Tom, Dick, and Harry Hike + Timberline / by Ray Phung

Breakthrough

Sometime after Christmas and before the new year, my buddy Tom invited me up to Mt Hood to run around in the woods.  He had been sick for the couple weeks prior, and was in much need of some fresh mountain air, beautiful scenery, and exercise.  And of course I am always down for an adventure.

We drove up to the Mirror Lake trailhead with the intention of doing the Tom, Dick, and Harry trail.  This particular hike is broken up into two parts - an easy gradual climb up to mirror lake, then followed by a steeper ridge traverse up to a lovely viewpoint.  The weather was beautiful for a nice hike, albeit a tad chilly in the cover of the forest.  The trail was pretty clear up until we got to Mirror Lake.  We traversed the trail around the banks of the lake.  Mirror Lake itself was frozen over, as well as the majority of the trail around it.  There were many people "butt-scooting" down the slight grades.  I walked partially out onto the ice to snap a few photos.  The ice very unsettlingly creaked under my feet. 

From Mirror Lake, the remainder of the trail became quite slick and icy.  After another half-mile or so, we came to a large scree crossing, which became pretty treacherous.  We decided that, without proper snowshoes or traction devices, it was best to head back.  

After returning to the car, we decided to continue on to Government Camp, OR and to head up to Timberline Lodge.  Timberline is always fun to check out, and we could always hike around the lodge.  It was surprising to see how little snow was up there.  I noticed several bald, brown areas not even touched by snow.  I believe the snow base is 25% of it's normal level.  This has been a very unusually dry winter for Oregon, which has me very concerned.  Hopefully we will get some rain and snow soon!