Top of the World
I had this little question in my mind... "what does Timberline lodge look like without all that snow?" And that was followed by the query, "what kind of wildflowers grow up there?" and so... we went to find out!!
Tuesday was Greg's 42nd birthday and we went to Mt. Hood to celebrate. What better place could you be on the beginning of a new year? 6,000 feet up the air is so clean-- it has filtered through all the trees and rocks and lakes surrounding you to encircle the mountain and lift up the crows. It is glorious!
We drove up to Government camp and were amazed to see the normally-snow-covered alpine village totally bare. And hardly a tourist in sight! We had the place to ourselves as we got coffee and basked in the warm air under the beautiful wood facades of the buildings. The design of the town is fantastic. Lovely northwest timber combined with swiss chalet. The perfect xmas town, even in the summer. It's like being in the swiss alps! Complete with ski and snowboard stickers.
After coffee we made the most amazing discovery. The Alpine Slide. It is a mountainside luge, like a little plastic car that you careen down the mountain in, whizzing along past other riders until you reach the bottom. The best part though is YOU RIDE A SKI LIFT to get to the top!!! I've never been on a ski lift, and I was pretty terrified. But I pretended I was on" The Amazing Race" and this was a challenge I had to do, and so I mustered up the courage. Quietly swinging up the mountain among the trees and over the marshes, with Mt. Hood right behind me? I had a blast!
Then we headed up to one of our favorite places on earth, Timberline lodge. The other times we've gone we've had to put chains on the car and walk through 6-foot drifts. The lodge itself was nearly completely covered in snow. That is the best way to see the lodge, there is nothing as cozy as curling up next to their massive fireplace in the winter. But in the summertime! It's another world!
Chipmunks scurried under the pines, the purple astors and red leaved bushes were cheerful under the brilliant blue sky. It was warm and you could see for miles and miles. The mountain was nearly bare of snow, all was relaxed and friendly. In moments like this it's hard to imagine people freezing to death up there. But it is an IMMENSE mountain, even on this innocent day looming over the lodge like a god. I wouldn't climb it if you paid me. The mountain is serious business and I feel privileged just to spend time half-way up.
Timberline Lodge itself charmed me yet again. It is a national treasure with its collection of hand-carved furniture, carved wood panels depicting scenes at Timberline from the 1930's, and collection of fantastic paintings. There are beautiful wooden corridors, stairwells and hidden rooms, all tempting me to an elaborate game of hide and seek. Perhaps when we stay overnight. It's got to be one of the most beautiful lodges in the world!
It's not everyone that can boast of a trip down the Alpine Slide on their birthday, and Greg got to add to his joy when we returned to town and tucked into his vegan chocolate birthday cake.