19 February 2023

The Moment I Realized Where Things Are On Mount Hood


The distance from the turnoff from US 26 at the east end of Government Camp to the parking lot at Timberline Lodge is about six miles. 

This is another thing I learned that day.

I've obsessed on the appearance of my favorite volcano for years, as I've made a a big public exhibition via blog and FB about such. And I've loved what I've done and am proud of it, but never when right up to it during all this time and figured I had enough of an idea of perspective and size to make it real.

The larkout to Mount Hood restored a lot of respect and knowledge and grasp of perspective and distance and space that I didn't have before and thought I did. And it settles through and percolates down through my psyche and gives me little frissons constantly, and I love it. I feel more connected to the land that is my home now.

This POV, taken through the windshield most of the way up the Timberline Lodge Road, revealed detail I didn't know existed until then:

I didn't know at the time but learned subsequently that the chairlift that is visible (and the combed surface immediately to the right) are the Palmer Chairlift and the top of the Palmer Glacier. Just near the low point of that chairlift is the historic building called Silcox Hut. These were just names I knew before now, despite all my smug pride about knowing where is what in Oregon, I didn't really have a grasp on this before then. 

Now that I do, my world seems quite a bit bigger. 

13 February 2023

Evening Rush Hour, Government Camp, Oregon


Government Camp is a small unincorporated town at the foot of the road that goes up to Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood. It is also located immediately aside another major ski resort, Mt Hood Skibowl. And, toward the end of the daylight on that last Saturday, this is what the westbound traffic looked like on US 26.

Two eastbound lanes, just one westbound lane, and the end of an active skiing day on the mountain equal a traffic jam you'd otherwise think you'd have to be on the Banfield at evening rush in town to experience. I'm sure much fun was had ... but by whom, I couldn't say. 

Gresham: Rare Wit


The proprietor (or manager, or whatever) of a auto shop out at 202nd and SE Burnside has something to say about that:

Well, he's no Blue Sign Guy, but I respect the effort. 

12 February 2023

... on the next Star Trek: Jonsrud Viewpoint


I know not who Ralph Baird was (Google searches strongly suggest he passed away sometime around 2010) but I figure I would have liked the man.

One of the features of the Jonsrud Viewpoint facility is the brick walk and, as many places do, they give the opportunity of inscribing a brick for (presumably) a donation. And here's what Ralph Baird, of Sandy, Oregon, Sol III (Earth), in the Alpha Quadrant, had to say:

Star Trek fans. We're inevitable. 

Today We Go Place Part 4: On A Clear Day, You Can See At Least 85 Miles


This is a view looking southward from the parking lot at Timberline Lodge, at approximately 6,000 feet ASL. This is along the general trend of the direction of the Cascade Range at this point.

In terms of accessibility to the general public and relative to the Portland metro, this is the tallest one's likely to get in Oregon (outside of those boundaries you have Crater Lake, which is remote from Portland and Steens Mountain, which is just plain remote ... but there's a road on Steens that gets to about 9,000 feet in elevation, so knock yourself out. Send pictures). 

The lopsided volcano in the distance, then, is Oregon's second tallest summit: Mount Jefferson. The line of sight from Your Humble Photographer to that place is approximately 45 miles of crystal clear air. Of equal interest are those sawtooth crags on the horizon immediately to the left of Jeff; those are the summits of the volcanic group we call the Three Sisters. The dominant cone in that grouping, the one we call South Sister, is about 40 miles beyond that. 

One of Oregon's unparalleled viewpoints, without question. 

Today We Go Place Part 3: Timberline Lodge


This was our ultimate goal, but we did not know this starting out. It just kind of happened.

Timberline Lodge is not only a popular tourist destination, it's part of history; it was one of the many projects that happened during the post-Great Depression rebuilding of America. It was constructed betwen 1936 and 1938 at the 6000-foot level of Mount Hood ... the timber line. It stands large in the awareness of a large percent of the population of Oregon regardless of how much history you do know. 

We didn't stay ... it was a drive-by visit. But since we were out for pictures, it was far from a failure. Really, quite the opposite.

Because now, amongst other photos in my stock, I have a number that resemble this:

It's amazing how close it seems. The summit is about three lineal miles from this spot, but it's still about a mile straight up. So many things, though, seem so close you can just reach out and grab them. From here you can see Silcox Hut, the Palmer chair lift, and the groomed slope around it. As used to looking at Wy'east as I am, I never new how far up the mountain those chairlifts were.

Gorgeous and accessible. The best volcano in the world, and yes, I'll fight you on this one. 

Today We Go Place, Part 2: Wy'east from Hwy 26


On our way out to Jonsrud there were multiple opportunities to find Oregon's Greatest Mountain in pulchritudinous array. West of Sandy, on the portion of Hwy 26 that exists between Gresham and Sandy, Wy'east is very prominent through gaps in the trees.

From miles away, and at this point we're between thirty-five and forty, the mountain dominates.

You get unexpectedly awe-inspiring glimpses when you're east of Sandy, though. They happen unexpectedly.

Wy'east has what topographers call a high degree of prominence ... in plainer terms, the peak really stands out. It's a well-defined mountain surrounded by lower mountains and there's a great deal of difference between the altitude at the visual base and its summit. Ever notice that when you're travelling toward mountains, individual mountains you may have been visually tracking become lost in the general mountain-ness when you get close?

This doesn't happen with Wy'east. This view is east of a place called Zigzag, and by then one is not terribly far from the mountain anymore. Yet it still has an intimidating presence.

Today We Go Place: Jonsrud Viewpoint


There are certain places that any Oregon photographer, be they amateur or professional, must have in their portfolio, I think. Place like South Falls in Silver Falls State Park, or the wreck of the Peter Iredale, or the State Capitol Building, or Willamette Falls ... the list goes on.

One of those places I think is Jonsrud Viewpoint. Found just north of Hwy 26 along SE Bluff Road on the edge of Sandy, this is a lookout that stands about 500 feet over the Sandy River bottom directly below. This affords an unobstructed view up the Sandy River drainage at Mount Hood, whose summit is about 30 lineal miles distant.

We went on safari and I took several shots today. Here's one ...

This was an adventure in picture-taking on more than one level. Despite the fair weather, the light just wasn't working with me, so I explored a bushel or more of camera settings to compensate. The issue was when I tried to include a great deal of the valley floor at my feet, the light compensation would completely wash out the mountain. 

So I don't completely comprehend ISO and shutter speed, but I found out when I set ISO to around 100 and made the shutter speed quick, I got images I could work with.

They started to look this way. 

Not Ray Atkeson level, no, but I'm working on it.

Another bit of fiddling with the settings, color saturation, and temperature got me this:

Which got a lot of nifty color in, and depth, with the Heritage Trail sign adding a bit more interest, compositionally speaking.

This is another of the best ... Sometimes you just have to let the peak be the star.

My change in employment has limited my opportunities to get pictures of Wy'east. So you know we have to go out of our way to make 'em grand. 

Mission accomplished? Yes ... and no. We accidentally kicked it up to the next level. For that, read into the next entry or two.

11 February 2023

Dreamland East of 257th On Stark


In the intervening time since the last times I regularly posted, I've changed places of employ. I used to work near the Portland International Airport; now I work in an area called Springdale, which is about three miles east of the south end of Troutdale via Stark Street and Historic Columbia River Highway.

It's a longer commute, but I love it; I use all of Stark Street east of SE 122nd, out to its veriest end. This pleases me as I know I follow not only a rather historic road for this area but also the Willamette Base Line. I've become much more familiar with areas of Gresham I formerly rarely visited. 

There's some nice stuff there. I've missed out.

The road climbs from about 205th and Stark to 223rd, a rise I call Twelvemile Hill (after the historic name of Twelvemile Corner which is 223rd and Stark). It then levels a bit, descends gently from Hogan to 257th, then just east of 257th, drops more precipitously. This allows for some lovely views, if the morning clouds and mist are just right. Like this, here:

Stark Street is a very broad-shouldered, muscular boulevard all the way out to 257th. After that, it drops down to a 2-lane local road and descends this hill along the north side of Mt Hood Community College. Just beyond his, the first traffic signal is Troutdale Road, and beyond that, in the distance, is the signal at SE Evans Avenue in Troutdale, which is the veriest and lastest signal on all of Stark. 

Today, hanging over the gulch that the Sandy River flows down, was that bank of cloud. Most dreamy. 

The Return of SUSPISH! to Stark Street


We have, out here in 122nd Land, the occasional recurring cartoon character in the form of graffiti.

Today, one came back. He's SUSPISH, and he's on the back of a building on the south side of Stark just east of 122nd that's exposed to the big north parking lot that still surrounds the former Fabric Depot:

I don't know who his friend is, but it looks like he's been in a scrape or two.

SUSPISH has formerly surfaced along Stark at 146th by the Franz Bakery Thrift store, either in a former anglerfish or perhaps it's a cousin, in April of 2021. We also sustained a very small invasion by friendly aliens back in April (coincidentally) of 2016). 

I do wonder if they are all done by the same local Banksy?