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Unfortunately, winter still hasn't arrived in the lower elevations around Mt Hood. On the positive side, the lack of snow and sunny weather allowed Katie, our Mini Adventurer, and I to go on a short hike on New Year's day. We decided to check out Bald Mountain. It is the site of a previous fire lookout tower (long gone) and has a commanding view of Mt Hood's West side.
This hike starts at the Top Spur trailhead off spur road 118 off road 1828 (near Lolo Pass). The route follows Top Spur trail #785 to the Pacific Crest trail #2000 and then the Timberline trail #600. The final push to the summit is via an unmarked trail just off Timberline trail #600. Portland Hikers Field Guide lists it as a 2.0 mile round-trip hike, but according to my GPS it is only 0.8 miles each way.
We left our home in Portland around 10 AM, excited to take our 7 month old Mini Adventurer son on his first hike. It was an uneventful drive that we made in our car due to the lack of snow. We didn't see any snow on the road until we hit spur road 118, and even then it was marginal with snow-free ruts the whole way to the Top Spur trailhead. We were not the only ones taking advantage of the unseasonably warm and dry conditions. There were a handful of SUVs already in the parking area when we arrived.
After loading Julian up in a front carrier strapped to my chest, we set off down the trail toward Bald Mountain. We had seen several spectacular views of Mt Hood on the drive up and were looking forward to the view from the top. As we hiked up the trail, our Mini Adventurer jubilantly screeched and squealed with nearly every step. He seemed to be enjoying the fresh air and new scenery. The trail was mostly snow free except for some areas of about an inch of ice.
This was our first time hiking since my knee surgery and I could definitely tell I am not in shape yet. I am sure the extra 17 pounds, also known as our Mini Adventurer, played a role. We still managed to average almost 2 mph on the hike up. At times the scenery reminded me of an early spring or fall day. It sure didn't feel like January.
Once atop Bald Mountain, we enjoyed exquisite views of Mt Hood's West side. It was a gorgeous calm day with temperatures in the upper 30's. Our Mini Adventurer made it all the way to the summit before starting to whine because he was hungry. Unfortunately he was also tired and the whining did not stop. We made a mad dash back down the trail with Julian crying almost the entire way. It's hard to plan trips around his nap schedule, but I am sure it will get better as he grows. We still had a fun time and look forward to more hiking in the near future. I want to get my knee ready for climbing by spring.
REI Flash 18 Packs
Infantino Breathe Infant Carrier
Triple Star Packable Down Hooded Jacket
Gordini Midweight Quarter-Zip Top
Head Digital Sport Liner Gloves
Columbia Men's Fast Trek Fleece Hat
Petzl TIKKA XP 2 Headlamp
Olympus Tough TG-1 Camera
Sony NEX-6 Camera
First Aid Kit
Suunto A-10 Compass