On Sunday, February 4th, our group of three headed out to the Washington side of the Columbia Gorge for a quick pre-Super Bowl hike up Dog Mountain. To save time, we decided to go up and down the “more difficult” route – the steeper, shorter way to knock out the Dog’s 2,800 vertical feet of elevation gain.

 Trail option between "difficult" and "more difficult."

Trail option between "difficult" and "more difficult."

For the first two miles in the woods, conditions were reasonable for early February. The trees captured the light rain, preventing most of the drops from reaching us. A stiff breeze could be heard in the distance and only occasionally reached down to the trail.

 The lonely tree below the summit.

The lonely tree below the summit.

At the edge of the treeline, we entered a world of wind and rain. The final push to the summit was an exercise in discomfort management as a sustained 20-30 mph wind and sideways rain pummeled us. Upon reaching the top, we lingered only long enough to eat a snack and then powered back down to the parking lot.

 Descending back to the parking lot.

Descending back to the parking lot.

Key lesson: always bring a full change of clothes. I brought fresh socks and shoes, but not pants. I think the money in my wallet is still damp as I write this.

Click here for more photos from the hike.