There are lots of amazing places to wrap up the season but for me, it doesn’t get much better than Mount Hood. With the homies, new and old, congregated on the county roads below. Tucked beneath the pines is where we reside, relaxing, reuniting, and happy to be healthy from a chaotic winter. The vibes are always high as people share tales and substances around the fire.
With the accessible camping in the Mount Hood National forest and Timberline’s affordable spring pass, makes for the perfect ski bum getaway, for those willing to shower in glacier runoffs and slip into their trusty crusty ski socks in the morning. Tarps fastened to trees covering the camp kitchen and common area provides a bit of refuge from the drizzly PNW weather. Of course, a fire located somewhere in the middle of camp, surrounded by cars, tents, and the occasional camper and RV. Home and it couldn’t get any better.
Thanks to Timberlines park crew and the abundance of snow the Stormin’ Norman park was absolutely firing this year. With Palmer laps and illuminations sends. We would stay on the mountain as long as we could. Exhausted and beat down by the relentless sun we eventually would head back to the parking lot to join the homies basking on the warm concrete of the parking lot before heading under the damp rooftop of the forest. We arrive at our camp and lay gear out to dry in the few sun patches that penetrate through the trees think canopy. Cans of Rainier are cracked and the duff game goes live. Soon we join the rest of the crew in a circle surronding the fire. Some random combination of veggies and protein wrapped up in tin foil placed in and around the hot coals. Depending on whose roll, some spicy, others not so much are passed around to the left as we roast. The feeling of contentment soon is overcome by exhaustion as it becomes more difficult to leave the warmth & comfortability of the fire. One by one we fade into our cool sleeping bags excited to do it all again the next day.
About five days in we got a visit from forest service on the rounds. Informing us that we only had a couple more days at our beloved camp spot before we had to pack up and leave the national forest. Which was a few days shy of the 14-day limit we are allowed. At first, we were thrown off as our campsite was clean and have done nothing to provoke them. The service officers letting us know that the days of living in the woods here were over. Due to a few campsites in years past that weren’t being good stewards and cleaning up after themselves. First feeling pissed off that authority was trying to take away our right to enjoy our national forests. We quickly realized that we are on the same side and the last thing any of us want to see is this place trashed. Remembering the reason any of us are here is that of Mount Hood and the environment that surrounds and provides. We need to figure out a way that we can work together and all enjoy and preserve this place now and in the future. So if you plan on coming here and utilizing this area be respectful and clean up after your damn self.
I still remember the first time the clouds parted and as my eyes were officially introduced to the volcano towering in solitary 7,000’ above me. The peak which was like nothing I had ever seen as a young farm boy from the midwest. I had my licence for only a few months when my brother loaded up our Chevy Astro van and drove 2,200 miles to Government Camp literally knowing nothing but there was still snow and we had to send. 8 years later we continue to camp in the same spots, using the same swimming holes and the same awe as we I gaze upon Mamma Hood.