Sunday, November 27, 2011

Rare Sunny Snowshoe at Mount Hood

It is not usually possible to snowshoe in early November but it was a bright sunny, cold day following some serious snow and I hit the road to Mt. Hood. I decided to go up to Timberline, and the crowds were fierce!

What an amazing day to be standing on the side of Mt. Hood. Amy and I wandered to the east side of Timberline where we saw a trail heading up.

We looked back and saw Mt. Jefferson out behind us.

Amy tried her skis, but it was pretty tricky going on this ungroomed unofficial trail on a steep slope.

The snow was incredibly beautiful. What a perfect day to be on the mountain!

Down below, some clouds had rolled in, but up at Timberline, skies were so blue!

We really did not snowshoe or ski very far, because just getting a quarter or half mile away from the people was so overwhelmingly beautiful that we did not need to. We just had our lunch on the side of the mountain and took in the amazing view and feeling of being on the side of the mountain.

After soaking in the amazing view, we headed down to Government camp to snowshoe in the woods for a little while. Some folks coming down the trail said they would call it a day because of "too much sun". I never thought I would hear those words from a Portlander's mouth!

Amy was enjoying making hand prints in the snow, and I stopped to make a snow angel. She got covered in snow from head to toe at the end of the adventure!

What a way to start off the snow season! More to come soon...

Beautiful Snowshoeing Endurance Test

Amy, Sarah, and I took a long drive to Hoodoo ski area on Santiam Pass. It was a warm, beautiful day. I realized partway up the pass that I forgot our lunch which we were going to cook, but we are resourceful women and were able to find a small town grocery store stocked with our essentials: granola bars, crackers, mac and cheese, canned chicken, and avocado.

When we finally arrived at Hoodoo, we started out near the lift and planned to circle Hayrick Butte. With a butte to circle, the chances of getting lost were slim.

Amy tried her skis on once, but since this was not a groomed trail it was pretty difficult for her.

She decided to walk most of the way. The view of Hayrick butte was great! We also enjoyed seeing Sisters.

We took a nice long break to cook a meal and enjoy the butte above us. Mt. Jefferson towered in front of us!

We took another break and stopped to build a snowman- an important tradition. Amy said the snowman "was a woman". Sarah said s/he was a unicorn :-).

At this point, we were about 1.5 miles into the four mile loop and decided to continue to forge ahead. The clouds were so beautiful.

We found a trail forged for us by a skier, and headed around the butte. We ended up going too far and getting to a forest service road used by snowmobiles.

At this point, Amy was really slowing down, and knowing we were only halfway around, I strongly encouraged her to take a break riding in the sled. Being a three year old, she strongly protested this but did not continue to walk either. Even the "bribe" of a cookie break in the sled did nothing to allure her.

Being the mom and worried about the endurance of my three year old, I put her into the sled. At which point she spent about a half mile screaming. "No! Let me out! I don't want to grump!" Little did I know at this point, I should be more concerned about the endurance of Sarah!

After quite a bit of screaming and explaining that the safest thing is to take a break so that we can make it to the car before dark, I finally caved and Amy jumped out of the sled and started hiking again. She was DETERMINED and was booking it! For the rest of the trip, the only break she asked for was a hug break!

This was about the point that a snowmobile came by and asked us if we were okay. We told the driver we were okay but inquired as to how far it was to the parking lot. He said 3-4 miles. At this point we were all pretty tired and this answer was pretty discouraging.

We took off into the woods to take a shortcut, realizing we had overshot our distance a bit while following the trail. Sarah started becoming pretty sore and grumpy at that point, and was wondering why we were going up and down hills bushwacking. Amy was STILL booking it to avoid going into the sled.

We ended up back on the road further up and another snowmobile drove up to ask us if we were okay. We said we thought so but asked how far they thought it was to the parking lot. They told us a half mile and that we were making good time since the first guys asked us. (We had to wonder if the first guys had come back with a story about two crazy ladies hiking with a preschooler miles from civilization and the car).

We hiked the final half mile to complete a 5.5 mile loop! Amy hiked five of it! What a long and beautiful day! We celebrated the completion of this long trek at the Gingerbread House!

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Whole Family Adventure "Stealth" Hike

It's not everyone who chooses a church to go to in close proximity to a really cool hike, but one Sunday morning this is just what I did! Off we went as a family to Camas for church and then for a "walk in the woods" nearby at Lacamas Park.

The woods, moss, and leaves were especially beautiful. Amy loves stomping in puddles, so the wet weather does not bother her.

She was in her element with the wide road and the big trees.

We got to the first bridge. We decided it was not a raging bridge despite the slight bounce in it.

The fall colors were beautiful!

We hiked along the creek for much of the time and saw some small waterfalls The coolest one was called potholes falls and was full of "potholes" in the rock.

Yes, I did get my husband out for a 4.5 mile Sunday afternoon stroll! It was sort of a "stealth hike" since we were right in Camas and not in the waterfall area of the gorge or on top of a mountain, but it was a beautiful hike and he did a great job!

Amy enjoyed walking with her daddy which is a treat for her since he usually does not come on our adventures.

We continued to enjoy the creek and the beautiful fall colors.

Amy took a rock climbing break.

Finally, we came to a lake and started heading back toward the parking lot. There was a perfect stump for resting against.

What a beautiful fall family adventure close to home and close to a really great church.