Date of visit: October 16, 2011
Population: 15,962 (2010 Census)

Troutdale’s downtown was hit by a devastating fire on July 21, 1907. The fire started at the Red Front, an annex of the Troutdale Hotel. The occupants of the annex had been “carousing in the saloons” late into the night according to a 7/22/1907 Oregonian newspaper article. After returning to the Red Front W.J. Smith was so intoxicated that he knocked over a kerosene lamp and a fire began. Smith was apparently too drunk to save himself and was burned to death in the fire.

The fire quickly spread to the main hotel and even though every able-bodied man in Troutdale responded to help fight the fire the only equipment was a small hose cart and a fire hydrant fed from a spring on the hill. The newspaper article said that “this inadequate means of fighting fire was used for all it was worth, supplanted by a bucket brigade, but nothing be done to check the flames until the whole block was destroyed.” Fortunately the buildings on the other side of the street were saved.

Shopkeepers and hotel owners up and down the street could see what was going to happen and a surprising amount of merchandise and furniture was saved. The postmaster was able to save everything except the cabinet and office safe, but he seemed to determine to live up to the famous postal service motto (Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds) and opened the office on time the next morning in temporary quarters at the Masonic Hall, receiving and dispatching mail as usual.

Welcome to Troutdale

Sculpture in the downtown area

Centennial Arch
Centennial Arch

Shops along main street

City Hall
Troutdale City Hall

Troutdale Rail Depot Museum

Harlow House
The historic Harlow House, now a museum

Barn at the Harlow House

Troutdale Methodist Episcopal Church
Troutdale Methodist Episcopal Church

McMenamins Edgefield
McMenamins Edgefield, formerly a poor farm

Map of Troutdale

Oregon Towns Project

Wildcat Mountain and McIntyre Ridge

Hiked up to Wildcat Mountain and McIntyre Ridge yesterday. I parked at the quarry trailhead along the Douglas Trail, which I won’t do again. Everywhere is evidence of the unsavory crowd who hangs out here. The place is a dump. Here is a shot-up tape deck, complete with cassette tape (there were other pieces of electronic equipment nearby too).

This glass bottle on a boulder had clearly been used for target practice. This is right where you leave the quarry to get on the trail, meaning that people were shooting in the direction of the trail.

I hoped I wouldn’t find my car gone, burglarized, or full of holes when I got back and quickly headed into the trees.

I saw the tallest pine drops I’ve ever seen, about four feet tall!

Wilderness boundary sign shot to bits.

Not far off the trail I spotted this metal survey disk that marked the boundary of the wilderness. I’ve seen plenty of USGS survey markers, but I’ve never seen a NF wilderness boundary marker like this.

I reached the junction with the spur trail up to Wildcat Mountain. No signage of any kind, but the trail is easy to spot. It is, however, getting quite overgrown with rhododendrons. Many spiders had made their webs across the trail, so the going was VERY slow as I waved my hiking poles around in front of me to knock them down (I’m sure THAT would have looked funny to any bystander!). Damn I hate spiders. After what seemed an eternity of the rhodie/spider hell I reached the summit.

A fire lookout stood here once but is long gone. The trees are growing up but you can still get a peek at Mt. Hood.

Bill Sullivan’s hiking book recommends pushing through the rhododendrons to the edge of the summit for a better look at Mt. Hood. I attempted this and all I got for my troubles were two bleeding scraped-up legs. Rhododendrons are pretty to look at when they’re in bloom but they are hell to navigate through.

On my way back I took the side trip out McIntyre Ridge to the bench at the awesome viewpoint. (Once again, no signs at this junction. It’s like the MHNF has forgotten about this area of the forest.) I had the viewpoint all to myself so I just sat and enjoyed the scenery for awhile. The wildflowers that bloom here earlier in summer are all bloomed out, but the view made up for it.

And then I headed back down to my car, which was safely intact. It was nice to check Wildcat Mountain off my list but if I ever hike someplace in the “Hwy 224 corridor” of the Mt. Hood National Forest again I won’t go alone.

McNeil Point

My sister and I did the McNeil Point hike in 2006 in terrible conditions. I was out of shape and recovering from a bad summer cold. The day was blisteringly hot (in the 90s) and the black flies were biting. I ended up not making it up to the point and waited on the trail for my sis as she hiked the last 1.5 miles up to the shelter.

Sooooo…. I had unfinished business with this hike and was looking forward to finishing what I had started six years ago. When Greg and I arrived at the trailhead just before 10:30 on Saturday we could not believe how many cars were there! I stopped counting at 30 because the cars parked along the road stretched around the corner out of sign. Crazy!

On our way in we stayed on the main trail and didn’t hike around the south side of Bald Mountain, planning instead to hike that part on the way back when the afternoon light on the mountain would be better for pictures. So we had to wait a few miles for our first view of the mountain. Good to see ya, Hood!

To the south we could see East Zigzag, where we hiked the day before. Behind the foreground ridge, I think it’s the first bump on the left.

We saw LOTS and LOTS of glacier lilies and false hellebore along the trail.

We reached the ponds, which are not yet melted. We had to cross snow at this point. This was not the first snow patch we had to cross and it would not be the last.

In fact, between the Timberline Trail and McNeil Point there were still LARGE sections of trail that were snow-covered. We were really surprised to see this since recent trip reports didn’t mention all this snow.


rossing the permanent snowfield that never melts.

Finally after a long ass-kicking hike we reached McNeil Point! More snow, and the shelter out there beyond. You can also see some tents just left of center.

We hung out on a point above the shelter for a short time before the crazy cold wind put a stop to that. Greg decided to climb up a little further to that “knob” you can see in the photo below.

I headed down to the shelter where it was less windy and enjoyed the views for the hour and a half it took Greg to climb up and get back down to me. I could see the western edge of the burned area from last year’s Dollar Lake Fire.

Lost Lake in the distance. I bet that place was a zoo this weekend.

The trail below, and Bald Mountain.

Nice views of Mt. Adams.

And Mt. Rainier:

Despite the still-melting snow there were plenty of wildflowers, including those awesome “muppet” flowers known as Western Pasque Flowers.

I think I shot the shelter from every angle possible during my wait.

Wildflowers and more views of Mt. Adams on the hike back down.

We stopped at the ponds on the way back down for a nice reflection shot.

And then after a long tiring trudge we finally reached Bald Mountain and the spectacular Mt. Hood views there. The evening light made it perfect.

Normally I would have loved to hang out there and enjoy the view a bit, but we were getting well into the dinner hour and I was very hungry. So we pushed on. Many of the cars at the trailhead were gone, and their dusty departures had left a fine film of road dust all over my car.

10.5 miles
2,200 feet elevation gain

A little side note: This was sort of an anniversary hike for me and Greg. We were a week short of the five year anniversary of our first hike together. Back in 2007, after a months-long e-mail correspondence, Greg asked if I’d like to go for a hike since we both enjoyed photography, hiking, and wildflowers. We hiked the Vista Ridge trail and visited Cairn Basin. Same area of the mountain almost five years later and we’re still hiking together!