While Sylvan was losing his fifth tooth and picking an Army duck from the secretary’s supply for birthday and missing tooth kids, Leslie and I ventured up to Marys Peak, the highest mountain in Oregon’s Coast Range.
Archive for the ‘Julie’ Category
Each year, ODOT, the Oregon Department of Transportation, plows through the snow to open up McKenzie Pass to summer traffic. For some short number of days after it’s completely plowed, the snow gates remain closed, making the Scenic Highway an RV-free paved path through the mountains—perfect for bicyclists.
My friend Leslie has been my biking companion every time I’ve made it to the summit from the west side (Chris and I tried it at least one year before the road was completely plowed, and, after slogging through some snow, we realized that we should turn around). Last time, Leslie and I looked at each other and said, “We could go farther, maybe all the way to Sisters. And there are donuts in Sisters…”
So, appropriately enough, on National Donut Day, as I later learned, Leslie and I biked to McKenzie Pass, then cruised 15 miles down the east side into Sisters for a donut and a coffee. We enjoyed our caffeine and calories in rocking chairs on the porch of the charmingly Western, surprisingly Christian Sisters Coffee Company (the donuts came from the not-to-miss Sisters Bakery, whose donuts are always superbly fresh and whose pies look tart and delicious).
After our quick “lunch,” we headed back uphill through the open, butterscotch and ceanothus-scented ponderosa pine forest that led to the higher, mixed coniferous forest before giving way to basalt and snow at the Pass.
After some serious braking down the steep, west, roller coaster side, we re-entered the vine maple and Douglas fir of the wet side and found the van almost too soon. We didn’t hit any deer on the way down, unlike the man we talked to at the Pass who was helicoptered out of this ride a few years ago for doing just that (!).
Leslie didn’t know it earlier today, but she just instigated my longest day on a bike, 54 miles with 4000 feet of elevation gain. But who wouldn’t do that for donuts?
I’ve started my volcano habit early this year, specifically my Diamond Peak habit. I’ve hoped to ski down Diamond Peak for a few years, and yesterday was my day. The weather report said 70 and sunny in town, which boded well for a bluebird day in the mountains.
Seven years ago (!), Chris and I backpacked into Diamond Rockpile, at the south end of Diamond Peak, with him carrying most of the gear and me carrying my belly with a 25-week-old Sylvan inside (photo available here). The following morning, we snowshoed up the south end on a route I’ve taken a few times since, but always when the snow has melted. The route that day was wind-scoured and scary. I was apprehensive about: climbing a mountain with a bean inside me; ever being able to climb a mountain again; and the mostly-melted-out summit ridge, which looked hairy and difficult. We stopped and turned around at that south, false summit seven years ago. Yesterday the summit ridge was a highway, wide and accommodating of the 21 total people we saw on the mountain:
My climbing buddy, Wayne, and I left Pleasant Hill at 6:30 a.m., and, after a short hike from the car up a road not quite passable yet due to snow, we were stepping into our skis around 9 a.m. We started near the Pioneer Gulch trail, but to avoid the walk on snowless trail we walked up the road a little higher into an old clearcut, perfect for finding more snow. After some route-finding for complete snow passages through manzanita and small Doug firs, we got high enough to find more snow, and we were on our way uphill, 4000 feet in four miles.
A prominent west ridge at the south end of Diamond Peak was our, and everyone else’s, route. Climbing skins and climbing wires on my bindings made the climb possible. I did take off my skis for some very steep, 3-4 foot steps that I just didn’t feel confident negotiating with skis on. There was also some rime ice at about 8000 feet for which I de-skied in order not to slide too far down the mountain.
We climbed steadily, and, when we popped out on the south summit, we both agreed that the south slope looked like nice, mellow skiing compared to the steeper bowls, which sounded a little icy at the top whenever anyone skied down them. We skied the summit ridge easily, since it was wide and inviting, staying away from the corniced east side. In no time, we were on the summit, eating cheese and snapping pictures.
And then it was time for the glorious ski down. Nice softened snow, skiing in a T-shirt, perfect slopes, “adventure” skiing through the trees lower down. Highly recommended.
Okay, don’t quote me on that, but I’ve reached my goal of a sub-four hour marathon: 3:58:46 at yesterday’s Eugene Marathon (if you click on that link and enter my name in the search box, then scroll onto and click my name, you’ll find video of me finishing [with my name being announced] and a link to my average cumulative pace throughout the race).
I realized the night before the race that I must be getting older because I filled in the emergency information on the back of my race number.
At the end, after weaving a bit upon finishing, I quickly downed two ice-cold chocolate milks and lay on the turf, flat-out, for twenty minutes. Ahhh. Then a full can of Pepsi on the S-L-O-W walk home.
My favorite sign held by a cheering spectator, “I’m proud of you, Complete Stranger.” Runner-up: “Very creative cheering marathon sign.”
The Eugene Marathon is a great marathon to run: flat; lovely; great spots for spectators to cheer; nice T-shirts; plenty of volunteers, food, and water (at least for the four-hour pace). Highly recommended, if you’re looking for your next.
After a frustrating hour on the phone with US Airways….
Her: And what is your wife’s middle name?
Her: With an “e” at the end?
Me: Oh god… Yes, I think so. No wait, no, no “e”. Hold on, let me try to look it up….
Her: [Laughter] Is this your wife?
Me: [Sighing] Yes.
Getting ready to go to the pool two nights ago:
Elena: Mom, are you wearing a top?
Julie (holding up her bikini bathing suit top): Yeah, here it is.
Elena: No, that’s just nipples!
[A post from the past. Explanation here.]
19 May 2010. Sylvan, age 4 2/3, and Julie, a bit older:
Julie: “That donut looks so good. What’s it filled with?”
Sylvan (clearly not wanting to share; deadpan delivery): “Ticks.”