Monday in the Mountains


When Alex and I decided to take an afternoon field trip to Mt. Hood, we didn't expect to make it very far. We headed east nonetheless, hoping we might stumble upon something to do along the way. The further into the mountains we traveled, the snowier it got, until we reached a chain restricted area of highway. Being from New York, it's never even occurred to me to even own chains, but we meandered onward anyway and hoped for the best.

There's something particularly enchanting about embarking on a journey, even a short one, with no set destination. Everything is, in a way, left up to chance. We drove on and on, feeling a bit apprehensive about the seemingly endless trail of cars traveling west toward Portland and after awhile, we decided to turn around and head west ourselves. We joined the never ending car caravan and after about ten minutes of being in a near-standstill of traffic, we opted to pull off the highway and kill some time.

We ended up in Government Camp, a tiny town of about 200 people, and we played in the snow and explored our surroundings for as long as the frigid January air would allow. Once our fingertips became numb, we tucked away into a little bar that felt exactly like those ski town bars I saw in movies as a kid. We were complete outsiders in a town where everyone knew everyone and we laughed quietly about how much it reminded us of our own hometowns. In that moment, I felt a sort of nostalgia for the small town life I ran away from. 

I used to perceive myself as a city girl trapped in her two-bit hometown dreaming of a bigger, better life. But more and more I realize that I'm quite the opposite. Sure, I enjoy being in a city where there's almost always something to do at any time, but I am certain that I will someday find myself setting in a town much like the one I grew up in. Until then, I suppose I'll keep on drifting. Isn't it strange how even the shortest adventures can teach us so much about ourselves?

Golden hour in the mountains holds a special kind of magic, especially when everything is covered in snow. The iridescent glow of the sun reflects off the glimmering snow and paints everything a soft orange. And in the east, the sky fades to a deep indigo and the moon is floating above, waiting for the sun to disappear below the horizon. These are the moments I always long for, when everything is so surreal and beautiful that you can't help but want to notice every subtle detail.

We spent a few blissful moments exploring and playing in the snow beneath the setting sun before the cold got the best of us once more. We dipped into a little cafe and warmed ourselves with hot drinks and sweet treats before we hit the road home. Our adventure may have only lasted a few short hours but it was exactly what I needed to lift my spirits, and it left me longing for countless more days like this.