Insatiable Appetite for the Mountains (A Long Journey Home)

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Hiking, Mountaineering, Bouldering, Scrambling, Skiing
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Insatiable Appetite for the Mountains (A Long Journey Home)
Created On: Nov 9, 2008
Last Edited On: Mar 1, 2015

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!



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Viewing: 21-40 of 46
Vic Hanson

Vic Hanson - Dec 2, 2008 9:09 pm - Voted 10/10

Outdoor Addictions

I can really relate, Steve. When I finished the PCT in 2006 I was totally ruined, could never return to a normal life. Thankfully I didn't have to, I came back here and started my adventure business. Not great paying but great living! Vic


Deltaoperator17 - Dec 3, 2008 10:11 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Outdoor Addictions

Great living. I still need to visit with you about the PCT trip; I am considering it or at the very least some of it.

Thank you for your vote Vic!



MoapaPk - Dec 5, 2008 10:42 am - Voted 10/10

Keep truckin'

...fellow survivor.


Deltaoperator17 - Dec 5, 2008 12:59 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Keep truckin'

Thank you southern brother. May your Jumps be as high as your summits!

Rock On!

Fredd C Dobbs

Fredd C Dobbs - Dec 5, 2008 12:34 pm - Voted 10/10

The Best Part

The older I get the stronger the addiction becomes!


Deltaoperator17 - Dec 5, 2008 1:00 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: The Best Part

Thank you sir! So that is what I have to look forward to... More

Bob Bolton

Bob Bolton - Dec 16, 2008 8:32 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: The Best Part

You and me both! I think it has something to do with the realization that we don't have an unlimited future for it. It's now or never. So Many Mountains, So Little Time!


Deltaoperator17 - Jan 4, 2009 11:15 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: The Best Part

Yes sir Bob, now or never. Hey, you and Dean pick me up on your next quest in Idaho.

Ejnar Fjerdingstad

Ejnar Fjerdingstad - Dec 6, 2008 12:57 pm - Voted 10/10

Very nice

article. You are very lucky that you are only 49 years old, you will, hopefully, have many years in the mountains before you, and will be able to gradually build your strength and skills, so that you should be able to manage most peaks in the U.S. and the Alps, and who knows maybe in the higher ranges too. Best of luck with your future climbing, and be sure to post a lot of photos here.


Deltaoperator17 - Dec 6, 2008 1:10 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Very nice

Thank you for your kind words Ejnar! If I am anywhere close to how good you and Karen have it at your age, I will be truly blessed!

Take care of yourself Professor Fjerdingstad and your lovely bride. Keep giving us those beautiful photos!

All my best,



Deltaoperator17 - Dec 13, 2008 3:17 pm - Hasn't voted

Thank You

I wanted thank ALL of you who read and voted for this article.
Hope to get out in the mountains with some of you and get some new material.

I enjoy reading and voting for all of your stuff (well most of it)

All my best,



Luciano136 - Dec 26, 2008 2:10 am - Voted 10/10

Healthy drugs... kind of what it is. It gives you so much endorphine release you can't wait to do it again!


Deltaoperator17 - Dec 26, 2008 10:57 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Healthy drugs...

Yea, almost as fun as the 70's...and much healthier...LOL

Thank you Bruno for your vote and comment!


mstender - Jan 27, 2009 9:30 am - Voted 10/10

Great article!

Hey Steve, I really enjoyed reading your article. It pretty much sums up my feelings too. Nice reference to the SP community.

Good luck for your plans,



Deltaoperator17 - Feb 4, 2009 12:36 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Great article!

Thanks Matt, I appreciate your kind comments. Let me know if you are going to see any more hookbill'd birds that you need identified.

All my best,



SOCALHUSKER - Jan 28, 2009 7:37 pm - Hasn't voted

Agree 100%

Couldn't have said it better myself. I think a lot of people who don't have an outdoors addiction can't fathom the desire we feel to get outdoors and explore. My girlfriend is always hounding me about researching, mapping routes, and reading trip reports, but the truth is if I didn't have that to look forward to, I'd have to be out there doing it instead of spending time with her. I guess we all have to make some sacrifices, but this is one addiction I don't want to conquer. Thanks for the insight and thank you SP'ers!!


Deltaoperator17 - Jan 29, 2009 11:14 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Agree 100%

Thanks Robby. Its good that you have the support of your Girl. Makes it easier to get out when you want to.

All my Best,



Tracy - Feb 11, 2009 10:57 pm - Voted 10/10

Enjoyed this article

and I found myself being able to relate to what you wrote in it. The part that first caught my attention was the MacKenzie Pass road sign. My brother and I hiked a section of the PCT from there to Little Belknap in November of 1989...Good times I remember.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts in this article!


Deltaoperator17 - Feb 12, 2009 10:27 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Enjoyed this article

Thank you for reading and voting for it. Belnap Springs is a very cool area. I spent a lot of time there.

Glad you enjoyed it, I am thinking I need to go back as I have some interest in hiking the PCT throught Oregon.

All my best,



gimpilator - Feb 17, 2009 9:01 pm - Voted 10/10

Thank You

I enjoyed reading your article and could relate to a few thing in there too. I'm an ex smoker and ex drug user but today I am hooking on mountains.

Viewing: 21-40 of 46

Insatiable Appetite for the Mountains (A Long Journey Home)

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