Thursday, April 18, 2013

Saturday Night in Government Camp

Summit Meadow, photo by Scott Conover
Between the regular ski season, summer skiing, and mountain biking and hiking on Mt. Hood, there are usually always a few parties going down on Saturday night in Government Camp, Oregon.  Maybe it's a ski vendor-sponsored party at the Rat (Ratskeller) or locals gathering across the street at Charlie's for pool and dancing, but often you'll find lots of good beer and music and laughs.

But when it's clear and calm, Saturday night can be about something completely different. Maybe it can be about walking under the stars along a snow-covered road surrounded by forest. Maybe it's so light from the bright white snow that you don't even need a flashlight to make your way along the trail through the woods after dark.

A few weeks ago on one of those glorious first-gasp-of-spring weekends, three of us decide to forego the free drinks at the Rat after dinner. Instead we hike out toward Trillium Lake, just south across Highway 26 from Govy, with cameras in hand to photograph Mt. Hood as the sun sets.

Downtown Govy, photo by Scott Conover

Turns out the shot above is the best sunset photo of the mountain we got with a late start.  By the time we get to the Trillium Lake trailhead immediately west of the Department of Transportation maintenance facility on 26, it's pushing dark.

But that's okay because the road, which also doubles as a ski trail when there's snow cover, is wide and easy to follow through the trees.  So we walk on the snowy path toward the lake.

After a little over a mile, we pass a junction and see the lights from night skiing over at Ski Bowl to our right.  Then we pass a few cabins, and a cross-country skier glides past in the dark with her dog trotting along behind.

Shortly afterward, we come to a major clearing; we've reached Summit Meadows.  Mt. Hood is barely visible in the dimming twilight, but with a tripod, a good zoom, and time lapse, Scott manages a few pretty cool shots. (For more of Scott's photos, click here.)

Mt. Hood summit from Summit Meadows, time lapse and zoom, photo by Scott Conover
Photo by Scott Conover

Despite the windless night and my down hoody, it gets chilly under the stars and on the snow.  By the time we get back to the car, it's time to head over to the Huckleberry Inn for a hot drink and, for youngster Scott, breakfast for a late night snack.

Huckleberry French toast, Huckleberry Inn
I say skiing or walking under a brilliant starry sky trumps a noisy, crowded bar any time.  How about you?


Lindsey said...

I should not have read this, that food looks SO YUMMY and now I am starving :)

Anne said...

That time lapse photo of the summit is stunning! Great job, Scott.

Lesley said...

These are awesome photos -- I want to be there right now!

Verona said...

This is cool!