11,249 feet. Not ninety minutes ago, it had basked in the first rays of morning light before anywhere else, the sun spilling down from Mount Hood’s summit until it wakened the glaciers and, eventually, the forests below. Towering some 6,000 feet into the dizzyingly empty space above our heads, it’s a height difference that human minds aren’t fully equipped to understand. Judging with only your eyes, it might as well be 60,000 feet.
Timberline Trail 2022
Daily dispatches and photos from the Timberline Trail, a 41-mile footpath circumnavigating Oregon’s iconic Mount Hood.
Close your eyes and picture the Pacific Northwest. Tell me what you see. Gray skies? An unshakeable mist? Maybe bright green sword ferns, super-sized trees, and fountains of Starbucks coffee on every Seattle street corner?
Fifty miles east of Portland, Oregon, a snow-capped cathedral of glacier and stone holds a blue sky atop its broad shoulders. Even on a sunny day in August, ski lifts spin skiers to the only place in North America where turns can be had all 12 months of the year. But even that may not be Mount Hood’s most well known feature. That honor belongs to a place that has haunted people’s dreams for 42 years.