Dog Mountain LbNA # 1735
|Placed Date||May 24 2002|
This hike will take you to one of the premier wildflower viewing sites in this region. It isnít an easy hike, gaining about 2500 feet in three miles but the meadows at the top are so spectacular when they are in bloom that I can just about guarantee that you will want to come back next year. At the summit you are also given glorious views of the Columbia River Gorge, Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens and Mount Adams. I have decided that the mountain received its name because you are dog tired by the end of the six miles. Donít forget, bring plenty of water!
To the trailhead: From Vancouver WA go east on Highway 14. Just past mile marker 53 you will find the Dog Mountain parking area on the north side of the road. The trailhead is just right of the pay station where you need to buy a day pass if you donít have an annual Forest Pass.
To the letterbox: Head for the summit. After about half a mile there is a fork in the trail. The one to the left is .2 miles shorter, through the woods and a bit steeper. The one to the right is slightly more scenic, with occassional views of the gorge. The choice is yours. You will be panting either way. Once you emerge from the forest you will be in a steep, expansive meadow of Balsamroot, Paintbrush, Delphinium, Lupine and a gazillion other flowers. When you come to the first switchback you will be at a viewpoint known as Puppy Point. Paws here and drool over the vista. Lap up some of that water you brought along and contemplate the fork in the tail (oops trail.) One direction takes you to the summit through the meadow, one through the forest. Trot down toward the trees if you want to sniff out the letterbox. Shortly after you enter the forest look to the left for a pair of brothers, arms entwined. Twenty steps behind them at 330 degrees magnetic is a third littermate with its foot upon the letterbox which is curled up beside a whitish rock. If you donít bark up the wrong tree, you will be sure to wag your tail. Go fetch!
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