The Fruit Loop and Mt. Hood

Trip Start Aug 31, 2012
Trip End Sep 10, 2012

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Flag of United States  , Oregon
Thursday, September 6, 2012

We got up today at 8:30 and headed out by 9:30. We headed west to Hood River where the Fruit Loop is the thing to do.  We headed south on Rt. 35 and our first stop was Panorama Point where we got a great view of Mt. Hood  We saw a Scrub Jay while we were stopped there.   Our next stop was The Gorge White House which had wine tasting, seasonal fruit, and lots of pick your own flowers.  Larry bought a ripe pear.  We passed on the wine tasting but did see a bottle of the Maryhill Muscato that was 3 dollars more than at the winery.  We took a walk through the flower garden and saw a lesser goldfinch, which may be a life bird for us.  Our next stop was Smiley's Red Barn which had cherries that we wanted for lunch.  We also got Blueberry Scone Mix.  We went off the road a bit later to find Hood River Lavender Farms but we didn’t stop as it was way past time for the lavender to bloom and the gift shop was a tiny shed. 

When we got to Rt. 281 we digressed from the Fruit Loop and headed south to Mt. Hood.  We had several good views of the mountain on the way there.  There was also a lot of construction, rebuilding of the road and repaving of the road.  It was six more miles up a steep road to get to Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood and it was at timberline.  This area is mostly a ski resort with ski lifts etc.  The Lodge itself was reminiscent of lodges we have seen in National Parks.  Mt. Hood is in Mt. Hood National Forest.  After touring the ski center and gift shop, we took a tour of the inside of the Lodge.  We talked to two National Forest Rangers about hiking and they recommended the Timberline Trail.  So we went to the car and put on hiking boots and made sandwiches to take with us.  Then we started up the paved road that we thought would take us to the Timberline Trail.  When we got to the sign that said "Employees Only Beyond This Point."  We figured we missed the trail.  We got out the map and looked again and decided that the trail we had passed, labeled Pacific Crest Trail must be it.  So we went back down to that trail, almost all the way back to the lodge.  At that point I decided I needed a bathroom break and went all the way back down.  Larry stayed on the trail and waited for me. 

We headed down the trail which was pretty easy as it went across the mountain and not up it.  We stopped shortly after we started and ate our lunch sitting on a downed tree trunk in the shade.  It was actually a little chilly sitting there in the shade as the temperature was below 70 and we were in shorts and t-shirts.  It didn’t take long after we started hiking again to feel warmed up again.  Most of the trail passed through open south-facing slopes full of lupines and asters in full bloom.  We hiked until we came to the Hood River Wilderness.  There we needed to fill out a tag that gave us permission to hike there.  We hiked mostly down from that point to Zig Zag Canyon which was about a mile and a half.  We went down to the bottom of the canyon to the glacial melt stream that went through it.  The water was really cold.  We hiked back up out of the canyon and went up and up and up some more until we reached the ski area once more and then we hiked down to the parking lot.  We got back about 3:30.  We changed our shoes and headed back down the mountain to finish the Fruit Loop.  We went back through the construction and turned at Rt. 281 this time.  We passed up all of the fruit stands except Apple Valley Country Store.  It was unique.  It had handmade items like quilted table runners and trivets, aprons and purses as well as fresh fruit and all kinds of preserves and salsas and spreads and dips.  We got two muffins mixes and a huge, 6” diameter snickerdoodle cookie.  We sat on the swing in the picnic area and shared the cookie.  They also had ice cream and milk shakes.  It was an interesting little store.

The country store was not far from Hood River so we abandoned the rest of the Fruit Loop which was just more fruit stands and wineries and headed into town to the Full Sail Brewery and Pub.  We got a table right on the window overlooking the river.  Larry had Wassail Beer and I had Maryhill White Blend wine.  We watched a barge go down the river and we had a great view of the smoke from  the fires burning across the river.   Today the wind was blowing east so it was clear in The Dalles.  We left the brewery and headed east on I 84.  We got off at the last exit for The Dalles at the end of the bridge from Maryhill.  We went to the Bistro at the Water’s Edge for supper.  I found this place on line and wanted to go because they serve crepes.  We went in and Larry got a Black Forest Ham and Brie Crepe.  I got a chicken with goat cheese crepe.  Both were delicious but were not make of buckwheat flower the way they are in France.  We shared a Nutella and Hazelnut Crepe for dessert.  Then we headed back to the hotel to plan for tomorrow, write the blog and go to bed.
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