Saturday, September 30, 2006

Iron Mountain

Today I went for a hike up Iron Mountain with Ashley Hatfield and my roomate Jason Killian along who brought McKenzie along.  I had gotten up early and went to Firestone to have 4 brand new tires put on my truck.  I got the Bridgestone AT Dueler Revo's, a sick tire that performs amazingly in wet conditions ie, the Pacific Northwest.  Thus, I was anxious to test them out so I opted to drive with Jason and Kenze in the backseat.  We left here around 9:45 and got to the mountain around 11 after stopping for some munchies in Lebanon, OR.  The road was very winding both there and back and the tires performed amazingly never squeeling or chirping at all as I took the corners at a pretty fast pace.
    The hike was a loop trail that Jason took me on skirting the slopes of Cone peak and then eventually veering off on a side trail to the top of Iron Mountain.  The vegetation and forests in Iron_mtn_93006_003
Oregon are amazing.  The trees are so spread out from one another with very little low brush that during the winter you can pretty much pick your own line down any powdery slope on skis.  On the drive up we past several "chain-hookup" areas where cars and even 4x4 trucks are required to put chains on in the winter because the snow gets rough in the past and up to
Iron_mtn_93006_007 10-15 feet deep at times.  Jason had Kenze on a leash because it is hunting season but as soon
as we got to an open meadow (where it was clear he wasn't a damn deer) he unleashed him.... bad idea.... apparently for the first time ever Kenze decided to roll in shit... literally shit, either cougar or bear shit... and it stunk like indian food wrapped in a dirty diaper.  So, for the rest of the trip Kenze was back on the leash... 
    We passed through beautiful meadows which would have been covered with flowers had it be
Iron_mtn_93006_018en spring time.  In the distance we could see Iron Mountain with it's volcanic cone dominating the view westward.   We went around Cone mountain without running up to it's
summit which I was a little dissapointed by (because I'm a peak bagging whore) but I know it's always there for when I want to go back, and I'm sure I will... possibly to ski the big open meadows down to Route 20 below.  We descended slightly to the pass between the two mountains andIron_mtn_93006_038
then proceeded to climb a side trail to the summit where we were rewarded with amazing views of some of the Cascade Volcanoes including Hood, Mt. Washinton, The Sisters, Jefferson and even Bachelor in the distance.  We could also see Hoodoo ski resort as well.  In the far distance from where we had come we could even see Mary's peak rising into the valley fog.  Some haze in the distance was a dirty brown due to forest fires in to the Iron_mtn_93006_033
south, but ultimately it was a blue-bird-sky day and we had great views.  Being a geologist, as is Ashley, I was amazed at the volcanic structures in the area such as volcanic terraces left over by cooling lavas, giant volcanic cone
Iron_mtn_93006_056s and plugs that were left exposed due to erososion around them, and volcanic
pummice everywhere on the ground which I was suprised Kenze didn't cut his paws on.  The colors in the volcanic rocks from weathering and corrosion where also amazing.  On the way down we even saw an ancient dike rising a good 20 feet out of the side of the mountain like a giant red fin covered with brilliant green moss.  Of course, Jason was looking at it for ways to scale it while I was looking at the angle below it as if I could jump off it with skis on. 
    The summit of the mountain had a nice observatory and deck with a firetower cabin as well.  The area was fenced in of course to keep idiots from falling off the volcanic spires to the sharp volcanic rocks and trees below.  We met several older couples who were also out enjoying the aft
Iron_mtn_93006_060ernoon.  I got some great pics (seriously, click on them, they are pretty sweet) and then we headed down to the road again.  When we got to the truck we wrapped Kenzie up in a Patogonia
shirt and my t-shirt to cover the smell (didn't work too good) and to prevent him from smearing it on the fabric of my seats on the ride home.  He was so zonked that it really wasn't an issue.  The drive home was fun with all the turns in the road and we got back to Corvallis with plenty of time for me to wash my truck as well.  What a great day!


No comments: