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|In the parking lot, getting ready|
Even though the calendar said the end of April, you wouldn't know it by looking at the mountain. Hood had way more snow than it did last December. Yes, people are still lift skiing at Timberline ski area, and a few more hardy souls are strapping on skins and climbing the mountain (such as you-know-who!).
|Young and John behind a sea of clouds|
After the previous day's tough hike, my skiing buddies and I weren't moving very fast. How crazy were we to plan a backcountry ski tour the next day? Meeting up in the morning, the three of us compared aches and pains. Young made the comment if it wasn't for me wanting to go skiing, she and John would've stayed home. I told them I felt the same way! Hooray for friends - they keep us from bagging out on good times.
|I never tire of this view|
But the weather was so fantastic, how could you stay home? It was another perfect bluebird morning. The sky was clear, the sun warm, and the snow just starting to soften, as my companions and I arrived at the Timberline parking lot.
|Silcox Hut's roof emerges from the snow|
We unpacked our gear, and started to climb. Oh how my leg muscles protested! Weary from the day before, I seemed to move at a snail's pace. The hot sun beat down, causing sweat to pour out of every nook and cranny. It was gonna be a long day.
|Break time fun|
John told us to take our time, no pressure. He reminded us we were here to have fun, not break the world's land speed record (which was a good thing considering my physical state). John has a warped idea of fun, doesn't he?
|Young and John caught in mid-snack|
Once we got near the top of the Magic Mile lift, the wind picked up. It provided some relief from the blazing sun. The cool breeze felt great on our sweat-soaked bodies. Young and I took a snack break and clowned for some pictures.
|Now it's time for Young and I's close-up|
Although the weather high on Mt. Hood's slopes was warm and sunny, it looked like the Portland area was not so lucky. To the west, a thick cloud bank hovered below us. We laughed thinking of all the poor souls in Portland who were enduring yet another gray-sky day.
|Nap time at the top of Palmer|
Beyond the Magic Mile, things again got steep (how quickly we forget!) After last week's blisterfest, I'd taped up my heels good. But my right side still gave me trouble, necessitating another stop to bolster the blister prevention.
|Enjoying our lunch break|
Our goal for today was only to reach the top of the Palmer lift. Considering our wearied states from yesterday's hike, this was ambitious enough. The last pitch was another long slog that seemed to last forever. But I ended up reaching the Palmer in a faster time than last week (not that I was trying for time, I was just hungry and wanted to have lunch!)
|Checking out our downhill route|
It was wonderful to perch on the side of Hood, rest, enjoy my sandwich, and take in the sights. I never tire of the panoramic views from the mountain's slopes. Then, my tummy filled, I laid down in the sunshine and took a quick nap.
|Our route down|
Soon it was time for the best part - skiing downhill! Hoping to catch some untracked snow, John chose a route outside of the ski area boundary. The top portion was a little chewed up, thanks to a Mazama basic climbing class that had trooped through. But once we got below this area, it was sweet, sun-softened corn snow. And it was unmarred by any tracks!
|Veer to the right of that cornice!|
What a blissful ride to the bottom! It was a totally fabulous, effortless glide. I felt as if I was skimming through velvet. The snow held up much better than last week, not turning sticky until the last quarter mile before the parking lot. Skiing like this is the reason I put myself through such tiring climbs! (Well, that and the after-tour trip to the microbrewery).
Hiking one day, skiing the next. And beer after each event. Last weekend couldn't have been more perfect. (Now back to work to rest up...)