As many of us know the parking situation at Dog Mountain during the spring can be an ordeal more difficult than the hike itself. Now I do not mind getting up stupid early to do a hike, but I live several hours away and enjoy dragging others along on my little schemes. So, I made a 4 part plan.
Go on Sunday. Weekdays were ruled out do to this thing called work and people are more likely to hike on Saturday than Sunday for some reason unknown to me. So, Sunday was the day.
Eat breakfast at the trailhead. This will save about half an hour. I packed up yogurt, fruit, and beagle bites. This also allows breakfast to be at a time when I’m actually hungry because who’s really hungry at 5am. It is certainly not me.
Camp near the trailhead. I found a campground that is a 15-minute drive from the trailhead. It was a nice campground with wifi, showers, and ice cream. In the tent sites, they had a layer of shaved wood to put your tent on, like hamster bedding. It was fantastic! Between the hamster bedding and our sleeping pads it was like sleeping on a cloud. It was the best night’s sleep I’ve ever had in a tent. Highly recommend the hamster bedding. Here is a link to the website of the campgrounds we stayed at.
Do the loop. I have found to avoid crowds and be kind to the knees, that it is best to do the loop. I like to go up the common route and then back down the other side of the mountain. It is less crowded and not as steep.
These 4 simple steps are a recipe to Dog Mountain success. We beat the crowds to the top of the mountain and to the parking lot. And borrowing one of my father parking colloquialisms, “We got the number one spot, in the number one row.”
Quick stop in Mosier to break up a long drive. Let’s just say I made myself comfortable.
I was on my way to Eastern Washington for Mother’s day and decided to break up the long drive with a hike. It was early and there were only 4 or 5 cars in the parking lot. It was a little chilly so I layered up.
The flowers were beautiful and the sun was warm! The higher I climbed the more prominent Mt. Adams was across the gorge. About half way up I started to regret the base layer I was wearing. My legs were heating up with every step.
I stopped to changed my settings on my camera and almost stepped onto, what I am assuming was, a bull snake. The only snake I can identify is a rattle snake, which it was not. It was about 3ft long and a couple inches around. I didn’t get a good look at the head, only the tail before it quickly slithered away. It scared me half to death, but I got a good laugh out of it once it was over.
At the top I had views of both Hood and Adams to myself. It is at this point I strip down to my skivvies, freeing all the heat trapped on my legs. I quickly put my hiking pants back on, sans base layer. This, my friends, felt amazing!
On my hike I saw more lizards than people. However when I got back to the trailhead around 10 am there were tons of people about to start the hike. More than I had passed on the entire hike. So get out early if you want to beat the crowds!