The Northern Rain Forest

Mt. Hood summit

Last weekend we felt it was finally safe to visit Mt. Hood and get a closer look at this dormant volcano that always surprises me. You’re driving along and, bam! there’s a white peak sticking up on the horizon. Turn a corner in downtown Portland and there it is. It’s many miles away, but on a clear day it looks as if it’s just outside the city. And until recently we’ve kept our distance because we did not want to have to deal with putting chains on the car. Yes, there are convenient “chain up” areas, but that’s not my idea of a fun adventure!

Previous jaunts to the area had us closer to Mt. Hood but not as close as we wanted, so this time we chose a route that looped around the east side and then back west, choosing to make a stop to see what Government Camp (yes, the name of a town) is like. The answer is it’s a ski village that on the 5th of May still had snow on the ground and the sidewalk, and temperatures that had us digging our winter jackets and gloves out of the trunk.

Wahkeenah Falls, Oregon

Along the way we enjoyed the scenic route (not I-84) along the Columbia River, stopped at the Wahkeenah

Falls (not as high as Multnomah Falls  but also not as crowded), and found a road leading to a Mt. Hood ski area that brought us closer to our target. And I found that it’s not possible to get a photo that captures the mountain’s looming presence. Which does not keep me from trying, of course.

Trail through the rain forest at Wahkeenah Falls

There will be many more trips to the Cascade mountain range and Mt. Hood – I want to see the historic Timberline Lodge – but I will definitely wait until there is zero chance of snow on the ground. It’s beautiful country but also wild and unimpressed by mankind. And that’s as it should be.

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