I spent the past weekend with 18 strangers (friends of a friend who I’d now call friends) at the Tilly Jane A-Frame up on Mount Hood. Built in 1939 and with no modern amenities, the recommendation is to pack for a backpacking trip minus the tent. You’re given a roof, a wood stove, and not much else. This is apparently an annual trip for these folks, but for me and the friend it was kind of spur of the moment as spots opened up last minute. Luckily we both had most of what we needed and REI was able to provide the rest.
We set off early Friday morning from town. The RAV4 was the chariot of choice so I had to take it out of enclosed pickup truck mode by installing seats for passengers. Note to self: Don’t do that the morning of next time… Almost had a serious issue. As expected, the old girl performed flawlessly. Upon arriving at the trailhead we donned our stuffed packs, cold weather clothing, and trekking poles. The snow wasn’t too slick so despite a few concerning spots, we managed to make our way up with only boots (had snowshoes in case). The trip up is 2.6 miles and 2000ft of climbing. With a full pack and the 50mph sideways sleet we faced, it was far from an easy hike. Apparently there are amazing views on the way up, but they’re missed when your head is down in an attempt to shield your eyeballs from ice pebbles.
Upon arrival to the cabin, we got to work firing up the wood stove. I believe the temperature inside was 37? We would eventually reach 59 before the weekend was out with some serious stoking efforts despite the outdoor temperature dropping to the low 20s. Keeping the place warm was kind of the main focus of the weekend because fire, and well, people tended to congregate around the only heat source.
Sleeping was in the upstairs loft. Basically, pick a dry section of floor and lay your sleeping bag down. This was tricky because the dry spots weren’t always the same throughout the night. I ended up having to move when I felt a trickle on my toes, but others dealt with worse. Prior to the trip I bought a nice new bag that was rated to 18. It turned out to be overkill and I ended up leaving the feet unzipped all weekend, but I’m glad I’ve got a super cold bag now and it was on a monster clearance.
The Saturday forecast appeared to be pretty rough with the risk of us not getting outside at all. Early in the day I went for a solo snowshoe with no destination in mind to make sure I got out. Well, the toilet (half a mile away) was actually the first goal, but from there anything went. It wasn’t snowing profusely, you eventually run into trail markings wherever you go, and it’s easy enough to retrace your steps so I kind of lost myself in a wander, intersected the main trail, and made my way back to the cabin.
Later Saturday the weather broke. Folks got outside for sledding and my friend, Jackie, and I made our way up to the Cloud Cap Inn to take in some amazing views of the mountain. Winds up there were absolutely insane and there was a near vertical section, but it was well worth the trip. After some time we made our way back down to the cabin to get warm again.
Sunday morning we arose fairly early, packed it all up, and made our way back to the car. Whereas the hike up would take nearly two hours, the hike down was barely an hour, but damn if I don’t feel the way down in my calves two days later. With the colder temperatures later in the weekend the snow had iced up a good bit so I ended up snowshoeing all the way down.
Overall, an awesome weekend and unlike anything I’ve ever done before. Next time I’ll put a bit more planning into my diet (ended up eating entirely freeze-dried camp food, but others made some fresher stuff with light/high calorie foods that made me a bit jelly), but otherwise I’d change nothing. Made a lot of new friends, saw some amazing sights, revived the sinus infection I’ve been battling for a month, and had a blast of a time.
No, I don’t know who Tilly Jane is.
This is a mopey post. I hope it’s the last one for a long while.
This morning I was laid off effective immediately. I had worked for the company for ten years. It didn’t come as a shock as the writing has been on the wall ever since we were acquired a handful of years ago, and especially so when my development team dwindled to near nothing and was not replaced.
But shit. Mom, marriage, house, job. My f’ing cat had better not get sick.
I received a pretty reasonable deal so there’s no rush finding new work. I started working the Monday after college graduation and have never had a gap in employment so this will be the first time in my adult life I’ll be unemployed even a day. What to do Monday? I’m thinking snowboarding. Tuesday? Maybe more snowboarding. Wednesday? Probably take a nap.
The timing is pretty good as it gives me a free week in which to unpack in the new place (oh yeah, I skipped mentioning I bought a new place – more on that later). I also had my finger on the trigger for a new desk purchase, but was going to wait until the weekend to pull it. Now, perhaps no longer working from home I don’t need a fancy new desk? Maybe I can even downsize my home office setup and more easily fit my arcade cabinet in the living room? These are important things.
If you know of anything – freelance, contract, part-time, full-time, let me know. My resume hasn’t been used in a long time, but I’ve given it a super quick and lazy pass so feel free to take a look and provide feedback.
Years ago I was overwhelmed, wrote about it, and was happier for it. Times have changed and I’ve recently felt I’d be happier doing more. When asked if I’d be interested in joining the board for my cycling team, I went for it and got the position. As of this week I am the webmaster/communications dude for Prestovelo/Bicycleattorney.com.
I don’t have anything significant planned as the person previously in the role did a great job and left me nicely setup (he inherited a much tougher job), but I’m floating a handful of ideas specifically to improve event awareness/tracking/participation.
Noteworthy – during this regular shuffling of the board, the team became the first coed team in Oregon history (as far as we can tell) to have a female president. Kind of surprising considering how progressive Oregon is, but less surprising when you consider how male dominated cycling is.
Nothing too related to the day, but the subject is relationships, people, that’s what today is all about, and I’ve got some free time to write, so why not? 😉
- People treat you as if divorce is a disease they don’t want to catch. It’s not a lot of people, but there is definitely a stigma attached. Fortunately, just about half of everyone has been divorced so there are also a plethora of folks who get it and pass no judgement.
- Friends you had met through or with your former spouse who are no longer friends. They actually unfriend you or seemingly put you on mute. My divorce was not the tidiest in the world, but these folks are all working with half a story (at most) and making a full judgement with it. That’s unfortunate, but probably not the type of person you want to be friends with anyway.
Be cool, don’t be judgey, I’m out [to ride my bike and eat pizza and drink wine and watch Netflix ALL NIGHT LONG].
- The big one – I got divorced. I’m okay, thanks. Halle is making sure I don’t get too lonely and my friends have been wonderful allowing me to third wheel anything and everything.
- The other big one – the house is sold. Well, pending for now, but I need to find something new and move within the next three weeks. Owning turned out to be an amazing investment, but the flip side to that is I can’t find anything suitable within my price range very easily. I’ll be moving to an apartment for at least the short term. Definitely not leaving Portland. Ideas for what’s next is buy a small place to live in/rent out part time, buy a condo and live in/rent out part time, put life into storage and travel, rent long-term and buy a cabin or something fun. In case you can’t tell by the options, my feet are itchy for some movement.
- Family is all doing very well. Grandma moved to PA so I don’t get to see her much, but that just means I need to schedule a separate trip.
- Fantasy football was nasty. Played in two leagues and in both had top picks not perform or go on IR. In the better of the two I ended up only starting a single drafted player in the final week of the season. Can’t win ’em all.
- Ran 12 miles. I had no goal here so this is alright, but for real for real I’m definitely no runner any longer. Had I not been sick to close out the year I’d have gone out to the track to pop off a sub-6 mile just to prove to myself I still have it, but it wasn’t meant to be. Maybe I’ll get that done early in the next year.
- Biked 6,041 miles. Two years straight of big leaps here and I expect next year to follow that trend. Really starting to feel strong on the bike. I have to thank my indoor trainer for a lot of this mileage; it has enabled me to ride when I otherwise wouldn’t want to or be able to. Moved up a category in cyclocross, the only discipline I really focused on.
- Swam less than half a mile. After two years of no swimming whatsoever, we’ve got data again! This was a single trip across the Willamette. I’d really like to get into a routine of open water swimming, but I’m not going to fret if it doesn’t happen.
- Hiked 15 miles. That’s terrible. I’m ashamed of this.
- Spent 15.5 hours snowboarding. Quickly approaching “not a beginner.”
- Weight dropped to a low of 162 and an average of 165 or so. This did wonders for my cycling power to weight ratio. I’m currently at “holiday weight” so no good year-end number to note, but I’ve clearly made a breakthrough after years in the low 170s. Eating cleaner and burning more calories is the trick.
- Burned 317,000 calories. 10% jump from last year.
- Read 24 books. Well, 23 at the time of this writing, but I’m finishing another today. I’ve found this to be a healthy number, which I’ve been hitting year after year. Outliers was the best book I read.
- Rated 140 titles on Netflix. Must-see titles according to me are Captain Fantastic and The Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
- Reviewed 7 businesses on Yelp. I’m over it. I still use it for recommendations, but am not interested in sharing my opinion as much anymore. Farewell, Gold Elite status and the perks that come with it.
- January – Saw Book of Mormon. Outstanding.
- February – Spent a week in NC for family time, a weekend in Bend for Fenton’s birthday, turned 34, and got a new roof.
- March – Had a minor eyelid surgery, which still hasn’t fully resolved, rode Dalles Mountain 60, and saw Trace Bundy.
- April – Spent a long weekend in San Fran and wine country, rode Ronde PDX.
- May – Quick visit to DC for Race for Hope and spent nearly two weeks returning across the country with Mom’s car. Began divorce process.
- June – Spent a weekend camping and riding with the team at the McKenzie River, rafted the Umpqua River with Chris, his dad and a friend.
- July – Attended the US Olympic Trials, spent a weekend in Seattle, saw Avett Brothers.
- August – Jesssie visited solo for a week of fun, spent a few days in VA for work, and saw Band of Horses.
- September – Loads of cyclocross racing.
- October – Loads more cyclocross racing, a weekend in Bend for Halloween and Molly’s birthday, and was the US leader for the Zwift KOM Challenge for a short bit of their tour.
- November – The end of loads of cyclocross racing, a wine day, day trip to Tacoma, and a visit to VA for work.
- December – Nearly the end of divorce (waiting on the court to sign the final paperwork) and a week and a half in NC for the holidays with family and friends.
2017? More miles, a road upgrade, becomes a “masters” racer (I’m supposed to start slowing down? PFFT!), more adventures, everyone having kids/having to step up the Uncle Mikey game. Looking forward to a fresh one.
If you’ve not yet blocked me on Facebook due to the overposting that was the month of May (or any given month depending on your taste), you will likely have noticed that through the entire month of May, I was reposting a new daily image about brain cancer. The campaign was the brainchild (PUN!) of a friend named Noelle. Her father was diagnosed with brain cancer around the middle of last year, and being a friend of friend, she found her way to me and we’ve been chatting ever since.
What she put together for this campaign was nothing short of amazing and extraordinary. The best part is that it can be reused every year with little to no modification. It was just the two of us sharing this year [I think], but my hope is that we can raise more awareness of the campaign among the brain cancer community and make it go crazy. If you see me posting these next May, please don’t hesitate to repost – brain cancer sucks, it can hit anyone for no good reason, and for something that is more or less a death sentence, it receives far too little attention.
The full campaign can be downloaded at http://bit.ly/26p4PVD and I’ve attached the images below.
Lastly, if you have any design needs, while I’ve never personally used her services, based on what she’s done here I’m pretty sure she’d do a kick-ass job for you: http://noellemullinsdesign.com.