Barrett Spur Sept 27-28, 2010

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Barrett Spur Sept 27-28, 2010

Post by raveneditions » September 30th, 2010, 10:10 am

A quick overnight trip to celebrate Indian Summer. Cascade blueberry, Sitka mountain-ash, and even some currants were flaming perfectly, up in the basins. There were a few blueberries left for picking.
elk cove_20100928_57.jpg
Where snow had lingered longest, there were still small-flowered paintbrush and broadleaf lupine in full bloom.
Up at tundra elevations (7,000'+) nothing much was in bloom but the foliage of the dwarf lupine and oval-leaf buckwheat was charming. These were gorgeous sunny days for Oregon, but there were puffy cumulus clouds clinging around the Cascade Crest, and they clung to Barrett Spur on the day I headed up, so Mt. Hood played peak-a-boo. Mostly boo.
hood 20100927_22.jpg
Along the ridgelines there were hundreds of bleached snags of whitebark pines, showcasing their windswept forms and massive size.
Some of them had one small branch still alive. Also there were plenty of small young whitebarks looking healthy, especially at the highest elevations. I failed to spot any symptoms of whitebark pine blister rust, so I don't know if that has been killing them, or something else. Yet it was clear from their form that most of the dead snags were whitebark pine.

Saw two elk, tons of elk track, ravens, hawks, and a falcon that looked too big for kestrel but I couldn't really i.d. as it zoomed past against the sky. Saw one other hiker. Saw very few mushrooms, even though the month has had rain and the ground was everywhere damp.

Social trails leading from Timberline Trail up to Barrett Spur are mostly obvious and heavily beaten. The more pleasant and pretty one, worth the extra distance in my view, goes up from Dollar Lake, following the ridgeline directly overlooking Elk Cove. (See the first photo, above.) The short one if you're coming from Vista Ridge (or Cathedral or Bald Mtn.) continues up Vista Ridge as it eventually turns into Barrett Spur. As far as the ridge crest is covered with conifers, it avoids them by staying on sandy scree east of the ridge crest. The conifer growth turns into very challenging windswept thickets in places.

Vista Ridge trail, with a nice coat of needles, didn't look beat up at all.

As for the drive to Vista Ridge TH, I went up via Zigzag and down via Hood River, and the time was about the same both ways, so I recommend via Hood River for being prettier—the orchards, and the Gorge. Being a few miles longer, it may consume a little more gas but save a little wear and tear on your vehicle. Make sure you have a good Forest Service map or directions for all the turns.

This was my first trip report. Next time I'll know to export the jpegs Large instead of Medium. These Medium ones have all the impact of the 19" Stonehenge.
"well man I just don't feel right without something on my back"
—Gary Snyder, back in the day

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Re: Barrett Spur Sept 27-28, 2010

Post by AlexanderSupertramp » September 30th, 2010, 10:13 am

Welcome to the site raveneditions. That is a fantastic first report, great pics too!

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Re: Barrett Spur Sept 27-28, 2010

Post by Peder » October 1st, 2010, 12:38 am

Welcome to the site and thanks for a great trip report. Barrett Spur is one of my favorite spots on Mt. Hood.
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Re: Barrett Spur Sept 27-28, 2010

Post by [email protected] » October 1st, 2010, 6:42 am

Nice report and pictures - thanks - I'm heading up there on Wednesday and hope for even better weather (we'll see) since the views up close to the glaciers are astounding.

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Re: Barrett Spur Sept 27-28, 2010

Post by Thomas M » October 1st, 2010, 9:42 pm

I was on summit of Barret spur on Sept 30.

The Mooney airplane wreckage (circa 1975) site and the wrecked airplane are visible to the naked eye from that vantage point. It lies two ridges to the east, is white and orange. Binoculars make it an easy find if you are patient and look carefully.

I'll try to get some pictures up soon.


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