Saturday, October 2, 2021
Today we set off for the Indian Heaven Wilderness. Although our original plan was to head to the Thomas Lake Trailhead, we changed plans and headed instead for the Indian Racetrack Trail. It was a very chilly 38 degrees when we parked at 8:40am.
I was testing out my new iPhone 13 Pro on this hike. To me the difference between the iPhone photos and the dSLR photos are super obvious. See if you can tell the difference.
After a quarter mile we reached the wilderness sign and permit box:
Then we crossed Falls Creek:
Starting to warm up as we continue up the trail:
We saw some nice fall color along the way:
We reached this snowmelt pond, which had nice reflections:
Then we entered this meadow:
This is the Indian Racetrack from which the trail gets its name. Native Americans used to race their horses here:
We left the meadow and continued up towards Red Mountain:
We reached the access road that goes to the summit. Interesting that there’s a permit box here. I don’t think many hikers use this as a trailhead:
We hiked up the road towards the summit, passing some nice splashes of fall color:
The old shed/garage is still standing:
The lookout up here was built in 1959. It is no longer staffed and was restored by volunteers in 2010 in order to become a recreation rental, but that never happened:
When I last hiked up here in 2013 the lookout was in good shape. Sadly that is no longer the case:
This spot has a fantastic 360-degree view. The view to the north includes Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams, with the Indian Heaven Wilderness in the foreground:
Mt. St. Helens:
Looking towards the Trapper Creek Wilderness and the burn scar from last year’s Big Hollow Fire:
Mt. Hood and Mt. Jefferson:
We sat on the summit for awhile enjoying the beautiful day and warm sunshine. There were a lot of other hikers up there and we met some people who we’ve seen in the Facebook groups, chatting about hiking and lookouts and fall color. One last photo, then we headed back down:
The iPhone 13 Pro does a pretty decent job with landscape shots on a mountaintop under blue skies. It does not do a great job in the shade of the forest and the photos looked weird and oversharpened. I do like having the wide angle and zoom lenses, which my old iPhone 8 did not have.
Gaia stats: 6.8 miles, 1,560′ elevation gain
On October 22 the Gifford Pinchot National Forest posted on Facebook that “the Mt. Adams Ranger District Operations Crew made critical repairs to Red Mountain Lookout this week.” In the comments they said: “The lookout is awaiting the Recreation Resource Advisory Committee process- that has yet to be approved- in order for the forest to be permitted to charge a fee.
Once we get that approval and get a toilet on site it can be rented out for the public to enjoy.”