Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer Solstice Birthday Party. . .

A group of us climbed Mt. Pisgah last evening. We did it for two reasons. First, it was my brother-in-law's 53rd birthday (he was given a balloon to carry on the hike), and we were going to celebrate up top:
(Click on photos to enlarge.)
His birthday coincides with something that happens annually atop Mt. Pisgah (the second reason we wanted to climb up there):
At the summit of Mt. Pisgah sits a stone monument with a slit cut all the way through it. Only once a year, on summer solstice, does the sunset align perfectly with this slit. And the sun glows when it shines through.

Since this is a very outdoorsy, nature-oriented community, it’s not surprising that a crowd of people hike to the top of Pisgah to see it:

But our distinguished group stood out from the crowd—we were the ones wearing birthday hats:
Climbing to the top of Pisgah is a lot of fun, especially with a big group of friends and family (thirteen of us went up this evening). It’s a pretty walk. This photo was taken less than halfway to the top, looking west:

The kids arrived on the summit before the adults and were ready to party when we arrived. There are 360 degree views up there, and this one looks to the east:

Here’s the birthday boy and my sister:

 And here’s their whole family:

We had birthday treats up top—brownies and ice cream. But it wasn’t ordinary ice cream. It was Prince Puckler’s ice cream, which was named the best ice cream in the state of Oregon by USA Today or some such publication (I’ve seen it mentioned in Sunset magazine, too, as an ice cream destination). Locally, Prince Puckler’s is a wildly popular ice cream shop. Even future-President Obama stopped by for ice cream when he was on the 2008 campaign trail. He ate chocolate chip mint ice cream, and now there is a sign on that flavor that says “Obama’s Favorite.” My young niece took a picture of the president the day he visited Prince Puckler’s—a nice photo that looks straight up his nostrils. The sister of the birthday boy happens to be the owner of Prince Puckler’s (along with her husband), so, she donated two containers of ice cream for our Pisgah party and put them in an insulated container so it would stay frozen (she was at the birthday celebration, too), and my son lugged it to the top.

We ate our birthday treats and then walked around visiting and enjoying the pleasant weather and the beautiful views while waiting for the sun to set:

Notice the biggest, snowy mountain in the following picture? It’s the South Sister (in the beautiful Cascades). I climbed to the summit of that mountain last summer with seven of the people who were part of tonight’s birthday party celebration:

With all of the recent grey weather, we hoped that we’d even be able to see the sun and watch a sunset, and we weren’t disappointed. The weather improved throughout the day, leaving just the right amount of cloudiness for a pretty show of color:

“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalm 8:3,4)

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.” (Psalm 19: 1-3)

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” (Romans 1: 20)


  1. I love all those beautiful landscape photos! I can see how hiking makes you exuberant ;-).

    But the photo that really makes me smile is the one of the huddle of people all wearing little pointy birthday hats! Happy birthday to, um, the birthday boy!

  2. Laura, I love that photo, too! We all had so much fun that two ladies up there who took pictures of our group were given pointy hats, too, and they kept them on the entire evening. When they left, they said we made their solstice! :-) I always think of you when I hike, Laura. . . we've done so many nice ones together!


  3. Nice!! We were there, took photos, have fond memories of the great celebration making Solstice 2011 @ Pisgah special. This year, it was the red red sunset. Happy Birthday again!