Rambling around west side Mt Hood

For several days (3 nights), from a car campground (Lost Creek) I rambled around the west side of Mt Hood. This was the fourth consecutive year hiking on PCT, Timberline and other connected trails. Camping at Lost Creek, which was just a short <1/2 mile walk from Ramona Falls Trailhead, precluded additional driving to different trailheads … as long as one committed to the extra 4 miles every day getting to / from PCT.

Weather was odd, to say the least. Warm at night and cool during the day. Tuesday was cold and foggy, especially on the trail to McNeil Point. Wednesday was sunny, clear but not hot. Thursday welcomed the smoke from fires to the south (Lookout and Bedrock). Trail conditions were fabulous and well maintained; only the Yocum Ridge trail had considerable blowdowns. Human traffic was moderate on Timberline; heavy around Ramona Falls, and PCT traffic surprisingly thin.

After the 4 years, my tracks (many duplicates not shown) cover Mt Hood (Recorded tracks this year 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) – last year’s post.

One of the issues for some folks camping at Lost Creek and hiking Mt Hood … crossing Sandy River and Muddy Fork. Timberline loop hikers told me Elliot Creek was waist-high on 5’2″ person – and streams run highest later in the day. The ‘many log’ bridge, I crossed 8 times for the 5 different hikes and the latest at 6pm – no issues.

Ramona Falls

I ended up at Ramona Falls every one of the 4 days – only the last day was peaceful without dogs and humans crowding the space.

McNeil Point and NW side

For Tuesday, the intent was to hike from Ramona to McNeil Point and on further to Cairn Basin and potentially Barrett Spur. Heading up the ridge from Sandy River is switchback hell and the weather suggested a good day.

Unfortunately, the weather did not hold. By McNeil Hut, the weather turned cold, windy and wet fog – like coast of Maine.

Cairn Basin remained magical with fireweed blooming and not a human to be heard or seen – after a quick lunch at Ladd Creek, it was back down the hill.

Paradise Park

Wednesday’s ramble started at Ramona Falls th and went south back up from the Sandy to Paradise Park … then up the east spur. I had the entire mountain to myself until 1/2 down – I stopped for a rest around 7,200 elevation.

Along the way, views of the Sandy River valley hinted at the weather to come. While catching my breath climbing up from Sandy, this waterfall appeared as none other.

Looking up getting ready to walk up through the meadow. Flowers were popping!

Once through the meadows onto the scree fields, the views change. Paradise Park was spectacular in every way – just perfect.

Yocum Ridge

I did not make it out of the trees … after a long 6.5 miles up-hill from Ramona Falls th, I popped out. The air was heavy with smoke playing odd games w/ Mt Hood, and fatigue hit me. At my turn-around point, a dry pond with square edges – so weird. I would NOT recommend this trail.

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