North side of Mt. Hood July 28-29 2016

The north side of Mt. Hood burned in the 6,304 acre Dollar Lake Fire of 2011.   This area is normally too wet to have large fires.  Fire had not visited many places for several hundred years, so this was a big turning point in time. I hiked in on trail 631 in August of 2012 to explore the burn. This July I was able to return to some of the sites.  I was hoping to pick huckleberries, which was not the case.  There were many plants that had come back from the roots, but there were few berries.  I am not sure whether the crop was frost-killed or the plants are putting their energy into growing instead of reproducing.  The trail up to the Wilderness boundary was brushed out and easy to travel.  After that there were logs every one hundred feet to one hundred yards.  With Forest Service budgets what they are and the requirement that only hand tools be used, it is no wonder.  

 At about three miles there is a great viewpoint into the Coe Branch of the East Fork of Hood River.  My 2012 photo shows needles clinging to the fire-killed trees. August 15, 2012

At about three miles there is a great viewpoint into the Coe Branch of the East Fork of Hood River.  My 2012 photo shows needles clinging to the fire-killed trees. August 15, 2012

 Five years have passed since the fire, and four years since my last photo.  The trees are gray now and are starting to shed their fine branches.  It has greened up on the forest floor.  July 28, 2016

Five years have passed since the fire, and four years since my last photo.  The trees are gray now and are starting to shed their fine branches.  It has greened up on the forest floor.  July 28, 2016

 Oberon, our Catahoula Hound Dog puppy was a great addition to the trip.  Nine months old in this picture he carried a light load.  He did great at negotiating all of the logs in the trail. He was very willing to put on the pack, and did not try to take it off.  Good Boy!!

Oberon, our Catahoula Hound Dog puppy was a great addition to the trip.  Nine months old in this picture he carried a light load.  He did great at negotiating all of the logs in the trail. He was very willing to put on the pack, and did not try to take it off.  Good Boy!!

 Living at the edge of a meadow, these two Douglas-fir trees survived the fire.  Remnant trees are important in re-seeding the forest. 

Living at the edge of a meadow, these two Douglas-fir trees survived the fire.  Remnant trees are important in re-seeding the forest. 

 There were lots of huckleberry bushes, but almost no berries.  On the south side of Mt. Hood there was excellent picking this year.  Perhaps the plants are putting their energy into growth?

There were lots of huckleberry bushes, but almost no berries.  On the south side of Mt. Hood there was excellent picking this year.  Perhaps the plants are putting their energy into growth?

 Pearly everlasting was an abundant flower in drier areas. 

Pearly everlasting was an abundant flower in drier areas. 

 Golden chinquapin, Chrysolepis chrysophyllais is the champion shrub growing on aspects that tilt to the south.  In 2012, I mistakenly indentified it as rhododendron, which has similar leaves and a similar growth form.  These plants did not establish from seed, but rather grew back from roots that survived in the fire. 

Golden chinquapin, Chrysolepis chrysophyllais is the champion shrub growing on aspects that tilt to the south.  In 2012, I mistakenly indentified it as rhododendron, which has similar leaves and a similar growth form.  These plants did not establish from seed, but rather grew back from roots that survived in the fire. 

 Now that I see the fruits of this plant, there is no mistaking it for rhododendron.  There are nuts inside of these burs. 

Now that I see the fruits of this plant, there is no mistaking it for rhododendron.  There are nuts inside of these burs. 

 A typical stretch of the trail.  Willow, fireweed, and beargrass are the predominant plants.

A typical stretch of the trail.  Willow, fireweed, and beargrass are the predominant plants.