On Mount Hood
It’s been almost 14 years since Amy and I left South Lake Tahoe — after an eight-month-stint there —and rolled up Highway 101 to check out Portland with some friends who’d moved there from Ohio. We’d plowed into town on a day rife with clouds and sun breaks, and I remember clearly catching sight of Mount Hood for the first time ever along the Terwilliger Curves of I-5. For anyone who’s seen Mount Hood, it’s not a sight that’s easily forgotten.
Almost from the get-go, we started exploring the mountain, hiking its trails, warming up at Timberline Lodge, camping in the mountain’s shadow. You can’t live within driving distance of a peak like Mount Hood and not be drawn to it. Within two years, I’d climbed to its summit, which can be an incredible experience.
Since then, I’ve been to the top three more times, climbed at cool places near its base like Frenches Dome and Bulo Point, and had an epic hiking trip around the beast with Amy and my black Lab, Oliver, in 2005. I’ve also taken so many out-of-towners up to Timberline Lodge, hiked the Salmon Creek and Cooper Spur and McNeil Point trails again and again, and otherwise gotten to know this mountain in a way that I never thought I would.
A couple years after first seeing Mount Hood, stricken with mountain fever, I read a fabulous book about Mount Rainier called “The Measure of a Mountain” by Bruce Barcott. To me, it read like the biography of a mountain, and when I finished reading it, I felt like I’d gotten to know that mountain. At the time, Amy suggested that I write a similar book about Mount Hood. An aspiring writer back then, I didn’t think I had it in me.
More than a decade later, it turns out, I did. But beyond just the book, I really feel that Mount Hood has so much going on, so much to appreciate and enjoy, that a site like this is more than merited.
So that’s how and why I’m kicking off this one. Enjoy.