Saturday, July 21, 2012

Day 1 "Cascade Huts" Hut-to-hut mountain bike around Mount Hood, Oregon. It is a mountain, after all.

The description that we were given by Cascade Huts, the operator of our hut-to-hut adventure around Mount Hood, for Day 1 said "27 miles from downtown Hood River to Surveyors Hut. The trip begins with a few beautiful miles through the Columbia River gorge. After passing the town of Mosier, the elevation continues to increase until you reach the surveyors Ridge Hut at an elevation of 4100 feet."

27 miles on mostly paved, gravel, and dirt forest service roads, no problem. Ha!

We started out the ride at about 10:30 a.m. in the town of Hood River, fresh, and sporting our team jerseys.

 We rode a paved trail/old road called the Columbia River Highway Trail (I think) for about 4 miles, taking in nice views of the Columbia River.
Drew and the Columbia River

 The gang overlooking a cross section of a shield volcano (see, I can still work in geology even though all that vegetation was conspiring to hide it from me on most of the trip.) Photo by T&M.

A cool tunnel on the trail.

We stopped at 10-Speed East Coffee House in Mosier, for our last taste of non-canned food.
10-Speed East Cafe.

 Trav and Meg enjoy a sandwich.

Shelly loves hummus.

After lunch the real work of the trip began.

We climbed out of Mosier into the Cascade Mountains in a long, long paved road.

But the paved road soon gave way to gravel or dirt and lots of elevation. Now we would be on mostly dirt forest service roads for 4 days.

Travis always has a funny face.

 Dang, that is steep!

 A nice logging trucker asked us if we wanted our picture taken.  Was he just lonely?

Our first great view of Mount Hood. Stunning! Especially after 3 hours of climbing in the heat. 

Drew and Lucy.

 Shelly and Jim.

Meghan and Trav. Photo by T&M.

While we were climbing and climbing and CLIMBING, we would occasionally get to vistas of the spectacular scenery.

 Here, to the left of the big dead tree in the middle, is Mount Saint Helens. Hard to see in the picture, but we saw it with our own eyes!

 The pointy peak you can see in the center of the photo is Mount Adams. The shield volcanoes of the Cascade Range are awesome!

 This was a key spot in navigation.  The directions we were given by Cascade Huts were pretty detailed, and told us to when to turn left or right or whatever. Four of us had GPS tracks loaded on our iPhone or Garmins, so we were following tracks that way, but GPS no-worky under a massive power line running from the dams on the Columbia River to California. Words and maps on paper win.

Finally at about 5:30 p.m., after a long day in the saddle, we were ecstatic to see the Surveyors Ridge Hut!

Yay! the hut!

Inside the hut we found a cooler full of ice cold beer and a cabinet full of yummy bad snacks. Also, bunk beds (more like shelves with pads and sleeping bags), water, a propane stove and lights, games, and wet wipes!

But we didn't stay at the hut for long.  The directions said there was a 6.5 mile singletrack loop on the Surveyors Ridge Trail.  Even though it meant postponing the ice cold beer in the cooler, I goaded Drew and Jim to come with me on the loop. We were not disappointed!

 The view of Mount Hood and the bucolic valley below were spectacular, and the trail was top notch as well.

This picture is not photo shopped one iota.  Really, we saw this and rode this!  The trail was very nice, and was a fantastic end to a day of paved and dirt road grinding up, up, up.

We were done for the day. About 6000 feet of vertical and 34.5 miles. 

Back at the cabin, we chilled out a bit before dinner.

  Whiskey is the best recovery drink.

The hut setting was peaceful. 

 Deer grazed in the meadow while Travis practiced his stalking skills. 

A sign pointed to a lookout, so Drew and I went to have a little look.

 Um, this might be the best anniversary lookout ever.

 That is Mount Hood in the background and me with a plastic glass full of boxed wine after a long day of mountain biking with my adorable husband.  How perfect is that!
But while the rest of us got a little pre-pasta buzz on, things were not going well for Shelly. She felt really ill, and we were all worried about her.  She mostly sat on the porch looking green.

 To get out of her hair, Jim made chili mac (a couple of cans of "beef" chili over spaghetti noodles) and we each took a helping to the lookout for a really delicious (or was it the miles and hunger?) dinner.  M and T showed me how to gather miners' lettuce for topping, which would be my only fresh food until the end of day 4.

 Our entertainment during dinner was a decidedly divine sunset.

It was the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen! 

We retired to the hut, a little sore, but a lot happy. 


  1. I'm so glad our state behaved for you. I'm also glad to finally see that you DO know how to ride around trees.

  2. Wow! Beautiful photos! Looks like you guys had a blast.

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