Jan 10, 2016

Sledding On Mount Hood.

I wonder when the first time was that I went sledding? I think it happened too early in my life for me to have a memory of a particular moment. I do remember inner tubes being a huge part of our playing when we were kids. We always had some around and used them to play with whether there was snow or not. I remember throwing up in the car, on the windy, narrow roads on the way up Mt. Baker, on our way to go tubing/sledding. And I have a very distinct memory of me, as a teenager, standing in my bedroom in our house in Snohomish trying to get my jeans over the top of another pair of pants as I was getting ready to go out sledding :)

I have always loved snow. No matter how much snow has already fallen a new batch of snow always thrills me. Even at 47 I can not wait to be the first one to walk in it. It just feels so magical to walk around in it and see how it has covered things and how pretty everything looks with snow on it. For loving snow as much as I do is it weird that I do not know how to do any winter sports like skiing, snow shoeing, snow boarding, or skeleton? :) I long to learn how to ski but need to find someone patient enough to teach me. I also think owning some snow shoes would be pretty fun.

I remember getting my many little Baird kids into their snow gear when we lived in Lawrence, Kansas and all of us walking a few blocks over from our house to a small home town hardware store. I was on a most important mission....my kids needed to know about sledding. I think there was only one sled left in the store. This sled was red. It had a little built in spot for your bum and a good place for your feet to rest. I loved that it had a rope attached that I could use to pull kiddos. As soon as we left the hardware store I loaded the youngest kid in the sled and we went walking down the street in search of a hill. I was desperate and could not wait to show my kids the awesomeness of sledding so the hill I had to settle on was not very long and ended right into the chain link fence that went around the back of  the elementary school in our neighborhood but we tried it anyway. I wanted my kids to experience the thrill of sledding, yes even if a chain link fence was involved :)

That sled we bought that day stayed with us about 15 years, clear until we left Massachusetts about a year and a half ago. It was a very tough sled and many a person sat on it. My children have been known to fight about this sled. I am not sure what the science is behind what makes a sled good or bad but that sled was a good, easy to get on and off of, fast sled. In all the divorce happenings in my life I am not sure where the little red sled ended up and feel a little sad about that. My Tatiana and Natalie were just talking the other day about what a perfect sled it was and how much they miss it.

Speaking of missing, we also really miss snow. Oregon does not get very much snow where we live and it has taken some getting used to. So now that you know how I feel about sledding and snow I can tell you that when I heard about a group of people heading up to Mt. Hood to go sledding on a Saturday I was very interested and thankfully my girls were interested also. I do hate "making" people go sledding :)

The first part of making sure this trip happened was appropriate snow gear. We apparently left all our snow gear in Massachusetts when we moved so we needed all sorts of stuff to make this journey to the snow work. So I made a few trips to the thrift store, mooched some things off of my mom and begged for sleds from some friends. At one point I finally had to admit defeat and buy two pair of waterproof gloves for my girls and a pair of boots for Natalie. As we got to the mountain and I started looking around me I became painfully aware that we are not very hip snow dressers. We did not have a stitch of North Face, Columbia, Lands End, or Patagonia on our bodies. I had no waterproof gloves on and my coat was not waterproof. I even had to borrow snow pants from my brother, which were very attractive on me....just saying :) I tried not to notice how stylish and composed everyone else on the mountain looked compared to me. I stood in line for the bathroom behind three ladies who definitely shopped at REI. They were chatting about yoga class as they stood there in their stylishness. I longed to be like them but I doubt it will ever happen.

We met the people we were going sledding with in a town on the Columbia River Gorge at 9 in the morning. Which meant we left Cottage Grove at 5:15 in the morning. I do not mind driving or morning so it was all okay....don't feel sorry for us. After we met our peeps we followed each other the hour and a half up route 26, to route 35, and finally to the White River West Sno Park.

I had an idea in my mind of what the place we would be sledding at would be like and the words secluded, not many people, quiet all were there....that is what all my other snow sledding experiences have been like. I had no idea that people flocked to mountains to sled like people flock to the beaches in New England. The extremely enormous, and very full parking lot stunned me. I did not see that coming. But it turned out that the places to sled were spread out enough that you would never know that that many people were there. There were little hills for little kids. Medium sized hills for me and my teenagers. And enormous hills for brave souls. We watched those brave souls crash for quite awhile.....so entertaining:)

I am continually fascinated by the fact that some people just know how to think of everything for outings like the beach and sledding. I am not sure why I am not one of those people. These people know how to bring their comforts with them so that it is almost as if they have not left home. I do not know how to do that. I have honestly never thought about it. My brain can't do it. I mean remember I wore non waterproof gloves sledding. What is wrong with me? Some people have a gift for knowing how to accessorize their activities perfectly. I admire them.

Yesterday on Mt. Hood I saw some people pulling their coolers on a sled and thought to myself why on earth did I never think of that? Then I saw other people pulling firewood on a sled and I again wondered to myself, how did I not think of that? I saw people wearing proper snow pants, not just jeans with leggings under them. I saw people wearing proper snow boots not their rain boots. I even...gasp... saw people wearing waterproof jackets. Some of the people I came with brought big proper lunches. I had clementines, peanuts, Reeses, and crackers. Some people had snow shoes. Some people had all different kinds of sleds. Some even had the most adorable little tiny skis for their toddlers. Everyone seemed to think of literally everything. Why am I not that committed to providing for my outings?

All the, lack of accessories, aside it was so much fun sledding. We climbed up and went down, and up and went down. It was snowing in the mountains and that made it all the more perfect. I love to sled on my stomach even though it sometimes means snow down my neck and in my face. Natalie and her cousin Lindsay did not want to leave and could have stayed all day. Tatiana and I thought we were brave and climbed laboriously, halfway up a huge hill but once we got the view and assimilated the height we did not feel so brave and sat there for quite awhile pondering the consequences of our choices and got brave enough to go down once. Natalie and Lindsay went bravely down it over and over, no fear.


Sarah Hall said...

That awesome little red sled made it to our home, however we haven't had snow so far this year to use it! Guess I'll have to go drive to a mountain!

Jennifer said...

Oh YAY I am so happy you have it. I had heard you had not had snow yet....so weird for Massachusetts :)