Good Trip, Wrong Trail: Backpacking on Mt. Hood

At the end of September, the Reed Outing Club hosted a beginner’s backpacking trip to Mt. Hood National Forest, in the shadow of the mountain itself.  Naturally, Oliver and I jumped at the opportunity and signed up.  The plan was to hike the Vista Ridge trail to Elk Cove, and we were beyond excited.

But the reality was drastically different.  After our first sketchy-dirt-road-bordered-by-a-sheer-drop five point turn, we stopped to ask for directions.  It is there we got to meet this adorable and energetic dog.  His name was Braxton or something.  I don’t really remember, but he was wonderful, and super photogenic.
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So we continued driving for a while, up another dirt road and back down, and after stopping to stretch, and going to the ranger station, and finding it closed, and stopping for lunch, and trying another road, we finally decided that we would just pick out a trail somewhere along the road and hike that instead.  At least on the way, we got this lovely view from the van.  Mt. Hood with an orchard in the foreground:
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I don’t know the name of the trail we finally chose, but by the end my whole body knew that it had been ten miles, and mostly uphill.  It followed a creek part of the way near the beginning, before branching up and away to our distant campsite.
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After setting up camp, Oliver and I bushwhacked up a nearby hill hoping to get a view of the mountain, since we couldn’t really see it from the campsite.  The sun had already set (we’d spent a lot of our daylight in the van), so the light wasn’t ideal.
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It was cold in the morning, so everyone was bundled up.  We ate breakfast, packed up our stuff, and set out for the van again.
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On the way, Nicholas discovered that he’d picked up a passenger.
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Our final view of the mountain before reaching the parking lot.
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The trip wasn’t a success in the typical sense, considering we never reached our destination, but we adapted and still had a good time.  I was happy just to be outdoors, before the all-consuming Reed bubble took over.

Pictures of my trip to Smith Rock State Park coming soon!

Heather

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