What do you say when one of your best buddies asks if you want to do a snowshoe weekend on the mountain with him and his girlfriend....and he offers to haul most the gear, cook all the meals, and supply the extras? You say yes in a very big way. Especially when one of the main reasons he's doing it is because you weren't able to join the original mid-December snowshoe week to a cabin in southern Oregon due to scheduling conflicts and other individuals on that particular trip.
Needless to say Regular D scored major major brownie points on the last weekend of the year and arranged a fun trip that was something I'd been wanting to do for a long time. The only drawback to this trip was that the dogs weren't allowed to come along due to cabin regulations.
Reg D hauling a pulk at the start of the 2.5 mile journey of a 2000ft elevation gain up to the cabin. His feat was epic since there were several downed trees on the trail that he had to navigate over/around & night fell upon our final bits of trekking.
A and I at sunset--it was so incredibly beautiful on the way up.
A continuing to head up, up, up trail with Mt Hood looming in the background.
A and I made it to the Tilly Jane cabin about 530 pm and Reg D arrived just under an hour after us. The fun thing about Tilly Jane is that it's sort of like an outdoor hostel meaning that it holds mixed reservations for up to 20 people. Our first night in the cabin was spent with a couple about our age who had recently moved to Portland and two fun guys about our ages also. We all navigated well together restocking wood, boiling water, cooking various meals (Reg D made us hot sandwiches this night), and hanging out close to the fire (which was the only real spot with any warmth...the rest of the cabin stayed about 35 degrees or under... :)). We had a great time that first night sitting around the fire together, telling stories, talking about a variety of things, and sharing drinks.
On Day 2, we all crawled out of our various sleeping areas (the cabin has an open loft up top for sleeping) and Reg D cooked us an awesome egg/sausage/veggie scramble. Amanda and I heard a dog outside and when we went to investigate we met an older guy who was staying at a private cabin a bit farther up the mountain. Since they had a smaller group staying with him, he invited all of us to come up for a beer in the afternoon. About noon or 1pm-ish, my buddy J arrived for the afternoon and joined us on a bit of a day hike adventure and to visit the cabin up the way. It had started snowing the night before and the wind was also howling. Visibility to get up to the desired Cooper Spur Hut on the mountain was nil, but once we found our alternate route, we really enjoyed spending an hour or two chatting with the people in the Snowshoe Cabin (plus it was toasty and gorgeous in there). The gentleman we'd met in the morning knew the history of the area so it was great learning about the development and the cabins on that side of the mountain.
J with Reg D in the background
Reg D, A, & J heading to check out the historic Cloud Cap Inn
Late afternoon brought Reg D, A, a young guy we'd met at the other cabin, and I back to Tilly Jane, where we spent time just chatting and hanging out around the fire. In the evening we had fajitas (my fav!!) and I brought out Yahtzee cards so that our group could play together. (The young guys had left but a new couple had arrived during the day!)
A bit more sitting around the fire & chatting as the evening progressed...and then eventually we all wandered to bed.
In the morning, we woke up to more inches of snow and it was continuing to come down, so we decided to head out about noon after restocking the wood and boiling more water for the others at the cabin.
The inside of the cabin.
Final photo op in front of the Tilly Jane Cabin.
We decided to take the 9 mile road back down to the parking area as it has a more gradual decline, but with the constant snowfall we also had the fun of breaking trail (sometimes in snow that went up to just below my knee). Nine miles later, we definitely were stoked to finally arrive at the car! :) (My phone stopped working due to the cold in the section which was too bad as there was some really beautiful scenery.)
Altogether it was such a great fun, relaxing weekend however...and in a lot of ways a perfect wrap up to the fun that the year had presented. We met some incredible individuals, ate some great food, enjoyed lots of conversation, and just had time to be....it was pretty wonderful. :)
I was also pretty glad that my Sorento was able to navigate so well on the snow and we didn't need chains to get out of the parking lot (which J had loaned me a set and gave me a lesson late the night before-ha!). We stopped in Hood River for a pizza dinner and beers, and then navigated back to Portland and to all of our individual homes. It felt pretty amazing to come in the door to happy dog kisses...and then to finally get in the shower after three days of sweat, cold, and body odor :)
Seriously though.... what a great weekend...and an amazing Christmas gift from my dear buddy!