72 Hours in Mt. Hood Territory
So much mountain, so little time
July 1 2012
In August of 1859 the mountain that Native Americans knew as Wy'East gently cleared its throat, spitting smoke minutely and spilling lava ungenerously down the southern flank of the Cascade peak we now call Mt. Hood. Ensuing decades proved that Mt. Hood could wake with the tap of climbing pitons, give with the carve of a ski edge, sleep with the shush of its rivers and provide a hospitable canopy for generations of outdoor pursuits. Oregon’s tallest peak became its center point. Its stature among Mt. Hood’s denizens and visitors has endured.
In summer, Hood’s western flank, Hoodland, is a large-scale anthill secretly bustling with earnest activity. Bisect it and you’ll notice a colony of fly-fishermen on its Salmon and Sandy rivers, hikers pushing up from trailheads, road and mountain bikers pushing their pedals and people stepping out to dinner. The towns that comprise this shoulder of the mountain—Welches, Zigzag, Rhododendron, Alder Creek, Wemme and Brightwood—are launch pads for these pursuits.