The Mt. Hood Round -1963 (Solo)
Saturday AM Hi; Just a note before I go over to the house and start building shelves in the basement so we can have a place to put things when we move. The schedule now calls for the end of August. The sheet rock is up and sanded and N is on her way to the store to order paint now and she will start painting soon. We have to do all the painting up stairs. If we can get that done before we move it will be a great help. Phyllis Botacharya will take care of Matt while she paints during the day. I have a big job coming up in Aug that will keep me going day and night I'm afraid so I don't know how much help I'll be then and am trying to get some of my chores done now.
She takes Phyllis shopping and so it is a good arrangement. She is Hawaiian-Chinese and her husband a student at L&C† is Indian. She is a nurse and helps when the kids are ill. They live in the little barn where we were. Thanks very much for your offer of the little scooter chair but Uncle Bruce's youngster grew out of theirs and he brought it up with them from California. So we are all set. It was very kind of you to offer it but there is no need to duplicate. Perhaps we can have a rain-check for something else. We have a high chair and i think I'm going to have to build a stroller for him for the road out of our place is too rough for small wheels and I'll have to make one with larger small bike wheels.
Now I'll tell you a little about my walk around the MT one week ago today.
I got up about 1:30 Sat and drove up to the Mt. after getting together some gear and sandwiches etc. I got up there about three thirty just in time to register on the climbing book for the forest service. At 4 sharp while there was just a trace of light beginning to show in the East I started out on the Timberline trail. I went East an N and I did three years ago. Most people go West. I had to use my flashlight often to keep on the trail that drops down into Salmon River canyon. I crossed the river in the first pale light. Then I was into the woods and climbing up through a series of open meadows scattered through the forest. At last it leveled out a little and I was at Hood River meadows. It was now getting quite light and I began to flush deer in groups of three to eight. Some of them were quite unaware that I was so near them and snorted in surprise. Some of them were quite curious and hardly moved off. It was by now evident that I was to have a beautiful day and the cool breeze was welcome. I ate a deviled ham Underwoods of course, sandwich on the way without stopping. A couple of canyons to descend and climb out of and I saw some cross bills and gray crowned rosy finches (birds only of the high Mts). Then came the long climb up Gnarl ridge on Lamberson Butte. This is a long haul and I went about 1500 to 2000 above Timberline and this is the highest point on the trail. I was now crossing frozen snow fields and in the middle of one of them I found a frozen Cony or Marmot of some type. Now I was on a longish descent into Cloud Cap. I didn't stop there but just kept right on. It was now 9:05. Now I was heading West and into the trees again dropping down into shallow canyons and crossing rushing Glacier streams that were milky with the Glacier debris. Just before I reached Elk Cove I came around a corner walking into the wind and traveling quietly on the fir needles. Up in front of me about 50 feet away jumped a big gray timber wolf! He had been lying behind a fallen log. He glanced at me once and loped swiftly across the open area of 70 yds or so into the forest without ever giving me another backward glance. I was really thunderstruck but I knew what it was immediately for the size of the critter dispelled any chance of it being a coyote. They are Big. Much bigger than any police dog I have ever seen. Coyotes are smaller and almost fox sized. I must admit I looked over my shoulder a couple of times in the next mile or two. I reached Eden Park at 11:45 and stopped for the remainder of my sandwiches and a short break of 15 or 20 minutes. On my way again up a longish climb to Bald ridge. Forgot to say that I saw a Golden Eagle at one of the streams I crossed. He paid no attention to me what ever. Also saw Townsends Solitaire and Pipits. The Mt. was fantastically beautiful from this angel and rival the Alps. Now a long downhill to the muddy fork of the Sandy river. Crossed this on a huge log about thirty feet above the rushing Glacier water. Got part way across and to my surprise had to sit down and inch across. Felt a little dizzy.
Then an absolutely unbelievable stretch of levelish walk along a shady crystal clear forest stream with ferns and mosses that look almost too good to be true. Huge cliffs above on the left and finally arrival at Ramona Falls where the source of the stream cascades down in icy streams from an unseen source.
There I met a friend and his wife and kids who had walked in for the day from a short access trail. I rested 20 minutes and then started the last long haul out and started East again to Timberline and the start of the trip. It was now three. Ramona Falls is around 1500 to 2000 and I had to get back up to 6000 at Timberline plus one very deep canyon of a thousand up and down... I crossed the Sandy clear fork and entered the trees again and started up the long climb past Slide Mt. By now I was tired. No other word for it. My legs were giving me trouble too. For three hours I climbed and had to rest frequently. Finally got to Paradise and then the disheartening drop into Zig Zag Canyon. An endless haul out and then some more minor canyons and wishing I were able to spot the Lodge. At last it appeared and I felt the same way I did on the previous trip with N. Outraged that the trail comes in 500 feet higher than the Timberline. What did they make me climb that extra for? What right had they? And by now it hurt like Hell to go down hill. However I made it and got the door open and eased into the Volks. I reached down and opened a bottle of beer and nothing could have ever tasted better.
Checked out at the register again and washed up. Then down to Govt Camp and a small tough steak. Called N that I would be home. She at first thought I had dropped down off the Mt. and was coming home another way. Got home about 11. It was 8:30 when I got into Timberline making it just 16 and one half hours for the loop.
All for now--I'll drop this in the mail. Thought the trip might interest you.
The Mt Hood loop is 40.7 miles and has a total elevation gain of 10,000 feet. To get a third party perspective on what it entails to do this hike in the course of a day, you can click here to go to a neat page about all the details for people who still do this.
† Lewis and Clarke College