timberline lodge

I used to head up to Timberline every winter Saturday morning when I was little to take ski lessons on the slopes of Mt. Hood. By the middle of the afternoon I’d sneak into the lodge, drink hot cocoa by the fire and hang out with the big ‘ol St. Bernards that roamed the halls. Those days are long behind me, but I can still head up the mountain and curl up by the fire with a cup of hot cocoa (this time spiked with a little peppermint schnapps) and enjoy the wintry wonderland perfectly framed through the big glass windows.

the drive up the mountain
the lodge
ram’s head bar – home of their famous hot cocoa & peppermint schnapps
st. bernard puppies


So apparently this was the last Natefest – the annual weekend away that encircles Nate’s birthday which he organizes for close friends.

Natefest has a long and illustrious past dating back a couple decades and since moving back to Portland I’ve been honored to be invited. But this – the year Nate turned 40 – was supposedly his last. I say supposedly because there’s a glimmer of hope that the tradition will continue next year… especially after the high we all felt following a magical weekend at Silcox Hut on Mt. Hood.

Fittingly, Silcox Hut also enjoys a long and illustrious past. It was built in the 1930s at the same time as the famed Timberline Lodge (used for exterior shots in The Shining and one of the nation’s great lodges). Silcox Hut was initially built as a small day lodge that housed the mechanics for the magic mile chairlift (the second chairlift ever built in the United States). In the 1980s Silcox Hut was rehabilitated and converted into a lodge that could accommodate small groups overnight – replete with comfy bunks, modern plumbing, yummy food, and a snowcat ride from Timberline. It’s Oregon’s highest hotel at 7000 feet.