Throughout the ski season, Gunnar and I talked and daydreamed about this road trip. We were excited at the idea of going to ski at Mt. Hood at the end of our Big Sky Season - extending spring skiing into May on an iconic volcano and camping in gorgeous coastal forests. I made the trek four years ago and as each spring comes, I always want to go back. To add to the appeal, buying a Timberline spring pass - which gives you unlimited skiing for April and May - is an outrageous deal.
As the end of winter approached, we were firming up plans for our future leaving Big Sky and decided it wasn't realistic to go this year. We decided to relocate to the Teton Valley/Jackson area. On Grand Targhee's closing weekend, we drove down to ski and view some housing options. After participating in the Targhee chinese downhill, our friend gave us some information on what ended up being our dream house. We secured the house but couldn't move in until mid/late May. Our Big Sky leases ended in April. Having over two weeks in between leases, we knew we had to take the opportunity to go to Oregon.
Our first few nights in May were spent traveling and getting into places super late. We arrived in Teton Valley at 3:30am, so tired that we stopped four times during the drive to see if any hotels were available to take us that late (no luck). The whole drive we had each other on speakerphone and discussed eating quesadillas. By the time we got there, we settled for scarfing down plain tortillas because putting cheese on them and microwaving them sounded significantly too hard.
The next day, after loading our storage unit and finding a home for Gunnar's car, we drove to Boise. Then to Hood River the next day.
Our first views of Mt. Hood were at sunset on our way to camp. It was stunning.
Our first morning, sitting in the parking lot of Timberline Ski Area, Gunnar wondered if we would see anyone we knew. Within the first 30 seconds of walking into the lodge, we ran into my friend Chris. Timberline in the spring has a very laid back vibe. The parking lot tailgates are always going, people bring their skateboards and grills and camp chairs.
Timberline also has a surprisingly eclectic group of visitors. In the parking lot you see the people like us - people out there on a spring pass to extend their season beyond their home resort's closing date. There's also the local park skiers - who are jaw-droppingly talented; mountaineers with crampons and touring skis who are attempting to summit Mt. Hood; families learning to ski in the hot weather; and tourists who just come up to see how beautiful it is, walking around in flip flops with big cameras.
We spent almost two weeks camping and skiing at Timberline. We spent some quality time with our friend Tim (lovingly referred to in our friend group as "Big Tim" or "hot tub Tim" - he's 6'6 and works on hot tubs) who is a mechanical wizard, eBay master and ski tuner extraordinaire in addition to being one of the kindest people out there.
During my last trip to Mt. Hood, I stayed in a free camping spot referred to as "the Airstrip". Unfortunately, that was closed this time. Chris gave us some beta on a different camping spot off a forest service road closer to Rhododendron. We stayed adjacent to a gorgeous creek and forest and would spend several afternoons exploring the area behind our campsite.
One night we went back to camp, threw around a frisbee and then decided to drive back up to the Timberline parking lot for sunset. The goal was to take some sunset and star pictures.
After sunset, we watched the stars come out and the snowcats drive up and down the Timberline groomed runs. As we pulled out my camera again to take star photos, I broke a crucial piece off my tripod. Very invested in the shot at this point, we perched my camera on the hood of my car until we got the shot.
Another day, we drove into Hood River to run some errands and on our way back stopped at Panorama Point to watch the sunset.
After our two weeks at Mt. Hood, we headed to the coast. I decided to take Gunnar to one of my favorite places - the little ocean town of Yachats. On our way down, we camped at Beverly Beach and Gunnar saw the ocean for the 6th time in his life.
The following day, we set up camp in Yachats, hiked to Hobbit Beach and visited Strawberry Hill (home to a lot of Harbor Seals).
The following day, we hiked to see a huge spruce tree and went to see tide pools.
Two places were staples during a couple days in Yachats: Yachats Brewing and the Green Salmon Coffee Roasters.
Our second to last night, we decided to take a long walk on the beach and have a beach fire - which is surprisingly allowed this time of year so long as you're not near driftwood.
We woke up the morning of our last day in Yachats to pouring rain on our tent. Our original plans of sandboarding in the dunes around Florence seemed unrealistic, so we decided to drive to several lookout points and have lunch in Florence.
After saying goodbye to the coast, we headed into Portland for our final night in Oregon. Our friends Taylor and Ian met up with us for drinks and dinner.