Tag Archives: mt hood

Post Thanksgiving adventures – Mirror Lake and Mt Hood… And a huge pretzel!

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Saturday, 30-Nov-2019

 

After Thanksgiving this year, we went hiking!  Two days afterward, we hiked out to Mirror Lake, and then did a few quick steps on Mt. Hood, before relaxing in the Timberline Lodge with cocoa and a huge warm pretzel.

It was excellent.

 

Our first objective was Mirror Lake, on the Tom Dick and Harry trail to the South West of Mt. Hood.  We’d hiked here before, a few times if I recall, but hiking in the snow is always a new experience… the Sun coming through, the snow levels, how much ice and how much melt… it all ties together into making a unique winter wonderland for us to enjoy.

More importantly makes for a wonderland for Ollie to enjoy, since I think the sheer exultation that she felt after we got out of the car was more than both Sarah and I combined.

Before we could get started though, we earned a bit of good Karma – When parking, we ended up parking next to a rather large camper-van vehicle.  One of those pickup campers, where there’s a camper placed into the bed of a standard pickup truck?  Yeah, that.

As we packed up to start hiking, it became readily apparent that the family staying in the camper was having a bit of trouble.  The Dad had the hood open, was trying to turn the engine over, the whole nine yards.  We offered to help, of course, and ended up trying a few things to get them up and running.  After a ton of battling, a simple jump-start was all they needed – We got their engine turned over and making happy noises, all before their kids even realized that anything out of the ordinary was happening.

 

After that quite auspicious start, we headed into the woods and had a glorious time crunching through the ice and snow.  The tree canopy kept the sun pretty dispersed, but every so often we’d get a beautiful beam of light cutting through – it was beautiful, in a very calm and collected sort of way.

There’s not much to be said about the hike aside from that… it was lovely, Ollie spent the whole time sprinting around, and Sarah and I had a great time.  We hiked, we rested at Mirror Lake, and then we hiked back.  It was excellent!

 

After Mirror Lake we were tired, but not quite tired enough to head back to the house just yet… so we headed to Mt. Hood to do a bit more exploring.  The weather on Hood was a far sight from Mirror Lake – without the tree cover, the wind was doing its best to blast us off the side of the mountain and the clouds were at just the right level to cut off most of the direct light from the sun.  The whole scene had this interesting diffused light, painting everything into a beautifully bleak and desolate scene.

We didn’t last too long, thanks to the harsh wing slinging snow and sand at us, combined with the quite chilly temperature.  Thankfully, we’d already tired ourselves out pretty well on Mirror Lake, so we didn’t feel too bad turning around after an hour or so.  Ollie didn’t even seem to mind too much… but then again, we’ve found that it takes at least a day and a half of solid hiking to really tire her out.

 

We headed back to the car, stashed our gear, bundled Ollie up in her blankets, and grabbed a quick snack at the Timberline Lodge.  A cup of cocoa, a mug of coffee, and a huge pretzel kept us company while sitting and reading by the fire – we didn’t stay for too long, since the sun was getting close to setting, but we had an amazing time nonetheless.  A very good ending to a very lovely day.

 

 

A day on Mt. Hood – Zig Zag Canyon, 04-Aug-2019

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Sunday, 04-Aug-2019

Mt. Hood, Oregon.

 

It’d been a long time since Sarah and I had gotten out of the city… It’s been an impressively busy and rough summer, in terms of work and stress and low energy, so instead of trying to get ourselves together for a big, huge, epic adventure objective we stuck with a simpler goal – go hiking on Mt. Hood, and then have a nice dinner at the Timberline Lodge afterward.

Sometimes, big goals are fun and exactly what you need.  Other times, it’s just a simple walk in the woods with your partner and your dog.

Today was absolutely one of those second times.

 

We didn’t pack up the night before, we didn’t wake up at dawn and get going early, we didn’t rush out the door, and we didn’t speed toward the mountain with the wind in our hair.  It was nice, slow, and relaxing – we had a nice breakfast, we packed up our gear, and we drove out to the mountain after the morning traffic had fully died down.  We even packed a nice thermos of coffee for ourselves to sip as we drove… even though we’d already had a cup with breakfast.  Like I mentioned – we took it easy.

Once we got to the mountain and onto the trail, we kept that theme pretty well.  We didn’t go slowly, but we didn’t go quickly either… I don’t think we went quite slow enough to mosey, but we were definitely enjoying the scenery.  Ollie wasn’t going slowly of course, but that’s part of the fun of the hike, right?  Watching the crazy-dog run like she’s got infinite energy, sniffing and chasing sticks and exploring every nook and cranny she can find?

The hike itself was beautiful – it’s not a new area for us, and there’s a pretty good case that this is actually our most-visited hike anywhere in the world… but that makes it relaxing and homey, and we enjoyed every mile of it.  Seeing the sights that we’ve seen before, but with the slight variances that seasons and even days can bring.  The flowers were in pretty good bloom, and the day itself was beautiful and sunny.  Enough that we put on some sunscreen, but not so much that we were sweating as we hiked.

Our objective, if you could even say we had one, was a beautiful waterfall at the base of Zig Zag canyon – one that we’d taken Sarah’s brother Henry to see a year or two ago.  It wasn’t too far, but we figured that it would be a perfect place to have a quick lunch before heading back to civilization.  The day’d been getting pretty warm too, so the chance to sit in the mist was way too good to pass up!  It ended up being exactly as perfect of a lunch spot as we remembered, and we had a glorious time relaxing and soaking in the mist while Ollie swam and explored all the little pools.

The way back was a bit rougher than the way in, since it was mostly uphill, but we still made it back to the car and the Timberline lodge in good time – just in time to watch the sunset while having dinner at the Rams Head in the lodge!  We didn’t get a window seat, unfortunately, but we still got a good view of the sunset… and most importantly we got a good sturdy table for them to pile our post-hiking meal on!  We’d hiked pretty far, but for some reason we weren’t super hungry – a soft pretzel and a big bowl of stew (with hot cocoa on the side, of course!) filled us up nicely, and gave us just enough energy to make it back into Portland in time for showers and a warm bed!

Sunday, 27-Jan-2019 – Cross Country Skiing at Pocket Creek, on Mt. Hood!

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Sunday, 27-Jan-2019

Pocket Creek trail.

Mount Hood.

Oregon.

United States of America.

This day and location shall live on in legend, as the first day that Ben and Sarah put on skiis after breaking their respective knees. The first time that they, either individually or together, faced the fear of re-injury and got back into something similar to a saddle. The first time, since each suffered through healing and recovery, that Sarah and Ben skiied up a mountain.

I mean, it’s sort of a mountain, right?

Okay, fine, we weren’t ON Mt. Hood. We were across the road, in the Mt. Hood national park. In a small, lightly graded snowpark.

Know what? Being safe is important, and discretion is the better part of valor, and live to fight another day, and fifteen different other idioms that mean we made a good decision and were safe, and had a great time with excellent views. And, just as important, the trail was dog friendly (but not snowmobile friendly), so Ollie could come along too, and help pull us up the steep bits.

We drove out, geared up, and headed in. Sarah had her alpine touring kit, complete with skins, and I had my cross country kit – complete with gifted skiis, consignment boots, and hiking poles. I’m still scared of skiing, okay? I don’t want to buy a nice kit before being confident that I’d be willing to ski again.  Both options worked, too!  Sarah’s was a bit more efficient, especially on the downhill parts (I took off my skiis and walked, after my first attempt as downhill cross country ended in white-knuckled terror), but both our setups were pleasant and carried us through.

There really isn’t that much more to say, to be honest.  It was fun, and we had a good time.  Look at the pretty pictures!