You’ve done it again, Meg, I told myself as snow lashed at my face and the storm howled around me. I should have learned my lesson after my first assignment for Northwest Extreme. Well in fairness, I sort of did. After bumbling my way through an adventure race in the Columbia River Gorge and stumbling onto a murder scene, I decided it was time to beef up my outdoor skill set. Writing for Northwest Extreme was a good gig, especially in Portland’s super competitive job market. Jobs in journalism were scarce in the hipster city that I call home, and I’d been saying a silent prayer of thanks for months that I had an official job and a paycheck to go with it.
There was just one problem—I’m a total klutz when it comes to outdoor pursuits. Before taking the position with Northwest Extreme, my idea of sport was knocking back a pint of Portland’s famed microbrew with my friends at the local pub. If I didn’t get up to speed, I was going to get the boot and end up back on my best friend’s couch. So I took matters in my own hands and called my burly besties—the Crag Rat’s. They’re Oregon’s premier mountain rescue team. If the Crag Rats couldn’t get me in tip-top shape and ready to take on any assignment that my dreamy editor sent my way, no one could.
I spent the summer trekking through the backcountry and learning how to start a fire with a few pieces of kindling and flint. By the end of my intensive training with the Crag Rats I felt stronger, more confident, and eager for my next adventure. Little did I know that my next adventure would involve a bumpy snowcat ride through a blizzard to a remote hut high up on the slopes of Mt. Hood.
At first the idea of spending a weekend at Timberline Lodge on Oregon’s highest peak, sounded like a perfect winter retreat. I imagined that I would plant myself in a comfy chair in front of a roaring fire and sip hot chocolate while dainty snowflakes fell outside. Northwest Extreme was sending me to Mt. Hood to cover the Ridge Rangers training weekend. The Ridge Rangers were a new mountain guiding group who were dedicated to helping novice and experienced climbers reach the summit. I knew I wouldn’t be summiting, but I was looking forward to interviewing the Ridge Rangers and snapping photos while they performed killer stunts on the slope.
I outfitted myself with some adorable winter gear—including cashmere fingerless gloves and a plum colored parka. If I was going to blend in with the throng of snow junkies descending on the mountain for opening weekend of ski season, I had to look the part. Armed with a pair of skis that I had no intention of strapping on, and my trusted notebook and pen, I navigated the winding road up to Timberline Lodge under a brilliant November sun.
There was no sign of snow and just a few clouds on the horizon. I smiled with relief. The weekend was going to be a breeze.
However I was wrong. Very wrong. An unrelenting breeze soon began to gust as a blizzard closed in around me. Within a matter of hours I was trapped at elevation and about to discover that the Ridge Rangers weren’t just performing killer stunts. One of them was a killer. . .
You can read more about Meg in Slayed on the Slopes, the second book in the “Pacific Northwest” mystery series, published by Kensington. The first book in the series is Scene Of The Climb.
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About the author
Kate Dyer-Seeley writes the Pacific Northwest Mystery Series for Kensington Publishing, featuring a young journalist, Meg Reed, who bills herself as an intrepid adventurer in order to land a gig writing for Northwest Extreme. Only Meg’s idea of sport is climbing onto the couch without spilling her latte.
Kate’s work has appeared in a variety of regional and international publications including: The Columbian, The Vancouver Voice, Seattle Backpacker, Portland Family Magazine, and Climbing Magazine.
She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and son, where you can find her hitting the trail, at an artisan coffee shop, or at her favorite pub. Better yet—at all three.