Mount Hood Summer Solstice
Thursday 16 July 2015 — Category: Outings
summer solstice I went on a photo outing to downtown Portland — see A Portland Summer Solstice for all the details.
Two days after the solstice (and Father’s Day) I went on a more unusual and special trip. Somehow I had gotten the idea to take public transportation from the southern end of Portland’s TriMet service area at Wilsonville Station all the way to Timberline Lodge, halfway up Mount Hood!
The exact distance between these two points depends on how you measure it. As the crow flies, it is about 53 miles from Wilsonville Station to Timberline Lodge. Even though I am a Byrd, I am not a crow, so my route was going to be longer.
The driving distance along I-5, I-205, Oregon Route 212 and U.S. Route 26 is about 69 miles, which should take around 90 minutes, depending, as always, on the traffic.
For this day’s outing, I wanted to try something completely different by eschewing American overdependence on the automobile and taking mass transit to an extreme. Although Mount Hood is awesome, for my purposes the trip there and back was the main attraction. It had to be, because each 96-mile one-way journey took four hours!
To get from Wilsonville to Mount Hood, I had to take four different vehicles — two trains and two buses — which I caught in four different towns in the Portland metro area. But first I had to get to Wilsonville! My outing began when I left home in Albany at 5:00 AM and arrived at Wilsonville Station — located about 15 miles (by crow) south of downtown Portland — exactly an hour later.
Before the Westside Express Service (WES) commuter rail train left at 6:21, I had time to photographically explore the public art on display there — like the “interesting” and “different” Interactivators sculptures, the “Let’s Dance” statue, and the ornate, 35-foot clock tower. Nothing like a good dose of culture before a four-hour commute to the ski slopes!
At least I did have my wireless remote shutter release (see the intervalometer link) with me. But without the intervalometer to do the work, I had to keep my eye on my watch, and press the remote shutter release once every 15 seconds for a full 62 minutes! It got a bit tedious, but it wasn’t as bad as it sounds.
Click on the play button to watch this ten-second time-lapse video, comprised of the 251 photographs I took during that hour. The speed of the chairlift combined with the frequency of the image capturing (every 15 seconds) causes the lift to appear to be running backwards. I should have taken a shot every 10 seconds instead. And I should have brought my intervalometer. Oh well ... live and learn!
If you watch closely, you can even see “yours truly” as I was walking around in some of the shots. The music is from the beginning of the track Atman by the dynamic duo Rodrigo y Garbriela on their album 11:11.
Once I got back home I decided to make some changes in my equipment. Rather than having both a wireless remote shutter release and a wired intervalomter, I just purchased a wireless remote intervalometer for my Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera.
After standing there for over an hour pressing the shutter release more than 250 times, it was nearly time to catch the Mount Hood Express bus back to Sandy. Because of major roadwork on U.S. 26, we were delayed enough to make it look like I was going to miss my connecting bus in Sandy, even though there had been a scheduled ten-minute layover.
When we finally arrived in Sandy, the bus to Gresham was still there, so I bounded out of the bus and raced towards it. Right as I approached the door it began to pull away! I banged on the door, the bus stopped, and the driver let all of us latecomers aboard. Whew! That was close! Definitely no spare time for photos!
This bus arrived in Gresham early, so I was able to take an earlier MAX Blue Line train for the long 72-minute trip back through downtown Portland to the Beaverton Transit Center. But it didn’t do me any good, because I arrived in Beaverton a few minutes too late to catch an earlier WES train back to Wilsonville. So I had nearly a half-hour layover to wait for the train I had originally planned on taking.
I made good use of that time taking some more pictures of the weird sculptured heads which I had already photographed at the Wilsonville Station at the beginning of my outing. Eventually I arrived back at my truck, 12 hours and 10 minutes after I had left it early that morning. But there was still one more experience to enjoy before I made it back home.
As you can tell by some of my recent articles, stopping at the newish Gustav’s Bargarten in Keizer — about halfway between Wilsonville and my home in Albany — is in danger of becoming a new habit. A stein of beer and a bite to eat is a great way to wrap up a photo outing to the Portland area.
After the big lunch buffet at Timberline Lodge I wasn’t overly hungry, even though I had eaten about seven hours previously. Therefore, instead of ordering a meal, I settled on a large pretzel with spicy, whole-grain honey mustard. I have hardly ever eaten such pretzels in my half-century on this planet, and wasn’t too sure I would even like it. But let me tell you, it was killer! And the mustard was great — it really cleared out my sinuses!
Unfortunately, the price was as intense as the mustard! Between the pretzel, the beer and the tip, I was out fifteen bucks! It was certainly a wonderful snack, but I don’t know that I can afford to indulge in that very often. However it did set me thinking. As I mentioned above, eating at home can be just as good (or better!) than a restaurant at half (or less!) the price. So why not pretzels?
After a bit of research, I found the book Pretzel Making at Home by Oregon-based food writer Andrea Slonecker. According to the book, she is the executive director of the Portland Culinary Alliance and a chef instructor at the International Culinary School at the Art Institute of Portland.
Not only does this book have numerous pretzel recipes with lots of tips and great photos, but it also has a section on how to make various toppings, including a “spicy whole-grain pub mustard” made with German doppelbock beer, which takes at least three weeks to “mature” (the mustard, not the beer!). I have not made anything yet — for now I’m working on getting the necessary ingredients and kitchen utensils. But I’m very eager to dive in, and in the near future I will — stay tuned!
During this public-transportation outing to Mount Hood, I took a total of 366 photos. As I have already mentioned above, 251 of those were used to make the ten-second time-lapse video. Because the remaining pictures focus on two different subject, I have collected the best shots into two different albums.
Out of all the photos which documented my eight hours of riding mass transit, the best 27 can be viewed in the new Portland Area Mass Transit 2015 album. The best 30 images from Mount Hood, including the time-lapse video, can be found in Mount Hood Summer Solstice 2015, which compliments my earlier Mount Hood 2010 album.
All in all, this outing was a wonderful and unique way to celebrate the summer solstice. It was intriguing and satisfying to be able to take public transportation all the way from Wilsonville to Mount Hood. But it was definitely a time-consuming and tiring way to travel, so I doubt that I will repeat the journey. My next trip to Mount Hood will almost certainly be by automobile.
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