Gnarl Ridge, topped by Lamberson Butte, is one of the most scenic areas on Mt. Hood.
Toss in a trip around Elk Meadows and you have a hiking trip among the best to be had.
The only problem is the bridge-less crossing of Newton Creek below Gnarl Ridge. In the morning I found some logs previous hikers had put across the raging creek, making for a reasonably safe crossing.
After the ten-mile hike to Lamberson Butte and Elk Meadows, I returned to Newton Creek. Alas, the creek had risen considerably due to the daytime warming of the Newton-Clark Glacier. And, sad to say the heavier flows had washed away my logs used to cross the creek in the morning.
Knowing that fording creeks and small rivers is one of the most dangerous activities for a solo hiker, I decided to follow the creek down to Highway 35.
It turned out to be a 4 1/2 hour excursion covering about seven miles in total. At several points I had to climb the steep slopes of Elk Mountain to bypass cliffs. Most of the remainder of the time was spent climbing over and around large rocks and logs left by springtime freshets.
As a side note, I found many deer and elk beds, and in fact spotted a few deer.
Finally, I found a crossing close to the highway. After reaching the road, a kind couple gave me a ride back to the trailhead.
Whew! I was very happy to be back at the car after spending 10 1/2 hours hiking, much of the time off trail.