Winter for a Day

Skiing in the Cascades

One of the great things about living in Portland is, if you happen to be missing snow and all that, you can just drive up into the Cascade Mountains to visit Winter and then return to the city a few hours later, where it’s 56 degrees and people are mowing their lawns. Mike and I went to one of the towns near our old farm because we know about some locals-only cross-country ski trails that are blazed each year by a generous dairy farmer in his own field.

On the way there, we were amazed by the devastation along the road. The Gorge got hammered a couple of weeks ago with heavy, wet snow and ice that snapped tree limbs—and even whole trees—like so many toothpicks. They were everywhere. I knew that our former neighbors had been without power for three days and heard that people who live near the ski field were out for an entire week. We could see why—power poles were snapped in half; old lines and ceramic insulators were still piled up on the side of the road, where emergency linemen crews had left them.

The field, which we hadn’t visited in three years, was unchanged, until we got to the pump house. This had been one of the burliest pump houses I’d ever seen; built to power huge irrigation lines that cover acres at a time. Some pump houses are glorified tool sheds; this thing was 12’ by 12’, just as tall, and made of Doug fir and serious hardware. Nothing should have taken it down. But, there it was, crumpled like a sheet of paper. Flattened by the weight of the snow. (Newbie blogger error—I didn’t think to take a photo of it! Oops.)

Winter is serious business in the country.

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