In mid August, my good friend Steve from Minneapolis (soon to be Duluth, where he will be starting med school in the fall) came over to Oregon to visit for a while. Most of the time we hung around the Corvallis area, but we set aside one day for a trip to Mount Hood. We left early Wednesday morning, and after a 4.5 hour drive, we arrived at the Cloud Cap campground at about 6,000 feet. Our trail started here. The drive to this point was long, but very scenic. We followed the Columbia Gorge east from Portland, then went south to the north side of Hood. The hike we had planned is called the "Cooper Spur loop." It is only about 3 miles long, but climbs 3000 feet. We started out in forest, and after an hour or so we came up above the tree-line. We had a great view of the surrounding valley and the peak of Mount Hood. There was another hour or so of hiking through an area of wildflowers and large boulders. We then came to volcanic sand and smaller boulders. We followed this difficult terrain up a ridgeline to the end of our hike at 9,000 feet. We had great views of Hood and its glaciers. The hike was a lot of fun, and very taxing. Especially toward the end, as we approached the end of the trail. The air is thin enough at 9,000 feet to have a noticeable effect. The last hundred vertical feet took us 30 minutes alone. We could only climb for 30 seconds, then we would have to stop and rest for another 30 seconds. You just couldn't get a proper breath. I started to get a headache from the altitude as well. We hung around the peak for 20 minutes or so, had some food and took a lot of pictures, then started our descent. The trip down went fast, only 2 hours, as compared to 4 hours on the way up. It was a really great experience. I really love doing that kind of stuff and Steve was a great companion.
The other set of pictures in this entry are from when Christy and Anders went to go see a hot air balloon launch in Albany. Lots of cool pictures by Christy.