Day 284 – Mount Hood – Columbia River Gorge Loop, September 26, 2011
We awoke to another dreary day which kept me from any hikes
first thing in the morning. Just along
the highway, we made our first stop at the reconstructed Barlow Road Tollgate. Opened by Sam Barlow in 1846, this passageway was the first toll road on the Oregon Trail.
Prior to the opening, pioneers had to convert their covered wagons into
rafts and ride the rapids of the Columbia River. Travelers paid 25 cents to pass through the
gate and meeting the toll man was even a social occasion as they hadn’t seen
anyone for miles.
After visiting the tollgate, we turned off the highway to
follow a road to the north that climbs six miles past a handful of waterfalls
to Timberline Lodge for a close up view of Mount Hood. The lodge was built during the Great
From the lodge, we returned to the highway and continued
east through the forested mountains to Trillium Lake. The drizzle had subsided, so Petey and I
strolled around the lake’s edge while a few folks tried their luck at
fishing. On a sunny day, Oregon’s
highest peak (Mount Hood) reflects in its waters. Today was a different story. The cloud covered Mount Hood wasn’t distinguishable
in the lake’s rippling surface.
After our short walk, we turned south toward Bend. Within ten miles, we had gone from the lush,
fern covered forest to golden prairies peppered with lava rock as the cool,
damp air turned warm. We reached Bend
after a 100 mile drive and stopped at Lava Lands where we spiraled up a road
that wrapped around Lava Butte, a cinder cone standing 500 feet above sea level. The windy summit offered superb views of the
surrounding desert and cinder cones.
I wandered around the summit for a few minutes before taking
cover from the whipping wind and headed toward Benham Falls, four miles
south. Petey and I took a lovely walk
across a bridge and along the Deschutes River though we never found the
falls. We did, however, find a river
ruler at the trailhead. The cableway,
installed in 1905, measured the river’s flow.
A little further south we found Lava Cast Forest. The lava cast forest was formed over 6,000 years
ago when Newberry Volcano erupted.
Pahoehoe lava flowed into the forest and as it cooled and encased the trees in
stone. Holes known as tree molds are
left in the lava. New shrubs and trees
are now trying to take hold in this lava covered area.
From the lava forest, we retraced our tracks back to Bend to watch the ugly
Cowboy/Redskin football game at a bar conveniently located across from a