Oregon's big mountain
It was overcast and damp when we left Troutdale this morning. We found Hwy 26 and made our way toward the Mt. Hood recreational areas. There was a good bit of traffic heading that way, lots of cars with snow boards on the roof. As we climbed higher we could see there was still plenty of snow in the higher elevations. We climbed into the clouds and realized we might not get to see Mt. Hood, but you sure can’t control the weather. After Blue Box Pass, elevation 4,024’, we descended into the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. First we drove through thick woods, then beautiful pastures with many horses grazing, then up into high desert and rocky mesas. What wonderful vistas. Off to the west we could snow-covered Mt. Jefferson at 10,497’. At some point we recrossed the 45th
parallel, halfway between the equator and the north pole. Bob called us on the radio and told us to look back and find a spot to pull over so we could see Mt. Hood. The sun had finally dispersed most of the clouds (just a few were left way up at the top.) Mt. Hood is the tallest mountain in Oregon at
11,239’. There were quite a few snowy mountains in the Cascade Range to our west. The easiest to pick out were the 3 Sister Mountains, each over 10,000’.
We stopped at Newberry National Volcanic Monument, which we hadn’t known existed until we saw it on the map. There they preserved a huge caldera, encompassing 17 square miles. It hasn’t erupted in 1,300 years and is considered to be historically low in seismicity (I like that word.) It has a large cinder cone and lots of lava and obsidian. Actually its volume is 20 times that of Mt. St. Helens’.
We’ve eased on down to Crescent, where we are camped for tonight. Tomorrow we head to Crater Lake NP.
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