Yocum Ridge has officially become my go-to hood hike. This place just never gets old.
I parked my car by the sandy river bridge at 10:30am under cloudy skies with occasional snow/rain showers. Whenever I park here I always expect my car to be broken into and gutted. For whatever reason this place makes me feel more sketched out and unsafe than any other TH. Shoving those concerns aside I made my way up the ~2.2mi road walk to the Ramona Falls TH. Just ten minutes in the snow became soft and the snowshoes went on.
Shortly after passing through the Ramona falls TH parking lot all the ski/snowshoe tracks stopped, leaving me to stomp out my own path. Not particularly following the trail I had to consult my gps to make sure I was at the actual sandy crossing. If my gps was correct this section has dramatically changed since I was up here last December. From here on I navigated without maps or compass mostly because I didn't want to be reminded how much further I had to climb.
I wandered around for a while trying to find a decent crossing. After sizing up and trying out two different log crossings I backed off and started muttering to myself, "don't be an idiot this is not the place to injure yourself." I eventually found a nice big log with good access on both ends and started to shuffle across. While over the middle of the sandy feeling much better about my decision one of my steps knocked loose a chunk of bark and snow exposing a section of slimy frozen wood. My heart almost exploded through my chest as I barely regained my balance and that voice came back to say "You're an IDIOT!" I somehow managed to make a large step back onto more stable log and finished the crossing swearing to never do that again.
After my jolt of adrenaline I had an uneventful trek up to Ramona Falls as the sun began to punch through the clouds.
While at the falls I was already feeling pretty tired and was even making up alternate plans if i didn't make it to the top, but some instant coffee and the prospect of clear views gave me an extra boost for the climb. I filled up with 5 liters of water and began hiking up the TT towards the Yocum Ridge trail. Shortly after the trickling streams/seeps on the right the slope eased up a little and I headed directly uphill for the ridge ignoring the trail from here on out. This area has to be one of my favorite forests on hood full of rhododendrons and tall spacious trees.
The long trudge up to the top with a full pack really kicked my butt. There were a bunch of snow drifts I had to climb over or weave around and I was sinking in the sugary snow even with my snowshoes. Part of the reason why I love this hike so much is that Mt. Hood is hidden from view for most of the climb saving the grand unveiling for the end.
It took a while to set up my shelter as I'm just getting into winter camping, but I managed to finish before sunset when the wind gusts picked up.
My campsite was great for views but left me exposed to some nasty wind at night. The forecast called for increasing winds and snow for Tuesday so I reluctantly got up at first light to break camp avoiding foul weather.
Offtrail above Ramona Falls i came across this random section of fence. Any idea what it's from?
Fortunately I had a straightforward hike back to the car. I found a shallow spot to ford the sandy instead of log crossing and even found my car where I found it with windows intact! Next time i'll try making it up to McNeil pt. for an overnighter.
Roughly 20 miles RT and 4200ft EG