Wednesday, April 06, 2011

I Survived Dog Mountain!

Ok, I'm being a bit sarcastic. It wasn't really that hard, but this hike certainly had it's challenges.

Dog Mountain is in the Columbia Gorge just east of Stevenson, WA, and stands at 2,800'. Since the trailhead is essentially at river-level (c. 60') we had to climb the majority of that elevation in just under 3 miles. That's pretty steep!

Josiah showed up at our place the Saturday before last around 11:00am, but due to some unexpected challenges (i.e. cat in the attic) we didn't hit the road until close to 12:30. Then we had our fair share of missed exits and wrong turns...but finally we reached the trailhead.

March weather in the Columbia Gorge can be a bit foreboding and it appeared that we were in for a pretty wet hike. Thankfully all of us had some form of rain gear to keep us dry. I was test-driving my new Asolo hiking boots too (Gore-tex lined - bring on the rain!), and had a nice pair of lightweight Columbia rain pants. My rain coat was a bit sketchy since I had never given it a run for its money, but it was better than nothing.

We took the [steeper] northern route and I tracked our progress using iMapMyHike on my iPhone. Having the GPS running really did a number on my phone's battery (which is I why I've since bought one of these), but I got the whole route mapped and was able to track elevation, pace, etc.

Despite the initial prospects of rain, we hardly encountered any during the hike. There was a considerable amount of fog drifting through the Gorge, obscuring visibility but making for some really spectacular photo ops. When we reached the summit we discovered that it was capped in about 8-10" of snow. Josiah and I had taken our coats off in preference for t-shirts during the climb, but soon found that the heat from our exertion evaporated very fast. Some folks at the top asked us "why are you just wearing t-shirts?" We soon began wondering that ourselves.

One thing's for sure. The higher we climbed, the funnier everything became. This video should illustrate my point...

Take a look at some photos from the hike (mostly the ascent) below. You can view the whole album here. This was a great hike!

Stitched Panorama

The view of the Columbia Gorge from near the summit of Dog Mountain.


Jonathan and Chelsea said...

LOVED the video! Hilarious! Your guys' accents were really quite good. :) Great photos too. Wish I had had time to tag along... - Jonathan

Cross Country Bakers said...

Greetings from Texas!
I stumbled across your blog and saw this amazing picture ( the last one on the post)
Wow, I never realized Washington State was so beautiful!

I can't think of a better weekend the to go hiking in the amazing country God has created! Great pictures capturing His beauty.

Hannah DeLadurantey

Anonymous said...

Hi Ben,
Curious about the hike. How long did it take to complete? Also, if you start on the southern end is it less steep on that side? We are always looking for great hiking opportunities. By the way your photos are striking! And the video...well, you all had way too much fun even if it did start technically with a cat in the attic - Ha!
Mrs. Bryan for the rest of the family

Benjamin Berkompas said...

Mrs. Bryan,
I think it took us about 4.5 hours. The trail is a loop but you can pick which way you want to ascend and descend. We chose to ascend up the west side, which is slightly shorter and steeper than the east side (and would have been harder on the knees if we were descending that side). It's a great hike!

Right across the Columbia you can hike Mt. Defiance. It's about 2,000ft higher (and has snow this time of year) and apparently a pretty difficult hike, but who doesn't love a good challenge?

Anonymous said...

Thanks! That helps a lot. I'll pass your info on to the family so we can make plans to hike there some day. Half the family just got back from a trip to the Okanogan area and while Matt and Dad were playing volleyball Leanne ventured down the road to call me on her cell phone and part way through the conversation she casually remarks, "Oh, wow, a black bear just came running by" - I'm like, tell me you're in the car! So yes, some of us enjoy a challenge. Others, like all us moms, break into a cold sweat - ha! Thanks again for info. Great touching base with you at the conference too!
Mrs. Bryan