On a gorgeous day in May, Archer and I tried to hike up Mount Hood, which is an active volcano in the Cascade Range of Oregon. Mount Hood is the second most climbed mountain to hike in the world, next to Mount Fuji. Of course we didn't get very far, and Archer slowed down before I did. It doesn't look like it, but we are still miles, and at our pace, days from the peak. As you can see in the background, there is more than enough snow for snowboarders and skiers to ski up above the tree line. So Archer is 3 years old and about two and a half feet tall. Mt. Hood is more than 500,000 years old and has an elevation of 11,240 feet. In 1792, an explorer named Lt. William Broughton was traveling on the Columbia River, and saw a "very high, snowy mountain", he named it Mount Hood after a British Admiral, Samuel Hood. Lewis and Clark called Oregon the promised land, but many settlers could only make it so far because of the rough terrain. It was Samuel Barlow who blazed a trail up, down, and around the south side of Mount Hood . He helped establish roads and towns all around this majestic mountain. Timberline Lodge is a National Historic Landmark and ski resort on the south side of Mount Hood, and was beautifully constructed with iron, rock, and wood by local artisans in 1938. The resort has been a training center for many Olympic athletes. Skiers, climbers, hikers, and snow-seekers come from all over to enjoy the mountain almost every day of the year.
In 1993, I was living in Boston, and traveled west to Portland for a visit. I had never been to Oregon, and could not have imagined there could be such a place as beautiful as the Pacific Northwest. Like most July days in Oregon; the sky was bright blue, the fir trees were dark green and oh so friggin tall, and the air was fresh and clean. I was instantly amazed when I saw Mount Hood. She still had snow on it, and standing strong to the east of Portland. Everywhere I went, I could see the peak, like it was watching over me. Twenty four years later, I still feel the same awe and strength when I see this magnificent mountain. It's like the feeling I get when I watch my daughter sleep, or when I am hanging out with family in the backyard. I feel like I am home. I can't imagine what it was like migrating west by wagon in the late 1800's along the Oregon Trail, but I do know what they felt when they got here.