The day following our snowshoe adventure Sophie wanted to go climb on Horse Thief Butte. I am pleased that Sophie loves that area as much as I do. So, off we went. Geologists say between 13,000 and 15,000 years ago a series of huge catastrophic floods scoured this landscape. Surging water and large pieces of ice ripped rock, sediment, and soil. Horse Thief Butte withstood the floods rising from the shores of the Columbia, a monument to 300 generations of fishers and traders who claimed a plentiful living for Nch’i-W├ína, the Big River. At its base, village life moved to the rhythm of changing seasons and returning salmon. Today this is an area for adventure seekers. Rock climbers are common on the cliffs in spring, and so are wildflowers. Reputedly, the name was inspired by scenery from Hollywood Westerns, rather than from some real event. Be that as it may, I love spending time on Horse Thief Butte. On the way there right beside the highway is a rock structure said to have been a jail of some sort. It is in plain site but blends with the surrounding rocks so people don’t notice it.

The stone jail
The snow covered hills contrast with the brown rocks of Horse Thief Butte
Horse Thief Butte. The color of the rocks seem to change with the position of the sun and location of clouds.

There a number of ways to ascend to the top of the Butte. One way, our favorite, is to climb the rocks that form the side of the cliffs. A trail on the south west side allows easier access. On the north side there is an uninteresting trail that I have not bothered to walk all these years. This trip I decided to see where that trail went. It lead to another access to the top by climbing the boulders. It was exciting exploring a new path. When I reached the top there was Sophie already exploring around. Pictographs are found there but so faint they are hard to photograph.

Our usual path leading to the cliff where one starts to climb
The uninteresting trail that lead to the new ascent place.
View from the trail going to the top

The new trail brings the climber through the draw pictured to the right and then levels off revealing crags, rock spires, and pictographs.

A rock climbing wall

As evening approached colors changed. When the sun was at the proper angle I noticed bushes that had red colored bark. They were ordinary but beautiful when the setting sun hit them.

It amazes me how colors change as the sun moves toward the west. This is my favorite photo taken by me this trip.

Photos by Jason below:

Night settling in
Mt Hood
Columbia River and Horse Thief Lake

Sam got all the exercise he wanted snow shoeing so opt out on climbing around Horse Thief Butte. I pretty much set out exploring on my own in the unusual places meeting up with the others from time to time. Being alone fits the atmosphere of this place, especially as the wind and cold set in with the coming of night. I enjoy that alone feeling. If you are interested in Jason’s take on our adventure check out his video.


Weekends Teagan works at a little juice shop in Hood River called Remedy’s. Before Jason’s family went home we stopped by there for a treat. I am proud of Teagan as she was working the shop on her own and did such a great job dealing with customers. She was responsible for closing up at the end of the day as well. When did our little Teager Beags grow up so fast?

Remedy’s Cafe

We kept Teagan busy with 5 orders at once. She handled it perfectly and other customers came in as well. We love you and are proud of you Teagan. As a young lady just turned 15 she was running the cafe by herself. What a great experience and responsibility.