Sunday, March 29, 2009

Backcountry at Tilly Jane

Life is about learning new things... at least that is what I keep telling myself... This past weekend, my friend Jerad and I embarked on a new adventure where we learned many new things. Our plan was to have our first back country ski/snowboard experience on the Tilly Jane trail, which is on the Northeast side of Mt. Hood. We planned to snow camp for one night and we had rented splitboards. These are boards that double as cross country skis and a snowboard. I wanted to rent one of these boards because backcountry boarding is something I really want get into.

So we set out early Saturday morning from Portland, arriving at the trailhead around 9am. We put on our gear, including 35 pound packs, and started up the trail on our our splitboards. We put them in cross country mode with skins on the bottom allowing us to trek up the mountain. It was a bit awkward at first, because the ski option was not gracefully designed. We got used to it though. What I didn't get used to was going up 2000 feet over the course of 2 miles on clumsy skis. The journey took about 3 hours and 2 of those hours were spent in the pouring rain. Backcountry adventures are definitely not for wussies. I found myself feeling sore, with blistered feet, and wondering how on earth we would spend the night in a tent on the side of the mountain. Luckily, our luck changed! We ran into someone Jerad knew who said the Tilly Jane cabin was only 30 minutes away and there were still warm embers in the wood stove. I knew that cabin was up there, but didn't know how far away it was. When we finally arrived at the rustic cabin it felt like the Hilton. We had it made!

The cabin was charming and full of notes and stories from past visitors. There was plenty of firewood. We were lucky enough to have two groups of visitors who were happy to enjoy the warm fire with us. We spent the afternoon exploring the area and then had an awesome meal. I took a ton of pictures to document the trip.....
This was a picture of my equipment set up in the parking lot before embarking on our adventure. The board is basically split down the middle and there was a plate that my previously owned snowboard bindings were attached to. This plate was secured only in the front and so I could lift my heel for a cross-country motion.
The trail up was no picnic. I was full of energy to start off, but then the rain became a downpour and the winds picked up. I was soaked and tired with serious blisters. The hike up definitely tested my toughness!

Arriving at the cabin was like Christmas! The stove was still hot and we immediately started shoving Winco trail mix down our throats. I love eating trail mix!
Jerad played with all the gadgets in the cabin, while I took a ton of pictures. There were lanterns, tools, journals, maps, etc. After we played around for a bit, we explored the territory around the cabin.
The winds kicked up and Baby's little face froze! We promptly headed back to the cabin at this point. The conditions outside were blizzard-like and I kept thinking how cold a tent would have been! Yay for Cabins!
The upstairs had an open loft. We set up camp upstairs, hoping the heat would stick around. We were also warned of the rat problem that existed in the cabin, with strict instructions NOT to leave anything out the rats might want to eat. This was good to know, especially since we heard the critters roaming about on the bottom floor throughout the night. There was no way I was going to get out of my sleeping bag during the middle of the night. I didn't want to have a chance meeting with one of those yucky things. This also meant that baby was confined to the top floor too. Luckily for me, she was quite comfortable sleeping in my sleeping bag, providing what I believe is the most effective sleeping bag heater ever! I love my pumpkin!
We precooked some chicken and prepared some fantastic spaghetti complete with a 2006 Pinot Grigio straight from a cardboard container. Seems nuts, but these meals are MY FAVORITE!
We realized the next morning that this large bucket was a rat trap. I'm kind of glad that we didn't set it up the night before, because I'm not sure I could have handled seeing one of those huge critters (or so I read in the cabin journal).

P.S. No bicycle riding please.The cabin looked so beautiful the next morning. It snowed about 20 inches. It was amazing!!Cabin icicles.....Our splitboards-
A snowy cabin pic-
Alright... This may be one of my favorite pics ever. The snow was so deep that there was no way baby could follow us. She would have taken one step and been lost to the snow drifts. So- she had to go in my pack. I had never asked her to do this and was almost sick with nervousness, because I was going to be testing her trust in me. Turns out, she was so comfortable she napped while we were trekking up the Mt. on day two. I couldn't believe it and I also couldn't have been more proud of her. I love my dog.Looking back on our fresh tracks.
Two peas in a pod (almost literally)....
Baby enjoying the scenery of the nearby ridge.A picture of the nearby ridge and valley.... I think it was called the Polallie Creek area.
Baby in my backpack...
Jerad was the trailblazer. He had a GPS gadget, which helped a lot. I never thought I would want one, but I do! and I want this one: My dream gadget . A girl can dream I guess.

There was a forest fire about a year and a half ago. The contrast of black burned out trees and white snow was stunning. The pictures do not do the scenery justice.
Okay-- Let's get to the part where I learned a lot from this trip. There were few amateur mistakes that I won't be making again.
  1. pack rain gear. I was soaked from the trek up and had the cabin not been there, it would have been a miserable day and evening.
  2. the split board is not for me. The equipment felt clumsy and slow- leaving me with blisters and bruises. I will opt for snowshoes and a board strapped to my back next time, with the goal of finding a shorter, fatter ski with a X-country type binding that is compact enough to strap to my pack.
  3. Backpacks equipped for overnight camping and boarding do not mix. This was by far the biggest upset for me. We hiked up even higher on day two with the hopes of making the most beautiful powder turns ever! Turns out a full backpack (dog included) is not conducive to powder boarding. We fixed the equipment to the snowboard mode only to sink down about 2 feet making boarding impossible. I can't really describe the painful reaction this created deep within me. I LOVE powder and I LOVE boarding in trees. This day should have been epic. We ended up tele-skiing down, which was actually not so bad. Live and learn.
Overall, this trip left me starving for more. I want to research backcountry options and find a way to get back up there! I really do need to win the lottery. I think despite the upsets, this trip was a major success. The weather was unreal and so is Oregon. I continue to be shocked by the beauty of Mt. Hood and I hope we can become better friends over the years to come.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Alright... That's it-

I know the universe is teaching me patience right now, and honestly I'm feeling okay considering my car was broken into today while I was running on the treadmill at 24 hour fitness. Came out to my car in the parking garage to find another broken window on the passenger side. My first thought was, "Seriously? Is this happening again?" 

The funny thing was that this was WAY different than the last time this happened to me. When my Mom's car was broken into at Bree's wedding in Seattle- I felt really bad about what had happened to her car, not to mention the extremely personal information that was taken from me.... my diary, my planner, my social security card... and I think I interrupted the break-in in progress, which makes me feel sick to my stomach when I recall it.  

This time--- not nearly as bad. I had some things in a cheap Winco re-usable bag. I still hadn't replaced my bag from the last time this happened and that may have been a good thing, since I was walking around with very few things. What was taken? My little clutch purse with a credit card, driver's license, health card, and my student ID. Canceled the card- but the student ID is not replaceable. That card has been the gift that has kept on giving. Do you know how many discounts you can, or I could have gotten with that card? Guess I'll have to re-enroll to get another one. I was missing school anyways. They also got my favorite Jeans, a favorite shirt, a sports bra, a regular bra and my favorite pointy white shoes. They also got my new book, "How to live", which I was loving!!! and my diary with personal thoughts and ideas for my consulting business and life in general. Major bummer. Good news I still have my brain to think that stuff up again. Third time's a charm I guess after already losing a diary in the first break-in.  What else?? Oh. My Cell phone. That brings me to my next point. If you are needing to get in touch with me, please email me at my gmail account. I'm not sure when I will be able to put out for a new phone. The last bad thing.... They broke my window. Pain in the butt, but tomorrow I will call and hopefully that will be fixed ASAP so I can get to the mountain for back country boarding and camping this weekend. Priorities!

So the serendipitous things that made today less painful- my cash card was in my jeans on the floor in my apartment. My forgetfulness was inconvenient at Starbucks this morning, but I sure was glad I didn't have it this evening! I also didn't wear my favorite 'Pike's place market' belt on my pants today, which I originally thought was gone. I also forgot my planner today and was missing it at work- but again glad it is sitting next to me on my bed right now. I also had a phone meltdown and wrote down all my contact numbers about 3 weeks ago so I have them for when I can afford a new phone. WOW! so much to be thankful for. It gets better! My snowboard Jacket (which was a victim of the last car theft) was not taken. My snowboard was also sitting in the back with my boots! YAY! 

So- lucky for me this day could have been SO MUCH WORSE!

If you need me- please email!
Sometimes I just don't blog as fast as I should! Last Wednesday night I was so lucky to see Miss Jamie from Minnesota. Jamie used to live in Portland and work in my dementia program. She was so fantastic that after knowing her for just a short time I felt compelled to ask her what her grad school plans were. I had to ask her because I just felt like the world needed her to get her Master's so she could get lots of grant money to start her own programs. She is super smart, emotionally intuitive, compassionate and basically just tuned into people.

Now Jamie is almost done with her first year and is even interested in dementia! Yay for people with dementia! The other thing you should know about Jamie is that she epitomizes what an Oregonian is! She is outdoorsy, socially and environmentally responsible, and she really knows how to wear earth tones.... Great fashion sense!

A few of us met up with Jamie and it was so great to catch up. The best part of the evening was hearing that she wants to return to Oregon! This makes me very happy.

A quick pic of the ladies outside the Imbibe off of Hawthorne.
Jamie Rocks! Seriously- what was I saying about wearing earth tones?
One last pic before we departed.

She is so much fun to spend time with I didn't want to stop hanging out! The good news is that Jamie is the type of friend that I have a strong feeling I will be seeing in the future and hopefully we will be working together again, only this time she will be therapeutically introducing nature to people with dementia in a way that will make their lives better. I can't wait to see what she will do!

Miss you Jamie! Please come back to Oregon for good!

Monday, March 16, 2009

I have a problem...

I was just scrolling through my own blog and realized that I have a problem.... a donut problem. I even blogged about fresh donuts from the Beaverton Bakery in November. I'm connecting with the appropriate community resources to help me with this issue. I do want to say that of all the donut places I have been- Joe's donuts wins the donut trophy for the most delicious cake treat of them all. The old fashioned glazed donut from small town Sandy, Oregon gets my vote.

I'm going to call donut-a-holics anonymous now.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

St. Patty's celebration: year three

I moved up to Portland just over 3 years ago. My first year here, we had a St. Patty's day party and it seems like it has become a tradition to spend this holiday with Mrs. Jen Grube. I know I have rambled on about how great I think Jen is in previous posts- so I will just share photos from previous years.
This first photo is from a Sellwood Dive bar in 2007. In 2008 we celebrated at Kell's with Michael and Peter (Jen's hometown buds).
And a photo from this year- 2009.

Jen's friend Tiff came from Bend, Oregon and we started at Kell's and migrated to a bar that had great dance music.
We danced for what felt like hours! One look at my feet and it is evident that we weren't messing around- I have 2 blisters!!!
After all that dancing (and calorie burning) we had to get doughnuts from Voodoo doughnuts. This is pretty much a Portland landmark. This centrally located shop is home to various quirky creations like, a maple bacon bar, a captain crunch berry doughnut, a dirt doughnut and the no name doughnut. The doughnuts are so delicious that we walked several blocks in the pouring rain.... definitely worth getting soaking wet!!!

Sadly, Jen had to drive the 1 1/2 hours back to her hometown this morning. I look forward to seeing her again soon. Luckily, we had a great evening with plenty of pics to hold us over until next years celebration.  

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

a little bit of tele??

Today Erica, Betty and myself made it to Mt. Hood. Big surprise- a trip to hood... I know. The trip was not my usual trip, because I rented telemark skis and joined the frustrating and difficult world of 'beginners'. I thought I would just try it for a day and spend some quality time on buttercup with the ladies. Unfortunately, I liked it... a lot.... This has got to stop! I do not have room for more gear and I do not have money for more gear. I have to admit that this sport was challenging and that makes me want to do it again. I can also say that my quads are burning right now and that is also very appealing.

We had to stop at Joe's Donut Shop so Erica could have the entire Mt. Hood experience. She was pretty pumped and had two poses for me. I love the following pictures so much, I had to share them both. SHE CRACKS ME UP!

Getting used to new equipment is never fun. Betty was helping Erica and she did Great!! She is a natural!
Erica in Action!
I took Betty to the top and she killed it! You would never know that she has only been on a board 3 times!!
I really enjoyed my Telemark experience. I hate that I liked it so much. I'm already contemplating the date of my next rental. Ugh!
Erica and I on the lift.
Betty posing on top of the mountain.
These two ladies are a blast to hang out with. Today was so much fun and I look forward to doing it again real soon-

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Gales Creek hike

Saturday was a great day for a hike. My friend Jerad took Baby and I to Gales Creek trailhead just West of Forest Grove, Oregon. The trail was pretty overgrown, with several fallen trees that have yet to be cleared by the forest service. It was pretty chilly, but beautiful. It snowed almost the entire time we were out there.

I think the pups enjoyed being out in nature as much as I did! There were several areas where the trail had been washed out by a major landslide a few years back. Baby was forced to find her inner 'mighty-dog' and she managed to gracefully jump over several obstacles. At ten years old, she is still going strong!
Barley crossing a wooden bridge.
Baby and I posing for a picture.
The growth on the trees was beautiful. I feel for those that hike with me, because when I see something beautiful, I just have to take a picture! Often times that includes pictures of my Pumpkin with snowflakes on her nose....

I also have to include at least one cheesy pic. 
A photo of a late winter moon.
After a hike I had THE BEST Jalapeno chicken with brown rice and mango salsa. I was starving after the hike, so this was a real treat. Geez do I feel spoiled! It was nice to be on a trail today. I can't wait for the summer backpacking season to begin!