After the clothes were washed, the bellies fed and the stuff sacks stuffed, we headed outta the Holiday Inn Express in Astoria, our sites set on Mt. Hood.  Where in Mt. Hood?  Not sure yet, but with the bikes full of clean undies, we were confident that it really didn’t matter where we rolled out our tents.  As long as we were camping, we were all giddy.

With only one stop, it took us less than 3 hours to reach Mt. Hood.  Unsure of where to camp, we checked in with the information center in Government Camp for some camping info.  Lake Trillium?  And they may only have a couple of spots left?  We’re outta here!  It was only about a mile or so down the highway.  Hmmmm.  This place looks a little familiar.  Could it be?  Hell ya, it could!  A little history for you…

When I was 6 months pregnant with Jack, Terry and I took a motorhome road trip to Seattle, making our way back south through Oregon.  We needed a place to park our ride for the night and practically tripped over this location.  We pulled in, hooked up and walked around the pathways, stumbling upon one of the most picturesque locales we’d ever seen.  Spanned before us was the snow covered peak of Mt. Hood, framed in a sea of green and sky of azure.  Awesome.  So guess where we just happened to almost trip over again?  You got it.

Jack was so determined to set up his own tent, he wouldn’t accept help from ANYONE.  It may have taken him twice as long, but he was on it, taking his time not to get frustrated, never giving up.  In about 20 minutes, he had the whole sleeping quarters up and ready for slumber.  Dig this kid.  He was also, as always, quick to make some friends.  This time, he took an interest in some older boys who were playing catch.  Would he like to play, too?  WOULD HE!  We had brought our gloves to keep his arm ready for the All-Star game on the weekend of the 4th, so this was the perfect opportunity to stay loose.  Hell, I’ll even go throw some balls with the father/son team.  So there we were, having a grand time with a 4-way throwing square when ol’ Sandy at the mound throws a wild pitch and THUNK!, hits the dad’s truck right smack in the front right fender.  HOLY SHIT, SANDY!  Nice one!  I was mortified!  The guy was so cool as he kept saying, “Do you have any idea how many dents I have in this truck from baseballs?”  Doesn’t matter ‘cause now one of those dents was put there by ME.  Shit.  Are you SURE I can’t help pay for it?  Are you SURE?  Dude was waaaaaay too nice of a guy.  Terry just shook his head in not-so-disbelief, remembering that I have a knack for such a feat (Hello!  Epi-Pen!).  I decided it might be time to put down the glove and head back to camp.  Idiot.

And what kind of place is Government Camp anyway?  It’s literally a ski and snowboard haven for bratty rich kids whose parents fly or bus them in from all over the U.S.  No joke.  Rows of daddy’s little girls wielding the parents’ credit card and future republican senators holding skis littered the sidewalks.  Sometimes the parents’ were in tow, only present for their transportation and economic duties.  It was icky.  Trust me, I’m all for and into the winter sports scene, but THIS scene was far from the lifts of Mt. Shasta Ski Park, even Tahoe.   I had to hit the grocery store for our daily rations and was LITERALLY squeezed outta the way by said bratty rich kid.  No excuse me or I’m sorry.  It was like that with all the kids we encountered and I’m not exaggerating (though I wish I were).  Bummer.  And trust me, we called them on it each time they shoved their way through.  “Whoa, whoa, whoa, dude!  Where do you think you’re going?”  Sorry, junior, just because daddy’s rich doesn’t mean you’re entitled.   Now run along and the geezers get their grub.  Even Jack was in awe of their disrespect.

But here’s a very inspiring story worth sharing with the masses.  On our way out of the area, we headed up the mountain to the lodge for one last picture.  When we parked in front of the steep, lodge steps, we were immediately surrounded with what appeared to be members of the US Ski Team’s physically handicapped team.  But mind you, none of the athlete’s we encountered were limited by their disabilities in any way.  Paraplegic, wheel-chair confined, no lower extremities, one lower extremity, it didn’t matter.  These athletes were out there DOING IT!  Suited up, geared up, they were ready to hit the slopes, no holds barred.  After we took off our motorcycle helmets, we were immediately approached by one of the ski team members, a young man with only one leg, maneuvering along with the help of crutches.  He said he watched us pull up and had to strike up a conversation.  Are you kidding?!?  YOU are the person I want to talk to!   This dude was cool, totally personable.  Another wheel-chair athlete offered to take a family picture.  Thanks, dude!  And you’re a UCD alumni?  Even better.  As we rehydrated, I watched as the skier we had been chatting with made his way up the steps.  There was no complaining, no hesitation, just determination and a big ass grin.  Wow.  I want to be him when I grow up.

Our time at Lake Trillium was the camping trip we needed before our last couple of nights.  And our meeting with the athletes was the inspiration WE needed to be thankful for, well, everything.  The next time you bitch and moan that you can’t do something, just think of the guy climbing the stairs with his crutches or the young kid without any legs gearing up for a ski run.  I don’t hear them complaining, do you?  I didn’t think so.