Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Chasing Snow

Sometimes I just long for snow. I love it best when it's right outside my door, and I will gladly sit at my window for hours, with a cup of cocoa and a blanky, to watch those beautiful crystals fall from the sky. We're not often blessed with snow here in Portland, though, so those afternoons at the window are few and far between. We've actually gotten snow in town a few times this winter, but never enough to trudge through, and play in, and claim as our own. It has melted away too quickly to warrant any of the giddy excitement that snow usually triggers in my normally calm and mellow little life. So today, when the snow longing could go unfulfilled no longer, Ked and I took the only logical course of action open to us--we went snow chasing on Mt. Hood. I've taken to using the Meow as our photo journal, so here's what we saw through the eye of the camera. Neat discovery alert: The last couple of times we took the camera out in the snow, the batteries died lickety-split from the freezing temperatures. This time we got one of those little chemical hand warmer packets that skiers use, and stuck it in the pocket with the camera. Worked like a charm. The camera stayed toasty and the batteries stayed fresh. Thus I am able to show you these:

As we drove east from town, we thought it likely that we'd be caught in a snowstorm when we hit the mountain. The western side of Hood was extremely grey and damp, and once we reached the magic elevation, all that moisture turned to a fine haze of flakes mixed with fog. I would have been happy to tramp around in the falling snow, but I was just as happy to see that once we crossed to the east, toward Mt. Hood Meadows, the weather opened up remarkably. We spent our afternoon in the clear and windless calm of a sunny afternoon. Lovely doesn't begin to describe it.

You can see how the clouds have piled up to the west, and yet it's all radiant blue here on the leeward side.

I think I'll title this picture "Blue Man." I don't know why the snow looks like it fell from a celestial swimming pool, but I think it's kind of cool.

One of my favorite things about these mountain treks is the way the sun glows through the tall, tall trees... and the way the wind talks, and the soft flakes fall, and the snow drifts glisten. Oh, heck--I love it all.

This trek at Bennett Snow Park was a fairly mild workout, but we made of it what we could. It's hard to work up a sweat, though, when you are constantly stopping to take pictures! We're hoping to do some skiing in a week or two, and we'll leave the camera at home if we do. Since that will be our first ski outing of the season, and we're not in the best shape this year, I suspect it will be a bit more of a challenge.

If you look closely you can see the icy Moon there above the trees.

Our eyes were often drawn heavenwards. This time they came upon some solid evidence that winter days are not always so benign here on the eastern side of Mountain Hood.

Our eyes weren't always looking up. This hill behind me had us looking down with some childish enthusiasm. It looked so inviting, we wanted to plop right down and go for a slide. Alas, we brought the wrong equipment, and sledding will have to wait till some other time when the mountain calls.

I hope it calls again soon. Snow is good for the soul.