While there really aren’t that many books out there that tell the story of Mount Hood — Jack Grauer’s essential “Mount Hood: A Complete History” and Fred McNeil’s “Wy’East: The Mountain” notwithstanding — there are quite a few great hiking books that can really show people how to get to know the mountain through exploration.
Among my favorites are three from Oregon author and lifelong hiker Douglas Lorain.
I first saw one of Doug’s slideshows probably 10 or 12 years ago at a regular meeting of the Ptarmigans, a Vancouver mountaineering club that has since gone on indefinite hiatus. It was all about his newest and maybe first book, “Backpacking Oregon.” Filled with trips all across the state, it also contains the definitive description and itinerary for the Timberline Trail on Mount Hood. Even though that hike, as mentioned yesterday, is supposedly no longer possible as a single loop, it was still in good shape in 2005, when Amy and I did it. “Backpacking Oregon” helped us plan our trip, stay on track, and have a memorable time.
Lorain is also the author of “Afoot & Afield: Portland/Vancouver, A comprehensive hiking guide.” It’s a thick tome of more than 200 hikes within an hour’s drive or so of the Portland metro region. I’ve barely tapped into it myself — there’s nearly 50 trips around Mount Hood alone — but it’s got some great, little-known excursions. Among my favorites: Cape Horn, a light 3-mile walk to the edge of some amazing cliffs on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge, and Hood River Mountain, an easy 3-mile loop just outside of Hood River with jaw-dropping views of the Hood River Valley, Mount Hood’s north face, the Columbia River, and St. Helens, Rainier, and Adams.
When I first got to Portland in 1997 and started backpacking every weekend, Amy and I talked about doing a backpacking guidebook full of the best trips you could fit into a single weekend. It seemed like the perfect guidebook for people who had just the standard two days off every week to get out of town. I missed my opportunity, but Lorain nailed it with “One Night Wilderness Portland: Quick and Convenient Getaways within Three Hours of the City.” Filled with more than 60 trips, including 12 on Mount Hood, this book is just what I’d had in mind — and what true weekend backpackers had been looking for.