Mount Hood Wilderness Area

Cold Start

This morning was so very cold. We camped at Still Creek campground next to a creek. As beautiful as the campground was, our site didn’t have many flat spots for tenting, so I broke out my hammock tent and set it up perpendicular to Brianna’s hammock tent. The chill running through my body all night and into the morning had a few different causes:

1.) It dropped to 40 degrees this morning.

2.) I have a thermal barrier to lay on that is supposed to keep my body heat in and I was only partially on it.

3.) My hammock tent was angled toward the breeze coming in from the creek. Even with my tarp up, moist air blew right into my sleeping space.

By the time morning rolled around, I was curled into a ball attempting to escape the wet foot of my sleeping bag and capture as much body heat as possible. I was so cold that I had dreams about being cold.

Trail Details

Brianna and I knew today would be a long day before the night of near hypothermia happened. There would be 17.3 miles of elevation gain, heat, and snow. The heat and elevation were as bad as we thought, but the snow was nothing special. There were probably 3-4 miles of snow in total, and it didn’t cause us to get lost. We did get lost today, but that was because there are so many other trails crossing through the area. A non-hiker in street shoes could have made it through today’s snow.

The day brought many beautiful views, but the winner was Ramona Falls. Cascading waterfalls. I would try and describe it, but here is a picture instead!

Sandy and Zigzag were the notable river crossings today (named after the glaciers above). We did a handholding 2-person side step across the thigh-deep Sandy river around 11 am. Well-laid rocks allowed us to hop across the Zigzag without getting our feet wet. Neither crossing was especially dangerous or as cold as we would have thought the water should have been.

It was wild hiking around the base of a mountain that has an active summer ski area, we got up to about 6,000ft. Middle of July and people are still putting all their winter gear on and sliding down the hills. Meanwhile, the heat from sunlight reflecting off the snow made me so hot that I had to take shade breaks. The ski town of Government Camp is still pretty popping, too.

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