Cold weather ain’t got nothing on me
I’ve had an uncharacteristic bout of cold-weather courage these past few days, braving below-freezing temperatures with glee — thanks to the company of some of my fearless friends:
1. Thirsty Thursday with Portland Running Company
Portlanders aren’t used to these bone-chilling temperatures, so I wasn’t surprised when only six of us toughed it out for PRC’s Thursday night run. I have no photos to share from the 30-minute jaunt in 20-degree weather. BUT, I do have an excellent tip for all you winter wusses: Buy this fleece blob of a sweatshirt from Target. Your arms and torso will stay cozy even as your snot crystallizes.
2. Pittock Mansion summit
Dave was visiting Portland over the weekend, so I thought I should promptly subject him to a freezing ascent up the Wildwood Trail to Pittock Mansion with my trail running buddy Hong. I wore Big Pink again and felt great on the 5-mile loop with about a 950-foot climb. Once we reached the top, the wind nearly blew us down to the city below.
3. Hot spring hiking
Natural hot springs were a foreign concept to me until Dave and I set out to find some in Mount Hood National Forest on Sunday. We drove on slick roads from Portland through Estacada and along the Clackamas River to find Bagby Hot Springs — a steaming site of natural springs complete with wooden tubs for public soaking. From the parking area, we hiked about a mile and a half to find the soaking tubs. In 15 degrees, we (mostly) derobed and enjoyed the contrast of the boiling bath outside in the snow-covered scenery. The Forest Service-contracted maintenance of the hot springs is pretty hands-off, so expect to see a little bit of litter and graffiti if you go. But we didn’t really mind once we were cozy in the springs. The real test comes when you have to hop out onto the icy deck and bundle up for the return hike.
4. Snowshoeing on Mount Hood
Our final and most scenic rendezvous with the cold weather was a stunning snowshoeing hike along the face of Mount Hood around Timberline Lodge. It was about 10 degrees up there at 6,000 feet in the mountain, and the views were freakin’ breathtaking.