Thursday, August 2, 2012

Day 4 Cascade Huts hut-to-hut mtb around Mt. Hood: The End

Day 4 would be our last day of the circumnavigation of Mount Hood. Where we saw only clouds the day before, that morning we were treated to excellent views of the mountain.  It was like the mountain was kissing us goodbye.

Instead of fussy pancakes, we woofed some instant oatmeal, but Drew would not have us start the day without the fried Spam. And coffee, of course.

The ever-important biking fuel.

We were all pretty quick to pack up, take one last group photo,

and hit the road. Today had a couple of options. Trav, Meg, and Shelly took the 32 mile straight shot on mostly paved roads downhill into Hood River, while Jim, Drew, and I opted to add a 17 mile loop up to Lost Lake that would add a "nice" 1700 foot climb. What I didn't count on was the elevated pace Jim and Drew would set on the climb to the lake. I held on, and therefore insisted that we go the half-mile spur to see the lake after all that.

In addition to a beautiful lake
Lost Lake

and beautiful flowers

We got close enough to Sasquatch to have our pictures taken with him!

We didn't stay long at the lake; our next stop was civilization and beer! But first, a long, fast descent on a very skinny paved road that must have been impassable to cars due to the deteriorated pavement. Perfect for thirsty mountin bikers!

 This area had a lot of logging activity.

Back on the main road we kept descending down and down into the Dee Valley, an area packed with fruit farms.

Cherrys, pears, berries, peaches. They all tempted us but we obeyed the no trespassing signs.

We took in all the scenery we could though.

Eventually, after 20 miles of me being dragged by Jim and Drew, we came upon more and more buildings, then vineyards, then the outskirts of small towns, then signs for Hood River, then other cyclists, then convenience stores, then schools. Would we ever get to town?

Yes! At about 2 pm after 49 miles, 4 hours ride time, about 2000 feet of climbing, and 5300 feet of descending, we reached the parking lot.

Making good on her trip mantra "One and Done", Shelly pulled up to pick up Jim with special signs on her bike on top of the car.
Bike For Sale! Ah ha, ha, ha that is the funniest joke of the trip!

We needed instant food so to MacDonalds we went.

And then checked into our Villa Columbia Bed and Breakfast to get cleaned up before hitting the town.

First stop, the Full Sail Brewery! You probably can't see all the windsurfers and kiteboarders on the Columbia River in the background, but there must have been 30 or 40 of them. Now we know why they call it Full Sail. (p.s. I'm drinking one right now.)

Start with beer, move to wine at the Naked Winery tasting room. It was a hoot!

Time to put some real food into our bellies on the patio at the 3 Rivers Grill.

My fresh salmon was delicious,

as were the other entrees, and desserts, and wine, and beer!

Being fully fed and our thirst satiated for the moment, we wandered Hood River.  Shelly and I got into a little (shopping) trouble in this funky clothing store while Jim and Drew sat it out on the lawn. Tip for other boutiques: have a comfy place for the men to sit and the shoppers may buy more!

But in a town with so much good beer and wine to be had, we felt obligated to check out the Big Horse Brewery

and the wading pond outside.

But the brewery ran out of beer and Shelly and I were not happy about it!

Just kidding, they didn't run out.

We made it back to the B&B just in time to crawl into our first soft bed in four nights before a wild thunderstorm rolled through. So glad the weather waited until we were off the trail!

On our last day vacation, we enjoyed chatting with the other guest before a nice breakfast before hitting the long road back to Utah.

So what did we think about the Cascade Huts trip? Super! I really enjoyed the territory and routes-how remote we were, the scenery. I was surprised at how long the days were, not in a bad way - long days just made the cold beers taste better. The huts provided instant shelter and adequate food. In fact, I think the menu of canned foods and granola bars added to the trip experience and certainly kept the cost reasonable. I may even allow canned Spam in my cupboard.

I sort of wished for more single track, but then we would not have covered as many miles and have been able to get all the way around Mount Hood. We circumnavigated Mount Hood!

Of course any trip like this is only as good as the company you are with, and in this respect, I could not have asked for a better trip! We all got along swimmingly, even after missed turns and postponed dinners. What a great group of friends!


  1. Just read your whole trip recap as I'm doing it in Sept with a group of friends.
    Now more excited than ever!
    Great writeup and awesome pics!
    Thank you!

  2. Thanks, Rich. You and your friends will have a blast in September. Enjoy.