A quick hike to Mirror Lake, 28-Dec-2020


Monday, 28-Dec-2020

This will probably be be my last hike of 2020… Not that that’s a good, a bad, or any other type of thing… it’s just a thing, right? An interesting observation, for better or worse.

2020’s been an interesting year, to say the least, and I’m starting to write up some sort of overview post to go over what happened… but for now, I went on a hike to keep my mind occupied.

Instead of hitting up my go-to hike of the year, I went with a shorter, closer, and a bit more heavily trafficked hike – Mirror Lake, one of the first hikes by Hood that you run into on the drive from Portland (or Wilsonville, in my case. The parking lot was… pretty much exactly what I expected it to be, which is to say a madhouse, but thankfully it wasn’t as bad as my paranoia had convinced me it would be. There were still spots to park, at least, so… small victories, right?

With small victories come small hurdles though, and this hurdle was simply called “a lot of ice”. The parking lot, while not completely full of cars, was absolutely coated in a nice slick of ice… far slicker than the Mustang could navigate safely. I mean, I could absolutely have driven through it… but as I drove power to the wheels they’d started slewing to the side… which was enough of a risk of bumping someone that I held off on trying to out-drive the ice.

Instead, I put the chains of for literally the last 5ft of the drive… just enough to safely park without the car slipping or yawing into one of the cars on either side of me. Seems silly… but I’ll take the 5min to put on chains, over the 30min to trade insurance information any day.

With the car safely parked, I clipped on the crampons and headed into the beautiful winter wonderland that I’ve come to expect from Mt. Hood. This trail was far more trafficked, of course, but it was still gorgeous – tons of waterfalls, small rivers, and beautiful bridge crossings to keep me company.

There was quite a bit of foot traffic, of course, and I was quite thankful for my crampons giving me traction on the slick trail… one of the fun parts of winter hiking, when the whole trail turns to ice? Definitely thankful for the spiky bits attached to my boots.

Aside from the icy parts, the hike was beautifully relaxing and quiet… as quiet as it can be while passing people every few minutes, of course. Soon enough I was at the lake, circumnavigating along the ice, taking chances to admire the views of Hood, and have a few bites of my bars. Even relaxed and read a bit… once I found a nice little cove a bit off the beaten path, of course.

The hike wasn’t anything too crazy, but it was a nice chance to get into the snow, and away from town. I’m always thankful for the crisp air, and am already looking forward to the next chance I get to hike through the snow…

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