Like many Portland-area hikers, I watched with awe and sadness last summer as the Dollar Lake Fire swept over our beloved north side of Mount Hood. Nobody knew for sure, but we believed the fire was destroying such hallowed hiking destinations as Vista Ridge, Eden Park, Cairn Basin, Wy’east Basin, and Elk Cove. And we wondered what it would look like when it was again open for hiking.
Well, it isn’t completely open yet, thanks to lingering snow. But Tom Kloster was, like I figured, one of the first folks up there.
I interviewed Tom for an article I did for The Oregonian about the “lost trail crowd,” and he is a hiking encyclopedia of Mount Hood history and trails. He’s also involved in an effort to create a Mount Hood National Park.
Tom has written a great blog post about the Vista Ridge Trail after the fire. He got up to about 5,000 feet — so not to the Timberline Trail — and reports a wiped-out forest in some places, amazing survivals in others, brand new viewpoints, and life already returning. It’s a great post, and you should go read it here.