By Michael Lanza

As late-afternoon sunlight slashed through big, puffy clouds hovering around the craggy top of Oregon’s 11,250-foot Mount Hood, on the first day of a three-day backpacking trip on the 41-mile Timberline Trail around Hood last August, I snapped this photo of my friend, Jeff Wilhelm, enjoying the view from Gnarl Ridge on the mountain’s east side. We were about to cross an extended, alpine stretch of the trail en route to camp for the night at Cooper Spur.

As I wrote in a previous blog post about this trip (featuring a photo of Ramona Falls), that was my first time backpacking the entire Timberline Trail in many years of hiking, climbing, and backpacking in the Northwest. Its wildflower meadows, waterfalls, views of the mountain, and its variety of terrain and scenery exceeded my expectations—as did its ruggedness and challenging creek crossings.

I’ll write about this trip and share more photos from it later this year at The Big Outside. Meanwhile, check out my “10 Favorite Photos From 2014 Adventures,” which includes another image from the Timberline Trail, and all of my stories about backpacking trips at this blog.

I invite you to subscribe to this blog by entering your email address in the box at the top of the left sidebar, and follow my adventures on Facebook and Twitter.

The Big Outside is proud to partner with these sponsors. Please help support my blog by liking and following my sponsors on Facebook and other social media and telling them you appreciate their support for The Big Outside.