Sunday, June 27, 2010

Shortcut to Heaven Hike

Home to Baker – Top Spur Trail

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We rise early at 6:30 to pull out of the campground just before 7 – a full day ahead of us! Stop to gas up the Toyota and get coffee and muffins/donuts at a gas station in Lincoln City. Then on up to Liz’s house, where we arrive shortly before 9:30. Liz is still home. Hand over the keys, see some of her quilt work, and on our way to Mt. Hood!! I am so excited to return to my favorite spot on the mountain via my “Shortcut to Heaven” Trail. (The Forest Service calls it the Top Spur Trail and has developed it very nicely from the hard to spot logging roads and unmarked trail I first discovered back in the late 70’s.

It is a BEAUTIFUL day – God takes care of me everytime I want to hike up to this special place – at least in recent years! The mountain is beckoning to us. We turn off on the Lolo Pass Road and up the first four miles, looking for a place to drop off the tent trailer. We know we do NOT want to take it up the narrow little road (albeit paved now!) to the trailhead. We find just the spot – the school bus turn-around just prior to turning off Lolo Pass Road. We are winding up along the Sandy River – and witness the destruction and changes the river has wrought in recent years of flooding. The road winds through thick alder forests – the temperature is very appealing and cool. Jed loves it! He has thought everything so delightfully green and cool after three straight weeks of high 90’s and 100’s.

Up to the trailhead and we scavenge from the ice chest – carrots, pretzels, leftover pasta salad, and strawberries. A great snack. We are on our way by 11:45.

I race up the uphill part in eager anticipation of the view ahead. Unfortunately my lungs can’t always keep up with my spirit! But stops are beautiful as we hike along a carpet of first trilliums and then avalanche lilies – in full bloom. We think of Kady as we see them all – and her love of lilies. They make a good excuse to stop and catch a quick breath while taking a picture! (That’s why I have so MANY flower pictures!) As we near the point where the trail conitours around the open face of ‘Bald Mountain, I start taking a video… I can rehike this trail and the joy I have when I “’round the corner” whenever I want!

The mountain is everything I remember from here: big, powerful, and still mantled in white. Rick and boys discuss where they were during their aborted summit attempt two years ago. We all marvel at the diversity of wildflowers in bloom: paintbrushes, vetch, larkspur, mission bells, and clump after clump of lupine ready to burst into bloom. I love this spot!

In spite of a full parking lot, we arrive at the viewpoint as one other group is leaving, and a couple with their baby and dog arrive just as we are leaving – otherwise we are alone on the mountain. Perfect!

Down off the mountain, pick up the trailer, and up to Government Camp at 2:15 to find something proper to eat. The boys are hungry! We dine at the Huckleberry Inn, and share two huckleberry milkshakes along with our meals. Government Camp is bustling today with business – the beautiful day has perhaps made people think that summer has finally come to the mountain!

Homeward bound now, passing the poplar tree farm outside of Boardman. Luke is driving, Jed is now napping once again, and Toby Mac is playing on the CD player! We are enjoying traveling together again in our van and trailer as a family. ETA for Baker City? 9 pm! Fourteen hours from surf to mountaintop to the cattle ranches of Eastern Oregon! It’s a great state!

PS. Ouch! Realized just prior to Government Camp that I left my wallet under the front seat of the Toyota. Phone call to Dave asking for a quick Overnight Delivery to Baker! We are leaving for Alaska on Wednesday! Thank you Liz!

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