July 2nd, 2018- I woke up this morning to what sounded like a large rock rolling down the mountain. Lots of knocking on trees and earthy sounds, and I wasn’t quite sure what it was. The longer I listened, the more concerned I got. There was no way a rock the size of a car could tumble all the way down the side of the mountain without getting stopped by a grove of trees. Then the noises abruptly silenced, and the sound of large, heavy feet bounded towards our tent. I completely froze, and with every second, the creature inched closer. It was so loud, I was convinced it was something larger than a person. I truly was so scared that I couldn’t even breathe. The ground was shaking underneath me as the creature ran by while I sat quiet as a mouse, waiting to become a snack for whatever was ten feet away from the tent. People say that the Pacific Northwest is the ultimate Sasquatch breeding grounds, and after that encounter, I was 110% convinced that some kind of large creature does exist out there.
Once I could finally breathe again, I woke Kian up so we could get ready for our first day on hill. We got into the Focus and made it to the top of the mountain, and the realization of actually being on Mt. Hood had finally hit me. After getting “kitted” up at the car, we aimlessly walked around Timberline trying to figure out where we buy lift tickets. We had no clue what we were doing, but we eventually made it to the chairlift where the lift tickets were sold. It was a glorious sunny day, but still quite brisk outside. I didn’t think anything about the weather on hill, as I was wearing my snow pants and typical Midwest winter clothing. I thought it was normal to be cold on the mountain, but Kian was in a windbreaker and track pants, the perfect combo for a summer sesh. That’s what I get for not being a local though, right? As soon as we walked up to the lift, the ticket checker immediately knew we were not frequent summer riders. He asked our names and where we were from, and then told us the conditions up top were not good. High winds and cool temps resulted in some hard packed snow, and our new friend said that it might not be worth our money. The kind man made us a deal. He would give us one ride up the mountain to see if we could brave the conditions and stay. If we wanted to stay, we would come back down and buy a ticket. However, if we got to the top and realized we didn’t find any enjoyment from one run down the mountain, we would come back down to the chair and meet him to let him know we were leaving. A truly one of a kind guy who was just trying to help out a couple of broke kids. We were both so thankful for this man. Obviously we were there to ride the mountain so we took him up on his deal and got on the lift; without the exchange of any money. Once we made it up to the top of the mountain, we immediately knew we would not be staying. The winds were so strong that we could barely hear each other talk, and Kian only had his windbreaker on. It was not worth it at all. We flew down the hill and settled up with our friend at the lift, and went back to the parking lot to regroup. Now what? Once we got to the parking lot, we had discovered that a few homies (Alex, Pete, and Nick 💕) had just flown in from Minnesota! How insane! We met them down in Govy and made some plans for the rest of our night. The boys had rented a condo/cabin right in Govy that had a hot tub, so we went over and chilled with the boys in the hot tub until Kian and I came up with something else to do. After some time relaxing in the hot tub, we realized we wanted some things for our campsite, like chairs, and a hammock. So we decided to run into town to the nearest Walmart (which was over an hour away) to get some more last minute things. We’d catch up with the boys later on. As we journeyed down the mountain in the Focus, we noticed that the homeless man with the shopping cart was sleeping underneath “Silent Rock.” There are many superstitious things associated with the rock, and sleeping under it was probably the most disrespectful thing you could do. If you know, you know. Once we finally made it to Walmart, we found our hammock, some cheap chairs and some s’mores supplies. I hadn’t had s’mores in ages, so it was definitely necessary.
As we were walking through the grocery aisles, Kian got the craving for steaks, so we bought some to cook over the fire that night. Of course we didn’t have anything to eat steaks on, so we headed to the local Goodwill to get some super cheap fine china. We found a set of two yellow plates, and a nice pan to cook our steaks in; along with a warmer hoodie for Kian to wear on the mountain the next day.
Kian set up our campsite after we got back. The hammock was fantastic; I’d never been in a real hammock before! It was so nice to just hang out and relax and breathe that crisp Oregon air.
Eventually we got hungry, so Kian cooked our steaks over the fire and they turned out great. I will remember that as long as I live. After we finished eating, we walked down to the lake and washed our dishes. Pure bliss. I’m sure you know as well as I do; after a busy day and a good meal, the next thing on the list is a nice long sleep. As the sun slowly set over the mountain, I put on my fuzzy pajama pants and nestled myself into our little tent to get ready for bed.
The excitement for lacing up and strapping in the next morning filled my heart with jot, and shortly after, I was sound asleep with butterflies and switch carves in my dreams.