Saturday, August 22, 2009

Above it all

This morning I drove west from Bend, Oregon to hike Tumalo Mountain. It is a small volcanic peak adjacent to Mt Bachelor with a moderately steep and arduous 1 1/2 mile trail. On my descent, I looked across at the Bachelor ski area and saw the winter white paradise barren and scarred. This ancient volcano's summit and cornice reach 9,000 feet, about 3,000 feet from its base. The terrain is generally not considered as challenging for skiers or as steep as in the Rockies, but the snow is similarly dry and powdery. On this warm August day I was reminded of the upcoming season when I, either alone or with friends, will again pit myself against the elements and ski downhill filled with bravado and joy. Today though, I had indulged in the pleasure of walking in the open air up through clusters of pine, across fields strewn with basalt and pumice, amidst fading wildflowers, to a spectacular vista above the timberline. There I felt equally alive and sensed in the late summer wind the tune of nature's lovesong.

11 comments:

J Bar said...

This scene is beautiful Lee. Regarding your comment on my blog about the walkway. After the redevelopment work ceased and the frog's habitat was preserved, they decided to build the ring walkway as a way for people to view it from above without disturbing it. I haven't seen any comments/questions from you on my blog about baseball.

Small City Scenes said...

Spectacular. It looks like a neat hike. How arduous is arduous?
When I go over Snoqualmie pass and see the ski area all treed with no snow I think about the huge amount of snow that will soon fall.
Be joyous, MB

cieldequimper said...

Wonderful. Though I didn't hike up Mount Howard, I felt on top of the world, :-) just like this photo makes me feel! You will show us winter photos, won't you? I drove through Snoqualmie Pass in winter, it was beautiful (but scary for an almost Parisienne who had never driven in snowy conditions!)

Jacob said...

Okay, now that you've made me totally jealous, I'll probably have to head to our daughter's in Colorado and learn how to ski.

Hmmm. Maybe not. Aha! I could go to Oregon and take photos of you skiing downhill with bravado and joy! Gotta give you credit, I'd be coming downhill on my butt!

Just curious - does "bravado" refer to not knowing what you're doing but enjoying it immensely?

tapirgal said...

Lovely photo. Lovely place to hike.

tapirgal said...

In context here on the blog, it looks like you may have chosen the best, although I really liked your other pix from the hike a lot also.

Lee Spangler said...

Jacob: With skiing, the conditions change often hourly or daily. A skier has to pay his dues. I'm sure over the years I've fallen at least a thousand times, but I make it down the hill and that is always thrill, since I was raised to avoid risk-taking.

J Bar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J Bar said...

Lee, I vaguely remember hearing something about an Aussie playing baseball in America but I don't recall his name or any details. I doubt baseball will ever become a huge sport in Australia because we play Cricket in the summer months, which has a very long tradition here. There are probably more people playing baseball in Australia these days, than have ever played it before, but the numbers would still be tiny. Cricket, on the other hand, has a massive following and is a huge participation sport.

Raksha said...

I've never gone skiing in my life, and I'm too scared to even consider skiing down that mountain. But I'm very glad you aren't. I read that post and I could feel your bravado and joy, and even share it to some extent (the joy anyway). Your writing gets better all the time!

Jacob said...

I give you credit, Lee! If we meet up there, I'll take your picture as you come flying down the hill!