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Hooray! It was a beautiful early Autumn morning on the edge of the Indian Heaven Wilderness. What a relief given the heavy wildfire smoke and bad wildfire conditions of the last few weeks.
Crimson huckleberry leaves and the beginning of red vine maple foliage brightened the views in every direction.
The 32 square-mile Wilderness has many large, open meadows to explore. In a couple of miles I was standing by a small lake at the north end of a huge, flat meadow. It was used by the tribes for centuries as a place to race horses until the 1920s. A beautiful spot indeed!
From the meadows it was a steep one-mile climb to the summit of Red Mountain, the remains of a cinder cone volcano. There was a rare, standing lookout site at the top. Ducking out of the heavy, cold wind gusts, I marveled at the views. They extended to Mt. Hood in the south to Mt. Rainier in the north.
I laid back, ate a snack and savored the vistas of the Indian Heaven Wilderness seemingly at my feet.
Indian Heaven remains one of the prettiest autumn areas near Portland.
Cascade Volcanos seen from the top of Red Mountain: Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Adams
Huckleberry bushes turning their autumn colors, fellow hikers and the upper trailhead to the Indian Racetrack