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Spring Is Here, So We Ski It

Figure 1: The illusion of winter.

Figure 1: The illusion of winter.

I’m now resigned to the fact that true winter may never actually arrive in the Pacific Northwest. Though global warming appears to have nothing to do with this unfortunate situation, it sure looks like the sunshine and warm temperatures are here to stay for months to come. It’s not what we had hoped or expected from this season, but frankly, there’s nothing to be done about it.

Fun is where you make it, right? Well, recently, fun has been at and above treeline on warm days. With the exception of one storm about a week ago that left ten inches of 20% density snow, it’s spring skiing out there. Though we tried our best to make it look like winter (figure 1), it’s now Spring.

Sure, as the temperatures warm up, that means more days on the mountain bike, and more miles on the trail running shoes, but I think that the devoted will agree with me that now begins the longest spring-skiing season of them all.

In celebration of the new spring weather, Peter Innes and I decided to pull out all the heavy metal things and go climbing on Mt Hood. Photos follow. We climbed via the Pearly Gates variation of the dog route, with a short but still engaging bulge of 80-degree ice guarding the summit. The ski down was stiff, but we found additional amusements climbing (us) and skiing (me) crater rock, and then by skiing out the White River Glacier from the top with feeling.

The "Hogsback" feature on Mt Hood, which leads to the "Pearly Gates".

The “Hogsback” feature on Mt Hood, which leads to the “Pearly Gates”.

Read on →

Crater Lake Ski Circumnavigation

This past weekend, Taylor and I drove the 4.5 hours down to Southern Oregon (or “So. O.” as she calls it) to take advantage of some good-looking weather. We had in mind a ski circumnavigation of Crater Lake, and with the Grand Traverse looming, getting in some long horizontal miles seemed like a prudent plan.

Satellite view of our route

Satellite view of our route

I lived in Chicago for 18 years, and never once did I visit the Sears Tower. As big changes in my life loom ahead, I’m becoming conscious of the chance that I might be pulled away from Oregon before I know what’s happened. Oregon is an amazing state, with lots to offer, and I didn’t want Crater Lake to be Oregon’s Sears Tower for me. Read on →

Grand Staircase-Escalante and Coyote Gulch

Some weeks, the zigs meet the zags and all is well. Goals get met, progress is made, meals are eaten with friends and nights are spent around warm fires with cold drinks. A deeps sense of well being settles in.  Other weeks, you knock yourself unconscious and walk around with a brain like a grumpy bowl of jello, trying to remember where you left that thing that you’re still holding in your right hand. On weeks like that you’ll no doubt be tasked with meal-planning a backpacking trip for nine while preparing for your first medical school interview. On those weeks, the best that you can hope for is to forget your charming facial abrasion at the interview and to climb into the van headed for Southern Utah in more-or-less one piece.

Along the road, Bruneau Dunes State Park, ID

Along the road, Bruneau Dunes State Park, ID

Thankfully, for the author’s sanity at least, Southern Utah has plenty of room to accommodate the addled thoughts of a brain-injured outdoor professional. Sliding South along the I-15 corridor from Salt Lake, the world’s avenues widen and the distant synclines that define the horizon hold ever more sky between their treeless slopes. Read on →

Stand By, Friends

Friends, I haven’t forgotten you. I appreciate your patience, and that despite my recent silence, 60+ of you still take the time to read this website each day. It humbles me.

My life is in a time of transition and impressive work load, which should relax somewhat in the coming weeks.  I have big plans to continue writing here through the summer and beyond. But for a moment, there will be less.  It’s all I can do to keep running and staying sane.  I care about what I write here, and it takes time to make posts that satisfy me. I will be able to give my time to you again soon.

The author, running near Elk Mountain

The author, running near Elk Mountain

In the mean time, get outside.  Feel the air, the sun, the rain, and the coarse texture of real experience.

If you need something to read in the meantime, may I suggest looking at my Allies page?  That should keep you busy.

Also, I would love to hear from those of you who read this regularly.  Post in the comments: what do you enjoy most on this website, and what do you want me to do more?  Specific ideas?  When I return, your requests will be honored.

Cheers,    –Patrick