Fall has arrived, and my wife Kim and I opted to spend the first weekend of October camped at Cloud Cap, high on the Northwest side of Mount Hood.
Our destination was Cooper Spur, a high ridge on the Mountain accessible only by a difficult trail that skirts the edge of two prominent glaciers that slide down from the summit. The trailhead is located near the historic Cloud Cap Inn, a rustic lodge that was built in 1884 by some men from Hood River who blazed a primitive road through the Mount Hood Forest in an effort to establish their camp at about 6000 feet elevation. The area below the lodge is now mired with dead trees and fallen timber, the result of the Gnarl Ridge fire in 2008 which somehow spared the Inn.
So off and up we went, and the views were stunning as the sun set, basking an amazing glow on the many summits that could be seen from the spur: Mount Rainier, Mount Adams, Mount St. Helens, Mt. Jefferson, the Three Sisters, and more. But, of course, the best thing about watching a spectacular sunset from 8500 on the side of Mount Hood is the 4 mile walk down with the assistance of the full moon!
From the hike to Cooper Spur to the night sky at camp to the sunrise the next morning, this trip afforded some great photo opportunities!