Getting back out there

Tiny, frozen details

My nursing program is officially over. My board exams studied for, completed and passed [insert WHOOP! here] have left me in the strange space of being unemployed for the first time since 1999. The stress of exams has been replaced by the new stress of hunting for an RN job in a city saturated with nursing programs. Contrary to popular belief, I am not always patient. Thus, this could get interesting.

That said, with time on my hands, I find myself able to revisit wilderness, which has been sorely missed this last year. December and the beginning of January have been cold...and wet. Snow levels have been low, which translates to literal feet of my favorite-physical-state-of-water getting dumped on the high country. 

Time for some fresh air. The kind of fresh air so cold it plasters your nostrils together when you get out of the car. Good stuff. [GRIN].

The first walk of the new year saw myself, Marut, and Marut's friend Diedre arriving at the Tamanawas Falls trailhead at roughly 10am on a Saturday morning. The drive through Hood River had occasionally buffeted my car like a ping pong ball, the snow level low enough that a storm was brewing big fat flakes in Hood River. I was slightly concerned since, with snow levels down at river level, I wasn't sure what we would find up on the mountain, and I'm not the biggest fan of route-finding in whiteout conditions. As it turns out, the walk to Tamanawas was sheltered by the giant, snow-burdened trees, and although a grey, viewless day, this walk wasn't about big open expanses. It was about the silence of the woods in deep snow.  


24°. About a foot of sugar. Perfect.

Diedre, a central California coast girl, was like a kindergartner stepping out of the car- giant grin plastered on her face as she saw snow for the first time in over a year.

It's been two years (almost to the day) since I visited this trail. Conditions were similar- low snow levels, snow too light to pack into snowballs, and frozen waterfall conditions. Snowshoeing is still relatively new for me, and I'm still exploring my comfort level, layering system, and finding trails. Tamanawas, beautiful and cool in the summer, is, in my opinion, simply spectacular in the winter.

Tamanawas Falls trail, January 2011

Similar conditions in 2013: East Fork of the Hood River

stop and smell the ice crystals
Cold Springs Creek

Marut & Deidre climbing through the most giant field of marshmallows, ever

bad ice conditions make it tough to get closer (photo by Marut)

note to self: snowshoes are not crampons (photo by Marut)

And to give you an idea of the beauty of the place, the following is a better photo than I would ever take. Andy took this picture of Tamanawas two years prior. It looked remarkably similar this day, only the light wasn't as good.

Tamanawas Falls January 2011 (photo by AJP)

I love how the winter changes the landscape. Familiar landmarks become almost unrecognizable. The creek raging a losing battle against continually dropping temperatures. Tiny, frozen details abound in an incredibly quiet world.  

It's good to be getting back out there.

Mt. Hood National Forest, Oregon
~4 miles, ~600 feet elevation gain

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