The Mighty Wy'East






Before Lewis and Clark came west and began the influx of western civilization that ruined everything, the Multnomah tribe of Native Americans called Mt. Hood "Wy'East". Their legend says that when the Earth was young, Wy'East (Mt. Hood) and Pah Toe (Mt. Adams) were brothers who fought over everything as brothers will. The Great Spirit, their father, told them to shoot an arrow and where it landed would be thier land. Wy'East shot the arrow to the south and became the High Chief of the Multnomah people. Pah Toe shot his arrow to the north and became High Chief to the Klickitat people. Between the two lands lay a great river, with a bridge for the people to visit each other. A beautiful woman mountain came along and the brothers started to fight for her attention, throwing hot rocks and ashes at each other, and destroying the lands. The Great Spirit put an old woman mountain (Mt. St. Helens) between them to guard the river and remind them that youth was fleeting, and to take care of the land. He also banished the beautiful woman mountain to a cave. Wy'East discovered where she was hidden and found ways to communicate with her, even convincing the old woman mountain to help him. Pah-toe discovered their affair and the brothers started to fight again. In the end, Pah-Toe won the beautiful woman mountain.

Last weekend we went to Mt. Hood. I have been staring at it since we moved here, trying to glimpse it between clouds and fog, buildings and hillsides. Sometimes it just appears out of nowhere, huge and gleaming a crisp blue in the winter light. Sometimes it is an impossible shade of pink, like a big rock candy mountain to the east. Sometimes it's nowhere to be seen, hidden behind storms and shrouds of clouds. When the climbers were missing I would gaze at the peak, willing someone to find them, imagining how different it would be from up there. It's a gorgeous and somewhat frightening place. I've wanted to visit it for months, and fianlly, one Saturday, we got in the car and went. On a clear day the drive was breathtaking. Closer and closer we wound towards the mountain, at one point turning a corner and gasping at it's snow-covered immensity in our windshield. We finally stopped at Government Camp and parked the car. I stared at the mountain from its very foot, and then turned to the snowpark and its little swiss lodge to put on my snowpants for some REAL SNOW INNERTUBING ACTION! What a blast! I flew down the hill, whooping with joy, and then turned and let the tow-line take me and my tube back up the hill, laying on my back and looking at the enormous, silent mountain. Amazing! After the innertube spree we drove up to Timberline lodge, MY NEW FAVORITE PLACE IN THE WORLD. What an incredible, magic place! It is like magic, it's like Hogwarts! Heavy wood, massive beams, huge almost medieval fireplaces, I can't believe they built all of that on the side of this wild mountain. We were 6,000 feet up,perched on the side of the world, looking out over everything around us for hundreds of miles, and there are these HUGE RAVENS hopping around. They are about two and a half feet tall, and have these ENORMOUS BLACK BEAKS! I loved them! I loved everything about that crazy beautiful old lodge on that ancient, frozen mountain. I absolutely cannot wait to get back there and spend the night. I took a bunch of pictures, but they are still being developed, so I will post them later. Meanwhile, enjoy these professional photos by someone else who loves the mountain, too.

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