Sunday, October 3, 2021 Continue reading
Saturday, September 11, 2021 Continue reading
Sunday, October 4, 2020
Today we hiked the Timberline Trail to Gnarl Ridge. Continue reading
Sunday, September 9, 2018
The forecast today was favorable, so Greg and I decided to hike to Burnt Lake and East Zigzag. It took us just two hours to reach Burnt Lake from the trailhead. I was pleasantly surprised to find the lake calm, beautifully reflecting Mt. Hood:
After stopping for a lake break we continued on the trail, heading towards East Zigzag. The final push to the top:
This stretch before the summit is actually the best place for views:
The rocky summit used to have clear 360-degree views back in the lookout days, but the trees have grown up now:
We got a peek at Mt. Adams:
View to the south:
All that’s left of the lookout that once stood here is a few pieces of melted glass from when they burned it in the 1960s:
We stopped for photo on the way back down:
Greg got stung by a yellow jacket just as we reached the lake on the way back, so while he tended to his wound I went on litter patrol around the campsites. The sites themselves were surprisingly clean, but there was a heck of a lot of toilet paper in the trees behind the sites. I picked it up (wearing a glove) and bagged it for the hike out. While I was over on that side of the lake I got a photo of East Zigzag above the lake:
A 10-mile day with beautiful weather!
Sunday, July 15, 2018
Greg and I decided to hike to Paradise Park today.
I was camped up at Mt. Hood and Greg drove up this morning to join me at Timberline Lodge. Even at the early hour of 7:30am it was already pretty warm. Here is Mt. Hood from the parking lot:
Hiking up to the TImberline Trail:
We had a nice view of Mt. Jefferson beyond Timberline Lodge on this clear day:
We didn’t see many people on the trail and it was nice and quiet:
We reached the rim of Zigzag Canyon and peered in before making the long descent to the bottom:
We saw some nice wildflowers along the way as we switchbacked down to the river:
We’ve reached the bottom! Now we have to climb back out again:
Mt. Jefferson again:
Look at all that beargrass!
In the distance, clouds were starting to build up around Mt. Jefferson:
These meadows will be full of lupine in a week or two. We were too early:
The western pasque flower was just getting started:
We sat down by Lost Creek and boy did it feel nice there. The day was getting quite hot:
An American Dipper kept us company:
This is such a lovely spot (except for the biting flies):
After hanging out by the creek for a few hours, we finally started hiking back. We could see the clouds spreading out and getting closer:
Good and cloudy now:
A lot of trees fell last winter. We saw evidence of recent work to get them cleared and most have been taken care of, but these hadn’t yet been dealt with. This was between Zigzag Canyon and the Paradise Park loop:
Descending into Zigzag Canyon:
Crossing the Zigzag:
At the top of the canyon:
Once you climb out of Zigzag Canyon you still have more than two miles and several hundred feet of elevation to gain before reaching the lodge. It was a long uphill trudge in the heat:
The Little Zigzag River had been dry in the morning, but was now flowing. It was very silty:
We knew the lodge would be crawling with tourists so we went to Mt. Hood Brewing in Government Camp instead:
It was a long hot day, 10.5+ miles and 2400′ elevation gain. But beautiful! I’m cherishing these beautiful blue skies because any day now wildfires will fill the sky with smoke and haze for the rest of summer.
Saturday, July 14, 2018
We had a heat wave this weekend with sweltering temperatures. Wanting to escape the heat I headed up to Mt. Hood where it was cooler and I set up camp for the weekend. Even up there it got hot during the day so I did a fairly easy hike on Saturday. After breakfast Saturday morning I drove up to Lolo Pass and hiked the PCT southbound toward Bald Mountain (hike description). The trail is in the trees, but I was fine with that because the shade felt great.
At 1.7 miles there’s an opening in the trees and boom! Great view of Mt. Hood! That little white smudge at lower right is the very busy and crowded Top Spur Trailhead where people start their hike to McNeil Point. Bald Mountain – my destination, is the foreground bump at right:
I passed the junction with the Top Spur Trail and then came to the four-way junction and the wilderness boundary:
Shortly after that is an obvious but unmarked side trail to the left. This is the spur trail to the top of Bald Mountain:
The trail is well-trod and easy to follow:
There was a fire lookout up here in the 1930s (read more about that here). All the evidence that remains are a few chunks of concrete:
There’s a nice flat spot to camp up here. No water, of course, but man, what great place to watch the alpenglow on Mt. Hood at the end of the day! I was surprised that I didn’t find a trash-filled fire ring here:
There was a nice batch of columbine in bloom:
I got up there around noon and with plenty of time to kill I sat down in the shade with my book and read for a few hours. It was quite pleasant. About 15 hikers came and went during that time. I departed at 2:30 at which time the light was much better for photography. What a view!
I got a peek at Mt. Adams through the trees as I hiked back:
On the hike back I got another nice view from that gap in the trees. That long ridge out there is Zigzag Mountain:
And nice afternoon light on Mt. Hood:
It was a little too early for dinner when I got back, and it was HOT, so I hung out by Lost Creek for awhile with my book. It was nice and cool there.
Evening at the campsite wasn’t very pleasant as my inconsiderate neighbors turned on their music for everyone to hear. I retreated to my tent with my earbuds in and listened to classical music to drown their music out. I really would have rather listened to the birds, though.
Tomorrow: Paradise Park!
Greg and I headed up to Paradise Park yesterday. We debated which trail to take. The Timberline Trail is much more interesting and it’s shorter, but it’s also more exposed (and it was a hot day) and it’s a lot more crowded. So we opted for the boring but shadier and quieter Paradise Park Trail.
The “campground” at the trailhead was pretty busy when we arrived. I pack at home but Greg likes to pack at the trailhead, so I left him to it and started out at 9:30. He caught up around 40 minutes later. I had forgotten my earbuds so I had to have my iPhone on “speaker phone” to listen to This American Life podcasts on the hike up. I would normally never do this, but that trail is six long miles of nothing and I had to have some mental stimulation.
After 3.5 tiresome miles we finally reached Paradise Park and I was crushed to see that we were WAY too late for the wildflower show. Most of the lupine had gone to seed. The other flowers were bedraggled and wilting. The meadows were starting to turn brown.
August 11, 2013:
July 18, 2015 (almost the exact same spot):
We sat and hung out by Lost Creek for awhile. A few monkeyflowers and other stragglers were hanging on there, and the creek was a welcome relief on such a hot day.
At 3:30 with Wall Street Pizza calling our names, we started heading down, finally getting back to the car at 6:15.
I think we’ve probably seen the last of the big wildflower shows for the summer, which is totally crazy. It looks like Paradise Park was at peak about two weeks ago, 5-6 weeks earlier than when we visited in 2013. On our way up we ran into a guy who was not from the area and he speculated that the best flowers were probably during the spring. No, we told him, even in a dry year like this there is still snow up there in spring. He was surprised to hear that in some years (such as the awful late snowmelt year of 2011), the flowers are going strong on Labor Day.