2010-12-30 45 -122

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Thu 30 Dec 2010 in 45,-122:
45.5330752, -122.0057453

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[edit] Location

A few hundred feet from a road in Mt. Hood National Forest

[edit] Participants

[edit] Plans

I decided it might be a pretty drive to go and see where the hashpoint was. I had doubts I'd get very close, however.

[edit] Expedition

Yesterday I flew back from Boston to Portland. I got to spend a very long time in San Francisco (airport) because the airline didn't seem to be capable to talking to itself and realizing what the implications were of my first flight being late.

There was supposed to be snow yesterday, but I didn't see any until I crossed the border between the Portland and McMinnville graticules. Then this morning, I found even more snow and ice coating the driveway and land. I looked at the coordinates and thought that it would be pretty in that area, provided I could even get to the other side of town.

As it turned out, I had a lot of chores to do at home, as well as errands to run, so it was late in the day before I even got started. However, given the weather, I decided to play it safe. I threw an emergency kit into the car along with waterproof boots. There was some spare clothing, and I made sure the tire chains were in there as well. The hashpoint was up at 3000 feet, so they got a lot more snow than we've had down here at the lower elevations, and I figured I should play it safe even if I didn't even get close to the hashpoint's elevation. However, I suspected that even the first of the 3 "development" roads that go from the highway to the hashpoint was unlikely to be open in the winter, at least to autos.

Now, mind you, most of this gear stayed here in Oregon when I went to Boston, much to the dismay of my feet in non-waterproof shoes in the middle of a New England snowstorm. You can see pictures of me not looking thrilled with the world in that expedition once I upload them.

After finishing up some errands, I headed off towards the hashpoint. Traffic was somewhat heavy, and some dork followed Google's directions instead of remembering that Hwy 26 is VERY slow close in to Portland, and that Hwy 84 is a good start before switching to 26. Eventually I started to head upward and the urbanized section gave way. Soon snow appeared on the sides of the road, and eventually a lot of snow. Intersections clearly hadn't been plowed, and were often filled with a couple inches of piled up snow off of the highway. Getting off the highway would require care.

The situation soon deteriorated, with the previous occasional snow flakes on the windshield turning into a continuous flying light haze of snow. (Not falling from the sky, but being blown off the ground.) It was very pretty, and I was happy to see the snow, especially since I was far better equipped to enjoy it, but it was clearly time to turn around.

The driving was requiring more and more care, especially as it got darker, and that made the going slower. I still had a couple of errands to do, and dinner to get home for. I pulled off onto an unploughed side road, turned around, and waited for the traffic to clear to allow me to turn back onto the highway. I was very grateful I had a vehicle with 4-wheel drive. (Of course, I wouldn't have even made the drive if I didn't!)