Friday, June 26, 2009

Day 34

We were not as lucky this morning as the notorious clouds had rolled in on Hood again. The huge mountain completely disappears from the skyline when its overcast. It was also super cold out and would have been a hateful day on the mountain compared to the the week of weather we've been having. I made the executive decision to forgo our boards and head to Smith Rock for another day of climbing and resting from all the boarding that we've been doing. We drove about 15 minutes east of Mt. Hood to find clear skies for miles. The high desert of central Oregon almost always has perfect, dry weather. We spent the day at Smith climbing, lounging, hiking, catching some rays, and then chasing the shade. Being pretty beat up with took it easy on the climbing and led a bunch of 5.8's and 5.9's.
Topless at the base of the zany Morning Glory Wall

Leading a 5.9 (5 Gallon buckets)

It was still a great workout and a ton of fun. Alex lead most of the routes first and then I lead them afterwards. We chose some of the classic lines at Smith Rock that had some of the most unique climbing features I've ever encountered. Huge holes and jugs were carved into the cliff face. It seems almost unnatural while you're climbing on the holds. We climbed until we were content then scrambled around to catch a glimpse of the famous Monkey Head rock pillar. The resemblance is striking.
Monkey Head from afar

Crooked River below Mesa Verde Buttress, Smith Rock, OR

The two of us made the steep uphill hike back to the car and went to the nearby town of Terrebonne for a delicious meal of bison burgers. When back at camo we realized we had no clean socks, underwear, or sweatshirts so we went to Govy to do some laundry. While passing the time my sweet tooth prervailed and I tried a delicious Huckleberry Milkshake in town.

Day 33

Mother Nature again abided and blessed us with another perfect summer day at the mountain (probably the best all trip). The jump line was again pristine and today, with a little more effort from the park crew, held up late into the afternoon. Alex and I were finally getting loose on jumps and stringing together some pretty hot lines through the park. Rarely do us east coast kids get to ride such an epic jump line. We ran into a friend from Penn State and counselor at Windell's snowboard camp, Steph (Dirty D). She invited us to a real scene bbq with a some pro snowboarders, skiers, Windell's counselors, and local scenesters.
Didn't know anyone but still having a grand time

The scene made a guest appearance

The babes of Mt. Hood, rarities among the sea of dudes

It was pretty weird but Alex and I had fun anyways. A girl named Ashley hosted the shindig but her landlords came and made us all leave. It sucked we had to split but we had bro'ed out for long enough. We returned to camp for a healthy fire with the king of all campfire treats, smores.

Day 32

I woke up without even knowing what day of the week it was. I just knew I had to go snowboarding. It was seriously perfect out. Bluebird skies with a high in the mid 60's. Fun in the sun on our shredsticks!
View of the bottom of Timberline from top of the Magic Mile lift

The jump line was sick as always and it was a long day sessioning it. By 11 all the takeoffs for the jumps were soft so we calmed down our spinning and did scene grabs and inverts ("I love a good once around" -Arthur Mcnulty, June 2009). Soft summer snow makes for the best landings to chuck yourself at with little consequence. I got a nice method pic (seen on the intro) which was a great feeling because I'm not known to have a good method (the best trick in snowboarding) but I think it was all Alex's Canon Rebel's doing. After getting loose on the mountain we came back to camp and visited with our neighbor friends again. We drove about a half hour to Timothy Lake to go swimming and fishing. The lake was in a gorgeous alpine setting and the water was crystal clear (and close to freezing).
Timothy Lake, Oregon

We still managed to submerge ourselves into relative cleanliness. We fished for a while but with no sucess. The lake was really shallow near the shores and there were no fish in sight although Timothy has a great reputation as a trout fishery.
Fishing for a bite

Alex and I returned to camp a little cleaner and a little colder and a lot hungrier. Spaghetti and meat sauce was today's feature and we soon retired to bed with full bellies.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Day 31

Boarding, boarding, boarding. The rain finally subsided and the sun even made some guest appearances on Mt. Hood (it was a mixture of full sun and thick, blinding clouds throughout the day). The jump line in Timberline public park was pretty sweet with 4 jumps in a row of 15 to 35 foot tabletops. The snow was a little slow and sticky since it snowed several inches the night before (a very warm, heavy snow) and provided an awesome view of the mountain totally blanketed in the white stuff.

Mt. Hood after a late June snow

Spins, flips, grabs, and shifties were thrown in every direction. We rode until our legs couldn't take anymore (the lift closed at about the exact same time) and went back to camp.
We decided to treat ourselves to delicious Volcano Cones in Govy after a hard days riding (I prefer strawberry cheesecake and galaxy (chocolate, peanuts, caramel and other goodies) flavors)
The Scene was hanging out there too

Jared's friends had shown up finally and they were getting loose. We sat around the campfire just watching their zany antics. I wrote some haikus in a girl's notebook. We played hot potato with fiery red coals. I got a haircut from one of the girls, Mandy.
My hair (and life) in handy Mandy's hands

We talked about dinosaurs, music, friendships, and general Oregonian knowledge. Rachel and Mandy were a couple of loud bff's that liked to party. Their boyfriends Matt and Greg were a couple of zany characters with all kinds of tattoos and piercings. Sal was a good guy and only talked when he wanted to, or maybe he was just drowned out by the omnipresent yelling/laughing/joking of the girls. Jared, Alex, and i completed the campfire circle until some dude named Steve (30-something, single, combat boots, beer gut, works at a plastic silverware distributor) showed up from another neighboring camp. He was looking for a a fight, or maybe just an argument. He apparently stole a scooter from a kid and was upset about accusations of child molestation during his last stint in the slammer. This guy was a social wreck. Alex's camera is way better at capturing at night so check his site for all the racy pics.

Day 30

Art and Zach had real world things to attend to (Art with his cubicle at the PA Lottery and Zach painting a barn in Massachusetts) so we woke up bright and early to get them off to the airport. Alex and I then went to diner and a coffee shop in Portland where we spent the better part of the afternoon blogging, surfing the web, recuperating, and waking up. My hearing had been nearly gone for 2 days now so I found an urgency care center that I could get checked out. The prescribed antibiotics have since fixed my hearing and helped my severe cold. We returned to our campsite to reorganize all our belongings after all our stuff we recklessly strewn about when four dudes were residing in our tent and car. We found one of our neighboring campers, Jared, alone, wet, hungry, and hung-over. All his friends left him (it had been raining nonstop for 3 days) and he had no car. We drove him to town to buy food and supplies and to dry all our soggy clothing. Jared was as good as new. We went to bed ready to board again after a day hiatus.

(sorry no pictures for today but check out Alex's Blog for many more (and better) photos than I have posted)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father’s to all the dads out there. I would like to acknowledge the influences of my dad on me. He is the reason I’m on this trip in the first place. He made the cross-country road trip several times and years before I was even thought up. Hearing his stories of gold mining, camping, fishing, driving, and getting in trouble always made me want to experience these things myself. To me he was a pioneer. He instilled in me the love adventure and the outdoors that drives my pursuits every day of my life. Beyond being the inspiration for the trip, he is also the reason it has been so successful by teaching me by example of good character. To me, my father represents the epitome of honesty, hard-work, pride, modesty, genuineness, and concern for others. He used to bait my hook for me, now I can fish for dinner, even thousands of miles across the country. Sorry I couldn’t make it on the boat today! Thanks for everything Dad!
White Rocks, Fairchance, PA (Ironically taken on Mother's Day)
Climbing Post Office (5.7) which Dad did years ago.

Day 29

boarding above the clouds

The rain subsided as we reawakened. This dude named Isaac at the neighbor camp was eager to greet us. He was still drinking form the night before and was in a real good spot. He threw shoes at us, got in a fight with his rommate, tried to chop wood barefoot, and helped us start a fire. He did it again. Isaac was our dude and nothing could change that (we thought he was just an obnoxious drunk but later discovered it was just his personality) This kid could talk about nothing forever. Anyways, it cleared up just enough for us to get another awesome day of riding in on the last days Art and Zach would be here. The park was reshaped and was nice and soft to throw ourselves at. We rode through the private Windell's park a couple times to check out all the awesome features the rich kids at camp get to ride. It was awesome but we belonged in the public park (a matter of entitlement). We met up with some friends from PA, Daley and Will who live out here and are both super sick riders. We filmed a bit and hope to make an short edit from our riding out here sometime. We hiked a super low consequence down rail for a while trying weird spins on before returning to camp to pack and head for Portland. We stopped in Govy for Cobra Dogs and Volcano Cones (snack shacks that support the diggers at Mt. Hood), they were both some of the best snacks I had all trip. Dan was waiting for us in Portland. We went out on the town and had a bunch of fun.
At Cha Cha Cha's for a quick burrito snack

Alex almost made a mistake. We went to this bar named XV that had a bunch of vampires. We got in on the scene. Then we headed to some tavern across town. The scene lacked but we still had a bunch of fun as always when all our dudes our together.
An overexposed shot of XV, you get the Transylvania feel

Day 28

Rain and snowboarding- Yuck

Apparently the weather is always as perfect as yesterday. Rain moved in during our slumber and did not leave all day. Mt. Hood and our campground was getting flooded. We put on all our already damp snowboarding gear and drove up to the mountain to still try and ride despite the weather. Everyone told us it was not worth it, but we are always determined to shred whenever we have the chance. The park was closed because the rain melted all the features but we decided to hike up to it anyways. The hike was long and arduous in the pouring rain/gale force winds. We found a fun rhythm section with some little jumps to try and go upside down on. Art found a bump into an agro-crag landing. After our hike up to the park we were spent. There was a single barrel down rail still set up. We hiked it a few times then decided to call it quits and board back to the car in defeat. It was fun to get some turns in but we were all so soaked by the end of the trek that we looking to find some warm, dry shelter.

Soaked but Stoked
Zach, dripping wet

We headed back to camp to change then went to the town of Government Camp for firewood. We made a good fire but the rain was too much. Some kids from Oregon State were camping next to us so we went to there fire and stood under a tarp. The rain prevailed.

Day 27

Riding up

Lift Tickets

Boardin' Bros

Art woke up before the sun did to get out boarding. He already made sandwiched, packed lunches for all of us, breakfast and took a walk to see hood at dawn before I even thought about unzipping my sleeping bag. We made bacon and eggs over our cast-iron skillet to prep for our long day on the hill. Our snowboard clothes, mainly from thrift shops, (keepin it scene) were donned (not Ed Hardy) and we headed to Hood. The $50 lift tickets at Timberline Resort were well worth it as this is the only place in the US where snowboarding can be had (minus all carpet/astroturf backyard rail setups and rollers). It was a PERFECT day out (65 and sunny) and the public park was in great shape (as was Art's core, as always). If you have never seen snowboarding shots at Hood then the famous views above the clouds would seem like something either from the window of a 747 or straight from Heaven itself (I hope Heaven has this much year-round boarding).
Lower level cloud cover

My Dudes

The park had a 5 jump line that was close to perfection along with some decent rails. We shredded all day only stopping once for PB and J's and granola bars. After the lifts closed we hiked a double-barrell (shotgun) down rail for an hour or two until we were physically exhausted. We washed up at Trillium Lake in the shadow of the great mountain that we so enjoyed today.
Trillium Lake and Mt. Hood

Day 26

Portland... the most scene hippie city in all the land. Fixed gear bikes, tight pants, and quaint coffee shops. The perfect place for us and a destination that I could see one day calling my temporary home. Alex lived in Portland last summer for an internship so he had tons of local knowledge to ensure an authentic experience of the town. We toured the city for a bit before finally meeting up with our dudes Art and Zach. It was a warm reunion. Art threw a cantaloupe in the air for me to catch before I even knew he was their (I went grocery shopping while Alex picked them up from the airport). Just the kind of zany stunt that Art and I get into when together. The four us us, reunited, visited Art's aunt and uncle for a backyard cookout with their neighbors. It was a gallant affair. Art's uncle (affectionately named Zucchi from his golden days playing baseball in Texas) was a colorful character and gracious host with vivid stories about his past and family. Art's aunt Julie, a school teacher, is as nice as they come and helped us with whatever we needed during our stay in Portland. Dan, Art's cousin and engineering student at Villanova helped drive us and all our stuff to Mt. Hood where we set up camp for the night. We set camp at The airstrip near Trillium at the base of Hood.

Dan and Zach

Art helping around the kitchen

The backyard patio, the site for dinner and conversation

Alex, stoked to be back in Portland after a year hiatus

Zach just stoked to be alive and a stone's throw away from some great summer boarding

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Day 25

It was all about getting our climb on. Pumping as much vertical as our forearms could handle in a day. Smith Rock is a pretty gorgeous setting to climb in and the rock is perfect. (Sandstone/granite conglomerate I think).
Smith Rock Valley. Climbing Galore.

Little stones serve as little knobby holds everywhere (think plum pudding). Smith is the birthplace of sport climbing and is still forging into the future with over 1000 climbs being put up all over the park. Alex led a 5.8 to start everything then we went on a sending spree (by our standards).
Alex leading us off with a nice sport lead

My first climb was a 5.10a climb called Pop the Nubbin featuring those small knobby holds. I then lead the scariest sport climb (of my life anyways) a 5.9 named 9 gallon jugs that had a first bolt around 20 feet off the ground the crux was up to this bolt (scary stuff). We ate lunch of bowl-of-noodles and were revitalized. I lead another 5.10a named Phoenix that ran out the last 20 feet to the anchors and then a 5.10b was a bulging crux. Alex top-roped all these classic Smith climbs after my leads. It was sick!
Alex at the crux of the 10b after my lead

Our rack of draws, a tired Alex, and the beautiful crags of Smith

After our rock workout we stripped down and jumped in the river for a cleansing Mexican shower. We were exhausted and fell asleep after eating Rice-a-roni (inspired by San Fran).

We will be in Mt. Hood for the next week or so. Expect updates about boarding and good times with our friends Art and Zach.

Day 24

In transit mostly. 12 hours of driving in total. We drove through the historic Redwoods National Forest and saw these mammoth trees that grow right up against the ocean.
Scenery along the coast

Alex feeling inferior next to these mighty organic organisms

We traveled through Cali and made it to Oregon to see Crate Lake before the sun set.
Crater LakeBreath-taking

It was beautiful (almost romantic, just kidding). We tried to make it to a campground near Smith Rock before the sun set but highway patrol had other thoughts... but we made it eventually and found a great campsite with the rocks looming in the dusky night.

Day 23

Most of the day was wasted in rest but we did manage to make it to the Bashful Bull diner for a hearty breakfast.
I got a sundae. Alyse, bashfully, wanted some too.

We then packed our things and headed to the Haight-Ashbury festival on our way out of town.
Packing in the car for the festival

This is an annual festival that is something like the Hippie Mecca. The Grateful dead have their roots at the festival as did hallucinogenic drugs. These place was thick with the scene. Every beggar, band member, homeless, hula hooping, hippie "just living the dream" made their way here to celebrate themselves. It was a sight. Every drug under the sun sun was being solicited (as was promised by our dude Ed the day before) and their were street vendors for miles selling drug paraphernalia and tie-dye shirts. Marijuana wafted through the streets.
The scene was in full effect

Breathing fire, dancing, juggling, on bouncing stilts.

We took in the scene then moved on after getting a feel for the place. We had places to go, sights to see, rocks to climb, and boarding to be done.
The Golden Gate bridge with San Fran in the background

Highway 1 winded violently along the Norcal coast. We enyoyed the scenic drive but it was not good for making time. We camped at one of the thousands of secluded beachside campgrounds along the coast.
Beaches with rocks. Pretty

Day 22

The City. Not San Fran, or Frisco, or even San Franfrisco. The locals call this west coast port the city. Alex and I learned the hard way that we sounded like complete tourists referring to the town we were by our awkward terms of endearment. Thank God Alyse's friend and roommate Holly was from the city herself to let us know to not order Rice-a-roni at restaurants, or refer to Full house and the lovely Tanner family that lived there (although we joked about these things at all times in her presence).

Now that we have all these misconceptions cleared up I can discuss the zany adventures of socializing around the city. Alex and I first took a wake up swim in the Pacific because we just can't get close enough to hypothermia. We then went into the city... by trolley, of course... and ate some fancy thai food.
First time ever on a Trolley!

Leaving the trolley underground... back into the light

It was just the 4 of us (Alex, Alyse, Holly, me) roaming the streets of San Fran and heading to a party with all Alyse's architectural engineering co-workers (some married, some with kids?, but most in late 20's early 30's). Not the typical party scene for a couple young (just me) college kids from Penn State. Alex and I quickly decided we were going to either make or break this party and did the zaniest college stunts we could think of to maybe help these people with real lives and jobs relive their times at their alma-maters. I should also let it be known that I wore a shirt with a picture of myself on it. But told everyone it was of my little brother. People were scared to ask me about it.
Alyse and Holly. Throwing peace signs. We would do that and say "keep it green." I'm not sure why.

Ulin(in pink) the party's accomadating host, PSU alum, and legendary partier back in the day and one of his cohorts

Mayhem ensued. Beers were drank (speedbeers even), shots were taken, and Goldschlager was chugged. Alex and I met our dude named Ed (we think that's his name, but for the story's sake Ed it is) with an ailing code addiction. This guy loved to party. When I mentioned shotgunning a beer at the party this guy was way into it. Somehow all the dudes had found each other at the party.
Align CenterEd paying the price for trying to keep up with a college kid. Me looking on in disgust.

By this time the ice had been way broken and the normal working people started to talk with us even. Alex and I played around on the Bowflex for a while (doing backflips on the lat pull-down bar with all the resistance on) and then we bounced for some food.
Mild chip addiction. 5 pounds wrapped in swaddling plastic

Oh yeah, and this other girl at the party was an intern like Alyse. Her name was Jaime, she was from Nebraska, and I was way into her.
Working my magic. I think she was buying it.

Things get fuzzy after we left the party but I made it back to Alyse's by trolley in time to pass out.
Ashamed. But my little brother looks like a kid at Christmas.