Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Retaining Sanity

Sometimes, during these covid lockdown times, you just need a few projects around the yard to maintain your mental balance. My lovely partner has taught me the calming and fulfilling feelings that can come from the building of a simple retaining wall. We started a few years ago down in the back corner of our lot where our property inclines quite a bit into our neighbors. The previous owners had put in some old cinderblocks and a wire fence and that had stopped the slide, but we wanted to add more of a terraced feeling, so we could generate some flat areas for yard, patio, and planting.  This led directly to our first retaining wall, that was very much a combined project between she and I. She taught me the importance or area preparation, of digging down far enough to have a few inches of crushed gravel to provide for support, drainage, and a good level starting point. I, of course, was more concerned with getting the blocks laid and so didn't really follow her directives for the first half of the wall. This led not only to scorn but a redo of that half of the wall. Let me just say, the more walls you build the more you appreciate the importance of quarter minus and a good tamper.

After the first couple of years you get that nice moss covering

Jack wants to make sure you see the nice steps in our garden path. 

Well, once that wall was done, I realized that we really needed another one 10 feet away to finish the terracing and give us the perfect patio area. My partner agreed, but she didn't want any straight line wall, those are ugly and boring. She laid out a nice curved pattern that matched her ideas about path construction and plant placement and I went at it.  This one had the extra fun building aspects of going up and down in the yard. This means that the top row is even and level, but the bottom rows go up and down a brick or so (you could just dig extra deep in some places and have bricks that are completely buried, but that seems like a waste of brick money and digging effort).  We were pretty happy with it when we finished, though we still are not sure whether we want it to be a brick layer taller or not. And we still don't have a patio...

We planted a wild mix flower lawn this year. Jack likes it.

8 inch Roman Stackers and fluer de lawn.

I should say a little something about the stones being used. These two walls both used 8 inch roman stackers from Home Depot. They are 8 inches in the front, 6 inches in the back, and 4 inches tall. The main body stones have groves in the bottom and a rise in the top. The rise and grove fit together to lock the stones horizontally whilst still allowing for the stones to be turned to follow the graceful curves you can see in the pictures. The cap stones a flat on top.

We didn't build this wall all at once. It was a many weekend (when we were not kayaking or hiking or otherwise adventuring) activity. We pretty much would build it by the car load. That is, we would take our Hippo (the Nissan Pathfinder) that we had back then to Home Depot and get as many stones as we thought we could move at a time. This was a limit for the hippo, but also for our poor backs. We would get maybe 40 stones at a time (Paige will check me on this). That is a lot of exercise, by the way, since you need to load the stones on the hand truck, wheel them out to the car, load them into the car, unload them back into the garden cart, and then wheel them back to the project and unload them again. Such fun.

The next project was more of a "save the yard" then a beauty thing. We wanted to build a shed but we really needed to stabilize that side of the yard first. So we used larger heavier stones to make a retaining wall between the neighbors and us. We think the chainlink fence may be ours, but it is unclear. When we built this, there was a very high dense loral hedge growing down the property line. This one was tough because our build space was limited by the hedge and fence and the stones weighed twice as much. Of course, I didn't care quite as much about keeping things level either.

Jack thinks he may see an old tennis ball of his

Then. Some excitement. Last year I convinced my partner that we needed a wall in the front yard to level off that side garden and provide more definition for the grass area. She somewhat reluctantly agreed and I got to put in this fine baby.

See the up and down there on the bottom?
 Not to be outdone, my partner put a wall in place over by the driveway, to hold our new parking space that we had then thought would hold our new RV Trailer.

This brings us up to Covid Times. Here we were, trapped in the house with nothing to do and no where to go and with a couple of wall projects that were just begging to be completed. I wanted to put in another wall in the back yard that would compliment the ones in place but would level off the area over by my bamboo. I also wanted to put in a new Giant Bamboo planter back in the far corner (where the big block wall is). And while were are at it, I really want to retain the wall between our up hill neighbors house and our property. That is a lot of bricks. And the stores are NOT open.
So I ordered a pallet of 2 different size bricks from Home Depot and had it delivered. If you are ordering a bunch of heavy things, this is definitely the way to go. Price is like $80 for the entire pallet, so just load it up.

I love the way that these forklifts load themselves onto the back of the big trucks

So that let me build this:

See my nice bamboo?

And this:

That is the neighbors house. 

And this, my Giant Bamboo Planter !!


And this is when my wife said:
"Enough is Enough. No More Walls"


Anyone need a wall built?

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Super Site Fun(d) Kayak Tour

What could be more fun than setting out on a cold damp February Morning to tour the historic toxic waste dumps and modern Superfund Site that is the last few miles of the Willamette river passing through Portland?

Yeah, that's what I said! Let's Go !!

This trip is a yearly expedition hosted by Willamette Riverkeepers. It is a sort or eco-tour thing meant to keep people aware of what exists in this very commercial part of the river but also appraise people of ongoing efforts to clean the river and ongoing threats to the river eco system. Travis, from Riverkeepers, is very well informed and does a good job as tour guide (though he is just too dang fast in that little Canoe of his) and I will try to relate his data and stories in this blog entry. (I have asked Kate of Riverkeepers to send me some research links, so I hope to stay somewhat accurate here).

We met around 9:30 at the Portland Boat House, down under the 5 highway next to OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry). This is a bustling place, even on a cold winter morning, because of all of the crew people that are practicing and such. I think I saw around 6 of the very long 8 man crew shells lined up on blocks. Waiting their turn to either go down the dock to the river, or to get cleaned and  put back in the boat house. The boat house is owned by the city of Portland and the people paddling are a wide assortment. I think that many are from the local colleges (like Portland State University) but others are just folks that want to learn to row or perhaps are continuing from their college days. There are also some 4s and Double shells around. The actual boat house building is full of racks (like 4 or 6 high) with different size crew shells and oars. There is also a pretty big weight room in there for the off-water crew jocks.

This same building used to hold the boats for the in-city presence of Alder Creek Kayak, but they moved out a few years ago. The building is multi story modern concrete affair and also houses the offices of Willamette Riverkeepers, a coffee house, and other entities.  This means that the Portland Boat House is not actually a building, per se, it is an entity that happens to lease space from this heretofore unnamed building (henceforth referenced as Building A). (see that. I got to use "heretofore" and "henceforth" in the same sentence) (Oh, I did it again). Building A has been for sale for a long time (10 years) and both the Riverkeepers and the Boat House have been looking for new digs for that time. Well, their grace period has evidently expired, Building A has been purchased and everyone now has until the summer to get the hell out. Where are all of those 62 feet (yikes) 8 man crew shells going to go?

The answer is, at this time, unclear. There is an empty lot over by the new Railroad Museum that the boats are going to park (outside but covered) in the interim. But that is way too far from the river for people to carry. Riverkeepers and the Boat House are working together on some other possibilities, one of which is to acquire the (now shuttered) Floating Restaurant over on the West short of the river. This is a great location right next to a little "beach" down in front of the Portland Marriott (let me find an old picture). They would have to add a bunch of long floating dock/storage sheds for the long boats and such but it would sure be handy for the river. It would give Riverkeepers some river access also. They don't need it, but it would be cool. Not sure what they would do with the huge supply of heavy iron free weights in the boat house workout room. Heavy Iron Weights don't seem to mix so well with floating facility. Perhaps they could switch to rubber band resistive machines. Just like the Astronauts in Sky Lab !!

(2020 update on this. Looks like they have moved to a temporary location. This location is pretty far from the river so I guess they are still working on a better place)

Have we started our paddle yet? Why not? Oh, because we were standing around gabbing about the Boat House whilst we waited for a few more crew teams to clear the little dock. But they are out of the way and it is now time to get going. We are 23 boats on this trip. That is a lot more than I had been expecting. Many of them are two person canoes. So call it 40 people out to paddle through Portland and learn stuff.

We are going to stay on the East side of the river for the entire paddle. The river is pretty wide for the rest of its journey

On Previous paddles, I had made it as far North (down river) as the Steel Bridge. This is the main train bridge in Portland. It carries The MAX (light rail) the Portland Street Car (a different line of the light rail) the North South Amtrak trains (including the Seattle to LA Coastal Starlight) and lot some freight car traffic. Today the local Amtrak from Eugene to Seattle was crossing.  With all of those boats, we had a number of different skill levels represented, but the group leaders did a good job of keeping the group together and keeping an eye on less experienced paddlers. Of course, the basic nature of this trip was that we intended to stop in many places in order to get mini-lectures on what was going on at that particular site. The site history and future, if you will. This meant there were plenty of places to stop and let the group get un-strung-out.

Getting a lecture at the overwater walking trail.

Our first stop was just be crossing under the Steel Bridge. On the East Bank there is a city floating docking area. These docks are temporary only and seem to be put there such that people can access the convention and sports arena areas of town by boat. Right now, the docks are completely closed, presumably for the same reason that the city (semi) floating river walk is also closed: for maintenance.  The Vera Katz Esplanade runs along the east side and is usually open to pedestrians and bikers (Vera is a past beloved Portland mayor). It is a lovely walkway with a gorgeous view of the city skyline. It is also closed some seasons because of high water. When the floating parts of the walkway are higher than the non-floating parts, that is a problem.

That is the 84 on-ramp up there.

Today we took shelter under the I84 East on ramp, 100 feet over our heads, and had a little discussion about the homeless problem. In Portland, as around the rest of the country, there has been an increase in homelessness. Actually, I don't know if the rate of homelessness has increased or just the way the problem manifests has become more readily visible. Here in Portland, we have hundreds of tent encampments that have sprung up pretty much anywhere that is available. Sometimes this is under highway bridges and other places that people don't usually go, sometimes it is just along neighborhood streets. It is unclear to me what sort of conditions prompt the tent villages to grow. Perhaps it is as simple as being the places that the campers don't get run off of. At any rate, we didn't really talk about solutions to the problem, we talked about the impact of the issue on the river and the environment. Is that a cruel and unfeeling point of view? Perhaps. Though the long term solution to the ecological problem is to eliminate the illegal camping, which in turn means finding a feasible solution to homelessness.  And since this is a national problem, that solution is probably not just giving everyone tickets to Seattle.

Grain Loading Facility

However, what is the ecological problem? Well, anytime people camp, they have waste that is generated. In paid for public campsites, this waste is managed by providing appropriate trash dump sites as well as bathrooms. When you camp in the wilderness, you carry out your garage (and perhaps your poop as well). But in the case of in-city camping, there is often no trash or human waste facilities provided, and so everything just goes on the ground. Perhaps at the campsite, perhaps a short walk away. If the camp has remained in one place for any length of time this can lead to a lot of garbage buildup. When the camps are on the riverbank, the trash and waste is going to end up in the river. The trash and garbage is often things like discarded clothes, tarps, water jugs, etc. But it can also include a high number of hypodermic needles and other dangerous biologicals. The human feces in the river is a problem for swimmers (yes, the Willamette is eminently swimmable in the summer, even down in the city) and can lead to toxic algae blooms that can be just plain deadly.

Homeless encampment on the beach

To make matters worse, there have been growing numbers of old boats anchored on the river that are being used as homes. These boats are often just floating hulks (masts gone from sailboats, no usable engines, etc) that are rafted together in little communities. What are these boats using to dispose of human waste? There is a boat that goes around and can pump out a holding tank for you, but that costs money. Chances are the tanks are just dumped in the river.  Why is this allowed? The river, as a waterway, is under a different jurisdiction than some car parked on the shore. In the river, the city, county, or state police departments have limited authority. They can't, for instance, just board a boat and do an inspection and issue citations. Only the Coast Guard can do that. And the Coast guard really has better things to do. (Here is an article with some conflicting info. It says that the issue is that if a boat is "too close" to private land, it is essentially tresspassing on that land and it is up to the land owners to take some action (call the police). Otherwise, the police can take action IF the boat is dumping sewage. (of course, they would have to prove that)).

This is a painful issue and difficult to see a solution. On the one hand, these people are homeless and have nowhere to go. They often have either mental or drug problems and they just have no way to "go away". Anywhere they go, they are somewhere. So here they are trying to be invisible as possible to Most people, but they are in places where they don't have services and they are making large trash heaps and sewage in public areas and so degrading those public areas. Any way to fix this problem is going to require money. For now, Riverkeepers is mainly trying to do things that address the ecological symptoms. This mainly entails organizing events to clean up trash on the shore and such and making people aware of the issues. (I need to look through Riverkeepers site and see if I can find a link to a better statement of their position).

However, a little trash and sewage is nothing compared to the real ecological problems that we are going to be encountering as we continue down the river. Here is a government map that shows the many different areas that have been marked for cleanup. Take a look at it. It is a PDF and I can't just stick it into the blog. There is a lot going on here. Each of those many blocks are pointers to specific government pollution reports. The reports include history of the site, what toxins were found in various testing, how the toxins got there, what has been done to mitigate the issue (if anything), and who owns it.  Perhaps you can take a look at this report as an example. It tells the story of a silicon wafer manufacturer. Probably selling wafers to Intel and other local companies. It uses a chemical in the wafer production processes that has leached 20 or 30 feet into the soil and is showing up in ground water run-off into the Willamette. In addition, the site was also contaminated by the Previous owner (an oil company). So much stuff. And here is the Riverkeepers report on the superfund in general.

Back to paddling the river.

Fog cuts off the top of the bridge.

We had a low hanging fog around us. We could see the banks and such, but the tops of the taller bridges, as well as the local hills were hidden from us. Of course, the biggest thing hidden was the sun, which was making the paddle a little chilly. I pulled out my special paddle hand warmers. They are called poggies and they fit over your paddle and then you slide you hands into them. They keep all of the wind and a lot of the water off of your hands. Usually you would also have some other light glove on for additional insulation. The poggies are nice because you can easily pull your hands out of them to take a picture or scratch your nose. Hard to do that if you are wearing thick insulated gloves. I was feeling pretty equipment superior until I looked around and saw that most of the other kayakers were wearing the same things. Dammit.  And you know, going to the kayak store and trying to get ahead of the pack by buying the latest next thing doesn't help much because there are not that many newest latest thing for kayakers and all of the stores have the same things and everyone just got one for Christmas.  Sigh. This puts you back at building your own boat. Perhaps designing and building your own boat.  Easier to blog.

Our next stop down the river is across from a sort of ritzy downtown "on the river" condo area. Sort of a funny area because I think that from the land side, the area is sort of poor... except perhaps right on the river and these colorful little condos. These people have a nice view of the river, up until there eyes are hit by photons bouncing off of the other shore. Because on the East Bank is a loading terminal for what I think must be Wheat. (let me research). OK, I confirm that the facility there is grain elevators. There are 2 main sites, 1 seems to be in constant operation and the other one (which is right adjacent to the sports arena) is less so.

Yeah, that looks natural

We found a Beach!! Campers in the background were not happy

Those are pretty big boats they are loading with grain. There are big conveyor belts that move the grain from the shoreside silos up to the ships and into the ships storage. The ships also seem to have a small space shuttle on the stern. Good to know.

Escape Pod on the stern of a grain hauler

As we are paddling along we often see these 6 foot high concrete pipes that are coming out of the bank into the river. You see them at various intervals along the river, I remember one that was Octagonal up by Oaks bottom (and Ross Island). If the river is just the right height, as it was today on a couple of these pipes, you could pretty easily paddle into one (you couldn't turn around, of course). Tempting to paddling in backwards when no one was looking and then wait for the group to pass by and shoot out of the darkness and scare everyone !!. Resist this temptation. These are sewage overflow pipes. They used to be quite active, especially in the winter, but in recent years they "hardly ever" get used. This is because the Portland "Big Pipe" project put in this Really Huge pipe that carries waste up and down both sides of the river to try and prevent dumping the raw waste right into the river. We were told some good stories on this. When they were building the pipes, they had active elevators that went way down to the dig. The east side pipe is 150 feet deep and some 20 feet in diameter. I want a tour.  I stole this picture from here.

Wikipedia picture of inside of the Big Pipe.

Want to know a secret? I started writing this Blog a year ago. Then I retired. Then I evidently put this away and haven't looked at it since. And never published it!! What a waste.

So to finish off.
We paddled some more.
Saw a AmTrak Train crossing the bridge.
Got off under the Cathedral Bridge (St. Johns) and went home.
The end.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

White River Snow Shoe

Snowshoeing is a funny sort of occupation.
If you don't live where there is actually snow outside your door, then it can take a bit of preparation just to get to the start of your exercise.

For instance.
This year (don't say global warming) the snow has not been so good up on Mount Hood. Our quasi-annual New Year's Eve midnight snow shoe to Trillium Lake was cancelled because there wasn't any snow at Trillium Lake. No snow at Trillium Lake on January 1st? Usually there is 6 feet and the temperature is like 15 degrees.

But we did get some snow toward the end of January. And my birthday is the end of February, so my wife made a plan for us to go up to Timberline Lodge and spend an evening and so we may as well go snowshoeing.

What do you need to go Snow Shoe?

1) Equipment
Snow shoes, of course. You can rent them at many places that are near snow. In Portland, you can get them at REI or in little equipment rental places on the way to the mountain (like, in Sandy). There are many types and they all seem to work pretty well. Some are more heavy, some are easier to put on, some are more expensive. Personally, I like the inexpensive tennis racket like ones they have at Costco. They are like $70 and come with very nice poles and a carry bag and seem to work just great. My original pair gave up the ghost this year because the metal cleats on the bottom bent over, but the new ones I got have fixed that design problem and I am very happy with them. You may notice that they come in different sizes and are labeled as rated to different body weights. This can be important as different body weights require difference shoe surface area to provide sufficient buoyancy in deep powder. Otherwise, you many sink so deep in the snow that it is difficult to walk. On the other hand, if you are just walking on established trails (like at Trillium) the snow is already compacted and all you really need is a small snow shoe area with good grips on the bottom. Many of the expensive shoes go with this. They provide a small strong (usually metal) base shoe that you can then attach extensions on (that go out the back) for additional buoyancy should you require it. By the way, the buoyancy thing is real. If you are lucky, and there is some deep snow that hasn't been trampled, go out and wander through it. See how deep you sink. Perhaps you and you partner (because you wouldn't go out alone) can stomp down a little area to sit down and have a snack. Now be careful when you take off your snowshoes because chances are you will sink down right up to your thighs. This is called "post holing".

Poles. Do you need poles? I like them and you can use them as trekking poles in the summer. Make sure you have good big snow baskets or they will just sink through the snow and pull you over.

2) Clothing
On the one hand, you are going to be getting some exercise and heating up quite a bit. On the other hand, you are on the mountain in winter and stuff can happen. It is probably already pretty cold and if the wind starts to blow (or you walk out into an unprotected area) the wind chill will get to you very quickly. All of this is to say: Layers. I usually have 3 layers of pants (leggings, hiking pants, rain pants) and start with 2-3 layers on top including a wind proof (water proof) layer on the outside. But I also have a couple more top layers and dry socks in my pack. I also recommend layers of gloves. On a nice day, I will wear just wool fingerless gloves. But if it gets cold or wet, I have another layer of windproof to put on. I also carry a heavy pair of gloves (like ski gloves) in my pack. For my head I have a wool cap, the hood of my raincoat, a scarf, and usually a bandana or two. I don't usually go out if I need serious face protection, but my scarf would be good for emergencies.

A well prepared Shoer

3) Safety
Ok, I admit I go a little crazy on safety stuff. I usually say that I want to assume that I am going to fall down and break my leg and want to be able to hang out where I am until rescue can arrive. That is a little hard to do when it can be 10 degrees out at night. A real serious person would carry a collapsable shovel and know how to dig a snow cave. I don't go that far. I do carry an emergency bivy sack (a little space blanket bag) and a tarp. That might do me for a couple of hours. I also have the usual first aid kit. And then the 10 essentials of which a few are Knife, Signal Light (flash light), Fire Maker, Compass, Map (I always forget the map).

A couple of notes on relying on your phone. A cell phone can be a great thing. It is a map, a light, a signal device, a call for help. Hell, I am sure that with the right tools you could light a fire with it. But they aren't a great thing to rely on in the wilderness. Why? A couple of reasons. The batteries may not last for long enough for a rescue. The signal may be inadequate in the crevasse into which you have slipped. The phone will turn off (and not turn back on) if the phone temperature gets below around 30 degrees. Moisture could break it. When my partner and I took our Wilderness First Aid course, one of the horror stories they told us was about a person caught out in the cold and dark using her cell to call for help. And her battery went dead before a rescue team located her. To this day her ghost can be seen wandering the paths above Multnomah Falls and waylaying day hikers with requests for a "recharge". (Ok, she was actually rescued and was fine).

4) Transportation
Don't forget that you are going up to the Mountain. Many roads sometimes require chains or traction tires. You should have chains and know how to use them.  Hell, you should have a Subaru Forester with snow tires (but not studs, those are obnoxious in the city during the week).  Oh, and don't forget that the real danger on a slick road isn't you driving into a tree, it is that other guy coming down the hill without snow tires coming sideways across your lane and you not being able to dodge.  One last thing on cars, put a pair of leather gloves and a blanket or tarp in the back with your chains, and a headlamp too.

5) Other
I almost forgot about this. Sun Protection. Sun Glasses and Sun Screen. Usually when you need the sun protection it is sort of freakishly hot out. Like our second day up at 7000 feet above Timberline Lodge. It was short sleeves weather. I wished I had a baseball cap instead of a wool hat. I also needed some sun screen for my nose and under my eyes and perhaps some lip balm.

Ok. Enough of that. Let's Go! Crap, we forgot a Snow Park Pass. Luckily you can get one at Joe's Donuts in Sandy on your way up. They don't have Raspberry Bear Claws anymore, but you can make do with a blueberry yummy (and a Snow Park Pass, please).

Up on the West Ridge

Today we are off to White River snow park. It is a fun and easy to get to location with a big parking lot and an incredible view of Mt. Hood. It is also just far enough around the back of the mountain that the cloud bank on the mountain often blows around it and gives you blue skies and warm sun. Today was such a day. We could see the ominous clouds off to the West and South. They were coming toward us quickly but just couldn't seem to get there. They would keep evaporating before they passed over the White River (glacier?) valley.

There were only about 10 cars in the 200 car lot. Just a few parents who had taken Monday off and brought their kids up on the hill to go sledding. There is a pretty safe place for small kids just a hundred yards up the main path from the parking lot. We geared up (layers, remember) and then walked up past the sledders before we turned left and followed the marking for a little trail that goes up the ridge on the side of the river valley. I have never been up here in the summer, so I am not sure what this place looks like without snow, but in the winter, the White River valley is this quarter mile wide stretch of white with a stream snaking down the center through the snow. There are not any tree tops or much of anything except snow visible out there. A few boulders hidden under the white. I am guessing that it is all volcanic and glacial silt bed down there under the snow.

We are a little out of shape and it was a bit of a slug up the initial hill onto the side slope. The trail had one set of tracks on it since the snow yesterday, but it is all still mighty fluffy. This means that the person in front is still trail breaking. The person in front when you are walking in new snow is doing a lot more work than the person(s) following in their footsteps. So switch it up every so often. More fun to be out front, but more work too.

We are walking past what looks like a lot of 6 inch pine trees sticking up from the snow. Those are, of course, just the top six inches of whatever tree is growing there. Probably a 5-6 foot tall tree where we are walking right now. There are lots of larger trees sticking up out of the snow. They tend to have depressions around their base where the snow could not pile up. Be careful of these. You don't want to get too close to trees and their depressions as they could hide holes and such that you could fall into.

We have a glorious view of the White River valley from up here on the rim. I think we are really up on a bit of glacier moraine. I think this because the valley has very little steepness to it. Sort of like a big flat wide area (though slanting down the mountain sharply) with that little river (a creek, really) out in the center. The other side of the valley has a few sharp cliff areas. One looks like it has been carved out or had some rock fall off very recently (this season). And when you look up you see white all of the way to Mount Hood.

We plodded our way on up for about half an hour and then curved around the top of this natural snow bowl. We haven't been out for all that long but snow shoeing really uses different muscles than one might expect. For us, we are feeling tired in the big muscles on the sides of out thighs. Well, you have to work up to these things. We take some more pictures and start our way down the bowl.

Going down is always faster than going up and we are soon back at the car and on our way up to Timberline Lodge. We like to visit the lodge a couple of times a year. This year it is for my birthday. We are going to have a nice dinner in the Cascade Dining Room in the lodge and just enjoy the art and architecture and general solidness of the place.

View from our Bed Room

The Shining

I don't know of any other building that is remotely to the scale of Timberline Lodge. It is built with HUGE native tree and stone and everything in it (the chairs, the tables, the desks, the frigging Door Hinges) were handmade with specific art themes. I swear you could wander around the place for a couple of days just finding the hidden little treasures of handcrafted wonder. Check out some of the things I found in a 10 minute look see.

Hand Carved Rams Head Table

Something interesting way up on the central chimney

Lots of Wrought Iron Work. With Mountain Motif. 

Wrought Iron and Cow Hide
Fake old fashion Radio, playing music

Down in the basement common area. She is sitting in front of a fire and changing her boots.

Wrought Iron Heat Radiators.

Some things to do if you go to Timberline Lodge.
Do get a room. They are small, quaint, unique and fun. You may want to take advantage of the ear plugs provided.
Do take a hot tub. In the snow. Try the pool too.
Do hang out in the main lounge. Try to get a couch by the huge fire. Perhaps grab a beer from the Ram's Head Bar just upstairs. The view is better from the Ram's Head, but the couches and fire are better in the lower lounge. You can carry your beer downstairs.
Do have dinner at the Cascade Dining Room. They have great food! I had the duck. My partner had the fish. Both were fabulous. Not cheap, but not incredibly expensive either.
Do get up before 8 and head back out the lounge for free coffee and more relaxing. Bring a book. Write in your Journal. Perhaps chat up some other visitors. At this point I am always tempted to make up a persona for myself. Visiting Journalist. Inventor of the Internet. The third Storm Trooper from the left in "Revenge of the Sith". It would be a great place to sit and play your guitar. But only if no one else did that. So.... unless you are James Taylor, perhaps not.

Do, if the weather is nice, find directions to the Snowshoe Trail and go walk it. You don't really need snow shoes for this. Hell, today all you needed was a pair of sneakers and a bathing suit. Boy was it Sunny and Warm and Gorgeous! We slugged our way to the top in our snow shoe gear only to see a couple wearing Hawaiian shirts walking up the hill in walking shoes. We also saw a one guy carrying a jug of water and his snow board up the track. He was telling us that he was headed up to the top of the ridge up there (perhaps a mile or so) where he was going to ride back down. Not sure if this was to avoid buying a lift ticket or to get someplace that was more unique to ride. He also told us that it was so hot that he was going to take off his pants, but then he saw us up ahead of him and he didn't want to "get in trouble again". So.

No Idea where this group is going
What I believe is a glacier Moraine to the East 

Short Sleeve Weather

Check out time is 11:00, but you can leave your car in the parking lot until 4:00pm (the Guaranteed Check in Time. Ask me about that sometime). This means you can hang out, walk the snow shoe trail, lounge some more in the lodge. Have a snow ball fight. Make some extra money cleaning rooms. Lots of things to do. We went home.