A Wonderful Fall Day on the East Side of the Cascades


The pungent scent of pine needles, open meadows, views extending far to the east, mule deer, many fresh elk tracks, 34 degrees and sunny weather. On the first day of November I was on the eastern slopes of the Cascades.

The trailhead was the parking area for Fifteenmile Forest Camp in the Mt. Hood National Forest, roughly 60 air-miles east of home at an elevation level of 4,600 feet. 

The trail descended alongside Fifteenmile Creek, designated as a Wild & Scenic River in 2009, before meeting the Cedar Creek Trail at a bridge crossing. This trail slowly dropped down the nose of the ridge, providing views all the way to the irrigated farmlands of Central Oregon. Mature Ponderosa pines dominated the landscape, interspersed with pillow-shaped basalt rock formations and tall tamarack trees with golden autumn needles.

The trail began losing altitude quickly with the dominant trees becoming Douglas fir, a few junipers and white oak with golden leaves.

Crossing a foot bridge, the original trail was rejoined and I turned uphill with a tinge of sadness knowing it was a 2,000-foot elevation gain.

For the next two miles the path stayed in an old-growth cedar-tree habitat along the Creek. Then the work began with the trail quickly gaining elevation to reach the top of the ridge north of Fifteenmile Creek.

The great views returned and it was an enjoyable return hike to the trailhead.

Early morning light on a calm Mt. Hood

Early morning light on a calm, picture-perfect Mt. Hood

Afternoon wind storms on Mt. Hood

Afternoon wind storms on Mt. Hood (not a day to be climbing the mountain)

Golden needles of a Tamarack (Western Larch)

Golden needles of a Tamarack (Western Larch)

Wonderful fall colors of Oak trees

Wonderful fall colors of Oak trees

Pillowy basalt rock common to the area

Pillowy basalt rock formations common to the area

Fresh snow on Mt. Adams

Fresh snow on Mt. Adams

Ponderosa Pine growing on the open ridge tops

Ponderosa Pines growing on the open ridge tops

Summit of Mt. Hood

Summit of Mt. Hood

 

 

 

Categories: Oregon Cascades HikesTags: , , , ,

2 comments

What's your opinion?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: