Towards the end of August, I made my annual hike up to McNeil Point, on the west side of Mt. Hood. McNeil Point is known for its wonderful wildflower display that usually starts in late July to early August. The trail takes you up to a very scenic ridge that has an old stone shelter, built in the 1930's by the CCC. On a clear day, the views can't be beat. You can see west to Lost Lake and the Bull Run Watershed and towards the north, you can sometimes see three Cascade peaks - Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams and Mt. Ranier. And up on this ridge, is the most beautiful wildflower meadows I've ever seen.
McNeil Point is one of my very favorite Mt. Hood hikes, so when my friends Debbie and Barry invited me to go with them, I gave them a big "you bet!" I was concerned that hiking so late in August, the wildflowers might be past their prime. But I was pleasantly surprised - there were still lots of flowers to be found.
Here's a photo of the stone shelter and the views from McNeil Point. We had a pretty clear day and were able to see quite far.
Debbie and Barry are climbing up above the shelter to find a nice lunch spot. Mt. Hood looms in the background. Bear is waiting for me to finish taking photos and join them.
The "old man of the mountain" flowers (at least I think they are classified as flowers!) were in full bloom. There were thousands of them in the meadow near the shelter. This is one of my favorite photos of these cool fluffy plants.
This is a classic wildflower meadow shot above the stone shelter. Earlier in August there is even more lupine and paintbrush blooming than this. Still not too bad for late August!
On our way back down the trail, we took a side trip down to a rushing glacial stream. There were lots of flowers blooming beside the stream. There was also a killer view of Mt. Hood.
We found a big patch of yellow monkeyflowers blooming beside the creek. It was absolutely stunning! As you can imagine, I took LOTS of photos of these flowers.
Here's another photo of the stream. The yellow blob in the center of the photo is the monkeyflower patch. There were also many other flowers blooming on the banks. What a beautiful place!
Coming back on the trail, there is a clearing that has a wonderful view of Mt. Hood. The light is much better in the afternoon, so I always make a point to take my photos on the way back. Here is the best shot of my favorite mountain.
Yes, every once and awhile I even get in a photo! Thanks Barry for taking this shot.
Once again it was an enjoyable hike. Nothing like getting out in Mother Nature for some fresh air, exercise and beautiful views. Not only am I exercising my body, but I'm feeding my soul.