New Years Eve in Heaven: Snowcamping on Red Mountain: 12/31

This forum is used to share your experiences out on the trails.
User avatar
Sean Thomas
Posts: 1635
Joined: February 25th, 2012, 11:33 pm

New Years Eve in Heaven: Snowcamping on Red Mountain: 12/31

Post by Sean Thomas » January 4th, 2015, 8:57 pm

Joie and I spent the last moments of 2014 watching the sun go down from the summit of Red Mountain near the Indian Heaven Wilderness. It was an epic trip with all one could ask for in a winter campout in the Cascades:


Image


The idea was to drive in from the south and get as far up Panther Creek Road as possible before hitting too much ice or snow. Without chains or traction tires we just decided to park at the gravel pit by Panther Creek Falls and make the long haul all the way up to the top of Red Mountain. But first, a quick stop at the falls:


Image


Leaving the "TH" I went full slackpack mode as I overloaded my bag with what we'll call a "house blanket" :D And as Joie had a lot of fun pointing out, the kitchen too and not just the sink! :roll: :D Also notice the scarf, like it? It's Joies :P Pretty embarrassing moment when you realize you've been living here twice as long as someone who is undoubtedly always better prepared for weather you grew up in :D Oh well, at least I looked tough for the locals who were cruising up and down the roads with beers in hand 8-) Not kidding about the driving with beer in hand part :shock:


Image


Here is what the four corners junction(where 65 and 60 meet) looked like on the 31st of December:


Image


It was beautiful to watch the wind blow the fresh powder off the trees as we made our way toward the lookout spur road:


Image


Arriving at the gated spur up to the lookout, where we would have to channel our inner drm to make it up before dark:


Image


The Elk had spent the night just above the gate, and apparently they don't mind a little poop in the bed:


Image


The climb up to the lookout was absolutely exhausting as the road grade continued to climb up the south side of the mountain. Despite the intense cold and the fatigue from breaking trail it was incredibly beautiful, like nothing I have ever seen in my life:


Image


Image


Nice views of Mt Hood before we made our way around the east side of the mountain:


Image


Closer look at Hood and Mt Defiance:


Image


Nearing the top through a landscape that felt lonely and remote, but in a way we had been seeking the whole day :) A winter wonderland all to ourselves:


Image


Mt Adams was stunning:


Image


It was an incredible moment when we reached the old lookout and the shelter below the top:


Image


A private cabin for two with a view ;)


Image


After setting up camp I took to the windblown summit where even the trees were saying it was cold:


Image


I went back down to bundle up a bit more and returned to the top before the sun went down, here is Hood and the wind swept snow drifts that sat in front of the lookout:


Image


Just before dinner I couldn't resist poking out again to watch the sunset. Just as I was about to take a shot of the western sky a huge gust roared across the mountain throwing fluffy white powder in front of the lens. It was a good way to say goodbye to 2014 :)


Image


The last sunset of the year from the top Red Mountain:


Image


Once we got settled in and wrapped up in our sleeping bags, extra clothes and the oversized kitchen blanket, we were ready to have some dinner. It was the best warm Mac and Cheese I had ever tasted. To end the night we blasted some Rush(2112 and others) as well as some Pink Floyd. If you haven't listened to Pink Floyd alone in the dark in the mountains... well don't, its creepy as hell :D But its ok when you have your awesome gf around to hide behind :lol: Anyway, it was an epic way to close out the year as we partied on top of the mountain staying up late to the wee hours of about 9:00 p.m. :lol: Thanks to the houseblanket we both slept like logs and I barely made it up to the summit for sunrise. It was now 2015, but it was still colder than sh*t and all I wanted to do was go hide in my sleeping bag, pretending it was still 2014 :D Regardless of my feet telling me to stay in the tent with Jojo I couldn't let the first sunrise of the year go unseen(there's only 364 left after all). It was like a moonscape as I crested the windblown summit with Hood and the lookout up early to start the new year:


Image


Image


Sunrise over Little Huckleberry Mountain:


Image


Back in the tent and boiling a little snow before going back to sleep for a few hours:


Image


It was actually the best sleep either of us have had in a long while :) After breakfast we packed everything up and made one last trip up to the top to say goodbye to the lookout:


Image


Mt St Helens:


Image


Mt Ranier:


Image


We said goodbye one more time and started dropping down the road grade, passing the junction with the racetrack trail:


Image


Image


More beautiful pain as we made our way back around the mountain:


Image


Image


Happy New Year PH :)


Image


Image


Joie enjoying the trip down:


Image


Interesting to note a large mountain lion had taken advantage of our tracks from the day before, walking in our footsteps for about a half a mile or so:


Image


Back to FS 60 and the road walk to FS 65 and Panther Creek Falls. By this point my back was telling me to drop the load and drag it on my rain coat :D In true looned up saggpacker style I listened, but it didn't work very well:


Image


Driving home I got to thinking back over the past few years and how fortunate I am to live in such an incredible place, and even more so for the great people I get to share it with :) I have hiked over 7,500 miles in the PNW over the past four years, with most of that being within an hour or two's drive from the city. Thinking its probably time for a break and I... who really needs a break? ;) Knowing there is only 360+ days left in the year(and it being short shorts weather out there ;) I woke up early on the 2nd and sagged out an awesome hike and run on Elk Creek in the coast range:


Image


Idiot Creek stream ford conditions:


Image


And back to the TH ;)


Image


And to keep things rolling a great exploratory loop earlier today(sunday the 4th) on the Wygant-Chetwoot Loop. TR soon :) hopefully :roll: :lol:

Image


Image


HPNY everybody :)
Last edited by Sean Thomas on January 4th, 2015, 9:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Zia
Posts: 252
Joined: September 1st, 2013, 8:30 pm
Location: Salem

Re: New Years Eve in Heaven: Snowcamping on Red Mountain: 12

Post by Zia » January 4th, 2015, 9:23 pm

What a fantastic way to finish out the year! Thank you for sharing all of the pictures with us. Beautiful!

User avatar
Splintercat
Posts: 8142
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
Location: Portland
Contact:

Re: New Years Eve in Heaven: Snowcamping on Red Mountain: 12

Post by Splintercat » January 4th, 2015, 11:33 pm

Epic three-fer, Sean! :)
To end the night we blasted some Rush(2112 and others) as well as some Pink Floyd. If you haven't listened to Pink Floyd alone in the dark in the mountains... well don't, its creepy as hell
Okay, I didn't see that coming..! :lol:

Tom :-)

User avatar
romann
Posts: 2304
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
Location: Vancouver, WA

Re: New Years Eve in Heaven: Snowcamping on Red Mountain: 12

Post by romann » January 5th, 2015, 1:12 am

Great way to meet New Year!

Beautiful pictures, especially one with blowing snow and sunset. Sunrise pictures - they just feel cold :lol: .
Last edited by romann on January 5th, 2015, 1:20 am, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
forestkeeper
Posts: 1290
Joined: July 23rd, 2011, 8:31 pm
Location: Oregon City
Contact:

Re: New Years Eve in Heaven: Snowcamping on Red Mountain: 12

Post by forestkeeper » January 5th, 2015, 1:13 am

:) It's hard not constantly repeated the same phrases describing your awesomely fun filled adventures, your epic stories of defeating age and (for me) gravity with 50 miles per day hikes, and with out of this world photography. So I won't say it! :lol: Nice top of the world pics. When comparing the hand size with the cougar track, not sure whose sparkly painted fingernails those belonged to, but this is the 21st century. :lol: HNY Sean!

User avatar
turtle
Posts: 593
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: New Years Eve in Heaven: Snowcamping on Red Mountain: 12

Post by turtle » January 5th, 2015, 5:54 am

You two take the best trips :D .

There was an Indie movie filmed in this area a few years ago; a war drama about Iraq veterans, I can't remember the name off the top of my head. Is this look-out the same one as in the movie? It sure looks familiar.
Summer breezes caressed me, my legs stepped forward as though possessed of their own appetite, and the mountains kept promising. Rebecca Solnit

User avatar
rainrunner
Posts: 612
Joined: June 29th, 2011, 6:55 am

Re: New Years Eve in Heaven: Snowcamping on Red Mountain: 12

Post by rainrunner » January 5th, 2015, 6:29 am

What a great way to bring in 2015 ~~ even at 9pm!
The mountains are calling and I must go.
John Muir

User avatar
kepPNW
Posts: 6174
Joined: June 21st, 2012, 9:55 am
Location: Salmon Creek

Re: New Years Eve in Heaven: Snowcamping on Red Mountain: 12

Post by kepPNW » January 5th, 2015, 6:34 am

Okay, so we now have a winner for "Best TR of 2015" - I guess the rest of us can just go hiking and relax. :lol:

Sean, "epic" doesn't do that overnight on Red justice. Wow! Of all your incredible adventures, my sense is that while some may blur with time, this was one you'll always cherish. :D
Karl
Back on the trail, again...

(Tracks · Photos · PortlandHikers)

User avatar
wsevert
Posts: 61
Joined: September 3rd, 2013, 7:03 am
Location: SE Portland

Re: New Years Eve in Heaven: Snowcamping on Red Mountain: 12

Post by wsevert » January 5th, 2015, 6:35 am

What an awesome trip and to top it off with 2112 (which I always thought was every bit as creepy as anything Pink Floyd has done) sounds like a great way to end the year. Magnificent photos!

'...I guess it was a dream, but even now it all seems so vivid to me. Clearly yet I see
the beckoning hand of the oracle as he stood at the summit of the staircase...' 2112

Severt

User avatar
justpeachy
Posts: 2574
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
Location: Portland, OR
Contact:

Re: New Years Eve in Heaven: Snowcamping on Red Mountain: 12

Post by justpeachy » January 5th, 2015, 7:53 am

Beautiful! I can't imagine camping out when it was so very cold. You guys are TOUGH!
Cheryl

"Nature is not a place to visit. It is home." -- Gary Snyder

My adventure blog
Hiking videos
justpeachy on Instagram

Post Reply