Tuesday, December 28, 2010

let the snowshoeing begin

snowy trees along the trail

Anxious to get out of the valley rain, Alex and I loaded up her car and headed to the Cascades for a morning of snowshoeing! Since we knew the gray skies and heavy snow was going to inhibit the chance for any kind of mountainous view, we opted for an old growth trail instead. Serenity at its finest!

alex falls in holes

snow burden 

 alex walking amongst giants
yay for heavy snowfall!

snowy branches

the elusive snow hen

Thursday, December 23, 2010

a little bit of science followed by a lot of fun!


Winter break kicked off with a science conference (American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting) in San Francisco. Despite the fact that there were very few opportunities to explore the city beyond the shopping district/convention center area, the conference was a success (mainly due to the awesome array of fellow OSU students who also attended) and it was good to be reminded how much I don't want to live in a big city again.

one afternoon i got away for ice cream at the ghirardelli chocolate factory!

view from the hotel

another view from our hotel
i probably walked this street every day on they way to the conference

 alison postering about volcanoes

 smarty pants

poster session on the last day
Following the conference and a whirlwind of traveling, I ended up in Steamboat, Colorado to do some skiing! This was my first time in the Rockies and it's guaranteed not to be my last. The mountains out there are so vast...very different from here in Oregon. And as if being in Colorado couldn't get any sweeter, I finally learned to ski! Yahoo!

snowy view on the way from denver to steamboat

another awesome view out of the car window 

snow covered foothills of the rockies

 heading to the mountains...

 ...in a snow storm


finally a (somewhat) break in the clouds from mid mountain

riding up the gondola

 me at the top!

 emily, casey, and paul about to start the day off

 our skis dangling on the lift...you can't tell here, but we're super high up!

 casey and me

my favorite view!

me finally getting to casey at the bottom (courtesy of casey's smartypants phone)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

five mile butte fire lookout

foggy trees

Fog and a wet snow greeted us when we reached Billy-Bob Sno Park, where we would begin the hike up to Five Mile Butte Fire Lookout. We got to the start of the trail later than expected due to poor weather conditions during the drive, pushing our scheduled time of arrival to just before dark--not so great considering we needed to climb up a 40 foot tower and get wood for a fire.

Casey snowshoeing his way up

we arrive!

We were pleased to find when we entered the fire lookout that the previous night's visitors had stocked us with enough wood to last throughout the night. Yay! The small lookout quickly warmed up and we were roasted in 80+ degree F temps for the remainder of the night. I got little sleep that night between keeping the fire going and the excitement of being there. I kept hoping that the clouds would clear to expose the snow covered ground around us, but with no such luck. This worried me that we would be socked in for the next day as well and miss out on seeing the Cascade peaks that I knew were somewhere lurking very close by.

casey warming by the fire

morning sun!
five mile butte sign

Morning presented us with a different side than the gray scenery we had seen the day before.  A pallet of pastels with silhouettes of evergreens filled the 360 views of the lookout and we even had a few glimpses of Mt Hood and Mt Adams!

ahhh...so pleasant

up high
looking north at mt adams poking through the clouds

mt hood!

casey warm inside

 view of mt. hood from the cabin

 the stove

home for the night

hauling up wood!

 snowshoeing out

yay for snow!