A weekend in the Hood

Fall camping is the best camping. We were camping near Mt. Hood over the weekend.

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The Lookout

My brother-in-law (Brian) had proposed the idea of a  backpacking trip in the Salmon-Huckleberry wilderness several months ago. I had previously mentioned my desire for an outing in that area. On my last backpacking adventure, I packed light and slept under the stars. This time Brian and I resigned ourselves to overpacking, a consequence of the first trip of the season and our desire for comfort once we arrived.
Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness
We knew we wanted to locate a decommissioned fire watch tower. We had planned routes, each facilitating a loop back to the car. But an enthusiastic, and somewhat overbearing, forest ranger convinced us to ascend via a trailhead we hadn’t considered. (This, after an equally enthusiastic grocer, a woman likely in her 60s, insisted Brian and I sample a third of the growler station IPAs on tap…at 9:00 a.m.)

FIre lookout
The trail was described as “arduous”, and didn’t particularly work well for a loop. We ascended nonetheless and were rewarded for our efforts, despite the likelihood the lookout was occupied (it is Memorial Day weekend, after all). The fire tower was indeed occupied, but we quickly learned its residents, great guys named Kelley and Mike, were on a day hike, and weren’t planning on staying.

Mist covered the horizon. We moved our prodigious gear into the lookout and discussed its history with Kelley and Mike.

After settling in and collecting firewood to restore the wood pile, a couple on their honeymoon arrived. We discussed their home (Georgia), our mutual love of Oregon, and vintage film cameras, before they descended back down the trail. We also shared some of our limited water, as they had forgotten their’s in the car.

One more backpacker arrived, a relaxed and routine hiker named Ryan. He arrived around 6:30 p.m., but left after a brief discussion and whiskey, sharing his burgeoning idea of summiting Mt. Hood in two days time.

Although we didn’t see far beyond the mist, and were disappointed to wake up to the same, this place is a gem in the wilderness regardless of the weather.







Clackamas Bull Trout

In 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reintroduced bull trout to Oregon’s Clackamas River.

Bull trout are extremely sensitive fish, requiring cold, clean water to survive. They were completely eliminated from the Clackamas River—a watershed they had evolved in over hundreds of thousands of years—with the last sighting back in 1968.

Now they’re back, thanks to a healthy population in the Metolius River east of the Cascade Mountains. Here their story below.

Clackamas Complete: A Return of Bull Trout from Freshwaters Illustrated on Vimeo.

A Mountain Briefcase

I have a thing for bags. Briefcases, backpacks, stuff sacks, rucksacks, satchels…to be honest, I have too many. Part of the reason I have too many, aside from my infatuation, is because I am constantly looking for a better bag. Well, I think I have finally found the bag for me. Featuring a three way carry system, with a shoulder seatbelt strap, traditional dual briefcase nylon straps, and stowaway backpack straps, the Topo Designs Mountain Briefcase can go anywhere. I have had the bag for about three weeks now, and it is just about perfect. I have used it as a backpack while cycling to my local brewery, tossed it in the back of my pickup, and carried it to work every day. It is a great bag.

Mountain Briefcase by Topo Designs

I have just one small complaint about this bag. The front compartment, while quite roomy, has no organization. It is one large pocket. It is somewhat difficult to organize and locate items in this compartment, but the capacity and organization in the main compartment mostly makes up for it. Small matter, really.

I plan to see my bag accumulation halt, for quite awhile. The Mountain Briefcase is American made, features 1000d Cordura, and YKK zippers. It feels indestructible, and I am counting on it.

Mountain Briefcase by Topo Designs

Mountain Briefcase by Topo Designs

Mountain Briefcase by Topo Designs

Mountain Briefcase by Topo Designs

The Collective Quarterly

I just received the first edition of The Collective Quarterly, and it is stunning.

I was immediately attracted to this first edition, given its geographic focus: Absaroka.  These are the lands of my Wyoming childhood, magnificently captured by photographers and storytellers. Give it a look. Oh, and if you find yourself around some Wyoming locals, be sure to pronounce it “Ab-zor-kah”.  I’m looking at you, Longmire.


Issue 1: Absaroka from Collective Quarterly on Vimeo.

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