Hardy ridge, Apr 26th

Hardy Ridge is an area that has some fairly new trails. About two or three years ago I remember volunteering with the Washington trail Association (WTA) to build one of the connector trails in that area. After that I never went back to check it out. Looking at the weather forecast, Val and I noticed that it was going to be rainy and quite crappy pretty much everywhere. We still wanted to get out and do some hiking so this came to mind. The trail system is actually some old jeep roads and connector trails that open two approaches to the upper trail that leads to the top of Hardy Ridge. The most common way to do this hike is up one way and back the other so it’s an out and back with a loop in the middle. I guess we can call this a candy hike instead of a lollipop. The hike itself is not very difficult and offers some pretty nice rewards. With the weather we thought that we would not see anything but where surprised to be just under the cloud ceiling. From our side we could see the gorge and the rain going from one place to another. At some point we got some pretty dark clouds on top of us but never a drop of rain. We got lucky. It was a great day out.



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Dog Augspurger loop, Apr 12th

This is the hike that never fails, unless you have really bad weather in the Gorge. Soon after you start you get to the first open vistas of the Columbia Gorge and the further you go, the better they get. On this particular instance, we were a bit early for the wild flower display when the side of the mountain is painted bright yellow. That would have been a bonus. We did the normal way up to the summit were we found tons of people. On the way down though, instead or retracing our steps, we did the slightly longer route taking the Augspurger trail back. That gave us a bit of different scenery and fewer hikers. Splendid day



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West Zigzag Mountain, Apr 6th

If you are looking for a hike that can be clearly described as a training hike, this one is it. Actually is almost like this trail should not have the name Zigzag attached to it. With that I’m not saying it is a really nice hike but if you are expecting the views you would get from any of the other approaches to Zigzag then you are in for disappointment… or a much longer hike. The trail starts from the lowest point of the ridge on the west side very close to Lolo Pass road so access is very easy and fast. Once you start, it doesn’t take long for the innumerable switchbacks to get repetitive. In the first couple of miles, the trail climbs steeple towards the ridge but it never stops ascending. At some point and once you’re on the ridgeline it becomes more gradual. From the map it would seem you get some views but if there are any, is from within the trees and mostly down towards Rhododendron. The west Zigzag summit is the first “destination” to which you do most of the elevation. The day Val and I did this hike weather was not cooperating much so we opted for turning around at his point and retracing our steps back to the car. If you continue on this trail, eventually you get to the open ridge that does offer magnificent views of t Hood



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Dome Rock, Mar 22nd

I found this hike by chance and what a surprise it was. While looking at some recent trip reports in several hiking sites, I found one that was particularly interesting. It wasn’t about Dome Rock but a saddle and a ridge line right across from it. I started looking at maps and soon found the saddle they were talking about. Then, in one of the pictures the pointed out that it was Dome Rock across the valley. I also found that on the map and noticed a trail which prompted me to research a bit more and plan this hike. Getting there couldn’t be easier. While other hikes require some complex directions sometimes driving on forest roads with no signs, this trailhead starts from a highway pull off. The first part follows an old service road along Tumble Creek. Soon after you start, a trail veers off to the right and climbs towards the ridge and things change. For a while the trail meanders thru the forest gaining elevation quite rapidly until everything opens up with a side view of Detroit Lake and the ridges around Tumble Lake higher up. But these views are just a teaser of what’s coming. Several switchbacks after and some interesting rock formation appear as you go. Then the trail takes a weird turn and the angle of the views change direction. Another opening, very similar to the first one offers views of Mt Jefferson, three Finger Jack, Sisters, Coffin Mountain and all the other peaks in that area. We had a hard time naming the different mountains we could see. Finally we got to a fork and our last push to the summit of Dome Rock. At this point the trail becomes exposed as it circles a couple of times and climbs the on a narrow path towards the top. Once there, it easy to understand why there used to be a fire lookout tower there. We stopped there for Lunch having trouble deciding in which direction to sit. Views were spectacular.



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Huckleberry Mountain via Boulder Ridge, mar 15th

Huckleberry Mountain in the Mt Hood wilderness is one of those very rewarding destinations. I’ve done this hike several times both from Boulder Ridge and once via the Bonanza trail. Either approach is great although this one has easier access and parking as it starts from the Wildwood recreation site of hwy26. The first part of the hike goes thru several switchbacks on a very woodsy forest. There are not many views in that area but if the sky is clear and the sun coming in at an angle, you get that magic yellow glow as light filters thru the trees. We were lucky to have that this day. Then, just when you feel you’re breathing hard, you get to the first view point. If you’re not looking you may miss it as it’s a bit off trail. This view point was put there by nature – there’s a tree and a ledge where you can sit down and just enjoy the views of the Salmon River valley, Zigzag, Zigzag Mountain and Mt hood. If that was not enough, we were lucky enough to be there on one of those occasions that a big lenticular cloud is forming on top of the mountain giving it a very impressive hat. At a point it actually looked like a funnel that you could see from underneath. After a while we continued our climb thru the forest until we got to the ridge. At that point we were on compressed snow and limited views of the mountain behind us. Shortly after that we got to the saddle, our destination. This is not the actual Huckleberry Mountain summit which is a couple hundred yards beyond this point, but this is where the views are. We stopped there for a nice lunch with a fantastic view before retracing our steps back to our cars. Having done this destination from two different trailheads begs the question; can we combine the two and do a long thru hike? Stay tuned, it may happen



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