Friday afternoon I landed in Portland after two weeks of school visits in Kansas, Missouri, and North Carolina. Travel weary (4 out of the last 6 weeks on the road) and brain fried, I was ready for home. But I had already committed to a weekend adventure with my wife, and two couples we’ve known for over 30 years. Instead of limping home, I climbed in the car with Debbie at the airport and off we went to the north side of Mt Hood, Oregon’s signature peak, and highest point. From a USFS trailhead we snowshoed up a steep trail (2,000 feet of elevation gain in just over two miles). The combination of a full day of travel, time zone shift, and the heavy pack began to turn my legs to lead. And so I was extremely glad to finally reach our destination — the Tilly Jane Cabin.
Although rough around the edges and rustic (read: no electricity or running water), I love the place. Being with Debbie and good friends, a simple dinner, plus sitting in front of the stone fireplace took the edge off.
Saturday we climbed above timberline, and into a fierce wind storm. Gusts were topping 60 mph, whipping granulated snow off of the Elliot Glacier right into our faces. The sting got to be too much so we ducked behind a large boulder and watched the force of nature push the clouds into wild flowing shapes.
Later, things died down enough to give it another try, and we were rewarded with this view. Saturday night I slept deeply.
Sunday morning I woke early with a writing idea. I grabbed a flashlight, a ball point pen, and started scribbling notes on the back of a board-game score card. Maybe I would have opened my eyes to a creative insight no matter how I’d spent the previous day-and-a-half, but I don’t think so. Once again the mountains had worked their magic on me.