Well last time I made a post on here I was mentioning how much I enjoyed my first night trip out. Thankfully others in PDX Overlanding felt the same way.
PDX Overlanding Facebook Group
On Wednesday morning I checked my newsfeed and noticed that overnight someone posted up a suggestion for going out to the mountain and playing in the snow before the fun/stress of the Thanksgiving holiday was upon us.
With less than 24 hours from inception to departure we had 12 rigs rolling out from the base of Mt. Hood at 6:30PM
We started out at a local spot just on paved roads that took us to Trillium Lake. This area is still around 3,500' so there was only a light dusting on the ground; we had a late arrival so we used this as a convenient rondevous point that quickly turned into a pissing match of who’s auxillary lighting equipment could light up the lake more.
With our last truck in the group we went out in search of the white and fluffy around 8pm. We were really hoping the snow would have breached the 4,000' layer but this early in the night we had to go higher; after a quick stop and group rally we all decided to go to a group favorite spot, Badger Lake, where others have been the past few weekends and we were confident we would have some success.
We made a few course changes and were soon in route and on the dirt where we stopped to air down to around 20-25psi to make the journey more comfortable. I’ve seen plenty of Imprezas take the road during the summer but it’s a lot less harsh with a little less air in the tires.
Now my truck is built on a budget (yes Land Rovers can be bought and built for under $7,000) but this is what happens when you really want to go all out.
Instagram account for owner
In the image above I’m only driving with my side fog lamps; that’s how much light his rig was putting out! It was the easiest person to ever follow in a convoy since he was like mobile headlights.
At this point I was thinking about doing the same thing to my Disco to give someone else this gift in the future. You can see from these photos we’re starting to be a little more successful in the search for snow and around 10:30 we hit our lakeside destination.
Here we hang out, swap stories, investigate rigs, let the dogs play, and drink a few beers. At this point it’s around Midnight and we’re back on the trail that we came in on. The night got colder and the hard packed trail from multiple multi-ton trucks created a nice sheet of ice in the ruts which proved ... interesting.
On the way in most of us were unlocking our diffs and having some fun on the wider sections, but heading out over the 5 miles or so of recovered ground everyone was moving a little more slowly and cautiously.
To get out of the ice and do some more exploring we turned North and headed up past 5,000'. Now some of us were getting bored and decided to make their own trail which turned into our one and only recovery section of the night. I was running my winch so I didn’t get any pictures :(
Ooof it’s 1am now and fatigue is setting in. 4 trucks feel like going the long way home but the rest of us look for the easy 45 minute escape; we do a quick tally make sure comms are good for each group and go our separate ways into the darkness.
And I mean dark, this Northern pass has quite a few drops offs. It was almost a little less intimidating not being able to see how far down the bottom was.
A little under an hour later and incident free we hit the trailhead parking lot, talk to some surprised campers, air up, and make our final goodbyes around 2am.
TL:DR Be spontaneous and jump in on impromptu group runs. You might be surprised how many other people like the same crazy idea.