8TH Annual Illumination Saddle Summer Solstice Function is Officially……………………………………CANCELLED!!!
The choice to cancel the event is from my heart. I love Mount Hood as so many before us along with so many after us will. When you love a thing with all your heart you have to be able to let it go. My phone rang yesterday morning at the office from a number I didn’t recognize but felt compelled to answer. It was a friend that cared enough about me to tell me something was amiss with one of my most favorite days of the year. He told me this special day that inspires so many people from around the world had a possible negative impact on Mount Hood. My first reaction was embarrassed, then sad, leading to
understanding. He explained there was an individual who asked to remain anonymous making three phone calls as he thought the event was reckless and in violation of federal wilderness guide lines. One call was to Timberline Lodge, one to the Clackamas County Sheriff, and one the National Forest Service Ranger.
The outlaw spirit in me wanted to ignore until my rational spirit kicked in. Enjoying the summer solstice on Mount Hood was never intended to be an organized event. The reason we enter the mountains is for the beauty of adventure. Adventure can never be organized. I had a great conversation with Ross Gambo from the National Forestry Service to help me understand the violations I was making as per the Code of Federal Regulation. My enjoyment of Mount Hood should never come at the expense of even just one person. So what happens next?
Simple…….it’s what ever you wish to do. Mount Hood is to be enjoyed by all as they wish. These are my humble thoughts if you choose to enjoy Illumination Saddle on Mount Hood June 21, 2108:
1. When you arrive at Timberline stop at the Climbers Registry to fill out a wilderness permit. Make sure to not just fill out and carry the permit but fill out the attached form giving contact/emergency information, equipment you are using, intended destination, number in your party, and most importantly check the ‘common sense’ box. If you can’t honestly check this box you should consider calling a friend for a ride home.
2. Absolutely DO NOT bring fireworks or firearms.
3. Respect Timberline ski area boundaries. DO NOT climb, skin, or ride on the groomed. To the east of Timberline’s boundary, at their own expense, they lay down a groomed area for climbers to make climbing and descending easier. We have thousands of skiers, snowboarders, climbers, and tourists from around the world that come to enjoy Mount Hood. Please don’t ruin the hard work put in by Timberline staff for these folks. If you do come down after sunset stay west, riders right of Palmer when coming back to Timberline.
4. ‘Leave No Trace’ is not enough. If you see any sort of littler YOU MUST pick it up. The beauty of the high alpine must be protected by the ones who enjoy it for the next that wish to enter it.
Magic is the only way to explain our place in this universe. Responsibly celebrating the longest day of the year with friends and family on Oregon’s crown jewel is in the hands of us all. Knowing that every following day becomes one day closer to the snow falling. It’s not my place or anyone else’s place to tell you how to enjoy the mountains. Live a life without regret. Not one of us will look back in the end and say……….“Remember that one time I chose not to party at Illumination Saddle on the Summer Solstice.”