July 9, 2009.
10 mi | 2180′ ele. gain | 5.5 hrs.
I took off for McNeil Point today with a couple of friends. Sure, perhaps it was a little early for this hike, but…we’d figure it out.
The trail was beautiful. A lovely path through thick forest, that quickly led up to a view. Well, a view point. The clouds were low, clinging to Mt. Hood, so we didn’t get that amazing view of the snow-capped peak up ahead.
No matter, we carried on. And soon we were delighted by a spread of blooming avalanche lilies. So pretty! At the next meadow, it got even better: beargrass, and lots of it. Oh, if only the mountain would show her face!
Occasionally the clouds would part, baring some of Mt. Hood’s facade. The weather was going to do what it was going to do, so we enjoyed what we could and made the most out of our hike. It’s always fun to hike with friends.
At some point the trail became a bit obscured by snow. We reached a talus field and decided to boulder-hop straight up towards McNeil Point.
This was…fun. I was glad my pals were up for it. It was sunny and beautiful and the views behind us went on for miles. Eventually we had to bush-whack (quite literally) in the general direction of McNeil Point. It was steep, we were clawing our way through vegetation, and I was just hoping we’d end up where I thought we needed to be.
Ah, why do these people continue to hike with me? Don’t they know any better?
We arrived at the point, surrounded by alpine wildflowers, views of glacial waterfalls and a cloud-capped mountain. It was a nice spot to sit and hang out and let our heart rates come back down after that harrowing scramble.
On our way back down, we retreated through brush, snow, rocks and finally dry trail. In our beargrass meadow, we received a slightly obscured view of the mountain, which was good enough for me. It was a great day on the trail with friends!