September 27 Checking the route

We have been enjoying the questionable benefits of lousy weather for the last few days and today was no exception. It was raining when we got up and it was raining when we called it off for the day. Fortunately, during the middle part of today’s daylight hours we had a chance to go out and look around.

Weather forecasts for the continuation of our trip east indicate that a whopper of a storm is coming and our scheduled day for departure was to be possibly a bit less snowy but temperatures will be below freezing. We figured we should get a look at the mountain passes we will be obliged to cross over to see if the suspected cold and dismal conditions would affect our transit. We are camped in Welches, OR, with an elevation of around 1500 feet. The passes just a short ways east are around 4000 feet and are scheduled to be snow-covered and icy.

So we crafted a simple plan: we delayed our departure here for a day until Monday instead of Sunday. We rarely change our travel schedule but, fortunately, we had built in a little schedule slack for the next couple destinations so we were able to just pay $20 here in Welches for another night and shorten our pending stay in Cove Palisades on the other side of the Cascades.

The drive today up into the pass offered wonderful views of the mountains around Mt. Hood but the big volcano itself was obscured by clouds. Nevertheless, the scenery we did get to ogle was very beautiful. The vine maple bushes and trees have leaves that are turning a gorgeous shade of red which is a stark contrast to the evergreen conifers that surround them. We also stopped in at Trillium Lake up near the turnoff to Timberline Lodge (remember The Shining – Here’s Johnny!) at the pass. It is a small but beautiful little lake with quite a few folks out on it, fishing from float tubes and kayaking in the nearly freezing water. Those plucky Oregonians.

After today’s recon mission, we now feel better about revising our schedule because the pass roads and conditions were formidable today but will be even worse when snow-covered or covered by black ice. Hopefully a delay of one day will offer better conditions so we can cross the passes and get down into the arid side of Oregon on the east side of the Cascades.

Pass pictures. Click the link.

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