On the last weekend of summer I drove to Triangle Pass and then to the Grassy Knoll Trailhead, about seven miles north of the Columbia River Gorge. It was cool and sunny – – – about as nice a day that could be found above 3,000 feet in late summer.
The first 1 1/2 miles climbed rather steeply through a forest with a few examples of large, old-growth Douglas firs. The Trail then reached the rim of a cliff with views across the Big Lava Bed (20 square miles of relatively level basalt rock covered with trees.)
Mt. Adams, crowned with fresh snow but playing hide-and-seek with its own clouds, and the jagged old volcanic peaks of the Indian Heaven Wilderness dominated the horizon. From there it was a short climb to the top of 3,648-foot Grassy Knoll, an open, tundra-like ridge crest with views extending across a hazy Columbia River Gorge to Mt. Hood and beyond.
After a short rest I continued hiking up and down the ridge for another three miles to the Pacific Crest Trail, mostly through forest. Within a few feet of reaching the PCT, the steep one-quarter mile trail to the top of 4,202-foot Big Huckleberry Mountain was found. A few minutes later I was at the summit, enjoying 360° views.
The outing was a great example of a fine hike during mid-September; it was cool, no wind, leaves beginning to turn their autumn colors, lots of interesting sights to see and a good workout.