The 7,300-foot Black Knoll on upper Barrett Spur provides an awe-inspiring closeup view of Coe and Ladd Glaciers.
To begin the journey, I parked at the 4,500-foot trailhead for the Vista Ridge Trail on the north side of Mt. Hood. It was a grand day, providing spectacular views as far as the eye could see.
In the older days this trail used to provide one of the prettier approaches to the alpine areas on the mountain. Since a 2011 forest fire, the approach is mainly through a burnt-out forest with lots of fireweed in bloom.
After roughly 2 1/2 miles I met the Timberline Trail which circles Mt. Hood. A few more steps and I was at the open meadows of Wy’east Basin.
Now the work began. It was another 1,600 feet of elevation gain to Black Knoll up the 1 1/4 mile, very steep climber’s trail on Barrett Spur.
Reaching the knoll, I broke out a sandwich and enjoyed the magnificent views of some of the prettiest alpine scenery in the Pacific Northwest. In front of me were the two large glaciers with small, but loud avalanches occurring every few moments, and the summit of Mt. Hood less than 4,000 feet above.
The vistas to the north were amazing too. Beyond the Columbia River Gorge stood the three crowned jewels of the Southern Washington Cascades – – – Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams.
Life is good.