Sunday, February 28, 2010

in search of snow

After several weeks of no outdoor fun, I decided to get out to the Cascade Mountains for a bit of cross-country skiing...something I've never tried before. While driving here, I was amazed at just how little snow there was on the ground. Spring break of last year (3 weeks later than the present) I passed through the same area to find about 5 feet of snow on both sides of the road. Today...nothing. El Nino definitely has a stronghold on us this year. I was actually a bit worried that we wouldn't even find any snow to ski on!

Luckily after getting to around 4000 feet of elevation we started to see snow coating the ground around us. We stopped off at Ray Benson Sno-Park in hopes of getting down to "Big Lake" where there are supposed to be great views of Mt. Washington in the background. Unfortunately, I was anxious to get on moving and only glanced at the map spotting a trail that I thought would lead toward the lake. I later found that this would not take us all the way there...a forest too dense for skis separated us from the water.

Although never setting eyes on big lake, I was not disappointed by the views. In between screaming while sliding down the bunny slopes and wiping out in the snow, I was amazed by out spectacular surroundings, sunshine, and 60 degree weather that surrounded us. Even in the absence of Big Lake, Mt. Washington proudly displayed himself with his jagged pinnacle towering for all to admire.

me checking out the scene...and liking what i see

mt. washington

some common sight to see today. haha

driving back to Corvallis, we stopped to admire the beauty of the barren landscape left by a forest fire several years earlier

...and one last look

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Last Friday I turned 24. What better way to celebrate than getting out of the Valley and onto Mt Hood for a little snowshoeing? While I planned out the essentials for the day: my camera, lunch, snowshoes, and wool hat, I forgot about one big thing that could put a damper on a day of photographing...clouds.

As we first started out, I was optimistic that they would pull back and reveal the fantastic views around us. It wasn't until more clouds rolled in and we were in white out conditions that I accepted that we weren't going to see the summit that day. To make matters worse, as we headed back down to the timberline, the wet snow turned into rain and we spend the rest of the day more so hiking than snowshoeing in a cold drizzle. Nevertheless, it was fun and it was refreshing to just get outdoors for an entire afternoon.

the "view" before the snow came

cute little snow mobile.

looking down the slope of Mt Hood with the summit behind me

probably the funnest part of the trip was discovering these snow caves!

inside the snow cave

lenticular ("UFO") cloud forming over the mountains

avalanche danger

weather starting to turn bad...

snowy evergreens on mt hood

Another hike we did was around Trillium Lake. This is a man-made (1960) lake on the south side of Mt Hood. In the background is supposed to be Mt Hood reflecting off the water surface. Not quite as picturesque on a cloudy winter day. I thought it was interesting how they put these screens in to keep the lake from overtopping the dam.