Insatiable Appetite for the Mountains (A Long Journey Home)

Insatiable Appetite for the Mountains (A Long Journey Home)

Page Type Page Type: Article
Activities Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering, Bouldering, Scrambling, Skiing

Yellow Brick Road of Opportunities

Nobody told me the mountains were going to be this addictive. Mid Life Crisis . . . here I come. As a teenager growing up in Eugene Oregon, the region offered endless activities. Of course I am referencing the backcountry possibilities. The McKenzie highway is a yellow brick road of opportunity.

My favorite thing to do on the “Old McKenzie River Pass” was to nordic-cross country ski. (McKenzie Pass elev. 5335 ft/1623 m is a mountain pass in the Cascade Range in Central Oregon, United States. It is located at the common border of Linn, Lane, and Deschutes counties, approximately 20 mi (32 km) northwest of Bend, between the Three Sisters to the south and Mt. Washington to the north. Oregon Route 242 passes over the pass). 
McKenzie Pass

A bunch of us teenagers (children from the 70’s) would trail up to the gate, park the rig, cross country ski to the top and build a snow cave. We would hang out in and around this snow cave for a day and ski back down. Then we would hit the Cougar Hot Springs (Terwilliger Hot Springs). We would hike up about a mile (very steep grade) to these pools and warm up.

How to build a snow cave

Oh how I wish I could return to that time and place. Still, I sit here today and feel that I didn’t take full advantage of living in the Willamette Valley and truly enjoy everything it had to offer. I forgot how rewarding and beautiful the mountains were.


I told my wife 2 years ago after a near death health issue that I was going to spend more time with my family and children. I was going to start appreciating everything a lot more. I was going to do things, try different things . . . I wanted to LIVE!

So one of the things I decided to do was get back into the mountains. I wanted to explore my old climbing hiking addiction. I re-started in February of this year and received wonderful support from someone who is a member of Summitpost. He stated simply, “Slowly work your way up to the harder stuff. The great thing about mountain climbing is you are challenging yourself, yet you can share the experiences with others.”

Prairie Creek Trail

We are all so fortunate to have this opportunity to share our experiences and data. Summitpost consists of professionals, reformed ex smokers, fatties and some mid life crisis folks as well. They are hikers, bikers, scramblers, climbers and trad climbers. They are photographers, college students, boy scouts and just a huge collection and combination of all types.

Insatiable Appetite

Norton Lakes Trailhead

The most common denominator among this cadre of people is their insatiable appetite for being in the mountains. It’s an itch you can’t make go away until you are at the trailhead or the bottom of a sheer faced rock or for some, the summit (Ok for those of you that are snickering, just use Hydrocortisone for your itch).

For me, all I think about is my next quest, the next journey. Who is it going to be with? What will we encounter? Makes it very hard to sleep! When I wake from what little slumber I did get, I am hungry for more backcountry and mountain opportunities.

The Wooden Well

Recently, I watched from the cozy confines of my warm home as a foreign government stopped expeditions on a well known mountain. It became obvious to me that we are very lucky to be able to hit the backcountry with full force and desire to accomplish a goal. For me, it has been a long journey home.

I hope I get to meet some of you along the way or out on a trail. Until then, take care of yourselves, your families and our mountains. I wish you all the best and safe return to your places of abode.

Rock On!



Post a Comment
Viewing: 1-20 of 46

Slader - Nov 11, 2008 4:38 pm - Voted 10/10

Chelsea says

Chelsea says she liked this article Dad.


silversummit - Nov 13, 2008 9:19 am - Voted 10/10

Food for thought!

You're thinking and saying much of what is going through my head lately. I've been scanning in slides of my first trips in the Rockies and the urge to hike is still as strong. Just wish the body would cooperate.

But you're so right about keeping the joy of the mountains alive in us; that importance of setting a goal, camping with friends new and old, getting somewhere - anywhere, taking photos to share, and writing about what it all means.

Keep hiking, climbing and writing!



Deltaoperator17 - Nov 13, 2008 9:39 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Food for thought!

Thank you for your kind words and votes Kathy!

All my Best,



yatsek - Nov 16, 2008 6:15 am - Voted 10/10

Summary of SP

Your text constitutes a fine summary of what SP really is:

"SummitPost consists of professionals, reformed ex smokers, fatties and some mid life crisis folks as well. They are hikers, bikers, scramblers, climbers and trad climbers."
"The most common denominator among this cadre of people is their insatiable appetite for being in the mountains."
"It became obvious to me that we are very lucky to be able to hit the backcountry with full force and desire to accomplish a goal."

I’d just like to add that if we're not that lucky, SP helps to satisfy this 'insatiable appetite' of ours so we can keep on living, hoping to be back in our element again some day.




Deltaoperator17 - Nov 16, 2008 12:18 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Summary of SP

Yes Jacek,

. . . and also living through the lives of the more skilled hikers, climbers and story tellers. I would say that SP is a wonderful meal but being out there is still the dessert!

Ca³y mój lepszy wy i wasz rodzina




rpc - Nov 17, 2008 8:23 pm - Voted 10/10

nice write up

inspirational. Feed the addiction!


Deltaoperator17 - Nov 18, 2008 1:30 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: nice write up

Thank you Radek, I have to go now and shoot up. . . He He.
One of these days I will lose the remaining wieght and some of the nervy stuff and maybe do some trad. Maybe go to the Gorge. So dont laugh too hard if you see a Donkey all roped up on a pitch.


mtybumpo - Nov 19, 2008 3:18 pm - Voted 10/10


It's great to see more Idaho people writing good articles! Good job! I enjoyed it!



Deltaoperator17 - Nov 19, 2008 3:27 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Nice!

Thank you Matt, it is an honor to receive a compliment from you. Your piece on Idaho’s Rugged community was VERY good!

All my best,



Deltaoperator17 - Nov 20, 2008 10:04 am - Hasn't voted

Re: fatties

Hey Squish, I was calling me fat. Thanks for your vote and great comment. I love Nor-Cal, might have to look you up when I go do my old Southern Oregon Home week, maybe come down thru Susanville and head southeast! You be safe too- (nice Video on your hiking page!)


nickkarl - Nov 20, 2008 8:40 am - Voted 10/10

Good Stuff

Good stuff Steve, I think you summed it up right there. Hope to get out on some mountains with you.


Deltaoperator17 - Nov 20, 2008 10:11 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Good Stuff

Thank you Nick for your kind words and vote. Hey maybe we can convince Dean to go do something when he is in town.

All my best,



Dean - Nov 20, 2008 10:17 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: Good Stuff

Steve, that sounds like a good plan. I've got several in your part of the state so we'll need to keep the probability in mind that we can get together and do something next summer.


Deltaoperator17 - Dec 3, 2008 5:59 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Good Stuff

Oh yea, count me in. I would love to hike or scramble with you (Bring Mr Bolton if he will come)and some of these wonderful Idaho SPers.

I am training for Adams now, will be doing two 14ers in Colo. in Late June so let's do something late May early June!

I am so excited I cant breathe, wait, I have to breathe cough cough. There, much better!

All my best,

Bob Bolton

Bob Bolton - Dec 16, 2008 8:36 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: Good Stuff

Count me in -- if you're planning something I want to do and can get away. Gotta focus on the top priority stuff when you're old like us, right Dean?


Deltaoperator17 - Dec 16, 2008 9:27 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Good Stuff

Yea Yea Yea, I am just a wannabee. I might have you both beat at something...I have had 7 strokes.... LOL.

I would love to count you in. It might shape up as a Washington/Idaho/Utah SP gathering... he he


Judd97 - Nov 20, 2008 10:17 pm - Voted 10/10


Thanks for the read. I grew up in western PA and discovered "mountain climbing" in Shenandoah National Park. This has led me to harder and harder climbs throughout various parts of the west and it always leaves me hungry for more. This article nails that quality of our sport and this community!

Happy trails (or walls, peaks, couloirs, etc),



Deltaoperator17 - Nov 21, 2008 10:06 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Thanks

You are most welcome Justin. I appreciate your kind words and the more I read my own piece here, I too think that it hits very close to what the multi-faced sport and this community is.

Rock On!


eric b

eric b - Dec 2, 2008 2:02 pm - Voted 10/10


To many of us it is just that. Its tough when your mind wants something your body just can't grant (i.e. a summit) But it seems addictions always come with a price. That is one of the best parts about SP, you get to vicariously live in the backcountry. Thanks for the post.


Deltaoperator17 - Dec 2, 2008 2:58 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Addiction

Well Eric, I am glad you and Tyler are on SP to talk about your addiction. Loved your trip report and thanks for the vote and kind words. Take care of yourself!!!



Viewing: 1-20 of 46



Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.

Idaho's BestArticles