COMMENTARY

To Hood and Back

Photo shoot An achingly memorable adventure

By Hilary Berg

The day before photographer Andrea Johnson and I headed up Mount Hood in search of snow — see cover — I tweaked my back raking leaves.

As with most Oregon autumns, the leaves were wet, making the chore of raking more strenuous. In my case, I should have stopped when I felt the twinge, but I never do.

My body is invincible, right?

Editor's Note

Hilary Berg has been the editor of OWP since 2006. She graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s in journalism. She and her husband own a seven-acre vineyard and winery called Roots.

The following day, I woke up in pain and knew the ride up to Timberline Lodge was going to be rough. I met with Andrea at her condo in Northwest Portland, and we loaded up her Subaru. Carefully, as I lowered myself into her car, she asked if I wanted my seat warmer on… Seat warmer?

Relief at last.

By the time we hit Sandy, my back was feeling good, and it was clear this ride was exactly what the doctor ordered: Andrea and I did some serious catching up, and I was on a much-needed adventure, even if it was only a day-trip up the mountain.

When we arrived, Andrea and I scoped out areas near the lodge for possible spots to set up camp — lights, tripods, bottles of wine. Walking around — carefully, slowly, taking small steps on the semi-slick snow — the cold air was exhilarating, the wind was invigorating and the up-close view of Mount Hood’s famous peak was sublime.

Andrea and I quickly found the perfect location with snow-loaded trees and a huge boulder where we could rest three bottles for the cover shot. As snow and low clouds came and went, we worked together — move the bottles a smidge this way, now that way; step farther back; smooth the snow; move a branch; wait for sun; adjust the light. Eventually, Andrea performed her magic and captured the winning shot.

With snow starting to fall and the sun disappearing for longer periods of time, we needed to grab the other seven bottles of wine from the car for the inside photo. I volunteered to go, so she could experiment with the cover a little bit more.

Feeling super excited about the photo shoot thus far and happy my back was not giving me grief, I walked down the hill a little too quickly and … splat … flat on my back. My head bounced on the hard snow. My glasses went flying and my hat, too. Ouch. It hurt. I laid there for what seemed like an eternity — probably just a minute — thinking, “I really did it this time.”

To my own surprise, I stood up with relative ease while taking inventory of the mobility of all my moving parts. I was OK.

After grabbing the bottles from the car, it took a bit longer to make it back to Andrea, mainly because the bottles were heavy and my head felt a tiny bit woozy.

We got the inside shot, packed up all the equipment and headed inside Timberline for a much-needed beer — it takes a lot of good beer to make good wine and a wine publication. As I sat there thawed out in the lodge, I realized the crisis I had averted.

Until the next morning. I could barely move my neck.

The following week, my neck slowly recovered, and my back was feeling pretty good — all things considered — good enough to rake more leaves that had recently fallen.

My body is invincible, right?

You know the answer.

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