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Mt. Hood: White River

This was not one of the more spectacular hikes I've been on recently. My dad really likes it though (he did it four times in 1998), so maybe there's just something wrong with me. One thing is I just don't like this side of the mountain as much as the north and east sides. This side is just kind of barren and uninteresting... but that's just my opinion, of course. Don't yell at me, saying how beautiful it is! I do think it's spectacular, just not compared to other options on the mountain. It also isn't very picturesque. The picture at the top of the page is the only decent picture I took on the whole hike, and I took that from the parking lot!

The hike starts out in a sparse white bark pine forest (after all it is at timber line), but since you start out by loosing 1000 feet the forest does get a bit more dense. At the low point of the hike, you have to cross one of the branches of the white river... which is often roaring. It can be pretty tricky, but don't cross unless it's safe. If you don't see a good spot don't take any chances, just keep walking up along the river and you'll eventually find a good spot. At that point, cut across to the first ridge and start heading up!

Once you hit 8,500 feet again the ridge levels out and that's where I stopped. I suppose you could continue on, but it's not as safe because the whole ridge is falling apart at that point and beyond. Once you're done eating up there (or just checking out the view), turn around and come back the same way!

On the way up the ridge there are a few different types of wild flowers which are pretty. Also off to the east you can see a fairly large water fall... you'd probably need a 2000mm lens to fill the frame with it though. If you have a nice pair of binoculars definitely bring them! The most enjoyable part of the hike was standing up top with some awesome Celestron binoculars looking into the crevasses on the mountain. Mounted on a tripod, this makes for fantastic viewing. Doing this is what made this hike worth while for me.

One distracting thing about this hike is for a lot of it you can see the ski lifts and the hundreds of people skiing on the mountain. If this doesn't bother you then great, but when I'm hiking I like to feel like I'm out in the wild, not in some tourist attraction.

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David Paris
Last modified: Mon Jul 26 21:53:11 PDT 1999