Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Cloud Cap

Dollar Lake Fire on Mount Hood, August 30, 2011
"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. 

I thought I would share some of the pictures that I was able to capture.  I still marvel at the beauty and the power of mountains.  And to think....God can move them!

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

Lenticular Clouds....worth googling.

Wildflowers and a mountain shrouded in mist....gotta love God's creativity and beauty!

This picture does not do the sunset justice....Amazing!

Ben on the big rock that marks the elevation.  The trees behind him mark the scars of the last wildfire that ripped through this area. 

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. 

The walls talk at Cloud Cap.  Those that have visited and climbed the mountain engrave their names and the date on the walls.  There are hundreds of entries.  Ben found the oldest date out of those we looked at.  1899.  Sad to think that this history is threatened by fire.


  1. The pictures are beautiful. I'm glad you and the kids had a wonderful time up there. It is well deserved! Praying that the area is kept safe from the fire.

    Love ya sis!

  2. Jane, I obviously don't have this comment posting thing down. I looked back to see that most of my comments to you never posted. I think I need to learn the art of posting! I just wanted you to know that we sure enjoyed the pictures! We LOVE hiking and camping and the Lenticular cloud pic was AMAZING!! I have never seen such a thing! The smoke from the fire has definitely NOT been missed by us. Matt's folks have been trying to breathe despite the smoke while they are staying at the rental house. Have you heard any updates? Love you! Anna, for Matt and the boys too =)