Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Swatting away blackberry bushes and other overgrown bushes I could only wonder if I had picked the right trail when I decided to hike Hood River Mountain. I couldn’t see anything other than crowding bushes and trees, which thankfully were shielding me from the wind roaring past overhead.
I was just hoping that at some point it would be worth the effort.
The answer: Yes. Yes, yes and yes again.
As I approached the end of the 600 feet in elevation gain and near the top, the blackberries gave way to fragrant lilac bushes, and glimpses of sunlight through the canopy.
Then you hit the summit and the only possible word is WOW.
The canopy of trees shielding you from whipping wind is gone, but so is the brush obscuring your view.
And it is an amazing view.
The entire Hood River Valley opens up before you, and you can see from the Columbia clear to Mount Hood.
On the river you can see tiny wakes being kicked up across the waves — kiteboarders and windsurfers dancing over the water.
To the west you can see the Cascade foothills poking through the mist; to the north Mount Adams and in front of you, the roofs of agricultural buildings glinting in the sunlight and a dark green carpet of fields.
It’s simply magnificent. Rolling out like a welcome mat for Mount Hood are purple wildflowers that dot the summit of Hood River Mountain and the ridge that extends from it.
I lingered at the top for awhile, relaxing as much as I could when I was not occupied with running after my hat, which was repeatedly blown off my head.
After reaching the top, you have two options: You can either go back the way you came up, or you can continue along the ridge which heads to the south.
The ridge will eventually take you down a gravel access road for vehicles coming up to service the microwave antennae on the ridge. It does present a brief view of the river and the eastern Washington side. It does also present an interesting contrast, as you seem to be entering the eastern half of the state more and more with each step.
The gravel path eventually links up with Elder Road, which takes you back to the trail head, and unless you want to hike back down a road, I recommend just coming back down the way you came in.
However, if you want to bike the trail, I recommend riding up Elder Road, and then riding down the trail from there.
The trail is too narrow on some of the uphill portions to safely ride, and you would have to walk the bike up; and on the narrow trail, that may not be too fun.
However you decide to go up the Hood River Mountain trail, the view at the top is completely worth the three mile round trip hike, and one you will not soon forget.
Getting there: From Hood River, go south on Highway 35. Take a left at Eastside drive and then another left on The Old Dalles Drive. Follow the road for about two miles. Just before the road turns into Elder Road on a sharp south turn. The trail head on is on the right, and there is room for three or so cars at the trail head.
There is no cost for using the trail.
More like this story
- HRV softball team heads to state tourney for first time in three years
- Death Notices for May 24:
- Service Announcements for May 24: Douglas Waters and David Warrenka
- Pick of the Week: ‘Living in the Era of Mega-Fires’ May 24
- The Porch for May 20
- Columbia Center offers Summer Arts class scholarships
- HR Valley Residents Committee: ‘Long-term watchdogs’ celebrate Sunday
- Parkdale teacher wins ‘Math Excellence Award’
- Letters to the Editor for May 20
- Morrison Park: Yes to re-zone, but dig in first
I Can't Keep Quiet singers at "Citizen Town Hall"
‘I can’t keep quiet,’ sing members of an impromptu choir in front of Hood River Middle School Saturday prior to the citizen town hall for questions to Rep. Greg Walden. The song addresses female empowerment generally and sexual violence implicitly, and gained prominence during the International Women’s Day events in January. The singers braved a sudden squall to finish their song and about 220 people gathered in HRMS auditorium, which will be the scene of the April 12 town hall with Rep. Greg Walden, at 3 p.m. Enlarge