September 18, 2003

For Immediate Release

I must pack, for tomorrow I leave on a backpacking trip for the weekend. We’re hiking from Vista Ridge to the Timberline Lodge, along the east side of Mount Hood. The hike will take us more than twenty miles and halfway around the mountain.

Today after work we drove to Timberline to plant the Green Dragon so we’ll have a crafty means of getting home when we emerge from the woods. Today would not have been a good day to hop up and down on the roof of Oregon. Clouds swirled madly over the summit of Mount Hood, like a vaporous hand clutching the gearshift of the gods. Before we left the lodge we filled out and submitted a Backcountry Preparedness Form, which more than anything read like a press release in case of our grisly deaths.

From our vantage above the timberline we could see Trillium Lake in the fading light. Its surface was perfectly still, like a pool of quicksilver reflecting the pines along the shore. It looked like a hole in the ground to a reverse universe.

Then I slammed my left hand in the car door. Hard. The door was completely latched and I had to pull it open to release my hand, which now had a deep purple canyon running across the back of all my fingers. We filled up a Dairy Queen cup with snow from the side of the road and I iced my hand for the ride home. It still hurts (especially the middle finger, which is a shame because it’s the most communicative finger) but really I’m still in shockenaw over the amazing resilience of the human body. Today is the Last Quarter Moon, and if I can stay alive until Sunday I will have officially survived a third of a year in Oregon. If I survive the entire weekend I may pursue another expedition (or a dition-expe) into some woods next weekend.