After much discussion on what to do with our sunny Saturday, Nick and I spontaneously decided to strap on our snowboards and head to Mount Hood with a plan to summit the volcano's crater: an area known befittingly as Devil's Kitchen, sitting at approximately 10,000 feet elevation. (I wanted to hike to a waterfall, but that was quickly vetoed in favor of summiting a volcano. Naturally.)
We had a late start. Nick, a seasoned mountaineer who has summited Hood more than a few times in the past, was nervous about the snow conditions. Mount Hood, along with the entire West Coast, has seen an alarming lack of snowfall the past few winters, this year being no exception. The lack of snowpack would contribute to potential loose rocks falling and a steeper climb. As we rode up the Magic Mile chairlift we commented again and again at the dirt vs. snow ratio spread out around us. It looked more like July than May.
Despite the heat of the hour and subsequent melting ice, we were committed.
We started the ascent, our supplies consisting of a couple of backpacks, some CLIF bars, water, and our snowboarding gear. While I am in excellent cardiovascular shape, immediately I could feel the affects of the high altitude I was unaccustomed to. As we hiked, Zigzag glacier shown unmistakably blue in our bootprints, an eerie reminder of invisible crevasses running underneath. We climbed higher and higher, bent under the weight of our boards and sheer determination, clawing at the snow and the ice, choosing each step carefully. After a half hour of climbing, Nick recognized some homies along the way. I was grateful for the break to stop and chat.
Finally, we reached the crater. Sulfurous gasses swirled nonchalantly from fumaroles all around us, a stark reminder of the sheer majesty and power of the volcano we were perched on. A few hundred more feet up would have put us on the rim of the crater, but without the proper gear we contented ourself with the view before us. We chatted with a father accompanied by his eight year old son who could read the mountain's topography just as well as his old man. No big deal. Just casual conversation in the mouth of a smoking volcano.
The view was spectacular, but the best part? The ride down, of course.
As Nick and I head into our two year wedding anniversary this weekend, I am reminded at how much our lives have been impacted by one another. They say you should find someone you don't have to change for. That might be true, but what they don't say is that you should find someone who inspires you to evolve. It is pretty undeniable that my husband's alpinist lifestyle has transformed me into the mountain soul I am today. I am so grateful for the adventures we've experienced together, and can't wait for what's ahead. Plus I now rock a pretty sweet goggles tan.