Dog Mountain Loop 9/11/10

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jessbee
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Dog Mountain Loop 9/11/10

Post by jessbee » September 12th, 2010, 8:16 am

Oh my god, not another Dog Mountain Trip Report...

And, from such an unexpected source! In fact, this 7 mile, nearly 3000 feet of elevation gain loop was perfect on my road to recovery from fracturing my heel bone about 3 months ago. I've got my mind set on climbing South Sister in October, so I could justify hiking such a popular trail as a "training" hike.

My friend Sue and I left Portland early to try and get a head start on the crowds. When we rolled into the parking lot at 8:45 we were surprised to see a group of about 20 rambunctious boys and their adult chaperones just getting ready to go. Hooray. Lucky for us, they took an extended break at the restrooms just a few yards from the trailhead. We never heard or saw them again for the rest of the hike!

At the first junction, we decided to head up the "Less Difficult" route (something I never thought I'd do) in order to be nice to my foot and ankle. The trail went up and up through a lovely, open forest blanketed by Oregon Grape. Oh, how I wished those "grapes" were blueberries ready to eat! Near the top of the forest we passed two separate guys on their way back down from the summit. Early risers...
summit from afar.JPG
Within an hour we exited the forest and entered Dog Mountain's famous meadows. Here we stopped to cast our eyes out over the Gorge. As we approached the nondescript summit we admired the few autumn blooms hanging on to life and the wind-sculpted, scraggly trees.
dog mtn tree.JPG
gorge3.JPG
trail to the top.JPG
flowers.JPG
summit photo.JPG
The weather was spectacular; the sun was warm and the breeze was cool. We enjoyed 20 minutes of sitting on the summit by ourselves before taking off towards the Augsperger Trail. Shortly after we left we passed a couple of folks with dog on their way up. Perfect timing!

The Augsperger Trail winds down the west side of Dog Mountain at a more mellow grade. It's a bit longer but it is scenic and passes through a variety of flora.
yellow.JPG
Parts of the trail are very wet and densely vegetated with trees and shrubs. Other parts are dry, infested with poison oak, and lined with grass. Here is where the trail crosses one talus slope after another. This became rather difficult for my ankle, since weighting it at any angle other than flush with the ground is painful. I slowed my pace and relied more heavily on my hiking poles to get me through the last mile or so back to the car. Fortunately I had a hiking partner who was happy to keep my pace and be patient with me!
columbia river.JPG
When we arrived at the parking lot, it was jam-packed with cars.
full parking lot.JPG
We did an amazing job of avoiding the throng and appreciated the peace and quiet we experienced on these very well-traveled trails. All-in-all, we maintained a respectable pace. We finished in 3:45, with a 20 minute summit-savoring break. Next week I'm upping the mileage and elevation gain. I'm accepting suggestions ;)
Will break trail for beer.

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AlexanderSupertramp
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Re: Dog Mountain Loop 9/11/10

Post by AlexanderSupertramp » September 12th, 2010, 4:01 pm

Great report! I'm a bit surprised to see that many cars at Dog this time of year. Though it was a really nice day for a hike yesterday.

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Easyrider
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Re: Dog Mountain Loop 9/11/10

Post by Easyrider » September 13th, 2010, 2:58 pm

I did Dog Mountain on a Thursday, three days before you were there. My first time. While not recovering like you are, I was 280# a year ago so the chances of me being able to get up and down back then without help from Lifeflight were probably slim. I'm still way overweight at 200# but I made it up and down with no problems.

I never thought hiking would be something I'd enjoy. But the solitude, ability to think and ponder as well as being "one" with the elements is a spiritual experience similar to riding a motorcycle (which I've been doing for the past 50 years).

Dog Mountain is not going to be one of my favorites due to the crowds although it does offer a reasonable aerobic workout. I did Wind Mountain earlier in the day. I think Augspurger Mountain will be more to my liking and I'll be doing that one later this Month if I can find an up-to-date trail guide. Wednesday I'm going to give the Coyote Wall hike a try. Being self employed/unemployed/retired does have it's advantages :)

http://easyrider.easyrider.com/dog_mountain.htm

http://easyrider.easyrider.com/wind_mountain.htm
Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from surviving bad judgment. ~Rita Mae Brown

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jessbee
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Re: Dog Mountain Loop 9/11/10

Post by jessbee » September 13th, 2010, 5:23 pm

Hey easyrider,

Coyote Wall is a gorgeous hike. You'll love that one. And if you can get out mid-week, then many of the Gorge trails will be do-able for you without crowds. Lucky.

I don't think Augsperger Mtn gets much traffic; the trail looks overgrown. But, it's been on my to-do list for awhile. I look forward to reading your report.
Will break trail for beer.

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sparklehorse
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Re: Dog Mountain Loop 9/11/10

Post by sparklehorse » September 13th, 2010, 10:38 pm

Nice report Jess, thanks. Glad to hear your foot is getting better. People or not I always enjoy hiking Dog Mtn.

G
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mayhem
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Re: Dog Mountain Loop 9/11/10

Post by mayhem » September 13th, 2010, 11:05 pm

Great report! I loved the 4th picture down, It looks like the Trail goes off into the sky..wheeee!
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