mthood-300x169

Known as one of the Seven Wonders of Oregon, Mt. Hood attracts winter sports enthusiasts from across the globe. From snowboarding and skiing to hiking the mountain to its summit, Mt. Hood has opportunities to entertain every walk of life year round. The handful of resorts that reside on or just beside the mountain offer a wide array of activities suitable to the interests of the adrenaline junkie as well as the timid, cautious individual who may not want to ride down the mountain at high speeds. Ski Bowl’s Adventure Park boasts over 20 attractions, including an alpine slide, bungee jump, hiking trails, and various others. Mt. Hood Meadows and Timberline Lodge are famous for their abundant snowfall counts and breathtaking views of the surrounding hills of the Mt. Hood National Forest. Timberline Lodge, in particular, attracts the widest variety of skiers and snowboarders because of their year round season as well as the high altitude that their Palmer lift travels to. In the summer months, avid skiers and snowboarders alike take a series of lifts up to an elevation of 8,540 feet, which is far above the timberline and often times atop a thick layer of clouds. From here, Timberline guests enjoy an unforgettable experience of maneuvering down the Palmer Glacier at thrilling speeds, should they desire. Those that do not wish to ride down the mountain on skis or a snowboard can simply ride the chairlifts to the top to experience for themselves the awe and tranquility that come at these elevations of the mountain.

Here at Oregon Trail Recovery, we take advantage of this majestic natural creation in a variety of ways. Our Adventure Staff coordinates trips for the clients that often involve Mt. Hood or that have a wonderful view of it. We take our clients on overnight backpacking trips regularly in the Mt. Hood National Forest, which surrounds the mountain, where they experience the mountain in its glory towering above the hills beside. We also take our clients up to ski and snowboard at least once each year so that they can experience the freedom and serenity that I have come to love on this mountain. All of these activities that our clients get to participate in are designed to hold therapeutic value as well. Our weekend backpacking excursions in the National Forest allow clients to escape the often stressful routine of their lives in society and in our program. They have a chance to get in touch with the beautiful, green landscapes of the Pacific Northwest as well as to meditate and reflect on their lives in a peaceful setting for inner spiritual growth. Our snowboarding/skiing trips allow clients to walk (ride) through fear on the slopes as they learn the fundamentals of the sport and progressively attempt to conquer more and more difficult terrain. In all of our adventure excursions, we aim to show our clients the pure and innocent joy that one can experience in recovery. Most of our clients, as with any treatment program, did not devote much time to hobbies or other physical activities while drinking and/or using and lost the concept of joy that they once had before substances became a problem in their lives. In participating in our adventure programs, our clients once again develop a conception of excitement and leisure and learn that recovery from substance abuse disorders can be an amazing and enjoyable journey.

Mt. Hood has become a very effective tool in my personal recovery in helping me to stay in touch with my spiritual path as well as having my own experiences of joy and pleasure. I frequent the Timberline Lodge to snowboard throughout the year which serves as physical exercise and as a brief mental retreat from my daily routine. Whether it is traveling to the mountain or simply seeing it in the distance from the city, I am always endowed with a sense of peace and gratitude from the sight. Mt. Hood is my snowcapped paradise here in the Northwest that originally attracted me to move to Portland in the first place years ago. Only a short hour-long drive from the Portland metropolitan area, this natural landmark is sure to grasp the attention of locals and tourists alike for many years to come.

~Colin Tardif