A little sunshine peeking through the clouds, highlighting the brilliant white of fresh fallen snow. Throw in a cold, brisk wind out of the west and temperatures around 30 degrees, and you have the prescription for a fine outing.
I parked at a gate and began the hike to Stacker Butte in the wide open spaces of the east end of the Columbia River Gorge.
After ascending the maintenance road for 2 1/2 miles, while dealing with the bone-chilling wind, I reached the 3,300-foot summit of Stacker Butte where an FAA tracking site is located.
The 360° views were mostly covered with clouds, but the Columbia River could be seen stretching far to the east with rimrock canyons to the north.
On the way down the sun finally began warming things up. I headed easterly for awhile above the oak tree strewn canyons. Soon it was time to take a slow hike back to the car.
Amazingly enough, all the snow around my car had melted.