Category Archives: Roadtrips

A tale of two mountains – Mt Hood, and Mt. Adams. Wy’east and Klickitat.

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A tale of two mountains – Mt Hood, and Mt. Adams.  Wy’east and Klickitat.

Sunday, 29-July-2018

 

The mountains of Eastern Oregon/Washington are beautiful; giant peaks that seem to scrape the sky, rising up high above the land around them.  When I first moved to Hood River, I was continually reminded of The Hobbit and the Lonely Mountain, since Mt. Hood seems to soar alone along the horizon.

We’d been stuck in Portland for a while, and feeling pretty antsy to get moving and exploring.  While Sarah’s leg wasn’t quite up to a full hike along the mountain, and I wasn’t up for a summit attempt, we were feeling like visiting the mountains in some manner.  Our plan – drive out to the base of both, and visit Hood River to let Ollie run around her old stomping grounds as a rest between the two.

 

I’m happy to report that the plan went off without a hitch!  Our drive to Mt. Adams was a bit rockier than planned, but the rest of the adventure went beautifully!

The challenge with Adams was that we’d forgotten about a big forest fire that’d happened a few years back, and had closed off some of the roads around the base of the mountain.  Specifically, the road that we’d planned on taking up to a pretty lake above the foothills of the mountain… we drove up it, but then (not literally, thankfully) ran into a literal wall of construction equipment blocking the trail.  Turns out that they’re re-building the road after the fire, and don’t want people driving up through their work area.  So, to make sure people don’t sneak in, they simply parked their massive bulldozers as a barricade, and called it a day.

So… we didn’t make it to the lake.  But we did get some amazing views, a chance to run around, and a very enjoyable stop out of the whole event.  I’ll call that a win.

 

From Mt. Adams, we headed South to a little town that we haven’t visited in a very long time… Hood River!

Our goal with Hood River wasn’t the town itself though – instead, we were going for our lovely little monster, Ollie.  When we lived in Hood River, her favorite place in the world was The Spit, where she could run and swim and jump and splash and chase dogs and chase birds and sniff and run and play forever and ever.  Since we needed to take the Hood River bridge, which is right next to the spit… it would have been mean not to go, right?

We went.  We walked, Sarah tried walking on different surfaces (Sand is pleasant, pebbles weren’t so much so), and we enjoyed being nostalgic about the summer nights and winter days that we’d spent exploring the spit, way back when.

 

With our walking done, and Ollie’s tweaking out needs satisfied for the time being, we continued on our adventure, heading southbound toward Adam’s companion mountain, Mt. Hood.  Our goal wasn’t anything super intense or special; we were going to one of the sno-parks, with the goal of playing in the glacial runoff and enjoying the views.

As you can see, we succeeded here, just as well as our other stops:

We… uhh… may have been a little loopy from the car ride, the lack of food, and the time we’d spent in the sun while walking on the spit.  I admit to nothing; we were having fun, and that’s what counts!

Camping out on the slopes of Mt. Hood

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Saturday and Sunday, 23 & 24-June

 

It’d been a while since we’d been camping – Sarah’s leg being broken made it seem impossible, and we were both a bit too frazzled and run down to challenge that.

Enter: our friends David and Naomi.  They have a van.  They camp in this van, and had heard of a good spot to go van camping.  Sarah and I packed up the Mustang and followed them to said campsite.

 

We met them on the trail into the woods – since the Van and the Mustang have pretty similar ground clearance, which definitely made life a bit easier for finding a campsite.  The easy to reach areas were mostly taken already though, so we kept driving deeper down the road into the woods.

And it turned out, that was absolutely what we should have been doing.  Turns out – the best spot is NOT right by the river where everyone else camps. That’s a trick spot.  It’s good, I’m sure, but it’s also close and easy… it’s the protector of the really good spots.  The spots up on the hill, with a perfect view of Mt. Hood.  You know, the spot that we found 🙂

Once we’d settled in and parked Van and Mustang, we set into the tough challenges of relaxing and enjoying the scenery.
  • Start the fire, then set up camp while Sarah starts cooking
  • Chili cheese dogs are delicious.  Ollie is a dog, and is of the opinion that she should have most of them
  • Relax by the fire, then head to bed
  • Sleep in a bit, while Sarah et. al. make breakfast and coffee, while enjoying the view of Mt. Hood
  • Relax at camp for a little as the sun rises, and then head out to Timberline Lodge
  • Hike Eastbound, instead of the usual Westbound… it kind of looks like the moon
  • Hike back, and end up chatting with everyone on the walkie talkie
  • Head to Salmon River Slabs, and do a few quick routes.  They’re fun!
  • Drive on home

June 10th, 2018. Going back into the Columbia River Gorge

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Saturday, 10-June-2018

 

It’s been a while since we’ve been in the Gorge.  I mean, technically we’ve been there a lot, since the Thousand Acres dog park is just barely within the limits, but I’m not counting that right now because I don’t want to.

ANYWAYS.

We drove out to the Gorge!

It wasn’t a perfectly sunny day, but I’m being honest when I say that the rain clouds actually added to the beauty of the drive.  Sunny is all well and good, but the dappled sunlight and rolling clouds really made the drive seem… epic?  Adventurous?  Rough and tumble?  I’m not sure which words to use, but suffice to say that it was really pretty.

 

Our goal way to check out Vista House, via the Portland Women’s Forum view point.  We hadn’t originally planned on seeing the View Point, but that’s part of a fun scenic drive, right?  Stopping randomly to see the sights?  It was excellent, and a really great view of both the gorge and Vista House itself.  And Ollie got to stand on a water fountain.  So… there’s that, which is pretty fun.

Vista House itself was not quite what I expected, but it still exceeded expectations anyways.  For one reason or another, I was expecting an actual House, sort of like an Inn?  Or maybe a Frank Lloyd Wright building?  Instead, it mostly reminded me of a tomb.  Which isn’t really the goal, I would assume, but hey.  It is what it is, and this was a small marble building, designed as a circle with a vaulted ceiling.  And I was just in Rome, where there’s a bajillion of those all dedicated to dead people.  So.  You know.  Expectations.

So the adventure was excellent.  Simple, straight forward, and enjoyable.  Exactly what we needed on a rainy Sunday.