Unless you haven’t spoken to me in the past year, you know very well that I have an unhealthy obsession with Mount Hood. Hell, I even have it tattooed on my arm!
On my commute to work, if the weather permits, I get to stare at 30 uninterrupted minutes of mountain views. If it’s clear on my way home, I hope for traffic so that I can stop, move my mirrors, and stare at Mount Hood all its glory. It strongly dictates my mood on any given day. I know… it’s crazy.
Honestly, Mount Hood is very symbolic to me. It reminds me of where I am. It reminds me that over four years ago I made my mind up that I was going to live in this faraway land called Portland. Mount Hood reminds me that I actually did one of the craziest things that I’ve ever done in my entire life — picked up and moved 2,500 miles away to the most beautiful area I had ever seen. The mountain is my compass, allowing me to recognize my directions for the first time in my life. After twenty-five years of flat, I am in awe of the mountains here in Oregon. I know that my new friends here think I’m some sort of country bumpkin. They have no idea why I get so damned excited about the mountains. They just don’t understand. They’ve been able to stare at mountains all of their lives!
Last Wednesday it was particularly sunny and warm out. When I was leaving work I caught a glimpse of Mount Hood. I began to drool, per usual. I had a choice to make: turn right and go home and pick my nose, or turn left and venture to Mount Hood. Duh! I picked Mount Hood. Roughly 40 minutes away from work, it was a no brainer.
As the car climbed and climbed I began to suspect that I might run right off the road. Each time I turned around a bend, the mountain grew bigger and bigger. To be honest, I was kind of scared. I had spent plenty of time LOOKING at Mount Hood, but I hadn’t thought much about actually being ON it. Of course, you can’t drive to the TOP of Mount Hood (MOM!) but you can get close enough! My journey ended at Timberline Lodge.
That’s right, the exterior of Timberline Lodge was used as the hotel in The Shining. Coolest fact EVER!
Some more Timberline pictures…
Gigantic fireplace or really tiny lady?
The closest I’ll ever get to the peak of Mount Hood.
Now, don’t get me wrong, Timberline was BEAUTIFUL. But, there’s something you should know. While on my journey to Portland, I learned that I am a complete altitude wuss. While in Montana, I could barely walk ten feet without sitting down and putting my head between my knees. We were at 4,000 feet. Again, my new friends laugh at this often. Well, turns out Timberline sits at around 4,000 feet as well. I can’t explain it, but as soon as I put my car in park, I felt like someone was pulling my eyes to the back of my head. I felt like there was a rather heavy creature on my chest. Then, I put the lovely Timberline bathroom to good use by vomiting. Go ahead mountain friends, yuck it up! It’s some sort of cruel joke that I love mountains so much yet any bit of altitude makes me ill. I’ve decided that if I’m ever going to be able to enjoy the mountains the way I want to, I’m going to spend my summer on Mount Hood. Just sitting there. Breathing. Trying not to puke. Then, maybe one day I’ll be able to actually go for a hike or stay overnight without blacking out.
Don’t think that I let some silly puking episode stop me. No way! I walked around the grounds like an old woman with vertigo! I was determined to enjoy myself and get some nice pictures!
Some big mountain friends came out to say hello!
I told David that it looked like you could just walk to the peak of the mountain. He informed me that it was another 6,000 feet or so. I’m glad I didn’t start walking!
A few hours later I was back at sea level where my stomach and eyeballs prefer to be. I still love you, Mount Hood, even though you make me sick…
Peace, love, and patchouli –