VFYW: All Woke And No Play...
For contest #317, we shine a spotlight on the coolest ski lodge ever.
The View From Your Window Contest is usually behind the paywall, but this week we lowered it to give new readers a glimpse of what the VFYW sleuths do here every week. The concept of this contest couldn’t be simpler — “guess where this photo was taken” — but the entries are infinitely complex and entertaining. The time, tools, and talents that sleuths deploy to narrow the Earth down to a tiny window never ceases to amaze me (and I’ve been doing this contest for more than a decade).
Finding the location, though, is often beside the point. What readers most enjoy are the entries filled with cultural color, geological facts, flora and fauna, photos of the surrounding area, historical details, literary excerpts, movie references, song lyrics, and personal anecdotes of readers who have visited the place themselves. It’s a group travelogue; a collaborative journey around the globe — virtually, of course, but based on readers’ real-life experiences.
Over the years, the weekly roundup of entries has settled into a familiar pattern. The first entries listed are the incorrect guesses, and as you scroll down the page, you get closer to the right location. Technical details slowly blend into fun facts and stories, with a prizewinner at the end. (I won’t even get into how complicated it is to determine tiebreakers.) This week’s contest, because it elicited over a hundred entries, produced an especially long post below, so to bypass your email service cutting it short, simply click on the headline above (“VFYW: All Woke And No Play...”) to pop over to the web version.
First up, one of our best sleuths — a self-described wine geek in San Francisco. He enjoyed the contest’s “fun midwinter escape” from all the horrible news this week:
I took a crack at this window view last weekend and figured out the location fairly quickly. Then, I set it aside figuring it wouldn’t take long to write up my entry. The problem was that, in the interim, Russia invaded Ukraine, and suddenly I spent all my free time reading everything I could about the invasion. So the VFYW contest faded from my focus. But then I circled back to it, because it was a break from all the horror, venality, and general cussedness elsewhere.
The VFYW contest is also meant to give Dish subscribers a break from our weekly worries over wokeness, Trump, and the decay of liberal democracy. If you appreciate such escapes and end up enjoying the reader entries below, consider becoming a paid subscriber. If you’re a regular sleuth and want to introduce a friend to the contest, and support the Dish in general, consider a gift subscription.
Back to the entries, this reader is on to me:
After last week’s contest at “Arizona’s Beach,” I can now discern your strategic direction: you’re aiming for contests that only have one entry, which minimizes your judging workload.
On to this week: We see snow. We see chairlifts. We see buildings — maybe a ski chalet? OK, it’s a ski resort.
And this is good news because that narrows it down to only 6,113 possibilities (according to Skiresort.info). And, to show you how easy this is, here’s a map showing the location of this week’s VFYW (just ignore the extraneous ones):
Yep, it’s riiiiight … there. Another sleuth gets more specific:
Odd landscape. Sparse. Few trees. A geologically new mountain? Dry climate? High altitude? Not like any ski resort in North America. (Toto, I have a feeling we’re not at an Intrawest property anymore.) Maybe it’s an old photo and the hill has been developed since. I think I can see passengers on the lower chairlift, but not on the upper one.
Looks like the photo may have been taken from a church. I did a Google search of ski hills with churches and came up with Mzaar Ski Resort, Kfardebian, Lebanon. Ski resorts in Lebanon!? Who knew? I even found a cool church that is supposed to be in Mzaar, so that’s my guess:
Here’s another unconventional guess for a ski resort:
I forgot to send in my entry to last week’s contest — somewhere in Cuba — but it would have been dead wrong. (I’ve been really enjoying the Dishcast and there are only so many hours I can spend on Dish-related pursuits.) My guess this week — Kayseri, Turkey — isn’t backed up by a lot of research, but it would be pretty cool if I nailed it, because how many people think of Turkey when they think of a ski resort?
Not me! Next is the weekly aerial view from Chini (the VFYW’s legendary grand champion who essentially pinpoints every window, every week):
I see a granite mountain laughing at me. And a shadow that whispers “European house.” It’s about as featureless as the landscape in my backyard these days — a mountain of snow leaning against a gray fence. The resemblance is uncanny. So I’m saying this is somewhere in Fageralm Bergbahnen, Austria, although I can’t tell you more. Wild-ass guess.
And now it’s your turn — you can tell me this is in Tahiti and make me feel bad again.
It’s not Tahiti! But also not Austria, or even Europe. Another reader simply guesses “Mount Moosilauke, New Hampshire.” Nope, but correct country. Next guess:
Breckenridge, Colorado? This is based on a single search of “ski chairlift above treeline.” Probably wrong. This week’s winner will probably be someone with an encyclopedic knowledge of pine trees. But thank you for a chance each week to read the answers and admire the work of people who are far more brilliant than I will ever be!
Another person: “It’s a sunny valley, so that could be a hint, otherwise very hard to identify … is it Sun Valley (Ketchum) Idaho?” Getting closer, but nope. Another asks, “Is this a view from Pine Marten Lodge on Mt. Bachelor near Bend, Oregon?” Nope, but right state.
Here’s the big reveal:
Okay, I was the person who guessed Algeria a couple of contests ago — I know, not impressive. But I feel like I’m getting a bit better at this, and I’m learning a ton about how to intelligently search. My issue is that I read the contest results and get very inspired to search for the new window on Friday and Saturday, but by the time Monday rolls around, work happens and then it’s Friday again.
So a random mountain with snow on it? Yikes, that’s tough. Then I realized there aren’t any trees on the top. Hmmm. Wait, there’s a single ski lift that looks like it’s a terminal for various lifts. Hmmm. So I googled, “ski slope above tree line.”
The seventh image turned out to be Mount Hood. My specific guess is the upper floor of the back patio area of Timberline Lodge. Hopefully I am closer than Algeria.
Bolding marks the right place. Another correct guesser: “I do a lot of air travel (or at least I did before the pandemic), and one of my hobbies is to take photographs from the airplane window” — something the Daily Dish also did. He continues, “Here is a Chini-style aerial view of Mount Hood, showing that the Timberline Lodge is indeed on the timberline”:
Another reader who got Timberline: “I have been playing this contest for years but this is my first positive ID.” Another:
It’s never a good sign when I, of all people, solve one of these in literally four seconds. (OK, that was just to identify the location; picking the window took me longer.) I am guessing this might break a record for the number of correct entries.
Not quite, but it’s certainly up there: 79 readers went with Timberline. One of them aims for the right window:
Very close! This next reader nails it:
Gosh, a VFYW in my own backyard! Although I spent my youth skiing at nearby Mt. Hood Meadows and not Timberline, it only took three seconds to recognize the peak of Mt. Hood, with Illumination Saddle to the left. The picture was taken from the historic, iconic, and just plain gorgeous Timberline Lodge! Specifically this window:
Another reader was JUST there:
I actually saw this contest photo on my way home from a day snowshoeing at Mount Hood, so that view of the mountain was in very recent memory. This picture looks to be taken from a window in the Rams Head Bar of the Timberline Lodge.
Here’s the view of the window from inside the lodge:
Another reader has “visited Rams Head Bar multiple times, and it’s possible that I’ve sat at the very table where the photo was taken. This photo blog has great photos of the interior and exterior of the lodge.” Another reader points to the smaller lodge up the mountain — Silcox Hut:
Timberline Lodge rivals the Ahwahnee Lodge in Yosemite for ambience (on a smaller scale). You can enjoy it during the summer (for hiking) and the winter (for skiing). For the most amazing time, you can book a stay at the Silcox Hut. (In your window photo, you can make out the hut just above the clump of trees.) While the accommodations at Silcox Hut are more rustic than the main lodge, the food and atmosphere are what the PNW are all about. The hut has an amazing story.
One reader is pleased to have “stayed at the Timberline Lodge many times, but last week I stayed at the small stone hut you can see halfway up the picture.” Another exclaims, “I have to say, Dishheads are going on nice vacations!”
Actually, the photo wasn’t taken on a vacation — I took it myself, while working remotely for the week and skiing a few hours a day to clear my head. I’ve become totally smitten with Timberline and it’s probably my favorite place to ski. I started skiing when I was a little kid in Germany, where my mom was stationed as an Army officer. Today she lives in Portland, about an hour from Mt. Hood, as does my brother. Earlier this month I flew from DC and drove my Airstream out to an RV park less than a half-hour from Timberline. A panorama I took shows the lodge down to the left:
(A note to new readers about my Airstream, which figures into the VFYW contest: after I quit my senior editor job at The Atlantic in 2017, disillusioned with the state of journalism, I bought the silver RV to nomad around the country and catch up on life. I climbed mountains, made new connections, and freelanced mag pieces — reporting on the Great Awokening at the most liberal college in the country, for example, and a sinkhole epidemic in the Trumpiest community in Florida. I’ve mentioned my travels periodically in the VFYW and have taken three photos for the contest: the first installment of 2020, in New Mexico; then Glacier National Park, where I ran into some Dishheads on the hike to Hidden Lake; and then overlooking the witchy town of Salem. I’ve also taken my Airstream through places featured in the contest, such as Owens Valley, CA and Phoenix, AZ. I recently bought an apartment in DC, but I’m still planning to Airstream for much of the year. A reader asked last week, “When will you start traveling again?” I’ll be out at Timberline again this spring, and after a roadtrip up to Provincetown with Andrew in late May (an annual tradition), I’ll be back in the West roaming through new places and old favorites. If you have any offbeat recommendations, please let me know!)
Here was my Dish office in the Timberline Lodge, directly below the window view:
A reader sees a ghost:
In college I climbed to the summit of Mt. Hood and our route went straight up the middle of this picture. The shadow in the foreground is the roof cupola of Timberline Lodge — famous, of course, for being the film location of The Shining.
The film’s opening sequence shows the lodge at the end:
That winding road is actually in Montana, not Oregon; it’s the Going-to-the Sun Road in Glacier National Park (the same road that leads to the trailhead for Hidden Lake, where I ran into those Dishheads). Another reader further clarifies:
I’m guessing that you’ve seen The Shining and recall the massive scale of the interiors of the Overlook Hotel. The Timberline, by contrast, is much smaller. So the interior shots for Kubrick’s hotel were not at the Timberline, but rather the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado.
Coincidentally I was in Estes Park with my Airstream two years ago, but Covid lockdowns prevented any visit to the Stanley Hotel. Another fabrication of the Overlook Hotel was the hedge maze, which, a reader notes, “would have a tough time reaching its verdant state at 6,100 ft. above sea level!”
A long-time sleuth writes, “I will be disappointed if A. Dishhead does not send a postcard from the Overlook Hotel, replete with references to The Shining.” A. Dishhead — the pseudonymous sleuth who creates postcards or other illustrations for every contest — never disappoints:
The old blog was certainly driving Andrew crazy by the end — seven years ago this month. Another reader sticks with the Kubrick theme:
For my official guess, I was tempted to go with room 217, thanks to its fame from The Shining. The Timberline’s website gives some of the history:
Kubrick was asked not to depict Room 217 (featured in the book) in The Shining, because future guests at the Lodge might be afraid to stay there. So a nonexistent room, Room 237, was substituted in the film. Curiously, and somewhat ironically, Room 217 is requested more often than any other room at Timberline.
Another reader observes:
From the reviews on TripAdvisor, you can see that the lodge embraces the connection, even running the movie 24/7 on the TV in the game room. There’s a large ax with “HERE’S JOHNNY” burned into the handle that many visitors use as a photo prop.
Another notes, “Some of the lodge’s guests just can’t help themselves”:
The film was very formative for this reader:
I watched The Shining when I was 12 years old in the mid-Nineties, and I sort of came awake into the horrors of the world due to it. It was just on TV … no warning. That was the good old Nineties — still much less scary than the 2020s.
The Honest Trailer for The Shining is much less scary than the original:
Our super-sleuth in Austin discovered another pop-culture connection: “Apparently the Timberline also stood in as a generic ‘Bavarian Ski Lodge’ in a few episodes of Hogan’s Heroes”:
Another reader digs into the real-life history of the Timberline Lodge:
I lived in Portland for many years and have fond memories of skiing at Timberline. The exterior of the lodge is (in)famous from the movie The Shining, but the lodge itself is a historic place, having been built in the mid-1930s as a showpiece of the WPA, with FDR showing up in person for its dedication in September 1937. The interior of the old lodge is well-preserved and filled with original fittings, art, and decorative touches befitting its era and the politics of the time.
Another adds, “The workers who built the lodge lived in eight-person tents in the snow. The craftsmanship required for its construction and maintenance are amazing; it even has a resident blacksmith to this day.” Here’s a glimpse of the craftsmanship from our collage-maker in Hawaii:
I immediately texted my sister in Salem, told her to jump in the car, head to Timberline Lodge, wait until the sun is shining in the right angle, and take a photo of the window. Weather did not cooperate, but she did send photos of her last visit (one is in the collage).
Never underestimate the dedication of VFYW sleuths! Here’s another:
My great-uncle was a laborer on the WPA project and learned to ski from some of the other workers who were Scandinavian immigrants. He later worked for the ski patrol and was selected by the US Army to help train the 10th Mountain Division that fought in Italy and Austria against German forces in WWII.
Another piece of the WPA’s plan:
An amphitheater was built next to the lodge to host productions from the short-lived Federal Theatre Project, which provided government employment to needy theatre professionals while delivering locally relevant productions. (Today the amphitheater is used mostly for weddings.) Oregon’s WPA Director, Emerson J. Griffith, wrote a florid poem describing the venue:
I built a theatre upon Olympus
Domed to the very heavens
Colored azure rose and silver
Figured with beams of sun and moon
I built a theatre of magnificence
Where buskined giants might declaim
Before a back drop of lofty Atlas
Majestic in its glistening mantle
I built a theatre for Apollo
Walled with Alpine fir and hemlock
A rainbow for proscenium arch
Ringed with bright stars for footlights
I built a theatre fashioned from mountain peaks
With foyer fountained with glacial cataracts
And stage where man might dare to tread
And feel inspiration of the gods.
The VFYW contest has its own poet:
That shadow we see is the Timberline Lodge
So let’s take a moment and pay an homage
On the slopes of the stratovolcanic Mt. Hood
Artisans guided laymen to forge common good
For skiers and riders and hikers to stay
In a craftsman-built respite where wine follows play
If ever we get there to turn the kids loose
I’ll seek to admire the bronze beauty “snow goose”
That’s the nickname for the weather vane seen in the view’s shadow. But there’s also a real animal representing the lodge:
From the beginning, the Timberline Lodge has had a dog mascot. They were mostly St. Bernards, who have the run of the place.
I had no idea about the mascot tradition when I visited, but I did see a St. Bernard bounding in the parking lot and nearly took a photo — I think it was Heidi, of the Heidi and Bruno pair. Our globetrotting sleuth in Alaska knows all about the dogs:
I’ve been to the lodge a dozen times, mostly for hiking in summer and fall, or visiting a friend who worked there as a wine steward in the ‘90s. The most memorable residents were two St. Bernards who hang out on the stone steps.
These dogs have been around for generations; I think they always name them Heidi and Bruno. Indifferent to most people, they are irritated only by motorcycles and small dogs (makes sense to me — as the sage Ron Swanson has noted, all dogs less than 50 pounds are cats and cats are useless). The lodge apparently had to retire one of these St. Bernards after it scratched the crap out of a Mercedes while trying to get at a yapping schnauzer that was in it. At least that’s the story I heard.
Both of my dogs have been St. Bernard mixes, and they are the best.
Here’s what St. Bernards do best:
From a local:
I live an hour away from Timberline and visit the lodge frequently. We’ve enjoyed watching Bruno grow up from an impossibly adorable puppy to a gentle giant of a dog. Videos of him frolicking in the snow are easily found on YouTube and would make your readers’ day.
Timberline is a breathtaking location — over 6,000 feet in elevation, with close-up views of Mt. Hood and panoramic views of the Cascade Range. And what is more cozy than a rustic ski lodge with ten feet of snow outside, a blazing fire, and a hot toddy in hand?
Or even a virtual fire: “At Christmas they broadcast a continuous feed of the fireplace crackling away.” Another reader serves up some “fun historical facts” about the mountain:
The Mazamas, a Portland-based nonprofit that’s one of the oldest alpine clubs in the US, was founded in 1894 on the summit of Mt. Hood, following a climb that had been advertised in Portland newspapers. The ad ended up attracting almost 300 climbers, 193 of whom made it to the top. Of those, 38 were women, and in a photo of the climb below, it is possible to make out the long dresses they wore on their summit bid!
From 1915 to 1935, there was an active fire lookout cabin on the summit. After it was abandoned, it eventually slid off the side in the 1940s.
Now, according to the Forest Service, around 10,000 people attempt to climb Mt. Hood every year. It is often thought of as a technically easy climb, but there are rescues, injuries, and sometimes deaths every year, and its dangers are not to be underestimated. Wise teams usually leave in the wee hours of the morning in order to minimize exposure to the icefall that plagues the easiest route as soon as the sun comes up and warms the south-facing side.
Starting from Timberline Lodge, it’s about a vertical mile to the summit. A few hundred feet below the summit on the south side, there’s an area dotted with sulphur-belching volcanic vents, which create year-round, snow-free patches in a few places and produce a nauseating stench for climbers passing by. While some have done the climb car-to-car in about two hours, most fit-but-not-superhuman climbers (such as my 25-year-old former self) take closer to ten hours.
Naturally our self-described “ski-nerd sleuth” got the right answer this week:
I skied Timberline in August 1986, part of my quest to ski at least once every month for two years from May 1985 to May 1987. The resort runs ski camps all summer on the Palmer Snowfield. We quickly got bored with the limited terrain, so we got up at 6:30 am when the lifts opened and climbed 1200’ onto the Zigzag Glacier:
Most of the dark spots are not rocks but thousands of butterflies that migrate from the Pacific Northwest to California every summer, swarming up and over Mt. Hood above 8500'. Here there are in action:
Another reader notes:
Mount Hood was named after Lord Samuel Hood, a British admiral. It’s still considered an active volcano, with a violent eruption taking place in 1865. Some notable namesakes of Hood have suffered violent endings: HMS Hood, the largest British naval vessel when it was commissioned in 1920, was destroyed at the Battle of the Denmark Strait when its aft magazine detonated mid-battle; and a US naval vessel, the USS Mount Hood, was destroyed in November 1944 when its magazines accidentally detonated.
Another notes, “Doubtless some of your more outdoorsy readers will tell you all about their welcome respite at Mt. Hood as they went through this part of the Pacific Crest Trail.” From an old-timer in Bend, Oregon:
I was a long-time reader of the Daily Dish and am now a subscriber of the Weekly Dish. As such I’ve viewed the VFYW countless times, always totally mystified and clueless. How do people even get a start on solving these? Thus, it was a shocking experience to know instantly where this photo was taken, so here is my solitary big chance to enter the contest.
I am now 92 years old and have many memories of this mountain. Back around 1975, when I was a mere youngster of 46, I first saw Mt. Hood and climbed it with a group of friends. It was autumn, when the climb is quite dangerous because of frequent rockfall, but we avoided the bowling alley of the regular route — where we watched a piano-sized bounder tumble down — and traversed out on what is called Crater Rim, finding the upward passage with the fewest marks in the snow.
Since then, I have wandered the mountain many times, particularly with my wife, who used to teach crevasse rescue on its glaciers to aspiring mountain rescue people. In fact, on one occasion, the MRA (Mountain Rescue Association) held its annual meeting here with ill-advised free beer after the training workshops. The meeting devolved into an informal bouldering contest around a staircase leading down to a pub in the lodge, and my wife was one of those who made it to the ceiling, winning a t-shirt from a tipsy admirer.
Our super-sleuth in Singapore has a fun fact: “The chairlift in the photo to the left — the Magic Mile — was only the second chairlift in the world at the time of its construction in 1938.” It was also the longest. From our super-sleuth in Berkeley:
The Silcox Hut served as the upper terminal for the first version of the Magic Mile. The lift was considered so innovative when it opened that it attracted the crown prince of Norway for its dedication. If the future king of the land of winter sports is interested in your chairlift, that means it’s a chairlift worthy of attention.
And speaking of longest, from the top of the Palmer lift down to the bottom of the ski resort at Summit is the longest ski run in the United States, dropping 4,540 feet in elevation. Yet another superlative from a reader: “Timberline has the longest season in the United States and is a beautiful place to visit any time of year.”
Yet another “longest”: the Mt. Hood Skiway was the “longest and largest aerial tramway in the world,” according to this 1956 newsreel:
Our Berkeley sleuth is full of snark over the Skiway:
The country must have been awash in investment money after WWII, because somebody thought the Mount Hood Skiway was worth funding. This was an aerial tramway up to the Timberline Lodge that commenced operations in 1951. The plan was to provide lodge visitors with a convenient route up from the nearest town, which was 2,000 feet lower on the mountain, and three miles away as the crow flies. Because of the distance to be covered, a conventional ski-area scheme that would have employed gondolas carried along by moving cables was deemed unworkable.
So they pulled a switcheroo: they suspended a pair of 12-ton specially modified city buses from stationary cables that were strung high above the ground on towers. These contraptions used their own onboard gasoline engines to haul themselves along the three miles of cable … at a crawl. It promised customers a smooth ten-minute ride, but physics, engineering, and safety concerns caused each trip to be closer to 25 jarring, cacophonous minutes. A WWII vet who rode it said the experience was “similar to the tail gunner’s spot in a B-17 bomber.”
Bombing down a ski slope was more of this reader’s style:
I grew up as an alpine ski racer and spent nearly every summer skiing on the Mt. Hood Palmer Snow Field. We used to stay in Government Camp (“Govy”) at the base of the mountain, wake up in the dark and dress for skiing, drive up and then ride up the chair lifts visible in your photo, set up our racing gates on training lanes that we’d rent from the mountain, and then use salt to keep the snow frozen (yes — salting the snow keeps it frozen). The sun would come up and we’d train until about noon, when the snow became too soft to race on. We’d take our gates down and head back down to Govy for physical training like running or weight lifting or plyometrics.
This is what the ski map looks like today:
Another reader notes that the “US Ski and Snowboard teams have used Timberline for their off-season training camps.” Another reader was there “for a day back in the summer of 1997 filming the US snowboarding team as they trained for the 1998 Nagano Olympics on the mountain’s top glacier, which is skiable all year long. Coincidentally my niece — who just competed for the US ski team in Beijing — would also come here to train during the summer.”
Another flags a new article: “Mount Hood, with its summer ski camps, is very relevant to today’s WSJ: ‘U.S. Alpine Ski Racing’s $500,000-Per-Kid Problem.’” Another reader knows the racing camps well:
This week and the next few weeks I’m driving all over the Northeast to attend various ski-racing postseason events with my two high-school-aged racing kids, so this is the most hectic time of year for us — but also darn fun. This weekend the Adirondacks (West Mt. and Gore), next weekend Attitash, the following two weekends back to Gore. And in between, a business trip to Tampa (blech) and a quick ski trip to Breckenridge (yay!).
Mt. Hood is a summer mecca for ski racing. My daughter attended a camp there a few years ago and had a wonderful time. Nothing like skiing on a glacier in 60 or 70 degree temps.
Another agrees: “There’s nothing quite like making turns in July sunshine wearing shorts and a t-shirt!” On the Sunday I was there (February 13), the weather was so warm and sunny that I didn’t even need a t-shirt:
But the next day it plunged 40 degrees and dumped eight inches of snow. Yet another reader who loves Timberline:
I enjoy reading the weekly email, but I’ve never guessed before — but this one came to me right away! I grew up skiing at Timberline and stayed for a long weekend once in the lodge with my parents. It’s such a beautiful place that holds many fond memories.
This is the first time I know the answer without even touching Google satellite imagery. After a wonderful hike up to Mirror Lake in summer 2018, we had some nice lunch buffet in the lodge and were surprised to see people skiing on those lifts in July.
The lunch buffet at the lodge is truly incredible — and yes, I ate my broccoli:
Another reader has “been inside in the lodge many times, but the nearest I’ve come to staying the night was sleeping in a snow cave near the parking lot as part of a mountaineering class.” A happy medium is Mt. Hood Village RV Resort.
So you’re probably wondering if I’m every going to announce the winner of this week’s endless contest. The prize — drumroll — goes to the following sleuth, who happily demonstrates why it never hurts to try:
Since I recognized this view immediately, I figure everyone else will do the same, which makes my entry pointless. However, the last time I had that thought was for the first photo of the return of this contest. I saw it and thought, “That looks like the north side of Farmington, New Mexico.” (I live in nearby Shiprock.) Since the winners of these contests invariably have it down to the inch, and I couldn’t be more specific with my entry, I figured it was a losing cause.
But the winner for that contest didn’t even get Farmington right, and I would’ve been the victor! Therefore, this time I will send in my guess: Timberline Lodge at Mt. Hood, Oregon, on the 2nd floor of the Rams Head Bar.
On the subject of victors, below is an amazing reflection from Giuseppe, one of the VFYW’s all-time greatest sleuths (he even gives Chini a run for his money):
Last week’s contest in Puerto Peñasco marked my 100th right answer, starting with contest #204 (Colombo). Needless to say, what I remember best are the 13 times I could not find the location: they are forever etched in my memory. But here’s a thing that is easy to go unnoticed. Of those 13 locations, 11 were found by other players — in two cases, #215 (Es Mercadal) and #270 (Quepos), by one player only: Chini, of course. One other contest, #240 (Prague), was clearly doable, since four readers guessed the right city (but not the exact place); only #263 (El Naranjito) was apparently out of anyone’s reach.
In sum, of the 113 contests I’ve entered, 112 were answerable.
As someone said, “The most incomprehensible thing about the Universe is that it is comprehensible.” The most unacknowledged thing about the VFWY contest is that it is soluble. Choosing a photo with the right amount of clues — not too many, not too few — is not always easy. Look around: there are millions of views that could never be tracked down, not even by Chini. Choosing the right photo 112 times out of 113 (but maybe El Naranjito was a warning not to take it for granted? ;-) and many many times before, is no small feat at all. Kudos to the one who did it.
One more reader this week, a first-timer to the contest. She ends us on … an uplifting note?
I visited Mt. Hood as a teenager on a family tour of the natural wonders of Oregon — the Columbia River Gorge, a million waterfalls, Crater Lake, and the Oregon Coast, with its sand dunes and stinky sea lion caves. We did not stay in the Timberline Lodge (we were strict campers and would never even consider such decadence), nor were we there to experience the winter conditions shown in this photo. It was summer and we took the ski lift up the mountain to hike. We were forever hiking on vacation and I was forever whining about it. The ski lift meant we didn’t have to hike up to the hike. I was delighted.
I’m not going to even think about locating the window. How do your super-sleuths do it? I’m going to say it has something to do with a protractor? Just happy that I knew this one.
It’s amazing how easily I can be distracted from the total collapse of liberal democracy and impending doom. Thank you VFYW!
This week: Timberline, Oregon. Next week:
Where do you think? Email your entry to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put the location — city and/or state first, then country — in the subject line. Proximity counts. The winner gets the choice of a View From Your Window book or two annual Dish subscriptions. Happy sleuthing!