Sunday, May 20, 2012

Dog Mountain

       I've been here three weeks and all I can say is... the Pacific Northwest is beautiful.  Maybe it's because my mom was born here and I'm half Oregonian.  Maybe it's because I just came from 4 months in the desert.  Maybe it's because my family is here and they make me happier than an place ever could.  Whatever the reason, I'm loving it...even when it rains!
      This weekend me and some of my aunts and cousins went for a hike up Dog Mountain, near Carson, WA.  It is in the Columbia River Gorge and the views are breathtaking.  From the parking lot, it looks like this...

        Already pretty nice!  It's about 3.5 miles to the top and a 2800 feet elevation gain.  Believe me, my legs are feeling it today.  The reason to go on this hike, especially now, is the wildflowers.  The first 0.7 miles are all through forest.  There are lots of switch backs and steep climbs, but there are little tidbits of a view and lots of little flowers start to peek out.

At the 0.7 mile mark you get a choice...

Naturally, we chose longer but less difficult.  This was the flattest part of the whole gig, which isn't saying too much, but there were lots of tall trees and old forest to wonder about.  Not too many flowers, but wait for it...

All of a sudden, you round this corner and get to this huge field of beautiful yellow flowers.  They are called balsamaroot, but look like small sunflowers.

We stopped here for lunch and to enjoy the view...

We kept climbing and I think this was the hardest stretch.  It was steep, but we were getting so close that it powered us up.  We took it slower than the average group, but enjoyed the flowers and the views.

 As the name implies, there were lots of dogs on top.  We shared our snacks and water and had a fun time.  As you can see, some pups were more energetic than others, but they all made it to the top.

You can just barely see Mt. Hood, although it blends in with the clouds.  Across the Gorge you can see Mt. Definance and to the south, Mt. Adams.

Something I loved about the flowers were the different layers of growth.  There were the huge balsamaroot flowers that grew tall, but upon closer inspection, there were little while puffs, dark purple blooms, orange paintbrushes, and the tiniest blue petals.

 So many beautiful things to enjoy.  The descent was much faster, as usual, but not exactly easier.  I've always heard you get more sore from going down hill than up.  It was the perfect day and to top it off, we got some ice-cream in a little town called Stevenson.  So cute and such a good way to end it all.

If you're planning a hike, check out these sites for more info:

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