What do I say when the mountain emerges from the clouds just as I pull up to Timberline Lodge? What CAN I say since my lower jaw wouldn't lift from the ground as the mist breathed across the summit so close I could reach out and feel the rime under my fingers.
It's my personality to talk to people, but who would've known that on the second lift ride up for the day I'd meet a local who was ridiculously passionate about fresh tracks through the trees and knew every ridgeline on the lower mountain and was more than happy to show me around for the day? Who would've guessed that it would be a flask of Bushmills he would pull from his jacket pocket, raising it in deference to the mountain gods before we each took a grateful pull?
I never would have dreamed of an epic pow day, hucking cornices in the shallow canyons just above Timberline Lodge, catchin' air off windblown drifts and kickers, floating over knolls to drop back in a short chute and cut back to the lift, not quite finding the white room but managing to get champagne pow into the strangest places.
All the while, the summit hovered somewhere overhead, the fog ebbing and flowing as light squalls deposited just a few more kernels of the white goodness on which we played.
I sat, completely dumbfounded and speechless, in the Timberline Lodge that afternoon, sipping a locally brewed Oatmeal Stout before my drive back to Portland, my mouth swinging upward into a permanent, toothy grin.
I knew the Gorge was north, so I swung the car onto the 35 freeway and beelined to Hood River, stopping at an overlook to catch the profiles of both Hood and St. Helen's coming out of the clouds, then watching the sun set above the mighty Columbia River. Each day, I awake to mountains out my door, tangible and calling. From my sister's place, these volcanoes are ethereal, ghost-like, teasing as they dance in and out of weather. The days you can see them are gifts, reminders of what exists outside your door, if you are willing to venture forth.
But the prize of the weekend was little hands and feet, scurrying across the wood floors, bringing a book to his aunt to read with him. He cleared the Class 4 maneuver onto the couch, reaching up with the book expectantly and grinning ear to ear. He snuggled into my side as I opened the pages, pointing excitedly at the colors and shapes. He's going to be 2 on Friday, and the truck I had bought him in Ouray was a huge hit, as we sat on opposite sides of the dining room and rolled it back and forth to one another. From the hills outside I could see the mountains that called to me, but I have another, and bigger, reason to want to go back.
It was also great to see Rosie and MC, even for just a short while (!!!) this past weekend. Hope to catch up soon!
Pics are in 4 albums on my site.
From the luckiest girl in the world: Climb Hard, Be Safe.