In early November I drove to Triangle Pass, and then to the Grassy Knoll Trailhead about seven miles north of the Columbia River Gorge. It was cool, windy and mostly cloudy- – – a pleasant day above 3,000 feet in mid-autumn.
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 of Mt. Adams rising above the Big Lava Bed (20 square miles of relatively level basalt rock covered with trees.)
The jagged old volcanic peaks of the Indian Heaven Wilderness dotted the horizon to the Northeast. From there it was a short climb to the top of 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 open meadows. Within a few feet of reaching the PCT, the steep one-quarter mile trail to the top of 4,200-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 the autumn, especially since a herd of Roosevelt elk and two flocks of wild turkeys were spotted on the drive to and from the Trailhead.
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