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Weekend Plans: A trio of hikes on Mount Hood

Sweeping mountain views, bike swaps, and organically fueled festivals—get the word out, it’s the weekend.

September 10, 2010

The window for high country hiking around here is a short one. Apparently, even more so this year, thanks to the summer’s unceremonious (and just downright cruel) disappearance this week. But considering the sun is slated to return in all its finicky glory for a few days, now might be your last best chance to get your alpine hike on before the snow falls. Here are three to consider:

Cooper Spur
The only trouble with the Northwest’s prodigiously tall trees—the stubborn buggers tend to block the views. No such inconveniences on this high alpine trek.
Push up from beyond Cloud Cap Campground on the mountain’s north side, and you’ll encounter a treeless moonscape home to cracking glaciers, car-size boulders, old stone climbing shelters, and memorizing summit views. And oh yeah, plenty of big old beautiful trees below you.

Lookout Mountain
The wildflowers may have left this 6,500-foot peak for the season, but the vistas remain. Swivel your head any direction atop the easy-to-reach summit and you’ll be treated to sightlines stretching out some 200 miles, from Rainer to Jefferson and beyond.

Elk Meadows
With any luck, you might still find a few huckleberries lining this relatively easy hike near Mount Hood Meadows ski area. But even if the vines are picked clean you won’t be going home empty-handed: The widescreen vision of Mount Hood floating above a serene bear grass-flooded series of wide-open meadows is plenty sweet enough.

Sticking around town? There’s still plenty to do.

Muddy Boot Organic Festival
No, there isn’t a festival dedicated to me—yet. But if there was, it might look a lot like this: a round up lively bands—Jackstraw, Freak Mountain Ramblers, among others—lots of organic beer from Hop Works; thoughtful work shops on sustainable living practices (oh, so that’s how you keep bees); interesting folks to chew the fat with like Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, the co-creators of the Peabody-Award-winning PBS documentary King Corn; foam arrow archery lessons and puppet shows for the kiddos; and, it goes with out saying, there’d be veggie derby car racing.

Madrone Wall
Some quick history: The hulking, 100-foot-tall slab of columnar basalt near Clackamas known as the Madrone Wall is considered to be home to some of the best rock-climbing routes in the Metro area. Too bad it’s been off-limits since 1997 when a quarry was planned at the site. Back to the future: On Sunday, a contingent of climbers from REI, Mazamas, Trailkeepers of Oregon, and Climbmax Mountaineering will join forces with the Madrone Wall Preservation Committee for the last of 3 trail building events to construct and improve paths leading to the base of the site in the hope that the site will once again be approved for public recreation. Volunteers are welcome to aid in the effort—and because Clackamas County officials (who are still assessing what to do with the site) have approved climbing for this weekend, if you ask nicely, you might even get to rope up and tackle the wall yourself.

PDX Cycle Swap
The inaugural PDX Bike Swap, a sort of Saturday Market for the cycling set, kicks off this weekend. Cropping up every second Sunday beneath the Fremont Bridge, the all-day affair will be a boon to anyone in the market for a new (or slightly used) bike for sale or for trade, racing events, beer gardens, and not to mention the chance to get plugged into the city’s cycling community.

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