Bumming in Eastern Oregon

3 Min Read  /  Culture

Dscn2201We got this field report from Laura Cooper, a Virginian living in Oregon. I really liked her story, writing and dedication to the outdoors – she’s an ESL teacher who spends most of her time backpacking, skiing and reading, as well as birding, paddling, and taking pictures.Thanks for the great report Laura!

After forty-five minutes of using my arm as a wall, I stopped resisting and let our gear overtake me. One full Volkswagen Rabbit, three passengers, and six days of ski camping in eastern Oregon’s back and front country lay before me. Some believe travel to be a privilege only afforded by the rich, however I have found, the less money I make, the easier it is to leave. 

Free from work and out of cell phone range, this was my first try atski bumming. Transients of all kinds find home at the edges and inbetweens of societies. Arriving after dark we quite literally made ourcamp at the edge of a sno-park in between forest and civilization. Wedug out a kitchen, complete with counter space, and then retired to ouroversized tent.

Too lazy to cook, we awoke the next morning, and in Brian’s words we were all "rippin hungry." Dreaming of cinnamon rolls and fried eggs, our kitchen made of snow came up short. Todd asked, "Can you grab the orange juice?"

"It’s frozen," I replied.               

"How about some fruit?"                

"Frozen."                

"What do we have then?"                

"Nutty Buddies."

Fueled by peanut butter and chocolate, the three of us set out to explore the backcountry and scout some lines. It was like entering a snow globe. Powder covered every tree branch, creek bed, and hill. Best of all there were no tracks. Angel Basin, an area situated between two peaks, gave us more than enough route choices for three days in the backcountry, and we took full advantage. We skied up. We skied down. We skied hard.

The next day the lifts at Anthony Lakes opened. We found ourselves at the Norman Rockwell of ski resorts in the company of rosy cheeked youth and older folks sporting cowboy hats, Nordic snowflake sweaters, and every style of mustache imaginable. With only one lift, we expected lines but we hit run after satisfying run without waiting.

Our last night at Anthony Lakes, a band was booked to play the Star Bottle Bar below the lodge. The crowd, warmed by alcohol and a fireplace, took to this band. Tom Petty covers particularly enlivened it. Women and men largely over fifty were dancing, twisting, and moving around the bar. Brave enough to endure mountain climbs and cold weather, but too shy to dance, Brian, Todd, and I watched from a booth tucked in the corner while the ski patrol entertained. These were the revered men and women in red jackets we had watched from the chair lift. We envied their lifestyle and their ability to make effortless turns down moguled diamonds named things like Rock Garden and Avalanche. Apparently they were curious about us as well. One man asked, "Are you the three who have been camping at the edge of our lot all week?" 

"Yes," we replied in unison.

"What a life," he said and we agreed.

Dscn2222_4Dscn2224_5Dscn2220_3

[Photos: Todd Bradley]

Related Stories

“Life of Pie”: Jen Zeuner and Anne Keller Q&A
In a fossil-rich corner of western Colorado, set against lush agricultural fields, the big-box stores of Grand Junction and the sandstone formations of the Colorado National Monument, you’ll find Fruita. These days, the town is an international mountain-biking destination known for its ribbony, high-desert trails, technical routes overlooking the Colorado River and funky downtown where…
In a fossil-rich corner of western Colorado, set against lush agricultural fields, the big-box stores of Grand Junction and the sandstone formations of the Colorado National Monument, you’ll find Fruita. These days, the town is an international mountain-biking destination known for its ribbony, high-desert trails, technical routes overlooking the Colorado River and funky downtown where…
Katie Klingsporn
7 min Read
What a Road Trip Breakdown Has to Do with Mars
Rule #1 of a road trip: Vehicle may break down. Rule #2 of a road trip: You may break down along with it. Near the Ruby Mountains in Nevada, Gordon and Meredith Wiltsie were struggling with wrenches and wire after the muffler came loose on their old International Travelall. As their 4-year-old son, Nick, whacked at…
Rule #1 of a road trip: Vehicle may break down. Rule #2 of a road trip: You may break down along with it. Near the Ruby Mountains in Nevada, Gordon and Meredith Wiltsie were struggling with wrenches and wire after the muffler came loose on their old International Travelall. As their 4-year-old son, Nick, whacked at…
Bonnie Tsui
2 min Read
Life of Pie: How Hot Tomato Pizza Unites a Mountain Biking Paradise
Friday night at the Hot Tomato is not for those in a hurry. Hungry customers grip pints of beer and compare notes on the day’s rides in lines that spill into the parking lot. Music pumps and the staff whirls behind the counter, tossing floury dough, yelling requests to the kitchen, giving each other shit.…
Friday night at the Hot Tomato is not for those in a hurry. Hungry customers grip pints of beer and compare notes on the day’s rides in lines that spill into the parking lot. Music pumps and the staff whirls behind the counter, tossing floury dough, yelling requests to the kitchen, giving each other shit.…
Diane French
4 min Read
A Gathering for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion with Teresa Baker
Back in November, a group of Patagonia employees and friends from around the country came together in Yosemite National Park to have some important and difficult conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion. The bottom line: We can, and should, be doing a lot more to actively engage with individuals and communities who are historically underrepresented…
Back in November, a group of Patagonia employees and friends from around the country came together in Yosemite National Park to have some important and difficult conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion. The bottom line: We can, and should, be doing a lot more to actively engage with individuals and communities who are historically underrepresented…
Patagonia
7 min Read
How Ugandans are Saving the Nile with River Sports Culture
When the Bujagali dam was erected on Uganda’s White Nile in 2011, the World Bank hired local witch doctors to relocate the river’s spirit gods. The deities that dwell in the Nile’s massive rapids were moved to cataracts on different, unaffected stretches of the river. This struck me as remarkable: the entity responsible for funding…
When the Bujagali dam was erected on Uganda’s White Nile in 2011, the World Bank hired local witch doctors to relocate the river’s spirit gods. The deities that dwell in the Nile’s massive rapids were moved to cataracts on different, unaffected stretches of the river. This struck me as remarkable: the entity responsible for funding…
Chandra Brown
6 min Read
Painting the Prairie
My artistic heroes have always been the turn-of-the-century landscape painters: Frederic Church, Sanford Gifford, Thomas Moran, to name a few. They were rugged outdoorsmen, exploring places like the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Yosemite on some of the very first European expeditions to those places. They trekked into the mountains with primitive camping gear and heavy…
My artistic heroes have always been the turn-of-the-century landscape painters: Frederic Church, Sanford Gifford, Thomas Moran, to name a few. They were rugged outdoorsmen, exploring places like the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Yosemite on some of the very first European expeditions to those places. They trekked into the mountains with primitive camping gear and heavy…
Emilie Lee
7 min Read
Nature and the Opportunity to Build Diverse Coalitions
In 2013, as a member of the Expedition Denali team, I had the privilege of flying over and around a tiny splinter of the six million acres that make up Denali National Park and Preserve. The park contains what seems to be limitless rough terrain, some of the largest wild animals in the world and…
In 2013, as a member of the Expedition Denali team, I had the privilege of flying over and around a tiny splinter of the six million acres that make up Denali National Park and Preserve. The park contains what seems to be limitless rough terrain, some of the largest wild animals in the world and…
Scott Briscoe
6 min Read
The Cleanest Line: Read the Story That Inspired the Name of This Blog
We are now third and fourth generation surfers. We have the confidence to leave the stereotypes behind. We have become a tribe that has the ability to be the scroungiest dirtbags one day and then return to the urban environment as activists for change the next. Two time periods epitomize the style and sensibility of…
We are now third and fourth generation surfers. We have the confidence to leave the stereotypes behind. We have become a tribe that has the ability to be the scroungiest dirtbags one day and then return to the urban environment as activists for change the next. Two time periods epitomize the style and sensibility of…
Chris Malloy
3 min Read
Popular searches