Snovember on Mount Hood

“If you do not expect the unexpected you will not find it, for it is not reached by search or trail.” – Herclitus
Winter has made an early appearance west of the Cascades here in Oregon. November snow below the mountain passes is quite unusual. Much of the country is experiencing unseasonably colder than normal temperatures, so Oregon is not alone. While a storm dumping up to a foot of snow in the Portland area was predicted and whipped the local media into a frenzy, it never really materialized.
Meanwhile, at my home in the foothills of Mount Hood, it started snowing before dawn and continued all day with no break. We even experienced a power outage for several hours. I took a picture of Odessa greeting the snow shortly after she awakened and submitted it to a local news station. She managed even managed to make the noon news! I guess that is what happens when your area is the only place where the storm didn’t seem to completely fizzle.
On snow days like today, there isn’t much reason to venture far from my house. My daughter and I took a long walk to explore the forest behind our house, looking for deer and other animal tracks. We never did find anything larger than a couple of Canadian geese and a blue heron on the golf course, as seen in this photo I took with my cell phone.
We did find a spot where autumn and winter collided on Mount Hood – this is a little seasonal creek that runs behind my house. The water was filled with fallen leaves and just starting to completely freeze over. I can’t think of another picture that sums up “Snovember” so well.
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Fall Reflections of Mount Hood

“It’s a pretty time of year when the mountains sing out loud.” – Mother Love Bone

Whenever out playing around Mount Hood, a stop at Trillium Lake is a just about a requirement because the view is almost always AMAZING! Yesterday was no exception. I have taken HUNDREDS of pictures of this spot, and shared many of them here – sunsets, storms, and just plain old sunny days. So, when I say this is probably my FAVORITE picture I have ever taken from this spot, it is no small declaration.


The view of Mount Hood from Trillium Lake, with a little fall color mixed in.

My intention yesterday had been to take a quick drive over the dam, perhaps snap a few pictures with my cell phone to share on Instagram, since I had already had a full day photographing waterfalls and Frog Lake. However, once my husband piloted the car to the viewpoint, I say just how stunning the view was  on that day and immediately had to jump out of the car with my DSLR and snap a few pictures. Which turned into a walk halfway around the lake, looking for a unique spot to capture the scene before me. I think I succeeded. I absolutely love how this shot turned out!!

As I mentioned before, earlier in the day we made a stop at Frog Lake, several miles east of Trillium Lake. The view here of the mountain is no less spectacular. Unlike Trillium Lake, where there is almost always a crowd, we literally has this lake entirely to ourselves for almost our entire visit. The view is no less amazing.

Mount Hood reflecting in Frog Lake

Mount Hood reflecting in Frog Lake

With  as much time as I spend playing around in the mountains, I haven’t seen many days where the lakes have looked like this. Not a breath of wind was disturbing their surfaces, making for perfect mirror reflections. I have a feeling this is the last hurrah when it comes to PERFECT weather this fall. It won’t be long until the rain sets in for the season, and these stunning lakes of the higher elevations are  frozen and covered in snow.

Categories: "7 Wonders of Oregon", Fall, Hiking, Mount Hood, Mountains, Oregon, Oregon's Mount Hood Territory, Random Photos | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chasing the Northern Lights on Mount Hood

“It was the possibility of darkness that made the day seem so bright.” – Stephen King

Okay, I have a confession to make. I have NEVER done any night photography. with word that the Northern Lights may be making an appearance in Oregon, I decided to head out with my camera and give it a try.

My intention had been to shoot from one of my favorite spots, Trillium Lake. Alas, at least what seemed like 100 other people had the same idea so we moved on to the east side of the mountain, and managed to find a spot without another soul.

While I didn’t have much luck catching the aurora, the big dipper was out brightly above Mount Hood.

While I am a total novice at this type of photography, I am pretty happy with this shot from some of my first attempts. Now that we are starting to slowly approach that time of year when we have more hours of night than daylight, I am looking forward to getting out and practicing this more.

What do you think?


Categories: "7 Wonders of Oregon", Mount Hood, Mountains, Oregon, Oregon's Mount Hood Territory, Random Photos | Leave a comment

Smith Rock Deer

This picture is from my recent visit to Central Oregon. As my daughters and I were driving through the park, they excitedly pointed out a group of three deer that were grazing.

I quickly pulled the car over, and jumped out to grab a few shots of them. (The only way I ever shoot deer is with a camera.)

I figured as soon as I walked up I would spook them and they would run away. They seemed just as interested in what I was doing there as I was in them. They watched me with ears perked up for quite a while.


Eventually, I was the one to run off while they continued to happily chomp on Spring greens in the field.


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Road to Trillium Lake Open for the Season!

“Even places you know well can take on a touch of the unknown when you arrive there from a different direction.”
― Kate Milford

The road to Trillium Lake is open for the season!

Trillium Lake never  really closes. It’s a VERY popular snowshoe and cross country ski trail during the winter months. When he snow finally melts from the pavement and the gates open to vehicle traffic, there is no better sign that Spring has arrived on Mount Hood, and summer is just around the corner.


It is no secret that my family spends a lot of time up here during the warmer weather months. As the lake is a short 15 minute drive from my home in the foothills, we can often be found here fishing from the shore or paddling our canoe through the reflection of Mount Hood. When I heard that the gates had once again been opened, and the mercury was pushing 90 in town, I had to take a drive up to confirm the good news for myself.


Apparently, the secret was already out. Even on a Wednesday evening, the parking lot was full and the shores were dotted with families fishing, photographers setting up their tripods in anticipation of the sunset to come, and a group of friends playing guitars and serenading the rest of us up there to enjoy the cool mountain breezes.

Even with the “crowds”, my daughters and I were able to find a spot to ourselves to enjoy our picnic dinner.


It didn’t take long before my youngest, Odessa, had stripped down to her swimsuit and was swimming in the lake. Yes, it may seem a bit crazy to swim in an alpine lake this early in May, but, to her the water is never too cold and it was just too much to resist.


Soon, my oldest, Sage, was wading in the lake and catching salamanders while I snapped pictures of the lake and mountain.


“Fishing” for salamanders


Run salamander! Run!

After such a wonderful night at the lake, it was REALLY hard to pack up and say farewell – but – this was just the first of many visits until the snow falls and the gates to the road are locked once again.

Sage saying "Good Night" to the lake.

Sage saying “Good Night” to the lake.

Plan Your Own Visit:

At the time of my visit the campground was not yet open for the season. It’s a safe bet that it will be by the time the Memorial Day holiday weekend rolls around. This is one of the most popular campgrounds on Mount Hood, so either plan to get here early on a busy weekend, or make reservations.

Not into camping but want to enjoy this billion dollar view of Mount Hood yourself? There are many lodging options available in the Villages of Mount Hood – among them The Resort at the Mountain a short drive away in Welches, iconic Timberline Lodge “up the hill”, or even a cabin in the national forest from Mount Hood Vacation Rentals.

About an hour from Portland, it makes for an easy day trip. There is a large picnic area, easy fishing from the shore, a two mile trail around the lake, and many gravel roads for mountain biking. There is a $5.00 day use fee, so bring cash for the pay box.

Categories: "7 Wonders of Oregon", Ask Oregon, Mount Hood, Mountains, Oregon, Oregon's Mount Hood Territory, Spring | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment