Red Butte Via Duffy Lake

The night air was cool and we flipped on our headlamps in the parking lot and started the trail to Duffy Lake. The sun had just set and we were hoping to meet our friends at Duffy Lake before they turned in for the night. We moved quickly, dodging six large toads and a snake that were bedding down on the trail. We made good time, but it was too late. The sun had been down for about an hour, and everyone who was camping had retired to their tents for the night. We tried to remember what our friends’ tents looked like, but we couldn’t. It should go without saying that there was no cell service.

We decided to make camp in a flat-ish area that didn’t seem too close to any other campers, and spent the night sliding towards the bottom of the tent. When I got up, I realized that Joanna’s hunch from the night before was right: we were set up right in the middle of the trail. We hurriedly broke down the tent and packed up, ready for a lengthy excursion to find our friends. But we only made it another sixty feet before I saw my friend Angela. We had walked right by their site the night before! We made camp, once again, and had breakfast.

That day, we hiked to the top of Red Butte, with great views of the Sisters, Mt Washington, Three Fingered Jack and Mt Jefferson, and then made a detour on our return to visit Santiam Lake for a quick swim before returning to Duffy Lake. The mosquitoes were bad, but the company was good.

My photography has been feeling a little stale lately. I brought along my portrait lens on this one to mix things up.

Tilly Jane to Elk Cove

Mt Hood never fails to impress. This weekend, we tackled a new hike starting at the Tilly Jane A-Frame cabin that took us down into and up over several moderate valleys (one of which included one of the tougher stream crossings we have ever done). With wildflowers popping at every turn, it really felt like being back on a canyon trail in the Tetons.

Note to self: A can of dolmas and three bars between us are NOT sufficient for a rigorous hike like this one was!

Gnarl Ridge and Lemberson Butte from Hood Meadows

A ninety-plus-degree forecast seemed like a strong case to venture into our most immediate alpine zone. Joanna picked this one, which started as a trail to elk meadows, which I have visited in the past. But after making a detour for an actual view of the meadow (and not being able to capture a single decent photo of it), we headed into uncharted territory. It wasn’t a particularly difficult hike, just enough of an incline to remind me that I am still far from my fitness goals for the year.

The wildflowers were in full swing, and we were looking for a side trail to the summit of Lemberson Butte (after failing to locate the side trail the summit of Potato Butte last weekend), but we missed it, and suddenly and unceremoniously we found ourselves in the alpine zone with a dramatic view of Mt Hood, Newton Creek Canyon, and everything in between. Joanna teetered on the edge for long enough to make me nervous, and then we doubled back and summited Lemberson Butte for an even grander view. The weather was actually very mild, with the cool breeze that had lured us out from Portland.

Our return was uneventful, but a spectacular look at time, physics and geology in progress.