We left before dawn; the single digit temperature stole our breath upon vacating the tiny house. Our focus turned to the road South as we abandoned the fear of freezing pipes and inadequate mini-split heating at home. Three hours away sat a secluded little sno-park South East of Mount Hood where we would meet a few more members of our PNW tribe before setting off into the forest.
Hour after hour passed by.
How is there this much snow this early in the season?
Where is this f#(%!ng hut?
Should we have taken that path to the right, hours ago…?
Why, at 5+ months pregnant do I find myself in the middle of the Oregon back country in a snow storm as night falls?
‘Hey Garlow!’ I hear a friend in an identical predicament say as he pauses from breaking trail through knee deep snow. He yells back loudly to compensate for the sound dampening snowfall that surrounds us and eeks out a joke passed similar concerns; ‘This is where you start getting nervous and wondering if it was such a good idea to come out here with your pregnant wife, only to stumble upon the hut just before dark!”
I inaudibly acknowledge his rhetorical comment, trying to stay positive about my decision to not take that right, hours ago. I guess it’s not an adventure until a little bit of doubt starts to creep in and winter excursions are an adventure unlike any other. The addition of snow to a simple hike has the ability to confound and frustrate. It complicates way-finding, exhausts muscles, requires additional precautions and necessitates supplemental cold weather and waterproof gear.
But when mother nature throws down a crisp white canvas backdrop on the existing natural landscape, those discomforts fall away. Child hood memories come racing back and the calming effect of snowscapes dissolve worry and responsibility for the time being.
Brad’s comment foreshadowed reality and we rounded a bend to see a tiny hut, buried by the early season snow pack. For the next couple nights, this was home; and we were family. We drank hot beverages and pretended to care about who is going to win the four hour Rummy game that served as a conversation catalyst more than a genuine contest. Outside, billions of unique snowflakes cover our tracks and for the time being our existence is elusive and peaceful in this 144 sf hut; out of cell service and ever more in touch.