Elk Cove

October 28, 2007.

Top Spur TH — Timberline Tr | 8-9 mi. ? | 1700′ ele. gain | 6.5 hrs.

Oh, to stretch the legs again after so much time off. Being sick is the worst. Sitting inside, feeling sorry for myself, coughing, sneezing and hating life…today would be a glorious return to the wilds. Brad chose an ambitious destination of the McNeil Point Shelter. I said I’d go as far as I felt comfortable.

The hike begins at the Top Spur Trailhead, which was blocked by snow a couple of weeks ago. Today there was no snow to be found, so we headed up the trail into the trees, bound for the PCT. The trail wandered through typical, pretty Pacific Northwest woods. On occasion we were presented with views of the world beyond the forest and of course, the impressive North side of Mt. Hood. At the higher elevations along the trail, snow piled up around us and we proceeded to walk in the bootprints set in the snow before we’d arrived. At no point were snowshoes necessary.

We started late so we didn’t walk too far before hunkering down for lunch and turning back towards the trailhead. Although we’d intended to go to McNeil Point, a missed trail junction caused us to just wander along with no real goal ahead. On the way back, we noticed the blatantly obvious junction, sweet views of Hood and Adams, barely frozen over ponds, and the occasional random hiker. Two couples were headed up the trail as the sun set, an interesting choice of trails and timing.

It might be interesting to come back here and follow the trail to McNeil point on a nice day. Soon, however, snow is bound to block access to the trailhead…yippee!!

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