Alpine Journey on Mt. Hood


A mid-summer, sunny day. It was a perfect time to enjoy a visit to the glorious wildflower displays in an alpine area.

Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood sits at roughly 5,900 feet of elevation. I began the hike up the mountain to the Silcox Hut at 7,000 feet. By then, the mountain hemlock had been left behind, and so had the scattered white-bark pine. The yellow buckwheat and purple alpine lupine covered the upper slopes, highlighted by snowfields remaining from the deep winter snows.

For a change of pace, I took off cross country crossing the soft soil of the glacial moraines (the ash is finer than any sand found on a beach), working my way around large rounded boulders (another reminder of glacial activity), and navigating steep snowfields. Golden-mantled ground squirrels kept me company, always on the outlook for a snack.

As I circled the mountain to the northwest, the summit of the mountain and its glaciers were easily visible. And, looking to the south, Broken Top, the Three Sisters and Mt. Jefferson dominated the horizon. Soon I was at the lip of the Big Zigzag Canyon. The entire stretch of Mississippi Head, a large basalt rock formation, stretched out before me. These are the moments I dream about in the middle of winter on a cloudy day.

After a steep ascent to the Timberline Trail, I headed back to Timberline Lodge. All in all, the hike was six miles in length with 1,700 feet of elevation gain. Life is good!

Golden-mantle

Golden-mantle

Wren

Young Townsend’s Solitaire

Mt. Hood's summit about a field of Lupine

Mt. Hood’s summit above a field of Lupine

Yellow Buckwheat on the upper slopes of Mt. Hood

Yellow Buckwheat on the upper slopes of Mt. Hood

Mississippi Head

Mississippi Head

Snowboarders waiting for the final lift to the Palmer Glacier

Snowboarders waiting for a lift to the Palmer Glacier

Looking down to the Timberline Trail

Looking down to the Timberline Trail

From left to right: Broken Top, Three Sisters, Olallie Butte and Mt. Jefferson

From left to right: Broken Top, Three Sisters, Olallie Butte and Mt. Jefferson

SNowboarders

Snowboarders

House Finch near Lupines

House Finch near a natural bouquet of Lupines

Cat's-ear Lily

Cat’s-ear Lily

The summit of Mt. Hood

The summit of Mt. Hood

Paintbrush lining a small creek

Paintbrush lining a small creek

Categories: Oregon Cascades HikesTags: , , , , , , , ,

2 comments

  1. Love that paintbrush!

    Like

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