The last week has probably been the wildest I’ve had since we moved to Portland.

Last Saturday I finally went up to Mount St. Helens for the first time after a month of volunteering for MSHI. The weather was atrocious (blizzarding at times…in mid-May), and while that drove most of the people away, it also meant that we got an up close and personal hike with a naturalist! We learned all about the hummocks (rocks that got spewed from the volcano when it erupted) and the plants and animals on the volcano. It still boggles my mind that we were walking around on a volcano that erupted within living memory.

Sunday we visited Breitenbush Hot Springs, about 2.5 hours’ drive from our house. While it was next to impossible to get ahold of the reception desk to make reservations–which fill up months in advance–it ended up being well worth the hassle. The springs are remote and quiet and there are plenty of pools of various temperatures to relax in. It was cold and raining (and hailing), which felt refreshing on our NAKED SKIN as we sat in the pools. That’s right, the hot springs are clothing optional! The older I get, the less I care about nudity. It’s very liberating.

On Monday I learned that I’d scored an interview for a job I really wanted and also that the interview was in Denver. So I bought plane tickets, a hotel room, and reserved a rental pickup truck because it was supposed to snow when I was out there. I flew out Thursday afternoon and had an all-day interview Friday, then flew back to Portland late Friday night, getting into PDX a little after midnight. It was exhausting but worthwhile; I got to drive a huge truck and…I got the job! More on that when I’ve signed an official offer letter.

I didn’t have time to plan what to do this weekend because I spent the whole week cramming for my interview, so I figured that today we’d go on a short hike to a lake and read, sunbathe, and perhaps even swim. But the lake was in the mountains. You know what else is in the mountains? Snow. Even when it’s nearly June. So there we were traipsing through the snow as the sun beat down and it was around 70 degrees and hot…but there was still snow under our feet…and snow covering the trail. We made it to the lake after falling into countless holes in the snow and of course the lake was frozen. At least we got to stop at a trout farm on the way home.

It seems every weekend is an exercise in how little I know about mountains. You might even say learning about mountains is an uphill climb.

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The hummocks trail with a partial view of Mount St. Helens in the background.
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My truck.
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Put your sunscreen on and take a dip!
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