Friday, September 28, 2012

Mount Hood

We could spend a year in this area and not hike all of the trails.  The mountain area is spectacular and filled with breath taking scenery on every hike and drive.

We even ventured out on our bikes one day near the town of Hood River on the Historic Columbia River State Highway Trail.  The Historic Columbia River Highway was designed between 1913 to 1922. Its purpose was not merely to provide an east-west transportation route through the Columbia River Gorge, but to take full advantage of every natural aspect, scenic feature, waterfall, viewpoint and panorama. Later this 4 mile section was abandoned and many years later restored as a hiking and biking trail.  Views of the Columbia River from the trail...

The Columbia River near the town of Hood River is a very popular spot for windsurfers and kite boarders due to the perfect windy conditions.  We enjoyed watching them and were impressed by their skills in the water with the power of the wind.

We decided to take a closer look at Mount Hood since we plan to come back next May to climb to top (to check off another state's highest peak).  We drove up to the Historic Timberline Lodge and hopped on the Timberline and Pacific Crest Trails and turned up the Mountaineer Trail to head up, up, up to the ski lifts and hut at around 7,000 feet (Mount Hood is 11,237 ft.).  We're told this is not a technical climb but you are required to use crampons, an ice axe and helmet for the summit attempt.  It looks like a long climb and only a little scary in the rugged section near the top.

What's incredible is they actually ski on this mountain (limited groomed trail of course) all year except for 3 weeks when they shut down to work on the ski lifts.  They close on Labor Day for 3 weeks so unfortunately we missed seeing the skiers.  

the groomed trail - doesn't look like much in the picture but it was steep and narrow with lots of jumps! 

Mirror Lake and Tom, Dick & Harry Mtn. - This was a nice easy 6 mile hike first to Mirror Lake (appropriately named with the incredible reflection of the mountain) and then to the top of Tom, Dick & Harry Mtn. with an excellent view of Mt. Hood.

this little guy had no fear of people - he went in our backpacks to see if there was something for him to munch on then posed for the picture 

the regular look of the back of our Jeep - lots of hiking gear and lots of dust 
Ramona Falls - another great hike - 7 mile loop to the falls along the Sandy River and return along the creek - beautiful forest and a pesty crow who decided to steal some of our food when we were down by the falls!  

the crow who flew off with our bag and took a pack of cookies and power bar 

It will be difficult to say goodbye to this area but it's soon time to move on.  Monday we leave to head back to the coast and check out the town of Florence for 10 days.  But before we leave, I plan to take my first long solo hike this weekend (14.5 miles) while Tom lounges and enjoys some football on TV.  

Til next time...Happy Trails!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Fun times in and around Seaside, OR

We had a great time while in Seaside, OR bumming around with our friends again and of course getting a few hikes in.

Seaside, OR
Trudy, Sue, Tom, Alan, Becky - biking on the Promenade

Becky, Sue & Trudy - loving the sign, "It's never too late to have a happy childhood" - after we just got off the ride! 
Becky, Sue & Trudy have a little fun - I think we were the oldest on the ride! 

One of a Kind Drumline (click HERE to check out their website) - an incredible organization playing great music and helping out their community 

Pickleball players having fun and refueling 
Haystack Rock/Cannon Beach - We were fortunate to hit the timing right with a low tide so that we could get up close.

Long Beach, WA - We took a few hours on a bike ride along the beach and stopped for a great lunch.

Astoria, OR - We climbed the tower to launch our airplanes from the top.

Saddle Mountain in the distance

the bridge from Oregon to Washington

Lighthouses - Of course we had to check out a few lighthouses for Mary Ellen!  Here you go, "Woman!"  :-)

Cape Meares

Cape Disappointment & North Head

Tillamook Rock

Hiking - There are not many mountains along the coast but we did manage to make it to the top of one not far away...Saddle Mountain.  It was not the most challenging for us but still a beautiful hike.  We ran into a group of ladies (in their 50's-70's) who have been hiking together for 30+ years.  It was inspiring to see them on this steep hike.

Ecola State Park and Indian Beach (a popular surfing spot)

Ape Caves by Mount Saint Helens in WA - the day before we climbed Mount Saint Helens we went underground into Ape Caves - Tom's not a fan of enclosed dark areas but he did great!  :-)

We are now in Welches, OR (a short distance southwest of Mt. Hood).  We've got a glimpse of this monster mountain we have yet to climb (perhaps next May or June as we're too late to climb it this year - too dangerous).  We'll be checking it out up close in the upcoming week as we take some hikes by the base.

Til next time...Happy Trails!