TRIP REPORT: Hawk Mountain Backpack
Next Adventure Outdoor School led an Introduction to Backpacking guided tour July 18 - 19 on Mt. Hood National Forest. We enjoyed a short backpack in to a woodsy sub-alpine campsite, capped off by a rewarding hike to the mile-high, wildflower-laden summit of Hawk Mountain.
Clouds drifted through the tree tops -- big silver firs draped with mossy old man's beard lichens . A varied thrush buzzed out its haunting song. "Veeep!" echoed through the still trees. A pause, then "vooop!" We set up camp, and then set out for the summit of Hawk Mountain.
Mt. Hood popped out as we gained the ridge and looked north. A short while later, we were at the 5277-foot summit of Hawk Mountain. A few small piles of snow remained, but the meadow was full of colorful wildflowers.
Red paintbrush, yellow Oregon sunshine, blue lupine and lavender penstemon dominated the scene. Alpine cat's-ear lilies dotting the fields white, with a host of other flowers sprinkled in. The butterflies and bees were having a heyday.
Mt. Jefferson was in-your-face, filling the eastern horizon. The Pacific Crest Trail winds its way past Mt. Jeff, through the Olallie Lakes National Recreation Area, with black Olallie Butte hovering above it. To the south, the snowy peaks of Three-Finger Jack, Mt. Washington, and the Three Sisters jutted into the hazy sky, blue-grey with the smoke of central Oregon wildfires.
We went over the basics of backpacking on the trail and in camp, from trip planning, staying found, how to pack your pack, how to adjust all of those pack straps, and how to stay comfortable on the trail. We talked tents, sleeping bags, sleep pads, water treatment, camp stoves, and leaving no trace of your visit.Then we got to practice everything right there, in the woods, with gear from Next Adventure.
The backpack out is always easier than the way in -- especially if it is mostly downhill. Back at the trailhead, we had lunch from the cooler, and enjoyed a few more moments of the stillness of the woods. After having only juncos, nuthatches, thrushes, chipmunks, and chickarees for company, we saw our first other human of the trip on the drive back to Portland.
Next Adventure has got more exciting trips coming up this summer. Join us!
July 31 - August 2 is our 3-day backpack trip along vista-packed Rho Ridge.
August 6 - 9 is our 4-day Introduction to Thru-hiking backpack trip along the Pacific Crest Trail.
August 23 - 25 is a 3-day backpack to the amazing Olallie Lakes National Scenic Area.
Find out more online: nextadventure.net/outdoor-school
Next Adventure is a fully-insured licensed Outfitter and Guide with the State of Oregon. Next Adventure is an equal opportunity Recreation Provider operating under special use permit on the Mt. Hood National Forest and Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, USDA Forest Service.
Next Adventure Guide-Instructors are locally trail-experienced, and carry current Wilderness First Response certification.