Justin and I have been wanting to go on a Mt Hood trail for a while now. There’s nothing like hiking near the beautiful snow capped peaks of Mt Hood! We originally tried to hike on the North side of Mt Hood but after driving 1/2 hour into the woods across broken roads on the side of a cliff we found a “ranger”/bouncer at the trail head turning people away. He informed us that half of Mt Hood and the surrounding region had been closed off due to forest fires! Close one!! If he weren’t there we would have hiked right into the fire!!
The trail was very desert like in the beginning with surprisingly sandy ground with very sporadic evergreen trees and low succulent-like ground brush. Throughout the trail there were wonderful views of the top peak of Mt Hood, canyons and at the middle destination of the trail, a field of beautiful wildflowers! The smell and sights were amazing!
The challenging thing about this hike was you didn’t just do the classic…up the mountain, look at the view…hike back down the mountain to your car and leave pattern. It started off as steady downhill through the desert-like terrain, down a series of steep switch-backs down a riverbed (which we had to maneuver across…something that totally scares me), up the other side of the canyon to a wonderful view point into the next canyon we would descend into. Down and up out of the next canyon to the wonderful field of wildflowers and then back through everything to get back to the lodge. The last canyon was definitely harder to climb up once our legs were feeling like jello and the “slightly downhill” on the way to the field of wildflowers felt like a not so slight uphill climb on the way back.
Beautiful trail and would be interesting doing it again when there is snow on the trail. We would have to leave a lot more time to climb though since I’m sure we would be slipping up and down those canyons. Now that I think about it, the icy river crossing and non-existent wildflower field might not be as rewarding!
|Paradise Park Hike with Dan and Rachel|
On the second morning of our camping trip we went on the FruitLoop with a friend from Portland. The FruitLoop is a path of local fruit orchards, wineries and vineyards in the Mt. Hood area. There were so many GREAT little quaint places we visited. –Such wonderful samples were given out that Justin and I didn’t realize we had skipped lunch.
Pears were the main focus of the festival because it’s their season now on the West Coast. –Pear wines, pear pies, pear butter, pear and apple COLD cider, pear jam… Besides pears, we bought fresh ingredients to make salsa. Yumm! So, today I was a salsa making busy beaver
As a side note: I’m not sure the West Coast knows how to do the “Apple picking/Fall Season!!” Boats…maybe you can redeem this coast but Justin and I searched for hot cider and donuts and COULD NOT FIND ANY!! So sad That’s one of the great traditions of apple picking season!Read More
We have found that Oregonians take camping very seriously! Justin and I wanted to go camping this weekend and not only was the campground that we wanted to stay in full, but EVERY SINGLE state park in the western and central part of Oregon was also full!! That’s about a 3-4 hour radius! Even sketchy KOA campgrounds were full! Desperate times call for desperate measures I guess. –There’s more…I’d say 95% of the campgrounds are booked into Oct already!
Luckily there is a small number of sites that the campgrounds save for first come first serve campers. Plus, there are always trails you can backpack into that have clearings where you can camp.
Over this past weekend Justin and I ended up getting really lucky and finding an open group site at one of the camp grounds in the Mt Hood area. The fact that the site we stayed in looked kind of like a picnic area and was $34 was probably what kept people away long enough for us to snag it. We ended up leaving up the “open” sign on our site so that if someone wanted to share the site with us they could pay half and camp with us. It really was a “friend trap” We were hoping a nice couple would come by and want to stay with us…it’s lonely with no East Coast friends or family here!
Unfortunately, instead of a nice couple we ended up getting two disheveled, shy, awkward boys. It took the poor things at least an hour and a half to “set up their tent.” I use that phrase lightly because the end product was a saggy, half staked, leaning pile of poles and material. It was quite a show! I wanted to tape it but Justin said that wasn’t nice…too obvious I guess anyway. Sharing the site turned out to be fine. We got half of our money back and the boys were scared of us so they didn’t talk unless we prompted them.
We went on a lovely hike past Mirror Lake to the top of Harry Mt of the Tom, Dick and Harry triplet mountains. Tom and Dick Mts were blocked off to hikers because they are natural falcon preserves. The trail was lined with rhododendrons and beautiful outlooks to Mt. Hood. Another neat thing about this trail was that it was a little wider making it so that two people could walk side by side. It seems like a small luxury but it’s nice to have scenery other than the butt of the hiker ahead of you…Justin, that’s you
There were a couple really beautiful spots to camp at along Mirror Lake that Justin and I plan on coming back to. At the top of Harry Mt. we could see Mt Hood in it’s honkinness –crazy huge–, Mt Adam, Mt St Helens, Mt Rainier, Mt Jefferson and another one which I don’t know the name of. It was pretty incredible! Everywhere you turned there was a ginormous snow-capped mountain. At the top there was also a rock facing Mt Hood that was just begging for people to sit in it. The rock was carved out in the shape of an armchair and gave you the best seat in the house to view Mt Hood. Incredible!
In our adventures on the way back home we found the most amazing lodge, Timberline Lodge, right at the base of Mt Hood. All I will say is that is was phenomenal…really a work of art!! Every smidgen of the building was filled with artistic style and detail.
The weekend was a success! We’re finding new fun places every day.Read More