Sunday, May 16, 2010

the return to black butte

 three fingered jack from summit of black butte just before sunset

When I visited Black Butte a few weeks ago, I promised myself that I would be back soon for 3 things: 1) awesome camping at the top, 2) sunrise pictures and 3) to drink the Deschute's Black Butte Porter at the summit.  Thus, an attempt was made this weekend.
me packing some camping, camera, and drinking supplies

We arrived at the summit just before sunset to find howling winds and no shortage of clouds around us.  Needless-to-say, we quickly set up camp and made dinner while we still had some light.  After finishing up our dinner of ramen noodles and a cheese bagel, I tried to take some photos and noticed a few sheets of rain that appeared to be headed our way very quickly.  As we stood watching this fast-approaching weather, the sky lit up from lightening! Of course, the idea of camping on a mountain under a fire tower in lightening was a bit unnerving so we quickly ran for shelter of the tent and waited out the small storm.

After the rain blew over we stepped out of the tent to find the sky starting to clear. Within a matter of 30 minutes the winds died completely and the clouds dispersed to reveal a sky of sparking stars.  Mimicking this scene was a horizon of twinkling city lights from Bend and other nearby cities. We sat out until late in the evening admiring the scenery while finishing our summit beers. 

the shelter

approaching rain

enjoying a beverage while waiting for the rain to stop

We awoke the next morning at 5 to find a very overcast sky with slim to no chance of getting a good sunrise. I was a little bummed, but happy to have a few more hours of sleep.

About 3 hours later, the overcast sky cleared and the sun baking down on the tent woke us up. Why couldn't the weather have been like this at sunrise?!  Breakfast consisted of another bagel and an unbeatable view of Sisters. This was followed by a few goofy pictures prior heading back to the car before the other Sunday morning hikers made it to the top. Despite not accomplishing the goal of getting sunrise pictures, I still had a fantastic time.  Two out of three ain't bad. 

this is casey

of course, there's a jumping picture...casey's face is priceless



Monday, May 10, 2010

are we on tom, dick or harry mountain?

mirror lake with tom, dick, and harry mountain in the background

It is May and I went snowshoeing last weekend....I love Oregon.  This time my friend, Casey, and I  headed to a ridge called Tom, Dick and Harry supposedly named because of its three peaks.  Its close proximity to Mt Hood gives the ridge spectacular views of this sleeping beauty as well as the other Cascades so I was pretty stoked.

We started off at a trailhead that circles a small lake (pictured above) near the base of the Tom, Dick and Harry. It wasn't long after this point that the that the trail seemed to vanish.  With very few clues to go by we just picked one and marched on.  This confusion was soon to increase as the trail progressed and we found ourselves climbing over mounds and mounds of snow that blocked the "path"...the only explanation I can think of for this was that we were the first to walk this trail since an avalanche covered the area.

After walking for several hours seemingly away from the peak, we tried just walking straight up the side.  When it got to be later in the afternoon and we realized that whatever distance we covered would be doubled by the trek back, the debate became not about which trail to take, but whether to continue at all.  I think we both would have really regretted not making it to the peak so we agreed to walk on. 

Much to our surprise, five minutes later....we made it! And to top it all off, the first sight we saw while finishing the climb to the top was Mt. Hood's magnificently beaming snow cap towering in front of us.
mt. hood

Turning around we also saw 4 other Cascade peaks--Jefferson, Adams, St. Helens and Rainier. The clouds quickly rolled in all around us and once the rain started, we finished our summit beers and devised a faster way to get down.  Of course, this meant dashing down the ridge's open face, which was warned by my snowshoeing book to be hazardous because of "dramatic snow slides".  The time and effort it would take off the hike was too tempting.  Of course, we made it out worry free were back at the car in no time.

me and casey at the top with hood in the background

i want to say this is mt. adams...?

st. helens

summit your heart out, corona

more hood

Friday, May 7, 2010

the black butte trip that almost wasn't

 south and north sister

Black Butte has been on my to do list for far too long.  Every time I drive through the Cascades, I marvel at that symmetric, black cindercone and fantasize about the great views it has of its snowy neighbors.   My plan was to camp there on Saturday night with Kerri, take pictures of the sunrise and then head back to Corvallis.  Unfortunately, high winds caused NOAA to issue a hazardous weather warning for the area so we decided to just drive out early the next morning and make a day trip out of it instead.  We managed to also snag another friend, Justin, to come along for the ride as well.

frost line on black butte

The skies looked pretty grim during the drive there and I thought for sure that it was going to be a soggy, cloudy day with limited to no views. Crazily, after we passed Mt. Washington, the skies opened up instantaneously and we were flooded with sunshine, contrails and cirrus clouds--perfect.

The forest road to get the trail was pretty treacherous for an old Civic...nearly impossible to avoid the potholes and large rocks scattered throughout the 5 mile path.  When we did finally arrive, we were the only ones there and didn't see anyone else until much later in the day.  Another thing we didn't encounter until much later was snow-- although the air was crisp, it was dry and (thankfully) there wasn't any precipitation.  About 2/3 of the way to the top, there was a sharp gradient of frost and the green trees that surrounded the trail became white and windswept. Pretty cool.

At the top we were greeted with fantastic panoramas of the high Cascade peaks all around us.  The clouds were also pretty spectacular forming strange shapes as the air rose up and over the surrounding mountains.

After getting our fill of lunch, goofing off at the top and getting sunburned, we made the trek back to the car and cruised back to Corvallis. A return trip involving camping, a cliche Deschutes Black Butte Porter, and a sunrise is in order...

justin and kerri


snow at the top of black butte

the crew at the top

happy, happy, joy, joy

retired fire lookout on Black Butte

broken top

mt. jefferson

big rocks

mt. washington

Saturday, May 1, 2010

coastal hazards working group

one of the talks at the meeting

Last Wednesday I attended the Coastal Hazards Working Group meeting at Beverly Beach, OR.  The group (consisting of coastal planners, researchers, state agencies, and coastal managers) tries to meet a regular basis to discuss common issues of hazards they deal with along the Oregon shoreline as well as share updates about projects they're involved with. 

After the meeting, my friend Heather and I decided to take advantage of being at the coast and check out Beverly Beach before heading back to Corvallis.  Rain showers occurred throughout the afternoon, but luckily, after the meeting there seemed to be a break in the clouds.

The amount of winter erosion occurring along the beach was pretty phenomenal! Sand was stripped away from the toes of the bluffs backing the beach, exposing the hard rock beneath. There was also water seeping out of the bluffs in streams, carving gullies into the rock. Fortunately, this vanishing act the sand plays is only temporary and it will return in the summer months when the waves calm.  With this being an El Nino year, however, it may be a little slower than normal to recover...

Beverly Beach

rubble placed to protect the sand from washing
gullies being carved into the exposed rock

loving the beach...
velella a.k.a. "sail by the wind" jellyfish stranded on the beach

beverly beach
houses perched on the edge of a bluff at beverly beach