Thursday, June 16, 2016

Tom, Dick, and Harry Mountain

I screwed up my courage and headed off on another solo adventure - to Tom, Dick, and Harry Mountain. This is my first hike outside of the Gorge. It is a 6 mile hike, with 1700ft elevation gain, so the most strenuous hike I've done so far. It is up by Mt Hood, with spectacular views, and along the way you pass by Mirror Lake, with a beautiful reflection of Mt Hood. On a clear day, anyway.

The trailhead is right on Highway 26, so I found a spot and started walking. Among other firsts, I got to cross a scree slope, which I've always thought would be pretty scary, but the well-used trail was actually quite stable on the slope. I crossed several of these by the time I was done.



The trail continued on through lovely forests. Everything was a little muddy, because it had been raining, and was actually raining off and on during my hike. Enough that everytime I thought it was over and tried to take off my rain jacket, it would start sprinkling again. So I had my jacket and hat on the whole hike.




Notice the rhododendrons blooming along the trail - neat!


Finally I came to Mirror Lake, which is only a mile and a half in. This was a nice place to stop and rest a little, have a snack, and enjoy the view. That lump on top of the ridge straight ahead is where I'm going. At this point I was looking at it and thinking, no, there's really no way I'm going all the way up there! It looked pretty high from the lake.




I started to walk around the lake to see the view of Mt Hood, but I could tell it was clouded over. I got to the trail to Tom Dick and Harry and thought about it. No way, I'll never make it, I told myself. There was a family at the trail junction with three little kids, and they said 'you go ahead, we don't want to slow you down!' I thought, NO ONE has ever slowed ME down, I'm the slowest hiker out there! But seeing them was the push I needed, and I thought, I'll just go up the trail a ways and see what it looks like - I can always turn around when  I'm halfway tired.

Another first for me - hiking in a Wilderness area!


Bear Grass



A pretty view of the valley, but no mountain.




Pretty, whatever it is! I think it's Indian Paintbrush.




Still plugging along, another beautiful viewpoint, but no mountain.



Pretty little flowers,



Getting closer to the top. Still no mountain.




Funky moss on a rock.




I was stopped for a rest from the relentless uphill climb, and saw a couple coming downhill, so I chatted them up about the hike. They said it was worth it, and they got a view of the mountain at the top! But they warned me, I was about ten minutes from the rockpile, and after that it got 'climby'. Ok, not sure what that means...

Rockpile!



Oh, THAT'S what 'climby' means...




So, it looked like that off and on for the last 20 minutes, and then finally, I climbed up a rocky bit, and tah dah! On top of the world! Looking down on Mirror Lake - and no mountain.




Tom Dick and Harry is cool, look at all those rocks pushed together! I read it was formed through glacial action, as opposed to all the basalt/lava I've been seeing in the gorge.




There was another family at the top and I chatted with them. They were visiting from North Carolina, and they were eating lunch and hoping it would clear up and give them a view before they had to head back down.

Nope.



So I sat down against a boulder to eat my lunch..and it started SNOWING on me!!




The snow cleared up and I walked around and took some pictures. I think this is Columbine.




TD&H also has a beautiful view of Mt Jefferson to the south. On a clear day...




So my new friends and I took pictures for each other, and they reluctantly headed on down. Here I am with Mt Cloudy in the background.




Now I had the top of the world to myself, so I settled down on top of a boulder and decided to soak up the sun and rest a bit.




I closed my eyes and opened them when a raven flew by so close I could hear his feathers rustling! Cool. I closed my eyes again. So quiet. Just the wind...and some rocks clinking together. I heard it again. I was not alone up here!





Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels! There were two of them, running around. One even came up and sat right next to me on the boulder, and then took off before I could catch a selfie with him!




After about an hour of resting on the top, I decided to head back down. It was beautiful, and I can't wait to go back. On a clear day, next time!




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