic Tubing on weekend nights with laser lights, black lights, music and more.

Mount Hood for the first time

I don’t know if a lot of people remember the very first time they saw Mount Hood, but I do.

It was 15 years ago this October, and Amy and I had just spent a few days driving up the coast from California to start the next chapter in Oregon. We cut inland at Lincoln City, made our way over to I-5, and then headed to Portland. It wasn’t exactly a bluebird day, but the sun shone and the patchy clouds revealed plenty of blue sky.

And then, right about at the Terwilliger Curves,  off in the distance,  white with new snow, sharp and defined in the clear Oregon air, simply breathtaking — Mount Hood. It was a site like nothing I’d ever seen before.

Over the past 15 years, I’ve seen Mount Hood from all kinds of angles and in every season, every one unique and amazing. I think this time of year, however, though views of the mountain can be fleeting, is my favorite.

Although it’s raining something fierce now, last Thursday was simply too nice not to step out into, so Spence and I saddled up for a lunchtime ride to the park. It was one of those fantastic fall days in Oregon, blue and bright, the kind of day you go out and grab and hold on to so the long winter ahead won’t feel quite so long; a day very close to the one that greeted us when we rolled into Portland the first time 15 years ago.

And even though you can’t see it in this picture, the mountain was out and amazing, just as it had been then.

My camera didn’t capture Mount Hood, but it’s there, way off through the trees.


Kids on Cooper Spur

For starters, let me tell you this: It is completely possible to go backpacking on Mount Hood — or anywhere for that matter — with kids who are 2 and 6 years old.

Let me also tell you this: it is not easy.

And thirdly, I will say this: backpacking on Mount Hood with kids is not easy, but it is worth it. Entirely.

We started our recent excursion with a night up at the Cloud Cap Saddle Campground, where we explored the remnants of the Gnarl Ridge fire, which came close to roasting not only the campground but also the historic Cloud Cap Inn, the Snowshoe Club Cabin, and a few other irreplaceable gems back in 2008. Thankfully, crews back then were able to halt the fire just outside the historic structures while also allowing nature to run its natural course.

The next afternoon, we loaded up and started up the trail toward Cooper Spur, quite possibly the best day hike on all of Mount Hood. With Spencer on my back, heading above 30 pounds even before I added any gear and leaning this way and that, I do believe I can say I’ve carried the heaviest and most cumbersome pack I ever will. But the going was slow and steady, and eventually he fell asleep, which added a nice touch of stabilization.

Madeline’s gripes started about 15 minutes up the trail, but a little break and the promise of a stone fort just up ahead kept her spirits in check.

We made the camp site in decent time and set up for an evening of bouldering, sunset and mountain gazing, and simply soaking in the greatness that is life more than halfway up Mount Hood. It sounds relaxing and idyllic, and in a way it was, but let me also say that it was so nice to have an attentive aunt along for the ride.

The next morning, we set out for a little walk up the spur, knowing full well that not all of us would make it. The kids are troupers, to be sure, but all the way up Cooper Spur is not exactly a walk in the woods. It’s tough, it’s scrambling, and it’s  a touch dangerous if you’re not completely careful. Even so, when I turned around with them at about 7,600 feet to head back down, I couldn’t help but think: Wow, how cool is that?

I wish I could say that every minute up on Hood was a smile and a grand view, but these pictures, they lie. Or at least they leave out the parts of the trip that weren’t incredible. The burden of the packs, the tantrums, the tumbles off the rocks, the spilled milk . . . But though we may remember those bits of this and any trip, there are other images, like those captured here, that we remember most, that make us smile in retrospect, entirely glad that we made the effort and the trip in the first place.


Pure summer on Mount Hood at Lost Lake

Sure, it can be a little crowded — popular might be a better word — and a touch loud close in near the boat ramp, but there is something about Lost Lake on Mount Hood that absolutely spills out summertime.

Part of it is the nostalgic air of the rustic resort (which just sold for $1.2 million to some lucky someone who will hopefully maintain its endless charm), the rowboats, the campfire smells, the chill lake — just brisk enough to refresh, just clear and calm enough to  lounge about in for a while.

A simple stroll encircles Lost Lake as well, and despite the crowds on hot summer days, it still seems that you’re always able to find a spot here or there to set up for the afternoon and soak it all in. We did as much a couple weeks ago on one of the warmer Oregon weekends, and relished not only the lake, but trail-side huckleberries and salmon berries, squirt guns, elusive crawfish and newts, and a laid-out tree that invited all kinds of exploration.

Essential to a great day on Lost Lake, however, is actually getting out on the water. People do it in any number of ways, from renting rowboats and canoes from the resort to bringing their own boats, tubes, rafts, and even a few air mattresses. There is simply nothing better than being out on the water on days when the temperature and the sun are relentless, the air still and warm. Get on the water, and all of a sudden all is chill and forgotten.

But what makes Lost Lake the quintessential Mount Hood lake for kayaking, swimming, soaking in the rays, and simply enjoying a real summer day near the mountain, is the unmistakable view you take in from the middle of the lake. There’s no mistaking it. Summertime at Mount Hood.


Peek into the Mountain — reprise

It’s Pickathon time again, and what better way to get in the mindset for this weekend’s festival than to  look back to a bit of Pickathon past. From a 2011 post:

The first time I really ever heard The Heartless Bastards, an incredible band formed in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 2003, was at Pickathon 2010. And the first song I ever heard of theirs is one called, simply, The Mountain.

The band, particularly lead singer Erika Wennerstrom, hit me hard, sharing an energy I’d not felt about any band in quite some time. And the song came at just the right time. I’d been finishing up On Mount Hood and culling my notes and research for some quotes to head up each chapter. The opening lines from The Mountain seemed to convey just what I had in mind for the introduction of the book.

Oh you feel and you taste it
And you want to go higher, so what do you do
And so you peek into the mountain
Where your desire goes

I got to write about the Heartless Bastards and The Mountain a little earlier this spring, as part of Tim LaBarge’s Pickathonography book, which looks at five years of the music festival from 2006 through 2010. The piece went along with some fantastic photos of the band that really captured the musical highlights of the entire weekend for me.

Take a peek. (And look forward to their sets at Pickathon 2012 . . .)


Even more Mount Hood favorites

Every now and then, I post up a couple favorite shots of Mount Hood. I did it here and here, and now I thought I’d do it here too.

Hood from White River. Nothing incredibly special about this one, but it is the kind of image that shows just how beautiful a January day on the mountain can be.

This one’s not actually of Mount Hood, but from it: Oliver scanning the horizon and Mount Jefferson from Gnarl Ridge.

A frog, my daughter, and Mount Hood above the Sandy River.


Escaping on the kayak — at home and on Mount Hood

Five little girls descended on our house today after school for an over-the-top tea party — flowered hats, petit fours, raised pinky fingers and all.

Spence and I raided the scones, made like trees and left for the river before anyone could so much as tsk tsk  us.

Our plan, other than giving the tea party a mighty wide berth, was to simply cruise the Willamette in the kayak and soak up the sunshine of a late and glorious spring afternoon in Oregon. That’s just what we did as we paddled downriver from George Rogers Park, past rowers and scullers slicing through the calm water, fishermen slowly trolling along, geese, ducks, osprey, and even a bald eagle filling the blue sky.

It was great.

It also got me to thinking about other places I love to take the kayak, especially now that the weather is shifting in our favor. I love having the Willamette so close by, but let’s face it, it’s not Lost Lake up on Mount Hood.

It’s not Trillium Lake up on the south side of Mount Hood either, though Trillium’s crowds these days can sometimes be more than enough to make you want to steer pretty clear of the lake despite its views and chill kayaking.

Some other nice spots for flatwater  kayaking, canoeing, or just slow, easy boating up around Mount Hood also include Timothy Lake, Clear Lake, Frog Lake, and Laurance Lake. The entire Mount Hood National Forest, in fact, is full of some great offerings for boaters of all kinds — even, I’m sure, those just looking to get out on the water and a little farther away from a tea party . . .


Climbing Hood — another time

As I’ve mentioned before, everyone around here seems to have their own connection to or story about Mount Hood.

I got to talking with Kim Cooper Findling, an Oregon writer and author of Chance of Sun: An Oregon Memoir and Day Trips from Portland, Oregon, the other day at a local book and author fair, and she shared one of hers with me. In a way, though, it wasn’t entirely hers, but that of Marion May, her grandmother, who climbed Mount Hood in 1938.

(All photos in this post courtesy of Kim Cooper Findling)

Kim said her grandmother, who was born and raised in Portland and lived most of her adult life in Forest Grove, was 28 when she made the haul to the summit of Mount Hood in a group led by her pastor. It was a time of old-school alpenstocks, wool clothing, fedoras, and fixed ropes running up Cooper Spur.

It was also back when a lookout cabin still crowned the summit of Hood. (That’s Marion at the far right, in profile.)

Kim said she’s not climbed the mountain herself. But she’s written about it a bit in her books, and she’s snowshoed high enough on it to be inspired to go the rest of the way someday:

I myself haven’t climbed. The closest was when my husband and I stayed at Timberline years ago. I, being not much of a skier, hauled a pair of snowshoes out to the flanks of the mountain and climbed straight up for a good long while before I got tired and it started to get dark. Even that small experience gave me a sense of the stillness, beauty, steepness, and peace of the mountain. I loved being alone in that stillness. I’ll have to work through my fear of exposure, but climbing Hood is definitely on my list. 

Many thanks, Kim, for sharing both your grandmother’s photos and your stories of Mount Hood.


Mount Hood Downhill

Where I grew up — a town in north-central Ohio called Mansfield — we never had to look far for a sledding hill. When the first snows would hit in November, we’d pull our rolled-up sleds out of the garage and grab a few runs right out in the backyard. Then it was a few blocks up the snowy road to the bigger, three-tiered hill next to our school. And if the snow really piled on and stuck around, which it almost always did back then, someone’s mom or dad would take us all over to a golf course called Possum Run. There, we’d huff and puff our way up what seemed like a real mountain of snow, throw down the sleds, hop on, and let it fly all the way back down — over and over and over again.

Here in the Portland area, sledding hills are a little harder to come by. Not necessarily so much for lack of topography as for lack of snow. But if you’re willing to load up the kids and head east for about an hour or so, there’s some fine sledding on Mount Hood to be found.

White River Snow-Park at Mount Hoood

  • White River Sno-Park — About 4 miles north of US 26 on Oregon 35 just south of Mt. Hood Meadows, the White River Sno-Park is great for easy, fun sledding with little ones. The closest hill is just a five-minute walk up the snowy road from the parking lot; bigger and better hills are just a little farther along. Because it’s also a popular skiing and snowshoeing spot, White River can be a touch crowded, but it’s expansive enough that there’s room enough for everyone. And with an incredible view of the mountain as backdrop, there’s little to complain about. (It doesn’t cost anything to sled here other than a Sno-Park permit. If you buy a permit from a DMV, they’re $3; most vendors that sell them jack them up to $5.)
  • Little John Sno-Park — At 3,700 feet just 30 miles south of Hood River on Oregon 35, this free Sno-Park (free except for the Sno-Park permit) is fairly low in elevation, so if it’s a low snow year, like this year, the pickings can be slim. But when there is snow, the sledding looks like good fun. There’s also an old log warming hut.
  • Summit Ski Area — Mount Hood’s oldest ski area is also home to a tubing area. You can’t bring your own sled, but for $20, you get a tube and four hours on the hill; for $25, you can go all day long. Summit is just east of Government Camp. Summit also operates Snow Bunny, a little Sno-Park next door, where you can tube (not sled) for $20 all day; toddlers under five are $10.
  • Cooper Spur Mountain Resort — A sleepy but quaint little resort on the beautiful north side of Mount Hood, Cooper Spur is home to a tubing park with a rope tow. Ten bucks for the morning or afternoon, which includes some great views of the north side of Mount Hood on the drive up from Hood River.

Mount Hood Views

Before all the nonstop rain and impenetrable clouds settled over us this week, the recent views of Mount Hood were incredible. A clear day in mid to late autumn is, to me, when the mountain looks just about as good as it gets: new white snow, some fall foliage, deep blue sky, and cold, clear air that seems to sharpen the view just a touch.

That was the view when we headed up to the Portland Japanese Garden for, ridiculously, our first time ever since moving to the area in 1997. Unfortunately, the fall sun was so bright up there that it washed out the mountain in this shot. But it was there. Trust me.

 

In addition to the view of Hood from the Japanese Garden, there are great vistas of the peak from every side. Below are a few others of mine. Anyone else have a favorite view to share?

Mount Hood from Bull Run Lake

Mount Hood from Gnarl Ridge.

Mount Hood from about 10,000 feet up on its south side.


Last leg: the Sandy River and Lost Lake

Just like that, the chance of any really nice, warm, Indian summer-like weather here in the Pacific Northwest has left us. While that may be a little bit of a drag, it’s also fairly fine. Not only have we so far had a relatively mild and enjoyable autumn, but we also had a warm and sunny stretch near the end of the summer that almost made up for the lingering gray that hung around far too long early in the season.

And from that last leg, we also have the fond and bright and warm  recall of a few of those days. One we spent on the banks of the Sandy River with a stunning view of Mount Hood.

Another found us in pure summertime mode, rowing a leaky rental boat around the picturesque Lost Lake — also with an unmatched shot of the mountain — soaking in every bit of the fleeting season, as if storing up the sunshine and winds and refreshing waters for the inevitable days  ahead,  the cold and drizzly days, when nothing sounds more inviting than rowing a leaky boat around an amazing alpine lake in the middle of the summer.


Peek into the Mountain

The first time I really ever heard The Heartless Bastards, an incredible band formed in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 2003, was at Pickathon 2010. And the first song I ever heard of theirs is one called, simply, The Mountain.

The band, particularly lead singer Erika Wennerstrom, hit me hard, sharing an energy I’d not felt about any band in quite some time. And the song came at just the right time. I’d been finishing up On Mount Hood and culling my notes and research for some quotes to head up each chapter. The opening lines from The Mountain seemed to convey just what I had in mind for the introduction of the book.

Oh you feel and you taste it
And you want to go higher, so what do you do
And so you peek into the mountain
Where your desire goes

I got to write about the Heartless Bastards and The Mountain a little earlier this spring, as part of Tim LaBarge’s Pickathonography book, which looks at five years of the music festival from 2006 through 2010. The piece went along with some fantastic photos of the band that really captured the musical highlights of the entire weekend for me.

Take a peek.


The piper

Every now and then, I’ll do a vain little search on the web to see where On Mount Hood pops up, just to see what people might be saying about it or where it’s ending up. So far, I’ve not found it in too many unexpected places. Some bookstore web sites, the Michigan State alumni magazine, the Portland Hikers web site. 

But last night, as I was snooping around, I came across someone who’d shared a short passage of the book with his Facebook fans. His name is Brian Kidd, but I’ve never met him, nor did I even know his name until I perused his site a little bit. Instead, I knew him as one of the unique characters who add a little splash of color to Portland here and there.

My daughter and ran into him near Pioneer Courthouse Square during the holiday season back in 2008. He was hard not to notice, because he was wearing a Santa suit, playing Christmas carols on the bagpipes and riding a unicycle.

At the time, I thought, Only in Portland. I wrote a quick blog about it on my (now) old site, and the image stuck with me enough that I mentioned Brian Kidd, aka “The Unipiper,” in my book.

You’ll find him on page 60.


Pickathon 2011

This weekend is Pickathon, the annual indie music festival that finds a few thousand music lovers out at a Happy Valley farm just outside of Portland for a three-day musical menagerie. Across five completely different stages, more than 35 bands and artists bring their divergent sounds and create some incredible moments. I wrote about one such moment at last year’s festival — a dark Saturday night when the Heartless Bastards took the main Mountain View Stage — for my friend, Tim Labarge’s, new book, Pickathonography, which he’s unveiling this weekend.

You never really know who’s going to create those moments and when, but among the folks I’ll be watching closely this weekend: Truckstop Darlin’, Black Mountain, The Buffalo Killers, Pine Leaf Boys, Corinne West & Kelly Joe Phelps, Sunday Valley, Jesse Sykes, Grupo Fantasma, Vetiver, The Sadies, and many, many others.

The music’s sounding great, the weather’s finally looking like beautiful summer, and the Pickathon vibe has been setting in all week. In anticipation of this year’s fest, a tiny little excerpt from On Mount Hood and a picture from last year’s Pickathon, both of which help to illustrate the mountain’s subtle yet undeniable connection to one of the best music festivals around.

From the Volcano chapter of the book, which talks all about the geology behind not only Mount Hood, but the entire region:

Farther from the mountain toward Portland, direct fallout from Hood’s past eruptions is less evident. But there is plenty around to keep the volcanism that built the mountain and the entire region close to people’s everyday thoughts. Portland landmarks like Powell Butte and Rocky Butte — a city dweller’s quick fix for climbing — all rose from vents in the Boring volcanic field less than a million years ago, when Hood was itself beginning to burble. Shooting a three-pointer on the court at Mount Tabor Park, a characteristic Portland gem, puts you squarely on top of the vent that built the 643-foot cinder cone of the same name. And if ever in early August you head to the Pendarvis Farm in Happy Valley, just outside southeast Portland, for the fantastic three-day music festival known as Pickathon, you’ll be swaying to the tunes on the eastern flanks of Mount Scott, an extinct volcano named for Harvey Scott, editor of The Oregonian in 1889. 

And from last year’s festival, a shot that shows just why it’s called the Mountain View stage:

Pickathon 2010


Cover shot

I really like how On Mount Hood turned out in terms of its cover and design. (Hats off to Anna Goldstein for the latter aspect.) It’s clean and arresting, bold and inviting. The shot of Mount Hood is a classic one from Lost Lake on the mountain’s northern side that shows some of Hood’s most notable features: Illumination Rock, Yocum and Cathederal ridges, the Sandy Glacier.

Back when we were brainstorming titles and cover designs, however, I came across another photo that really caught my eye.

I’d been looking for a unique shot of the mountain. One that highlighted its classic symmetrical spire but maybe from a different vantage point than usual. Something that was dramatic but not too foreboding, unique but at the same time familiar.

After countless hours of searching, I found it.

 Photo courtesy of Robert Brownscombe

Entitled “Morning Mist,” this shot of Oregon’s most recognizable mountain is like no others I’ve ever seen. It frames Hood’s classic, pyramidal peak, but it does it in a different way. Yes, this is the mountain’s western profile, which hundreds of thousands of people see from Portland every clear day. But this is that signature view from an entirely different perspective. Closer. Bigger. Bolder.

I tracked down the photographer through Flickr and found that one Robert Brownscombe was behind this incredible image of Mount Hood. Turns out, he’s an amazing amateur photographer who lives up by the mountain — and who has lots of stunning photos on display in his Flickr account. Cordial and responsive to my inquiries, he was amenable to having his photo considered for the cover of my book.

In the end, Sasquatch went with another photo, and the book looks fantastic.

But there will always be something about “Morning Mist” that helps me see Mount Hood in an entirely different way.