Traveling Oregon: Mt. Hood

This is the second in a series of posts and videos about our summer 2012 visit to Oregon.

We traveled from Portland through Sandy, Oregon via a scenic byway where we saw our first mule deer of the trip as well as plenty of twists and turns and farms along the way. As we approached Government Camp and Mt. Hood from the west and south, we caught brief glimpses of this highest peak in Oregon in between miles of green forest-lined road. Mt. Hood is the only year-round ski area in Oregon, and the snowboarders were flocking to it on this day.

When we arrived at Timberline Lodge on the morning of June 14th, we learned that a very experienced climber had fallen from about the 10,000-ft. mark and died. The rescue, or rather recovery effort, was underway. It was sad news, but I can’t think of a better way to die than doing something you love. We watched with fascination as the recovery team did its work 4000 feet above us.

We spent some time exploring the beautiful, historic Timberline Lodge, built in the 1930’s as a “make work project” after the Depression. It was dedicated in 1937 by Franklin Roosevelt. When you wander through it and look at the construction, you wonder how such an massive structure got built way back then. It is truly remarkable. When you visit, be sure to check out the restaurants – the food at the Ram’s Head Bar is first rate!

Instead of staying there, though, we stayed in Government Camp down the mountain. It’s so named due to the U.S> Mounted Riflemen getting bogged down in mud and snow and abandoning 45 wagons and losing 100’s of cows and mules at this spot.  It’s now a cute little community that caters to people who come to Mt. Hood to play – mostly skiers, snowboarders, and in the summer, hikers and bikers. If you go, eat at the Ratskellar Alpine Bar and Pizzeria! Great people, great food, great beer!

While in the area we hiked two trails that were recommended to us – the Mirror Lake Trail and the Trillium Lake Trail. Mirror Lake Trail was a beautiful switchback-filled trail up the mountain to the lake, where you get a surprise view of the top of Mt. Hood. It was a great birding spot, too, by the way. Trillium Lake Trail is a little further north off Hwy 26 and is a relatively flat trail around the edge of the lake with magnificent views of Mt. Hood. Popular with the locals probably due to ease of access and fishing opportunities.

This video shows some of the highlights of our Mt. Hood experience – enjoy!

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