It was a rainy day in Portland but we headed to Mt. Hood anyway. If I’d kept waiting for another sunny day, we wouldn’t have gone. My friend Star Waters was joining Bonnie Johnson and me on the day’s adventure so we headed north across the Columbia River, crossing the two-mile long Glenn L. Jackson Memorial Bridge to Vancouver, WA to pick her up. I loved the idea of that because it gave me the opportunity for a Facebook check-in in the state of Washington.
As you know, I’ve traveled solo for most of my “adventures” on this road trip and while it’s been great, it was wonderful having friends along with whom I could share the experience.
Mt. Hood is 60 miles from Portland so we had plenty of time to talk and even though Star now resides in Atlanta, she and Bonnie are both native Portlanders and familiar with the city’s history as well as the towns between Portland and Mt. Hood. Plus, Bonnie was able to photograph everything that I couldn’t.
So, we arrive at Mt. Hood and somehow miss the turn that would take us to Timberline Lodge on the south side of Mt. Hood. That was fine, though, because it gave us the opportunity to see and photograph the beauty of the mountain along the Oregon Scenic Byway–the snow banks on both sides of the road, the trees and road signs almost completely buried in snow, and the occasional crow.
We finally made a U-turn about 45 minutes later and got directions to the Lodge. On the way there, we oohed and aahed the waterfalls as I envisioned us traipsing through the snow for hot-buttered rum by the lodge fireplace.
After driving to an elevation of 5,960 feet, we finally made it to the lodge. The entire area was covered in snow, Mt. Hood’s summit was shrouded in fog and the lodge was covered in snow. Disappointing but beautiful!
As I made my way to a parking space, though, I got stuck on the ice. Instantly, I flashed back to that night in January 2011 when the ice on that Hiram, GA road made driving the 40 miles back to Riverdale virtually impossible. There I was on a dark rural road driving on ice for the first time in my life, cars ahead and behind and a ditch on my right. My nerves were shot by the time I made it to the first hotel only five miles away two hours later. I was safe from the ice but there wasn’t a drop of Gentleman Jack in sight, or anything else for that matter!
So, there I was at Mt. Hood spinning on ice, and whatever visions I had of traipsing through the snow for hot-buttered rum were replaced by visions of being stuck on the mountain in snow and ice. I decided at that moment to get the heck off the mountain, and that’s what I did. We didn’t even get out of the car. The mountain was shrouded in fog so we couldn’t see it but I could’ve at least taken pictures of the snow-covered lodge. Sad.
I don’t recall how it started but we laughed ’til we cried about our almost trip toMt.Hood; about how our snow boots didn’t touch the snow; about how while I was looking for the exit, they were looking for a parking space. It really was hilarious, and we laughed all the way back to Portland. I may not have walked in the snow or taken any pictures of the lodge, I have my memories of flipping out and laughter with friends. I suspect, too, that what Star said is true: “When we both get back to Atlanta, every time the words Portland, mountain or snow come up, we will no doubt fall out laughing hysterically!!”