Dog Mtn 11-Dec-09

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VanMarmot
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Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Dog Mtn 11-Dec-09

Post by VanMarmot » December 11th, 2009, 5:39 pm

I had time for a short hike ahead of the foul weather forecast for Friday evening and Saturday. I was also looking for a good opportunity to get reacquainted with hiking in “cold” weather – something I haven’t had to do much of since living in Colorado. Dog Mountain seemed like the obvious choice – good trail, big views, and the sunny side of the Gorge. On the drive out I-84, I saw (as did DerWanderer on Wednesday) ice climbers on the ice fall below Crown Point. Given the rare opportunities to ice climb in the Gorge, it might have been the same people.

Temperatures at the trailhead were about 20F with a light wind. Except for the low temperatures, the snow-free trail and plentiful sunlight at the first trail junction made it seem almost like summer.

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Similarly, the view from the lower viewpoint at 1600’ did nothing to dispel the impression that this really was a summer hike (or at least not December).

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Low clouds and smoke/haze provided a natural fuzziness to the view to the east.

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Although there was some wind along I-84 and at the trailhead, conditions on the trail were calm all the way to the old lookout site at 2500’. The section of trail from there to the trail junction just below the summit was my only exposure to a moderate, but really cold, biting, cross-wind. But three medium layers, a vented Balaclava, and softshell gloves were enough for comfort. I had goggles but my time in the cross-wind was short.

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There’s a “sweet spot” on the summit where you can sit in the sun but be shielded from the wind. So despite the low air temperatures, it was amazingly pleasant on top of Dog. The summit had a thin patchy covering of snow but the usual nice view of Hood.

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I returned to the trailhead via the Augspurger Mountain trail. I’d expected to see some snow, or at least ice patches, on this trail. But except for a little snow at the very start, and a good view of St. Helens, it was completely clear all the way back. But some parts of this trail are in shade and at those points it was much more apparent how cold it really was.

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There were a few small trees down across the Augspurger trail. On my way down I passed a 2-person Forest Service crew, armed with a Pulaski, shovel, and chainsaw, on their way up to clear the trail. As a frequent user of this trail, I have to say that I really appreciate their efforts. It’s too bad there aren’t enough people or funds to give this same attention to all the trails in the Gorge.

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romann
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Re: Dog Mtn 11-Dec-09

Post by romann » December 11th, 2009, 9:24 pm

I did exactly the same hike today (between 1-5 pm), up Puppy Dog way, then down Augspurger Mountain trail. I had the opposite view situation in the evening - very hazy to the West and clear to the East. It was brilliant and calm 32+/- degrees in the pm (but became overcast by sunset), was really feeling more like spring, not like mid-December.

Tonight's weather will likely bring a lot of snow there, another reason to hike it next week.

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DerWanderer
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Location: East Multnomah County, OR
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Re: Dog Mtn 11-Dec-09

Post by DerWanderer » December 12th, 2009, 2:46 am

Very nice photos. There definitely appears to be less snow than there was on Wed.

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Waffle Stomper
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Re: Dog Mtn 11-Dec-09

Post by Waffle Stomper » December 12th, 2009, 8:14 am

Love the photos. And look NO CROWDS of people on the dog.
"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe." - John Muir

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