Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Five Mountains

 We'd heard about a drive that would take us to a lookout point where we could see 5 mountains, so when we saw the day would be sunny and fairly clear, we headed out to the road to Larch Mountain, up the Gorge a ways. This picturesque bridge is just east of Troutdale, the "Gateway to the Columbia River Gorge".

  The highway took us through some incredibly huge trees, if not "old" growth, at least quite old. I didn't have anything for comparison so in the picture you can't really see how big this tree is. I was impressed! There were lots of trees this gigantic, and in some places the forest was so thick and dark it almost looked like evening, though we were making our trip in the brightest morning light.

The highway ended at the top of Larch Mountain, an old volcanic crater. I had been looking for larches (tamaracs) all the way up but didn't see any. When I read the sign at the top it said the old-time loggers had actually cut down Noble firs and claimed they were larches, fooling the mill operators, because the larch tree was more profitable. What a trick! So, there were no larches up here, ever! After parking the car we headed up a pretty trail composed mostly of old railroad ties.

The clouds did not co-operate entirely, but we did see 4 mountains. Mt. Hood to the south was a gorgeous sight and was, of course, the closest. Mt. Jefferson appeared a little further on, at least the tippy top of it.

To the north we saw the tips of Mt. Adams and Mt. St. Helens. Mt. Rainier was nowhere to be seen, but we knew it was there!

The lookout platform on Larch Mountain is 4056 feet high. It was a fairly steep drive up from the river, about 25 miles from our park. We will definitely need to come back here on a cloudless day, but that may not happen any time soon. The snow will come, making the road as well as the trail up difficult to travel. We are so glad we were able to see this beautiful place and our breathtaking mountains on this lovely fall day.

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