Mid-winter Visit to the Tarns below McNeil Point


One of my  favorite mid-summer destinations on Mt. Hood is the McNeil Point Shelter via Bald Mountain.

Wildflowers of almost every color decorate the alpine areas.

But, what were the odds of hiking to the 5,500-foot elevation tarns (alpine lakes) below McNeil Point in mid-winter? 

As it turned out, the odds were very high in 2015.

On a warm sunny day I had a thoroughly enjoyable 3 1/2 mile hike from Top Spur Trailhead to the tarns. Amazingly enough, I didn’t run into snow until the last one-half mile.

Another grand day in the Pacific Northwest.

Mt. Hood over McNeil Spur

Mt. Hood over McNeil Spur

A Raven keeping me company

A Raven keeping me company

The lower tarn below McNeil Point

The lower tarn below McNeil Point

Beargrass lining the steep, rooty Top Spur Trail

Beargrass lining the steep, rooty Top Spur Trail

A friendly Gray Jay

A friendly Gray Jay

Wind blowing snow near the summit of Mt. Hood

Wind blowing snow near the summit of Mt. Hood

Whatum Lake with Chinidere Mountain to the left and Tomlike Mountain to the right

Whatum Lake with Chinidere Mountain to the left and Tomlike Mountain to the right

Another Gray Jay looking for a treat

Another Gray Jay looking for a treat

Illumination Rock

Illumination Rock

I wasn't the first hiker to reach the tarns in the last few days

I wasn’t the first hiker to reach the tarns in the last few days

Mt. Hood

Sandy Glacier on Mt. Hood

Sunlight breaking through the storm clouds on Mt. Hood

A different view of the mountain: Sunlight breaking through storm clouds on Mt. Hood last summer

 

 

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

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