The Eastern Reaches of Mt Hood National Forest

On the tail end of a period of hot spring weather in the valley, the far eastern reaches of the Mt Hood National Forest is a pleasant place to be where higher elevations drop the temperature and flowers are in bloom. The area east of Surveyors Ridge and Lookout Mountain shows the rapid change from the wetter spruce, hemlock, and fir forests to the dry pine and oak forests of the east. The trail from Fifteen Mile Camp travels along Fifteen Mile Creek, descending east to exemplifies this transition. I spent some time this week exploring over 55 miles of trails, old or decommissioned roads, and off-trail routes through the forests.

From Bottle Praire, I explored the loop around Eightmile Creek that passes by the Five Mile Butte Fire Lookout, before following the creek up through the forest recovering from fire long ago to views at Five Mile Butte.

A great 26 mile wandering exploration of the Fifteen Mile Unit took me east and then up on to the lonesome and dusty Springer Road to overlook the drainage. There are some great cliffs in the area to look out over, and I returned back into the draining following a logging road that had been thoroughly decommissioned with all culverts pulled and lots of earth moved about to close it. It had some great views though, and not too much impediments to crawl over. The weather this day really brought the effect of Mt Hood's rainshadow to realization. I could see the cloud systems smashing against Mt Hood and dropping rain near Surveyors Ridge and Lookout Mountain. The clouds ascended, and scattered, leaving only fine spritzes of mist in the sunshine and blue sky.

A view of the rain shadow effect on the landscape