As much as I love hiking, it always makes me smile when returning to the trailhead to see my car peeking at me through the trees. I had just returned from a short hike on the Kestner Homestead Trail in Olympic National Park after driving for hours through an absolute downpour, which my little Subaru handled like a champ before waiting patiently for me to return from my wander in the trees.
Our winters here in Portland are generally mild, but this fall has packed a bit of a punch at the end. We got a little bit of snow on Thursday a week and a half ago, and thankfully since I have some flexibility with vacation time right now, I was able to take the day off and let our dog Ellie enjoy the snow. But then as so often happens in Portland, we got some freezing rain and suddenly everything is coated in ice and trees and branches started falling all around our old neighborhood. We lost power a few times on Friday but never for too long. While walking Ellie I noticed a tree had fallen on a lovely old Mercedes a couple of streets over, completely crushing the back.
In the wee hours of Saturday morning while we were asleep the power kicked off and we didn’t get it back until that evening. Sadly the house was at its coolest when we lost power since we let it cool down at night, so I piled on extra layers and a hat until we had heat again. The house never got that cold so we weren’t exactly suffering, it was only down to 57 when the electricity returned.
This past week we got more snow, not very much but it arrived right before the evening rush hour and made a mess of everything. Fortunately I had also taken that day off but my wife wasn’t so lucky, since the train she was going to take home got shut down when some switches froze, she ended up spending the night at work. It’s going to warm tomorrow and the remaining ice should be gone, which will make a certain dog (and her walker) very happy, even if it takes the snow with it.
That’s enough winter weather for me this year, and winter hasn’t officially started yet!
I became intrigued with the Subaru Outback while in graduate school so when we moved to Oregon and were ready to replace my wife’s car, it was our first choice. It was my wife’s daily driver for fourteen years and I took it on all my hiking trips, near and far. It was always a welcome sight when I arrived back at the end of the trail, in this case the Storm Point Trail in Yellowstone.
Late in its life it got hit a few times, once by someone who ran a red light and twice by people who inexplicably plowed into the back of it. I suppose one sign of how much we loved it is not just that we drove it for so long, and not just that we replaced it with another Subaru, but that we replaced my Honda with a Subaru too.
We bought this model when it first came out and fell in love with the color, which had literally just arrived at the dealer (they hadn’t even had time to take the protective wrapping off). Apparently a lot of other people loved the color too so we ended up seeing them everywhere, including a few nearby in our neighborhood. There are still enough on the road that I frequently get a nice reminder of our dependable little wagon that I took to so many of my favorite places.
The last day of the year got off to a cold but sunny start. I stopped at Rest Lake when I came across this great blue heron sitting beside the frozen channel and then sat listening to the cackling geese and tundra swans in the lake behind it. I couldn’t resist a self-portrait when the rising sun created a perfect shadow of my little Crosstrek on the bank.