"On Mount Hood, firefighters wrapped the historic Cloud Cap Inn with fire-resistant material to protect it against the Dollar Lake fire, which has grown to 1,500 acres. The lodge was built in 1898 as an elite destination resort reached by railroad and horseback, and is used now by the Crag Rats mountaineering group, Mount Hood National Forest spokesman Rick Acosta said.
The Dollar Lake fire was ignited by lightning over the weekend and was burning in heavy forest at about 6,000 feet near glaciers on the north flank of Oregon's tallest mountain. A regional management team took over the fire. Thirteen hand crews were ordered to supplement the smokejumpers and initial attack teams already fighting the fire.
Firefighters faced winds up to 25 miles per hour.
Three campgrounds have been closed, including Cloud Cap, Tilly Jane and Lawrence Lake. The Vista Ridge, Gnarl Ridge, Pinnacle and Elk Cove trails are also closed.
The fire is burning in the same area where the Gnarl Ridge fire burned in 2008."
The kids and I had the unique opportunity to stay at Cloud Cap two weeks ago. We were invited by Brian's brother, Dale, to celebrate his birthday on the mountain. Dale is one of the infamous Crag Rats -- part of the mountain search and rescue team on Mt. Hood. We felt fortunate to be included that weekend to enjoy the lodge and the surrounding wilderness.
To say it is breathtaking would be an understatement. Marc and I hiked through this area fifteen years ago on a four day trip around Mt. Hood. I remember it vividly because it was the first sign of civilization I had seen in three days. All I could see was the potential for a flush toilet. After hiking with four men, a trowel, and one scant roll of toilet paper, the lodge seemed like an oasis in Hades. We were not able to use the facilities, but I remember it well to this day. I digress.
I was thrilled to be back in this place a decade and a half later. This would be one of those places that you can see and touch God's power in a very tangible way. I love high places that offer new perspective. Cloud Cap is amazing and it grieves me to know that this place is threatened by fire.
Mt. Hood as the sun is beginning to go down.
Girls standing in the wind and watching the clouds swirl by....
Striking the Pioneer Woman Stance
Adam and Sophia
Brian and his sweet mom, Anne
We settled down that evening in front of a monster fire. A perfect ending to a surreal evening.
Sunrise! Bright and bold!
The sun coming up over the hills.