By Michael Lanza
On the final morning of a backpacking trip last August on the 41-mile Timberline Trail around Oregon’s 11,250-foot Mount Hood, I woke early to find a thick, Pacific Northwest morning fog enveloping the absolutely silent forest surrounding us on the mountain’s west slope. After packing up camp, I walked a few minutes to the base of 120-foot Ramona Falls, an enchanting, broad curtain of water that tumbles over scores of small ledges, giving it a complex, sculpted appearance, and I shot this slow-exposure photo of myself standing in a shower of mist at the waterfall’s base.
In many years of hiking, climbing, and backpacking in the Northwest, including a few visits to Mount Hood, this was my first time backpacking the entire Timberline Trail. Its wildflower meadows, waterfalls, views of the mountain, and its variety, ranging from forest to rocky, barren volcanic wasteland, all 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.