T-Hike on Timberline Trail, Mt. Hood: 9/26-9/27

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awildman
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T-Hike on Timberline Trail, Mt. Hood: 9/26-9/27

Post by awildman » September 27th, 2013, 10:32 pm

I had this idea (when the forecast was generous) of hiking from Elk to Elk (Meadows to Cove) over three days this weekend. I didn't want to mess with the Eliot Crossing with my dog and there was a certain poetry to linking the significant Elks on Mt. Hood. But the weather forecast abruptly changed, so I modified my plans. The last time I hiked the entire Timberline Trail was in 2000 and there are parts I haven't visited since despite living next door, including Elk Cove. :oops: I originally thought that I would take the Vista Ridge Trail to McNeil Point for the night (camping down low and seeing what I could see up above) and then head over to Elk Cove for a visit the following day. Instead, I ended up hiking past the junction of the McNeil Point trail, warily eyed the snowy-cloudy conditions above and the drippy camping opportunities below, and hiked over to Elk Cove for the night.

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dropping into Elk Cove that afternoon

The conditions were nutty all day. It never rained, but it was cloudy, foggy, windy, sunny, calm, cool, warm, sloppy, and dry. Mt. Hood would pop out and then disappear within minutes. I enjoyed the dynamic weather and the juxtapositions of things along the trail: mushrooms covered in snow, burned snags and live trees, dark charcoal and new grass, blue sky and white clouds.

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fly amanita - psychoactive, but so adorable as a family portrait!

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amanitas on ice

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Vista Ridge Trail, you can see the snowfall on the ridge and some residual next to the trail

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one of many changing conditions

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one slow reveal

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Nice hat, Wy'East!

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Mt. Hood reveals herself for an instant

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the white snags of Cairn Basin and Eden Park

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sun, snow, snags on the way to McNeil Point

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hint of fall in Elk Cove

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Elk Cove from above

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prolific piles of bear scat in the Elk Cove meadows, very fresh, very berry-heavy

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every time I try to get closer, it looks farther away

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glaciers

I was the only one camped in Elk Cove that night, though I did hear someone yell "Yodelayheehoo" from the Timberline Trail around 5PM. The dog and I wandered around the Cove until dinner and then prepared for our 12 hours of darkness, during which we were buffeted by very strong winds from the southeast despite our protected camp in the trees. The wind died when the sun rose and we emerged from the tent to find a world in flat light and weird clouds looming over Mt. Hood's east side and the Hood River Valley. We did a lot of mushroom exploring and hunting on the way back to the car (king boletes!), lazily making our way back down to the car just before it started to rain.

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weird clouds in the east

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Mt. Hood in the morning light, not a black and white photo

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...made in?

So, no Elk to Elk. But T on the Timberline is catchy. :)
Rambling on at Allison Outside

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anne37
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Re: T-Hike on Timberline Trail, Mt. Hood: 9/26-9/27

Post by anne37 » September 27th, 2013, 11:11 pm

Impressive getting out in less than ideal weather, just as I'm bemoaning the start of "winter." Not completely recognizing Mount Hood in your pics, it occurs to me that I've somehow missed this hike, maybe mooshing it together with Elk Meadows, which was nice but nothing like this. It's near Barret Spur, right -- is that it high above Elk Cove in your pics? (clearly another one I haven't done) And I still think you take some of the best pictures in any Oregon hiking blogs.

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retired jerry
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Re: T-Hike on Timberline Trail, Mt. Hood: 9/26-9/27

Post by retired jerry » September 28th, 2013, 5:17 am

Really nice! Looks like you hit the weather okay, and the scenery is unique if you can survive. Nice weather is so boring :)

You look down at Elk Cove from Barret Spur to the East.

This is the best time of year for bears. If you go looking for them you can find them. They like the berries, and if there's some snow around you can see their tracks. Maybe next weekend.

Limey
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Re: T-Hike on Timberline Trail, Mt. Hood: 9/26-9/27

Post by Limey » September 28th, 2013, 7:00 am

Fabulous pictures as always. Less than perfect weather doesn't necessarily mean a less than perfect hike. I'm assuming as you were driving, you let Ellie take the pic of the Oregon trailer?





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Re: T-Hike on Timberline Trail, Mt. Hood: 9/26-9/27

Post by raftingdog » September 28th, 2013, 7:12 am

amazing to open Portland hikers and find that folks have defied all logic and found a window of opportunity and nailed a great trip with amazing photos and then arrived back at car before rain arrived

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vibramhead
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Re: T-Hike on Timberline Trail, Mt. Hood: 9/26-9/27

Post by vibramhead » September 28th, 2013, 7:44 am

Wow. Just one beautiful shot after another. The first one especially.
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awildman
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Re: T-Hike on Timberline Trail, Mt. Hood: 9/26-9/27

Post by awildman » September 28th, 2013, 8:21 am

anne37 wrote:Impressive getting out in less than ideal weather, just as I'm bemoaning the start of "winter." Not completely recognizing Mount Hood in your pics, it occurs to me that I've somehow missed this hike, maybe mooshing it together with Elk Meadows, which was nice but nothing like this. It's near Barret Spur, right -- is that it high above Elk Cove in your pics? (clearly another one I haven't done) And I still think you take some of the best pictures in any Oregon hiking blogs.
Thanks! Barrett Spur is the long ridge that defines the south/west side of Elk Cove. It's one of the best hikes on Mt. Hood. You can make some really fun OT loops between Elk Cove and Wy'East Basin using the Spur. Or, you can just hike into Elk Cove via the Elk Cove Trail, Pinnacle Trail, or Vista Ridge Trail. All nice.

Variable weather is the best! Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't...
Limey wrote:'m assuming as you were driving, you let Ellie take the pic of the Oregon trailer?
I let the dog drive home. I hate driving in the Gorge when it's raining hard. ;)
retired jerry wrote:This is the best time of year for bears. If you go looking for them you can find them. They like the berries, and if there's some snow around you can see their tracks. Maybe next weekend.
I was really hoping to see one (or three, by the amount of scat in the meadow) munching on berries the next morning, but I think the Mt. Hood bears are shy. They were probably miffed that there was a human in their meadow on a week day. :)

What time of day are bears most active during the fall?
retired jerry wrote:Really nice! Looks like you hit the weather okay, and the scenery is unique if you can survive. Nice weather is so boring :)
Seasonal transitions are nice, especially from summer to fall to winter. It's my second favorite time of year!
Rambling on at Allison Outside

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Peder
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Re: T-Hike on Timberline Trail, Mt. Hood: 9/26-9/27

Post by Peder » September 28th, 2013, 8:37 am

Fantastic pictures and conditions Allison! That sure must have been an exciting outing, I love the play of fresh snow, clouds and bursts of sunshine.
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Re: T-Hike on Timberline Trail, Mt. Hood: 9/26-9/27

Post by rainrunner » September 28th, 2013, 8:56 am

Every photo you posted makes me want to get up to the mountain again ~~ and soon! Kevin's a good loop finder so we've not done many "T-Hikes". Ann
The mountains are calling and I must go.
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retired jerry
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Re: T-Hike on Timberline Trail, Mt. Hood: 9/26-9/27

Post by retired jerry » September 28th, 2013, 9:06 am

"What time of day are bears most active during the fall?"

During the day? :)

The several times I've seen bears on Mt Hood:

I sat next to Split Rock in Paradise Park and ate lunch, maybe an hour or two, saw a bear run across slope below me when some hikers came along and distrubed it eating Mt Laurel Ash berries. I asked the hikers and they said they never saw it.

I was sleeping under the stars and the next day saw bear tracks 100 feet away but never saw it.

On Yocum Ridge, I saw a black spot in a meadow, seemed out of place. Snuck down staying behind a hill, peered over edge and got some pictures.

Later that day, I walked up to the ridge from one side, the bear came up to the ridge from the other side, we saw each other when we were maybe 100 feet away.

On the way down, I saw the same bear (?) on the other side of that pond.

I was hiking up to Barret Spur from Dollar Lake. I saw a bear hiking up to Barret Spur from WyEast Basin. It never saw me. I just went back the way I came so as not to disturb it.

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