We lived in the valley.
When we moved from the Midwest to the Pacific Northwest in the early 1990’s, we found a home in the valley – the Willamette Valley, between the Oregon Coast Range Mountains and the Cascade Mountain Range.
When a mountain presents itself, you should go explore it and that is what our young family of five set out to accomplish. Today’s Tuesday Tour gives you just a glimpse at some of the mountain peaks we viewed and I captured with my simple point and shoot 35 mm film camera, during our years of living in Oregon.
The easiest mountain to view from the Portland area is Mount Hood, a usually snow-covered dormant volcano and Oregon’s highest mountain (pictured above), about an hour’s drive from the city.
Snowboarders and skiers abound on this mountain which boasts six ski areas and nature enthusiasts enjoy camping, biking, climbing, and hiking in the Mount Hood National Forest with over 1,200 miles of trails.
The Mount Hood area can be a treacherous place though where hikers get lost and over 100 people have lost their lives in climbing accidents.
At an elevation of over 11,200 feet, Mount Hood is easily seen from Portland and on clear days, we could spot it to the east of us from a street bordering our suburban housing subdivision.
Shortly after moving into our new home in this altered state so different from where we’d previously lived, we ventured off to check out this mountain, which has been touted as Oregon’s most likely volcano to erupt in the future.
One of the interesting spots on Mount Hood we often took visiting family and friends to was Timberline Lodge, not only a ski resort, which has the longest ski season in the country open year-round, but a major tourist attraction as well. Built during the Depression years of the 1930’s by WPA, the lodge is a National Historic Landmark.
Visitors can drive to the lodge, located at an elevation of nearly 6,000 feet, via the Mount Hood Scenic Byway. Inside the lodge, one can view the furnishings provided by local artisans and craftsmen.
I regret that I don’t have a good photo of the lodge itself, but I distinctly remembered we climbed up the mountain a little at the lodge with our young children on a hot, summer’s day when there was very little snow.
Not long after our trek to Mount Hood, we ventured northeastward into Washington state to Mount Saint Helens, the famous volcano that blew off its top in 1980 when its eruption made world-wide news. The devastation that day in May killed 57 people, destroyed 200 homes, many bridges, railways, and 185 miles of highway.
Even though we visited Mt. St. Helens over a decade after the event, we could still see the destruction it had caused, particularly in an area called Lava Canyon.
That landscape, which had once been green and forested, looked like a barren wasteland. But amidst the scars, a little beacon of hope that the land might be replenished stood out to me when I captured this wildflower blooming.
In addition to those two famous mountains, we traveled to a scenic overlook called Bald Peak Scenic Viewpoint. Located in the Chehalem Mountains west of Portland, Bald Peak stands at an elevation of over 1,600 feet and if the weather cooperates and is clear, visitors can view five mountain peaks – Mount Rainier, Mount Adams, and Mount Saint Helens in Washington and Mount Hood and Mount Jefferson in Oregon – from the lookout point in this small state park.
The following photos aren’t the best because they were taken with a point and shoot camera and no telephoto lens, but it gives you an idea how amazing this vista truly is. Not only can you spy the mountains, but you can observe a panoramic scenic view of the Tualatin and Yamhill valleys, part of the Willamette Valley.
Mountains and valleys. We would not only observe those terrains during our years of residence in Oregon, but we would experience mountains and valleys in our personal lives as well.
Some years we encountered mountain top experiences, amazing times and sights we will never forget. Other times, we found ourselves in low valleys, facing challenging circumstances and decisions to be made.
But we wouldn’t change one thing about our time living there, a time that provided so many adventures, so many memories to keep, as well as long-lasting friendships that we still maintain today over 25 years later.
And above all else, our six years spent in the Pacific Northwest caused us to grow spiritually and deepened our faith in God.
“You have to go through those mountains and valleys – because that’s what life is: soul growth.” ~ Wayne Newton
9 thoughts on “Tuesday Tour: mountain high, valley low”
Amazing journey. I don’t know as I’ve ever really looked at photos of Mt. St. Helens and totally forgot that it had erupted. I was only three when it happened but you think I would have heard about it in school when I got older. If I did, I don’t remember.
You’ve led a fascinating life. Thank you for sharing it with us.
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If I’m not mistaken, a third of Mt. St. Helens blew off that day in 1980. Of course, I was a married adult back then, so what happened crossed my radar screen. I’m not so sure I’ve led a fascinating life, but living in so many different areas of the country has been eye-opening and interesting.
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Well, your life has been more fascinating than mine!
I’ve just lived longer and in more places, that’s all. 😉
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The photos from the Mt. St. Helens area are extraordinary. I’m certain the pretty pink flower you saw are fireweed. It got its name because of its ability to recolonize burned areas quickly. Here’s a link to a Forest Service post about the flower.
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Yes, you’re right! Thank you for the link. I’m sure it’s fireweed, and even though it was so long ago that I took that photo, I still remember being amazed by it.
How can it be that 25 years has passed since you packed up and headed east? Ooomph! Time has flown, but your name and sweet presence as a friend and fellow prayer warrior bless my heart all these years later. And I will peek at the beautiful mountains and pray for you a day that is more mountain high than valley low. 😘💞🙏🏼
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Oh my sweet and far-away friend, it’s so nice to hear from you! I think of you so very often and am so grateful for all of those prayer-filled mornings at your home so many years ago.