Every Lookout in Oregon

Fivemile Butte Again

January 13-15, 2019

For our annual sisters winter trek this year, Deb and I reserved Fivemile Butte Lookout in the Mt. Hood National Forest. It was our third stay there.

Mt. Hood

On Sunday we headed to The Dalles, down to Dufur, then west on Dufur Mill Road / Road 44 to Billy Bob Sno-Park. We drove slowly along the somewhat slippery road:

Road 44

There were only two vehicles at the sno-park when we arrived. Deb loaded the sled (I guess technically it’s called a pulk) and expertly strapped everything down.

Loading the sled

Loading the sled

It was 24 degrees when we set off from the sno-park at 11:45. The reason I was pulling a pulk with all our gear (instead of the way we normally do it where we each carry a loaded pack) was because Deb had foot surgery a few months ago. Her doctor cleared her to snowshoe the three miles up to the lookout, but not to carry a heavy pack, so this was our solution.

Road 4430

Road 4430

Shortly before turning left off 4430 we passed two guys with packs on their way out. They had stayed at the lookout the previous two nights and said everything was ship-shape.

It wasn’t raining or snowing but there was moisture in the air. The below-freezing temps meant that the moisture froze onto trees and it was really beautiful!

Winter

Frosty

Frosty

Frosty

Frosty

Frosty

Filtered sun

As we climbed higher we started to rise above the inversion. Soon we had blue skies and the clouds were below us instead of around us:

Snowy world

Above the inversion

The final approach to the lookout was quite lovely under blue skies:

Frosty Trees

Frosty Trees

We got a peek at Mt. Adams through the trees:

Frosty trees

There’s the lookout!

Fivemile Butte

Fivemile Butte Lookout

The woodshed was well-stocked. We discovered that since our previous visit two years ago the door was moved from the end of the shed to the side:

Woodshed

The cabin still held some warmth from the previous renters and was nice and clean. Thanks guys!

Inside the lookout

We were disappointed to discover some new vandalism since our last visit. Not cool.

Vandalism

Vandalism

There weren’t any views when we first arrived. It was mostly clear, but clouds were swirling all around us:

Wintery world

Wintery world

Lookout view

Then in the late afternoon the clouds disappeared and we found ourselves looking out at the peaks with the clouds settled into the valleys below. Spectaular! Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams:

Lookout view

Mt. Hood:

Mt. Hood

It was too cold to stay outside for long, so we mostly enjoyed the view from inside where it was nice and warm:

Through the windows

Fivemile Butte

At 7:30 we went outside to see the stars. With a first quarter moon casting light all around, the stars weren’t as bright as they could have been, but we could still see thousands:

Lookout at night

Fivemile Butte

The moon was so bright that there were shadows on the ground as we stood and gazed up at the beautiful stars:

Stargazing

Good thing we went out to see the stars when we did, because the clouds rolled in about an hour later and stuck around for the rest of our stay.

Monday morningĀ it was 23 degrees at 7:30am and everything was covered in frost:

Fivemile Butte

Fivemile Butte

After lounging around and relaxing in the morning, we went for a trek in the early afternoon, hiking down the road and picking up the Eightmile Loop Trail:

Wintery hike

Snowshoeing

With everything coated in icy frost, it was a beautiful winter wonderland:

Wintery hike

Wintery hike

Rimmed in Ice

Rimmed in Ice

Winter wonderland

Frosty leaves

We went as far as the junction with the Bottle Prairie Trail, then turned around:

Trail junction

Winter wonderland

We stayed socked-in all day on Monday with no clearing at all. But we had no wind, which is pretty unusual for a winter stay at a lookout!

Snowshoes

There were definitely no stars Monday night. This was dusk:

Lookout at dusk

After dinner we played Hive:

Playing Hive

Tuesday morning was even colder with even more frost:

Frigid morning

It was crazy beautiful!

Frosty

Covered in frost

Covered in frost

Covered in frost

Covered in frost

Fivemile Butte Lookout

Deb chopped more wood and we used the pulley system to restock the wood supply in the lookout:

Chopping wood

We cleaned the cabin and loaded up our gear:

Tying down

Deb decided to hitch a ride back down to the sno-park. (Just kidding!)

Hitching a ride

Goodbye, Fivemile Butte! We’ll be back.

Hiking out

It was a beautiful and easy trek back to the truck, cloudy but wintery.

Frosty trees

We got back to the sno-park at 1pm and it was a chilly 21 degrees. On our way home we stopped in The Dalles for pizza. Yum!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *