January 11, 2009.
Cloud Cap campground > Cooper Spur |7.8 mi | 2600′ ele. gain | 5:45 hr
Today’s destination was a stone shelter at treeline on Mt. Hood. I’d been up here once before, in 2007. It’s a creepy trail that now passes through a large burn. The trees are scarred and charred from the Gnarl Ridge fire that blasted through here last summer.
The blackened tree trunks stood out against the white snow. I trudged along in my snowshoes, trying to keep up with Brad and Brandon who seemed to have lungs and legs of steel. Gasp, gasp, step. I didn’t remember this being so hard. Of course this time, we were actually on the trail.
The icy snow had been trampled by many, many feet, which made for a slippery trail surface. I dug my poles into the snow for purchase. Up and up they went.
I was grumpy. I hate being grumpy out here. The snow, the trees, the mountain. Yes! There’s the mountain. Mt. Hood slipped in and out of the clouds as we rested at the shelter. I was so hungry. Have I eaten yet? Surely the answer is yes. But it doesn’t feel like I have been. Drinking water? Maybe? I need to get a handle on these things. Maybe that’s why I felt so sluggish.
Back down through the well-tracked out and dirty snow. Ugh. This was not my finest moment. Walking was a necessary means to an end. Get back to the car…
It was crazy to see what fire does to a forest. It had all but decimated the trees, leaving only standing skeletons. I can only imagine the explosion of wildflowers that will come in the spring, once the sunlight reaches the now barren ground.