Monday, July 29, 2013


Well, Mom finally came home from Oregon, and she rescued us from where we were being boarded.  So now we are home again, all except for the foster kittens, and they are coming home later today.  We had an exhausting week, but now we are happy to be home where we can rest up.

View of Mt. Hood from Mom's plane

Mom took a lot of pictures while she was on her trip, and she learned a lot of stuff, but there is way too much for me to deal with in one blog entry.  So I thought I would just talk about one thing today, which is a mountain called Mount Hood.

Satellite view of Mt. Hood;
north is to the right

The way Mount Hood got started was that it was first of all a volcano.  Then every time the volcano erupted, it gradually piled up layers of lava and ash and all the other stuff that comes out of volcanoes.  So in that way, the mountain got to be taller and taller.

In the last 15,000 years, Mt. Hood has had at least four periods of eruptions.  The last three of these happened within the past 1,800 years, and the most recent period was between 220 and 170 years ago.  The last really big eruption was in 1781-82.  There was another, smaller one right before Lewis and Clark showed up in 1805.

Every year, there are several "earthquake swarms" at Mt. Hood.  This is when a whole bunch of little bitty earthquakes happen, instead of one big earthquake with some aftershocks.  Sometimes there are fumaroles on Mt. Hood, which means that steam and gases start coming out.  Also there are some hot springs.  Mt. Hood is thought to be the volcano in Oregon that is most likely to erupt.  But there is really only a 3% to 7% chance that it will erupt in the next 30 years.  The U.S. Geological Survey calls this kind of volcano "potentially active," but mostly people think of it as dormant.

A flower called vetch,
and also Mt. Hood

Mt. Hood is the tallest mountain in Oregon, and it is one of the highest mountains in the whole country.  Every time someone measures the height of Mt. Hood, they seem to get a different number, so I will just pick a number from a 1993 scientific expedition.  They said the mountain was 11,239 feet tall.  If you want to get a better idea of what this means, you can just imagine stacking 5,619.5 basenjis on top of each other, and that would pretty much equal the height of Mt. Hood.

The Multnomah Indians called the mountain Wy'east.  But white people like to use their own names for things, so in 1792, British explorers called the mountain Mt. Hood, in honor of Admiral Samuel Hood.  Lewis and Clark first saw the mountain on October 18,1805.  They called it the Falls Mountain or Timm Mountain, which was the native name for Celilo Falls.  Later, Clark noted that the mountain was the one Vancouver's expedition had named Mt. Hood.
Mt. Hood glaciers

There are 12 glaciers on the mountain.  Palmer Glacier is the one that the most people visit, either for skiing or for climbing.  Above 7,000 feet, about 80% of the mountain is covered with glaciers and snowfields.  Between 1907 and 2004, the glaciers have gotten 34% smaller in size.

Mt. Hood has 6 ski areas.  At one of these areas, Timberline, you can ski all year round and even ride up to the top of the ski slope in a lift during the summer.  This is the only place in North America where you can do this.  Another thing that people do on Mt. Hood is go climbing.  Every year, between 15,000 and 20,000 people try to get to the top of the mountain.  There are 6 main approaches to Mt. Hood, and 30 different ways to reach the summit.  The climbs range in difficulty from 2 to 5.9+.

As of May 2002, more than 130 people had died while climbing Mt. Hood.  About 25 to 50 people need to be rescued in the recreational area every year.  This number has not grown, even though there are four times as many people visiting the mountain these days.  This is mostly because more people have cell phones and GPS devices.

Group from Mom's bus tour

When Mom was in Portland, she got to see Mt. Hood a whole bunch of times.  She did not go skiing or try to climb the mountain, which I think was very wise of her.  Mom just liked to look at the mountain because we don't have anything like it here in Missouri.  Which is kind of sad, when you think about it, because mountains are nice to look at.

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