White River Loop (Mt. Hood) 10-12-21

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White River Loop (Mt. Hood) 10-12-21

Post by bobcat » October 13th, 2021, 2:40 pm

I figured Tuesday was possibly the last day to get to any elevation on Mt. Hood before the snow came in that evening. Also nursing a gimpy knee, I chose a more leisurely route that explored a loop I’d never tried before.

From the White River West SnoPark, I headed up a track alongside the multi-channeled debris-ridden course of the White River, first up on a levee created after the last major washout (you can see the river wants to eat its way through this) and then a moraine ridge dotted with lodgepole pines. A small snowbaby was my first of the season. When I reached the Timberline Trail, I went right for a look up the valley and spotted a coyote foraging among the rubble.

White River and Mt. Hood, White River West.jpg
View to the Steel Cliffs, White River West.jpg
Snowperson, White River West.jpg

Then I turned up the Timberline Trail heading for Boy Scout Ridge. The tread had one or two inches of recent snow, and almost immediately I found myself following bear tracks. The bear left the trail near the ridge crest before I came to the junction with the PCT.

Huckleberries, Timberline Trail at White River.jpg
Bruin tracks, Timberline Trail at White River.jpg
Timberline Trail above White River.jpg

I took the PCT up to a view across to Timberline Lodge and then a point where I could see a waterfall on the White River’s west source and remnants of the “buried forest,” the remains of conifers interred by pyroclastic flows from Mt. Hood about 250 years ago and subsequently disinterred by the action of the White River.

Mt. Jefferson from the Pacific Crest Trail.jpg
Bonney Butte from the Pacific Crest Trail.jpg
Looking to the White River Glacier, Pacific Crest Trail.jpg
Timberline Lodge from the Pacific Crest Trail.jpg
Waterfall and remnants of buried forest, Pacific Crest Trail.jpg

Then I returned down Boy Scout Ridge on the PCT, getting views under high clouds to Mt. Jefferson and Faith, Hope, and Charity before passing into an old forest of mountain hemlock and subalpine fir.

Mt. Hood rearing, Pacific Crest Trail.jpg
Conifer skeletons, Pacific Crest Trail.jpg
Fir and hemlock forest, Pacific Crest Trail.jpg
Huckleberry corridor, Pacific Crest Trail.jpg

When I reached the well-signed junction with the Yellow Jacket Ski Trail, I followed an obvious route back to the White River. Almost immediately, I surprised a small herd of elk (their tracks followed the trail in the opposite direction from mine). Unlike most cross-country ski corridors, there is an actual hiker/elk trail here but also a few downed trees, although it seems to get logged out from time to time. I turned down an ATV track used by crews to service a powerline, crossed a PGE bridge, and emerged just above the SnoPark.

Junction with Yellow Jacket Ski Trail, Pacific Crest Trail.jpg
Through the huckleberries, Yellow Jacket Ski Trail.jpg
Boggy meadow, Yellow Jacket Ski Trail.jpg
Footbridge, Yellow Jacket Ski Trail.jpg
Bridge over South Fork Mineral Creek, Yellow Jacket Ski Trail.jpg
Mt. Hood from White River West.jpg

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Re: White River Loop (Mt. Hood) 10-12-21

Post by Chip Down » October 13th, 2021, 5:02 pm

There's so much I still haven't explored in that area, especially down low. Some day.

Great time of year to hike that zone. No bugs, no crowds, a bit of snow, not too hot. An inspiring report. I'd call in sick to work Friday, but I have a new job, and that wouldn't look good.

I wondered what a snowbaby was, but then saw the pic. :lol:

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Re: White River Loop (Mt. Hood) 10-12-21

Post by Splintercat » October 27th, 2021, 5:12 pm

Nice report, John! I'm a bit surprised to see bear prints up near timberline, but I did see a LOT of mountain ash berries (and associated scat on the trail) when I was over in the Newton Clark area a couple weeks ago, so I suppose they're still chowing down on those..?

-Tom :)

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