[/caption] Beautiful hiking trails are abundant along Mt. Hood but one that really stands out is the Top Spur Trail! Even though some of the hiking trails that traverse along the Mt. Hood Wilderness can get pretty busy, the Top Spur Trail is a great trail route that takes you away from most of the congestion. The weekends can get pretty busy, like ALL of the trails but at least you will have less crowds to deal with and the views are second to none. You can pretty much choose your route and either head towards the summit, follow along the Pacific Crest Trail, hike to one of the shelter’s or hike to one of the many creeks that are born near the head waters of the many glaciers in the area. This photo was taken from the southern flank of Bald Mountain and since I wasn’t using a tripod I decided to get some of the wildflowers in the foreground. I knelt down as much as possible and made sure to get the mountain and as much of the flowers as I could but making sure that both the mountain and the wildflowers were in focus. There are dozens of waterfalls tumbling down from the cliffs as well as several species of butterflies and numerous wildflowers growing along the wilderness.
[/caption] A view of the North Sister mountain as you hike down one of the many cinder cones dotting the north side of the Three Sisters Wilderness. If you’re looking for a long day hike that will provide you with a taste of what the moon may look like, I would recommend that you hike some of the many trails on the north side of the Three Sisters wilderness. To get to one of these hiking trail’s, you will want to drive along the McKenzie highway (hwy242) and just look for a sign that shows the start of a hiking trail. One of my favorite hiking trails is the Scott Trail that starts near Scott Lake and is about 5 miles west of the Dee Observatory. You will want to make sure and bring plenty of mosquito repellent since the best time to hike the trail is July and the mosquito’s will eat you alive if you don’t come prepared. However, once you leave the meadows and forest floor and start to climb higher in elevation, the mosquito’s disappear. The official name of the Scott Trail is Four-In-Once Cone and it’s about a 9 mile round trip hike. However, you may want to continue hiking past 4 in 1 cone and continue until you get to the intersection of the PCT. You then have two options of either heading south towards the North Sister glacier/collier cone or heading north towards Yapoah Crater. If you’re doing a day hike, you will only have about an additional 1 or 2 miles of energy left so you’re pretty limited in your distance. Trust me, you will be pretty well spent and you have to make the journey back the same way you came. However, it’s mostly downhill but you will be pretty tired. You will also spend at least an hour taking photos of the ghostly and amazing landscape. You can see as far north as Mt. Adams if the sky’s are clear.
[/caption] An epic view of Mt. Hood and the Cascade wilderness from the summit of 4484′ SHEEPSHEAD ROCK. A great hike and a great view of the Cascades can be found along one of the many trails rooted in the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness. The best way to get to some of these views are to combine several trails and plan on a long hike. However, you won’t be disappointed in this awesome journey that allows some spectacular views of five mountain peaks. You will have to drive a few miles outside Estacada and wind your way through a bunch of clear cut but the drive is very easy and well marked. Along the trail there are several viewpoints and several 4,000′ plus summits that you can hike to but if you really want to stay on task and go as far as possible without wasting too much time, I would recommend hiking to the summit of Squaw Peak and then make the additional 3 mile hike to Sheepshead rock. If you have the additional energy, food, water and time, I would then recommend making the additional 3.5 mile one-way hike from sheepshead rock to the final viewpoint. However, you will end up hiking over 15 miles and you may be a little tired by the end of they day. This shot was taken from the top of sheepshead rock and I was facing southeast.
[/caption] This is the view from the top of Devils Peak with the pristine forest far below and as far as the eye can see. You can read about the trail and the area from my previous blog post. I wanted to include this photo since it’s the view you have from the summit of Devils Peak. You’re looking due south with great views of Mt. Jefferson as well as the top portion of Mt. Washington. However, I didn’t include the photo with the mountains since there are a lot of clear cut spots just below the mountains. I think that it really ruins part of the view as well as the serenity and solitude but at least the majority of the views are pristine for now. Unfortunately, the weather started to turn sower and the clouds really started to create too much glare. However, there were some sun breaks and it really created a nice look around the hilly forest. To get to this viewing spot you will need to hike past the lookout tower and walk a few hundred feet to the edge of a massive cliff. You really want to watch your footing and if you have a dog you may want to leash them since the fall would be fatal. If you stay at the edge of the cliff long enough, you may witness a bald eagle or a clan of Turkey Vultures soaring through the skies.
[/caption] A long and difficult trail takes you to the top of 5,045′ Devils Peak but the 3,200′ of elevation gain will really take a toll on you! The trail that takes you to the summit of Devils Peak is 8.2 miles round trip but the trail pretty much goes straight up without many even patches. However, even though the trail is steep and long, there is a spot where a very cool and refreshing creek runs over the trail. However, if you wait too long during the summer months, the creek may dry up. The forest service lookout tower is still standing but it’s no longer used for spotting forest fires. Backpackers or hikers are more likely to enter the worn down building. The views are stunning and offer some great views of the pristine forest that lies just to the south and west of Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Washington that loom in the distance. If you’re truly looking for a very demanding and strenuous hike, I would recommend this hike since you will destroy your hams and quads going up and destroy your knees going down. Plan on at least two days of recovery time and make sure to bring plenty of food and water since you will want to spend as much time at the top taking in the views. This shot was taken from about .3 miles below the summit and looking east. There is a great vantage point to view Mt. Hood and there are several small alpine wildflowers that dot the craggy basalt rocks. However, watch out for the ants because they’re everywhere.
[/caption] Dragon boats tied up along Portland’s marina with downtown Portland looming in the distance. Portland’s Rose Festival is just a few weeks away but there is plenty of traffic along the Willamette river as dragon boats racers gear up for the June 8th races. I was lucky to find a dozen of the boats moored along Portland’s marina without anyone inside them. I just walked around and looked for the best shot as they calmly swayed in the slow moving current. It also helped to have a sunny sky with absolutely no clouds or glare to hinder my photo opportunity.
[/caption] Panoramic view of Portland from Mt. Tabor offers some great photo opportunities as well as some great exercise hiking the winding trails. The water in the foreground is one of the three reservoir’s found in the Mt. Tabor park. The west hills are directly behind Portland and the houses in the foreground is part of east Portland or better known as the Hawthorne district. If you do decide to visit the park and expect to take some pictures of the city, you may want to be aware of the sun glare and the relative distance between you and Portland. Due to the distance and the sun, you will find that taking a photo with your camera in a horizontal position can and will probably create a more drab image than if you position your camera in the vertical position. By turning a camera sideways, photographers achieve a vertical photograph in order to further limit the field of vision. Having the camera in a horizontal position won’t achieve the same effect. Basically, the light that enters your camera sensor in the vertical position is more ideal than in a horizontal position. This isn’t always true in other settings, and mostly just the opposite but due to the fact that the sun is at a left angle, at about 90 degrees, and due to the distance between the foreground and the background, vertical photos have a much better chance of looking more crisp. You should try it out for yourself and find out. I’ve been visiting Mt. Tabor for several years and I’ve concluded that my vertical shots look a hundred times better than my horizontal shots and I’ve pretty much concluded that it’s due to the reasons I just explained. I’m sure that someone else has a different theory but this is the best that I could come up with.
[/caption] This is the view of Portland from the Broadway bridge. The Broadway bridge offers some of the best views of the city but you need to make sure to get here before 10:30 am since the sun travels directly behind the city and the river, which causes too much glare and back light. This photo was taken at around 10:07 am and the sun was at about a 90 degree angle in the upper left corner. I was positioning the camera towards the SW part of the city and I was standing at about the middle part of the bridge span. The are some spots where you can find shade, to eliminate most of the glare, but if you get there early enough you won’t have to worry about the sun glare as much. Every bridge, in Portland, offers some great views and awesome photo opportunities but the Broadway bridge gives you the best bang for your buck.
[/caption] Beautiful night shot of Mt. Hood and Portland lighting up the night sky on a rare warm April evening. This photo was taken from the grounds of the Pittock Mansion and as you can see, the trees that had blocked parts of this view for several decades were recently removed so now you can get the shots that us Portland photographers have been dreaming about. This shot was taken at about 9:00pm, about 45 minutes after sunset and I still had my CIR-PL and warming filter attached in order to increase the shutter speed to 8 seconds.
[/caption] Perfect sunny but cool afternoon day looking over downtown Portland, Oregon with the snow and clouds hovering in the distance. This photo was taken just a few weeks ago so the vegetation in fairly dormant but the snow in the foothills of the Cascades are creeping ever so close to the Metropolitan area of Portland. The weather, during the month of March, can be very unpredictable but sunny days can offer some great photo opportunities. This photo was taken from the South West part of the city and looking North East with the Lloyd district in the distance.