Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Trip to Timberline Lodge

One of the most appealing things about living in the Pacific Northwest, particularly in Portland, is the vast differences in climate and terrain within short distances of one another. Two days ago, my beloved husband and I awoke to a chilly rainfall. Our 2 year old granddaughter, Ingrid, came to play and as the morning wore on, the sun came out and began to dry up the rain. We took her home at about 1:00 and headed straight for Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood. Many of you will recognize it from the film, "The Shining" starring Jack Nicholson. Had we decided, instead, to turn in the opposite direction and drive an equidistant number of miles, we would have landed at a sunny Pacific beach.

The skies were dramatically beautiful on the drive up. I put our favorite Puccini opera on the sound system and we had a lively chat as John skillfully maneuvered the car around the winding roads. At one point we stopped to take photos and met two nice young men who were on the same journey as we, only via bicycle. I felt sorry for them in a way because it was cold and wet at that particular elevation, but they were elated, happy about the beautiful scenery and exhilarated by the challenge of the manual climb. As you can see in the photo, the clouds were clinging to the mountains in wispy tendrils.

We continued past Government Camp and turned left, into the entrance that went further up the mountain to the lodge itself. We picked up a young hitchhiker who looked half frozen. Turned out that he worked at Timberline and was spending his summer snowboarding on his days off. As we drove, it began to snow....hard! We quickly abandoned our plans to hike once we reached our destination and, instead, made a hasty retreat into the lodge. As neither of us had worn particularly warm jackets, we felt welcomed by the warm glow of the rustic fireplace that rested in the center of the main hall.

We walked around and explored the interior of the lodge, as we have done many times. We both love it there, and attribute our moving to Portland, in part, to a romantic vacation we took there many years ago before we were married. Inasmuch as we have seen the beautiful handcrafted WPA mosaics, carvings and tapestries many times, it seems as though each trip is the first time we've been there. We are forever discovering new things to oooo and ahhhh over.

We sat near the fireplace and told stories...old and new, until we got hungry. John lead the way upstairs and requested a nice table by the window. The snow was piled very high by that point.

We dined on delicious, fresh salads that had light lemon dressing, pears and hazelnuts. We also had a light cheese fondu that had white wine in it.

And then we decided to brave the snow and head back down the mountain to Portland. We happened upon about six small and charming waterfalls pouring out of the forest beside the road.

During our decline, we marveled at how the snow gave way to rain, which in turn gave way to sunshine....and by the time we made it back to Portland, it was another sunny day of perfection! Ahhhhhhhhhh!


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