Bend Trip, April 2012

Jim and Ione Darmiento was nice enough to invite Linna and I for a three day weekend in Bend, Oregon with their daughter and her husband. Bend is home to one of many microbreweries and to Mirror Pond which where our four bedroom rented house was located, right on the Deschutes river. We drove down on Thursday which was around 6 hours of driving from Seattle. They were barbecuing up chicken and hamburgers when we showed up.

Friday was mainly checking out the city starting with breakfast at a local cafe. I stopped at REI to get some local hiking maps and get the inside scoop on snowshoe trails and where dogs are allowed. After spending money at REI we headed for the local Safeway, Linna wanted to cook a huge pot of chicken thighs and vegetables that night for everyone. After Linna marinated the chicken, we decided to adventure out some and check out the snowshoe trailheads and determine if there was enough quality snow or not. After checking out three snow-parks, I was leaning toward this summer trail next to a snow-park which was directly across the highway from Mt. Bachelor. It had good snow and elevation, but it didn’t allow dogs. Jim and family went skiing as Linna and I were exploring, but we both made it back about the same time. Jim and I checked out the neighborhood micro-brewery before dinner, 10 Barrel Brewing that had outdoor seating…we didn’t have much time but we able to down two powerful pilsners before dinner was served.

Next day was snowshoe day and I decided to snowshoe up the summer trail on Tumalo Mountain even though dogs were not allowed. As we were getting our equipment on, a sheriff in a large Dodge Ram pick-up pulled in and parked for about 10 minutes, by the time we were ready to go he took off. We quickly got Macho out of the kennel and headed up. The climb was steady and straight up….almost perfect conditions for snowshoeing. The higher we got, the less trees there were to take cover from the warm sun. The whole weekend was in the mid-seventies and sunny, so waterproof sunscreen was a must. We made it to the top in about 1 1/2 hours and spent about a hour on top having our peanut-butter sandwich and taking pictures. That night we all went out to Chris’s Grill for dinner.

Hunchback Mountain, February 2011

Hunchback Mountain
Date: February 19, 2011
Difficulty: 6 out of 10
Distance: 9 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 2,900 Feet
Time: 3.5 to 4.5 hours
Location: Zigzag, Oregon
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: No Permits Required
Trail Conditions: Damp to Lighty Snowpacked
Hiking with: Linna Freeman & Macho

Linna and I drove down to Portland on Thursday evening for a little shopping and dining on Friday.  Before we started our shopping excursion, we had lunch Bluehour in the Pearl district and later that evening we had a dinner reservations at 9:00 p.m. at Genoa, both were fantastic.  Saturday we had planned a small hike near Portland, but the drive to Wahkeena Trailhead, Linna and I had this urge to see Mt. Hood up close.  I was already checking out Hunchback Mountain Trail, which was along the way to Mt. Hood in a small town called Zigzag, so I thought….oh hell yes, let’s go for it.

Saturday started off to a beautiful sunny day and it only took us about a hour to drive from Portland to Mt. Hood.  Before we hit the windy road up to Mt. Hood, we stopped at a grocery store in Zigzag to pick up some trail lunch.  I really didn’t know where the Hunchback trail started, but I knew it was close to the Zigzag Ranger Station, but….they were closed today.  Funny, why would they be closed on a Saturday, isn’t that a busy day for people to be outdoors?  I knew the trail was very near, but….I decided to look for it after our little excursion up to Mt. Hood and to the famous Timberline Lodge.  The road up was semi-snow packed with sand/gravel on top for traction.  We had no problem driving up the steep windy road with Linna’s 4 Matic Mercedes. 

By the time we got to the famous Timberline Lodge, it was a little cloudy, but the wind was horrendous.  The wind was blowing so hard, I thought I might have to put a rope around Linna so her 100 pound frame wouldn’t be blown off the mountain.  The Timberline Lodge  was constructed in 1938 as a WPA project during the Great Depression.  I stayed here a couple of times about 17 to 18 years ago.  After a little play time and getting Macho out for a while, we heading back down to search for the Hunchback Trail near Zigzag.  I actually had a trail map and I could tell the trailhead was very close the Ranger Station, so we drove back to the parking lot and eventually found the Hunchback Trailhead.

Hunchback Mountain rises sharply to the top of the ridge which extends 6 miles Southeast.  The first two miles you gain over 1,700 feet of the 2,900 total elevation gain; the rest is pretty much of a walk along the ridge.  Even though you have some nicely graded switchbacks the first couple of miles, it makes your legs and heart work overtime!  The trail started off damp, but eventually we hit snow about a mile up.  Along the ridgeline the snow was 4 to 5 inches deep, not bad considering it was February at 4,000 feet up.  I was throwing snowballs for Macho to chase, which reduces his jam-packed energy he has.  After the hike, we headed home and stopped in Federal Way, Washington to eat at one of our favorite Korean restaurants, Miraks.