A Tough Hike to Two Former Wildfire Lookout Sites


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.

Grassy Knoll

Grassy Knoll

Colorful berries (Honeysuckle?)

Colorful Honeysuckle berries

Many open meadows along the trail

Many open meadows along the trail surrounded by mature Noble Fir (blueish-green) and Hemlocks (green)

Big Lava Bed

Big Lava Bed

Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail

Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail

Mt. Hood peaking out of the clouds

Mt. Hood peaking out of the clouds over the Columbia River Gorge

Vine Maple picking up their autumn colors

Vine Maple picking up their autumn colors

Mt. Adams peaking through the clouds behind the remains of the Grassy Knoll lookout site

Mt. Adams trying to peak through the clouds behind the remains of the Grassy Knoll former lookout

Large meadows along the upper trail

Large meadows along the upper trail

Broken glass remaining from the Huckleberry Mountain lookout site

Broken glass remaining from the Huckleberry Mountain former lookout

Looking down at the Columbia River from Grassy Knoll

Looking down at a hazy Columbia River from Grassy Knoll

 

 

 

 

Categories: Washington Cascades HikesTags: , , , , ,

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