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fjparis | profile | all galleries >> Galleries >> Pinnacle Ridge Trail Dead Ends, Mt. Hood, Oregon, U.S.A. 2015 08 (Aug) 05 tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Pinnacle Ridge Trail Dead Ends, Mt. Hood, Oregon, U.S.A. 2015 08 (Aug) 05

This hike is not what I wanted to do. I wanted to take the Vista Ridge Trail to Dollar Lake on the spectacular north side of Mt. Hood. The instructions I had for getting to the trailhead was from Google Maps, and I studied the instructions diligently and followed them religiously (I thought), but I was shocked to see that the last gravel road in the instructions ended two miles short of the directions and ended at the Pinnacle Ridge Trailhead. I had not done any research on this trail, other than to notice that it existed. A sign near the trailhead said that it ended at the Timberline Trail after 3.4 miles. But perhaps after about 2.5 miles, the trail completely petered out in a maze of brush and blow downs. I was forced to turn back prematurely, getting back to the car at least two hours before I would have, had I actually reached the Timberline Trail. Nevertheless this trail was colorful and photogenic, resulting in good photos.

For the most part, this trail is not a pleasant traverse. It is mercilessly steep in many spots, and also tediously rocky with occasional big steps. It reminded me of Dog Mountain in the Columbia Gorge. Its "saving grace" (if an outing that fails to find the car route to my intended destination and the trail I did find fails to deliver its promised destination, instead just petering out in brush and blow downs) is that it only climbed about 1,500 feet and involved a mere 5 miles round trip (that took over five hours -- slow going). So there were merciful stretches of more modest grade.

For the most part, the trail passes through a burn full of contrasts that took place only four years ago. The brush has really grown up and in some spots young evergreens have sprouted up, some over 10 feet high.

I had another one of those scary experiences that taught me a new danger I have to avoid in the future. There was a creek crossing on a log that had been planed flat for walking, but it was only a foot wide and too high above the creek for me to use my trekking poles for balance. So I had to put one foot directly in front of another and because of my aging loss of a reliable sense of balance, I started losing it close to the end of the log bridge and started falling forward which caused me to start running frantically to the end, where I saw a tree i could fall against. Otherwise, it would have been a disastrous 8 foot fall into the rocky creek below. Lesson learned: don't cross creeks on narrow logs. That is a no-no now. On my return to the same spot, it was a simple matter of crossing the creek directly in the shallow water. It was low enough so that I didn't top my boots.

Another mishap: while standing still taking photos of one of the pinnacles, I suddenly lost my balance and fell backwards. Unfortunately, I was free-holding my camera and flung it into some rocks. Fortunately, it's the Olympus top of the line camera and lens and both survived. 8/6/2015 05:45 AM I must have strained my neck during this fall, because now the left side of my neck is very stiff. First "injury" I've had on a hike in a long time.

Total hiking time: 5 hours, 25 minutes, and 17 seconds. Started the hike at 8:12 AM. Milestones:
1. 0:11:59.76 hiking o'clock (11 minutes and 59.76 seconds after starting the hike): spent this time taking pictures of the dead north side of Mt. Hood, which exhibits the incredible Coe Glacier. Got good shots of it.
2. 1:50:26 o'clock (1 hour, 38 minutes, and 26 seconds after the previous milestone): stopped for a rest, lunch, and sunscreen.
3. 2:19:53 o'clock (29 minutes and 27 seconds after the previous milestone): resumed the hike.
4. 3:16:16 o'clock (56 minutes and 22.43 seconds after the previous milestone): ran out of trail! The trail just faded out and disappeared and I was forced to turn around.
5. 5:25:17 o'clock (2 hours, 9 minutes, and 1 second after the previous milestone): Arrived back at the car.

Took 166 photos of which 87 made the cut.
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