January 2022 Highlights

New Year's Day could not have been more ideal. 

Bluebird New Year's Day: Most everyone I know in Central Oregon was outside skiing on New Year's Day. Blue skies, fresh snow, friends, laughs, optimism for a new year. Perfect.

Mack the dog
Birthday dog, Mack

Mack, my biggest dog bud, had a birthday this month. From the moment we got Mack a part of me lamented that he wouldn't be in my life forever. Each birthday he has means there are fewer to come. But I will celebrate Mack for any reason. On his birthday, he found a chunk of Nutter Butter cookie on the trail and seemed pretty darn stoked. Later that afternoon he flushed out a family of quail from some bitterbrush and a falcon who happened to be nearby coasted over to check out the situation. No quail were harmed, and Mack gifted me with a falcon sighting.

Deck-time: Facing south and free from trees to shade it, the deck really comes into its own when the air outside is cold but the sun shines. You don't want a chair, which lifts you off the boards and leaves you vulnerable to any cold breeze. I like to sit and lean against the house or just lay flat on the wood. For maximum heat, wear black and sit next to a black dog.  Twenty minutes and the winter chill will be chased out of your bones.

Perfect timing: We had a cold snap. Cold that freezes your cheeks. Mack wanted to go run and I figured the day wasn't going to get any warmer so I got dressed and left the house before there was time to talk myself out of it. Snowflakes started flying in the gully, half a mile from home. Two miles from home the wind was howling and it was legitimately snowing sideways. We didn't dawdle. As I stepped into the front door and looked back to where we had been, the view had disappeared into a full white-out blizzard.

Distant peaks: As far I can figure, Mount Adams is about 150 miles away as the crow flies. When the weather and air quality are just right, it is possible to see not only the local line-up of Mount Bachelor, Broken Top, the Three Sisters, Mount Washington, and Mount Jefferson but also Mount Hood. And very rarely, though at least four times this month, Mount Adams. It appears as a wisp of a peak on the horizon, and I know that I am seeing something beyond the border of Oregon and into Washington.

One early morning in January, I saw another peak on the horizon, between Mount Hood and Mount Adams that seemed slightly larger and closer than Adams. What the...?!? The orientation seemed to be Mount Rainier, which is ~200 miles away, and 2000 feet taller than Adams. Could the extra height make it appear somewhat bigger than Adams? Lisa sent this article, and since it was sunrise and we were in a temperature inversion, I am going to say that I saw a superior mirage of Mount Rainier until someone proves otherwise.

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Laurel Hunter

Laurel Hunter

Central Oregon, USA