March 8, 2009
My first Mazama hike of the season. The last two weekends I ventured off on my own, so today I decided to join up on a group hike.
We began at Multnomah Falls. Smoke rose from the chimney at the Lodge, warming up the people inside on this cold winter day. Our group began walking on a dry trail that quickly became covered in snow. At first, the snow was light and delicate, giving the forest a beautiful seasonal apperance. But as we ascended the trail the snow became deep, icy and treacherous. We’d eventually put our snowshoes on to keep from sinking in the soft, white stuff.
The air got thicker, too. Once we emerged from the woods and walked up the final stretch to Larch Mountain’s bald summit, we were fully enclosed in a blanket of fog. There would be no views today.
The railings were nearly buried in snow so we proceeded carefully to the viewing platform on the top of the mountain. After a lunch break we began racing down the trail. I paused to take photos of the winter wonderland surrounding me. As we descended, the clouds began to lift. There were patches of blue sky in between the treetops.
Our group took eight and a half hours to complete this roughly 14 mile trek. Not bad considering the group size and the trail conditions! This is a challenging hike in the best of weather, so I was glad to meet up with a crew of hardy folks who were up for the snowy slog.