For over a decade now I've lived with Mt Hood looming on the distant horizon. The massive scale shapes the morning sun as its rays ascend over the tall dormant volcano. Its an obvious land mark to anyone bothering to look up from their own two feet. Since those first days my curiosity had me wondering what lies beyond the safe borders of lodges and developed roadways, high up at the timberline and beyond.
The years brought short treks to explore small areas of the mountain, mainly accessible by the infamous Mt Hood Timberline Trail. On those summer treks it was the norm to come across a loaded down, dirt battered hiker who was circumnavigating the trail from beginning to end around the entire mountain. 39 miles is an endeavor for your average weekend backpacker, demanding confidence and drive within oneself to push forward, climbing and descending in elevation in and out for days at a time; All the time never really looking back to where you came from but walking towards what has yet to come.
It was inevitable that I would make that journey myself one day, pushing the boundaries of what I knew I could achieve and taking in every bit of what Mt Hood has to offer those of us lucky enough to gain access to its various and sometimes dangerous terrain. The views are many, but require overcoming a surplus of hazardous glacier crossings, steep trails, river fords, and loose rock faces to climb. Mid summer of 2016 the conditions began to shape up nicely. The time was right for taking on this adventure. With a simple mention of my intentions Nate Betteker knew it was something he wanted to be a part of and share in the stories of trials and tribulations.
From beginning to end we covered 42 miles, 3 days and 3 nights in the elements. It was physically and mentally demanding, but in the end we took so much more away than we gave to this Northwest beacon. The Photo gallery below tells the tale, all angles of Mt Hood beginning and ending from the Timberline Lodge on the south side of the mounatin.